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What are the benefits and side effects of this soluble fiber?

Psyllium is a soluble fiber that supports digestive health. Also known as Indian plantain, psyllium husk, blonde or black psyllium or ispagol psyllium, psyllium helps in treating problems of diarrhea, constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, etc.

An adult needs to eat at least 30 grams of fiber daily(1)But most people only consume half the amount.

Fiber is not only important for gut health, but it can also reduce the risk of colon cancer, lower cholesterol levels, and even aid in weight loss.

Psyllium husk fiber has many of these benefits. This is why they are commonly used in fiber supplements, whether in powder or capsule form. In this article, you will discover all the benefits and side effects associated with these fibers, in addition to how to use them.

What is psyllium?

Psyllium is the name given to Plantago ovata seeds, a type of banana found primarily in India, although it grows all over the world. This exotic plant is used in traditional Indian and Asian medicine more widely as a natural herbal remedy to combat many symptoms or even treat health problems.

Ispagol or blond psyllium is a type of banana plant from the Plantagenaceae family.
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Fiber from psyllium seed husk is Soluble fibre. They are described as GlueBecause it mixes with water and forms a gelatinous mass that softens the stool, facilitates intestinal transit, and promotes regular bowel movement without increasing flatulence (gas).

Benefits of psyllium husk

Psyllium husks are primarily used as a laxative, but research shows that this plant contains many other elements Therapeutic virtuesEspecially for digestive and heart health.

Psyllium and constipation

As we just saw, the fiber in psyllium husk is a soluble fiber that absorbs water, thus forming a gel that softens the stool (without liquefying it) and reduces constipation. This normalization of stool is achieved without harming the intestinal mucous membranes. A number of studies have convincingly proven the effectiveness of psyllium as a treatment Natural laxative To alleviate this problem.

Randomized, double-blind study(2) published in 1998 a comparison of the laxative effects of psyllium powder with those of docusate(3)A laxative containing sodium. It found that psyllium was more effective in softening stool by increasing its water content, compared to laxative medications.

In addition to facilitating bowel movements in constipated patients, psyllium husk is beneficial for the intestinal microflora, and these good bacteria are beneficial for our overall health, morale, bone reserve, longevity, etc.

After studying(4) Psyllium powder, published in 2019, is particularly beneficial for the intestinal flora in people with constipation.

In this latest study, psyllium increased the amount of three major types of probiotics (Lachnospira, Roseburia, and Faecalibacterium) that produce butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid that improves gut health by reducing inflammation. Researchers also found that psyllium powder is associated with increased water content in stool, reduced colon transit time, and softer stool.

Soluble psyllium fiber
Psyllium cannot be considered a prebiotic (food source of good bacteria) in itself, as its fermentation by intestinal bacteria is low. However, it indirectly enhances the vitality of the intestinal microbiome by promoting good transit.
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Psyllium against diarrhea

Psyllium fiber is effective in treating mild to moderate diarrhea. In fact, when psyllium comes into contact with water, it absorbs part of it, and this has several benefits in cases of diarrhea:

  • Improve the consistency of liquid and soft stool.
  • Slowed colon transit.
  • Relief from the urgent feeling of defecation.
  • Decreased frequency of bowel movements.

Psyllium and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Irritable bowel syndrome is a disorder that affects people in several ways, including causing constipation or diarrhea. Other symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, and gas.

Some fermentable dietary fibers, such as inulin and other FODMAPs, may worsen IBS symptoms because they cause excess digestive gas when metabolized by gut bacteria.

Since psyllium is not fermented well, intestinal bacteria produce less gas, making it suitable for people with irritable bowel syndrome. After studying(5) Trials were conducted in 2017. Psyllium is generally well tolerated by people with irritable bowel syndrome.

Cholesterol and blood pressure

Psyllium provides a source of soluble fiber that supports heart health by lowering cholesterol levels and improving blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.

study(6) Studies conducted in 2010 showed that overweight or obese people who took 12 grams of psyllium supplements 3 times daily had significant reductions in total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) after 6 to 12 weeks.

Taking psyllium supplements as part of a healthy diet provides the greatest effect on cholesterol.

Soluble dietary fiber also has a positive effect on blood pressure in people with high blood pressure (hypertension).

In fact, according to a meta-analysis(7) It dates back to 2020 and relates to studies dedicated to the effects of psyllium on blood pressure, as eating 10 to 15 g of psyllium daily significantly reduces blood pressure.

The effect was greater in people with high blood pressure.

Lose weight

Soluble dietary fiber is able to increase satiety (feeling of fullness) by slowing the speed of intestinal transit, thus promoting healthy weight loss.

According to a study(8) Conducted in 2010, blond psyllium husk is a food that facilitates permanent weight loss.

This method applies to patients suffering from metabolic syndrome (a group of symptoms that include diabetes taux of lipids, blood sugar, and glucose), and how many of the participants may receive 3.3 kg of psyllium powder on a given period. 6 months.

reminder ☝: Weight loss is promoted through a healthy, balanced diet and regular physical activity.

Side effects of psyllium

People who add psyllium to their diet may experience mild side effects at first, which usually go away after about a week as the digestive system adjusts to the increased fiber intake. The main side effects are:

  • Colic;
  • holding ;
  • swelling.

Psyllium is available in different forms for its natural laxative effect.

Psyllium powder They are generally found for sale on shelves for health and digestive comfort. You can also buy it online in powder form and add it to pastries, water or smoothies to increase your daily fiber intake. Psyllium can absorb 20 times its weight in water, so be sure to drink plenty of water.

Psyllium capsules It is another way to increase the amount of fiber you eat. It can be swallowed with a full glass of water and may be preferred by people who do not like the texture of crushed psyllium powder.

Psyllium fruit juices
Add psyllium to your smoothies to reduce constipation problems.
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How many calories are in psyllium?

Nutritional valuesFor 100 grams
Energy value203 calories / 848 kilojoules
Fats<0.5g
Saturated fat<0.1g
Carbohydrates8.8 grams
Sugars0.1 grams
Dietary fiber81 grams
Proteins1.4 grams
Average nutritional values ​​for psyllium

Your frequently asked questions

Is psyllium gluten free?

Yes, it is often used as a binder in many gluten-free and keto (low-carb) recipes and is compatible with people with celiac disease.

How much psyllium should you take daily?

The dosage of psyllium is usually indicated on the package. Change this dose only based on the recommendation of your health care professional. According to scientific literature, 5 grams per day is sufficient to soften the stool and produce a laxative effect against constipation.

Where to buy psyllium?

Psyllium is an easily found product. Some stores carry small packages of psyllium (often found in the organic section of the store). Online selling sites, such as Amazon, also offer psyllium powders and capsules.

Obviously, stores specializing in organic and natural products, such as La vie claire or Biocoop, sell psyllium, especially in powder form, and depending on the store in capsules. You will also find a wide range of spagul bark products with high fiber content in pharmacies and drug stores.

Psyllium blonde, brown, black, what's the difference?

There are two types of psyllium: the blonde (also called espagol) is native to India and Pakistan, and the black (also called brown) is native to the Mediterranean Basin and the Middle East. The main difference is the fiber content which is slightly lower in the dark.

Who is psyllium for?

Psyllium is a nutritional supplement that is primarily targeted at people who suffer from digestion problems, constipation, or intestinal disorders. It can also be used by people looking to lower cholesterol levels or lose weight.

Psyllium is often recommended by health professionals to treat constipation because it contains soluble fiber that absorbs water and increases the bulk of stool, making it easier to eliminate. It can also help regulate blood sugar levels because soluble fiber slows the digestion of carbohydrates and reduces glucose absorption.

(Tags for translation)What is psyllium?
What are the benefits and side effects of this soluble fiber?

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