Psyllium Husk For Weight Loss | Use, Benefits, Side Effects

Psyllium Husk Weight LossWeight loss gurus have been going-gaga-over Psyllium husk for a couple of years.

Some of the recent studies have found that viscous fiber may reduce your appetite and help weight loss.

Isabgol or psyllium husk which contains high-quality viscous fiber has become a popular dietary supplement in the recent times.

It is interesting to have a look at health and weight loss benefits of Psyllium Husk.

What Is Psyllium Husk Powder?

Psyllium is a form of fiber made from the husks of the Plantago ovata plant’s seeds. It is a herbal-plant that is mainly grown in the subcontinent of India (1).

It is also known by different native names like ispaghula or Isabgol.

The Psyllium husk contains soluble fiber that is beneficial for the body in many ways. 

In fact, the husk obtained from the seeds of ispaghula or Isabgol is one of the best fiber supplements you can have.

Some of the popular fiber supplements like Metamucil have Psyllium husk as the chief ingredient in them.

Psyllium contains a type of fiber known as mucilage which converts itself into a thick gel when mixed with water.  

It is a very effective laxative that can relieve constipation by loosening the stool and cleansing the colon.

Psyllium Husk Health Benefits

Psyllium fiber is a proven laxative supplement recommended by physicians.

It not only removes constipation but also delivers several other health benefits.

It improves the health of heart and pancreases by reducing the blood triglycerides, blood pressure and decreases the risk of heart disease (2,3).

According to some of the recent study reports, this fiber supplement can keep cholesterol in check and improve the conditions of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

Initially, the phylum fiber binds up bile acid and stomach fat which are then expelled from the body via excretion.  But later on, it helps in the reproduction of lost bile acid by utilizing the excess cholesterol in the body (4).

This supplement can help in maintaining healthy cholesterol balance in your system by making use of cholesterol to reproduce bile acids.

Ispaghula fiber has the potency to regulate blood sugar to some extent in people with diabetes. It does so by controlling glycemic response to meals you have and reducing insulin and blood sugar levels (5,6).

Regular and improved bowel movements induced by Psyllium also cleanses the colon of toxic substances and accumulated wastes.

Today, some of the bakers include Psyllium as a binding agent and ingredient in gluten-free baking.  

This fiber supplement is shown to relieve diarrhea. The water absorbing capacity of the supplement makes the loose stool to become moderately firm and thick (7,8).

Psyllium adds Prebiotics compounds which help in nourishing the useful intestinal bacteria (probiotics) and helps them to grow (9,10).

Psyllium Husk Weight Loss: Benefits And Effectiveness

So far people had been using Psyllium as an efficient laxative to overcome health issues like indigestion and constipation.

However, in the recent years, some of the studies have come out with curious facts on Psyllium Husk weight loss benefits and advantages.

According to a 2016 study published in the Nutritional Journal, when Type 2 diabetics patients were given 10.5 grams of psyllium daily for eight weeks they had lower body mass index (BMI) in comparison to those were put on a normal diet.

This study also noted that diabetes patients, who had Psyllium supplement, improved insulin and fasting blood sugar.

Intake of water-soluble dietary fibers like Psyllium may help in blood glucose and body weight management.

However, findings of another study published in the International Journal of Preventative Medicine in 2016 did not agree with the efficacy of soluble-fibers in losing weight. As per this study, when the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease patients were given Psyllium supplementation 12 weeks they showed no significant reduction in weight loss or BMI.

Let us now look at some of the possible weight loss benefits of Psyllium Husk.

Soluble Fiber in Psyllium

Psyllium husk is an awesome viscose fiber supplement.

According to USDA recommendations, an adult person should eat 25 – 30 grams of soluble fiber per day (11).

Fiber is important for optimizing the functions of the digestive system and for preventing digestive issues constipation and indigestion.

Fiber is essential for better weight loss results.

The vegetables and fruits we eat have fiber, but most of them contain insoluble fiber which cannot be digested by the body.

Soluble fiber, like Psyllium, absorbs water and transform in to smooth gel-like substance.

Soluble fiber helps digestion and absorbs some amount of sugar and fat from the food we eat.

Psyllium fiber is beneficial for weight loss as it can balance the blood sugar and absorbs excess fat in the stomach.

Two tablespoon of Psyllium fiber contains about 8 grams of soluble fiber.

Soluble fiber nourishes the beneficial gut bacteria which is necessary for digestion and improved metabolic activities (12).

Good For Reducing Appetite

According to a study published in 2016 by Appetite, intake of Psyllium husk supplement before meals may suppress appetite and increase the feeling of fullness.  The study also pointed that taking a dose of about 6.8g of Psyllium supplement gave more consistent satiety benefits over the placebo. 

Psyllium husk in the intestine quickly absorbs water and swells up to 20 times its original size. Within a few minutes after having the supplement, it begins to make you feel full and reduces the pangs of appetite.

The supplement can make you eat less and thus make you lose weight within a couple of weeks.

Works As A Colon Cleanser

Psyllium fiber supplement can improve your gastrointestinal health by cleansing your colon.

A colon free of toxic contents and wastage improves digestion, boosts immune system and wards off common health issues affecting the stomach.

Regular cleansing of colon also aids in weight loss because it clears the waste products from intestines.

Low Calories In Psyllium Husk

You need not be afraid of an increase in calories supply by having Psyllium supplement.

Two tablespoons of this fiber supplement contain only about 32 calories which are a negligible amount.

This supplement is weight loss friendly as it does not add extra calories to your diet.

Psyllium Fiber Dosage for Weight Loss

As per the recommendations of the Institute of Medicine, daily intake of fiber is 25 grams for women and 38 grams for men under the age of 50.

Women above the age of 50 require 21 grams and men require 30 grams 0f fiber per day (13).

Unfortunately, most of us, on an average, take only about 15 grams of fiber per day.

If you are overweight or having stomach related issues like constipation and irregular bowel movements, it is good to have one or two servings of Psyllium supplement per day.

About three grams of soluble fiber is contained in one teaspoon of Psyllium.

How To Use Psyllium Husk?

Psyllium capsule and powder are available at any of the drugstores near you.

It is easy to consume the Psyllium capsules just like the other capsules or pill you use.  Make sure to drink one or two cups of water after you have the capsule.

However, for taking Psyllium husk powder, you need to make a little effort.

The powder, in required dosage, must be diluted in a cup of water. Please note that Psyllium expands fairly quickly once mixed with water.

Make sure to drink it within a minute after you mix supplement in a cup of water. If you keep it for longer, drinking it can become difficult as it transforms into a thick gel.

The cup you use for diluting the powder must be rinsed immediately to avoid the gel getting strongly stuck inside the cup.

If you are taking the Psyllium husk for the first time, you can start with ½ a tablespoon of husk and then gradually increase the daily intake to two tablespoons per day.

Decide the amount of Psyllium husk you require per day depending on a number of soluble fiber diets like fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains you have.

If you are using Psyllium husk for weight loss, you should take the supplement 30 minutes before your meal. This help in suppressing appetite by adding bulk to the food that you are going to eat.

Psyllium Husk Side Effects

Psyllium is generally safe for consumption and triggers no side effects.

However, an overdose of this soluble fiber supplements can cause minor health issues.

Some of the possible side effects of Psyllium husk are:

To avoid the side effects of soluble fiber supplement, it is best to start with small doses initially.

You can take up to 2 weeks to have the full dose as recommended by your physician.

Every teaspoon of Psyllium husk powder should be diluted in minimum 8 ounces of water.

If you are taking the capsules, you need to drink one or two cups of water along with the capsule.

Taking Psyllium supplement may cause choking, stomach pain and bowel obstruction due to insufficient fluid intake.

After having the supplement, if you experience any physical discomfort for many hours then you must consult a doctor.

Patients suffering from appendicitis, bowel spasm, breathing issues, colorectal adenoma or other ailments in the digestive tract could avoid taking this fiber supplement.

Psyllium supplement is not suitable for persons with kidney diseases.

This supplement may also interact with some of the medications you use.

Psyllium husk for weight loss is suitable for people not suffering from any chronic diseases.

The Bottom Line

Soluble fibers from the foods we eat are best for health.

There is no need to have fiber supplements if you can increase the fiber intake from foods like dried beans and peas, flax seeds, oats, fruits, and vegetables.

However, most of us do not have the convenience to follow wholesome diets, and thus we have to depend on fiber supplements like Psyllium.

Psyllium husk may help weight loss by suppressing appetite by adding bulk to our diet.

Currently, there is no evidence to recommend Psyllium as a dependable weight loss aid. 

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