Psyllium: Everything you need to know

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Psyllium

Psyllium is a powder of dried seeds of the plant Plantago (Plantago ovata) and contains mainly soluble fiber. Fiber is classified as soluble and insoluble, depending on its solubility in water. Psyllium has eight times more soluble fiber than oat bran.

Like other soluble fibers, psyllids have the ability to absorb large amounts of water and form a gel. It passes through the small intestine without being substantially absorbed. In this capacity it owes its positive effects on the body. It benefits from constipation, blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol and possibly weight loss [1].

Does it help lower cholesterol?

Eating soluble fiber can help you better manage your cholesterol levels. In particular, fleas are linked to dietary fats and bile acids, helping to excrete them from the body. During the bile acid replacement process, the liver uses more blood cholesterol and as a result its concentration decreases [2]. In one study, 47 healthy participants showed a 6% reduction in LDL (bad) cholesterol after a daily intake of 6 g. for six weeks [3]. In addition, psyllids can help increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels.

A review of 21 studies reported that reductions in total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol were dose-dependent. Better results were found with doses of 20 g. per day in relation to 3.0 gr. The results were confirmed by a meta-analysis of 1,924 individuals [4].

Improves heart health?

All types of fiber are good for the heart. According to the American Heart Association, fiber can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and obesity. Water-soluble fiber, including psyllids, can help lower blood triglycerides and blood pressure.

A review of 11 studies, published in 2020, found that fleas could lower systolic blood pressure by 2.04 mmHg. The authors recommended the use of psyllium for the treatment of hypertension [6].

Does it help regulate glucose?

People with diabetes need to watch their diet and maintain a healthy balance of insulin and blood sugar (glucose). Some research has shown that fiber can help maintain a healthy glycemic balance [7, 8]. This is especially true for water-soluble fiber.

In one study, researchers gave 51 people with type 2 diabetes and constipation 10 g. flea twice a day. This has resulted in reduced constipation, body weight, blood sugar levels and cholesterol [9]. It seems that a daily dose of 10 g. can lower blood sugar [10]. The flea slows down the digestion of food but should be taken with food and not only.

Does it relieve the symptoms of constipation?

It is believed that taking psyllid supplements can relieve the painful symptoms associated with constipation. The fact that it absorbs water and creates a gelatinous mass makes the flea a natural volume laxative. In addition to maintaining bowel movements, it has the ability to soften stools, as long as you drink enough water. In this way, it can prevent constipation complications such as hemorrhoids and anal fissures.

One study found that fleas had a greater effect than wheat bran – which contains mostly insoluble fiber – on moisture, total weight and fecal texture [11]. Another study involving 170 people with chronic constipation showed that taking 5.1 g. twice a day for two weeks increased the weight of the stool and their water content as well as the total number of bowel movements [12].

Does it help to lose weight?

Fiber such as psyllids can help control appetite and weight loss by slowing the emptying of the stomach. Theoretically, this means that you are consuming fewer calories during the day, which may support weight loss.

One study found that taking up to 10.2 g of psyllium before breakfast and lunch resulted in reduced hunger and increased fullness between meals compared to placebo [13]. Another study showed that psyllium supplements alone, combined with a high-fiber diet, led to a reduction in weight and body fat percentage [14].

However, not all studies have found the same result. Thus, a review of 22 studies published in 2020 found no effect on body weight, body mass index or waist circumference [15]. Researchers need to do more research on the real effects of weight loss.

Does it help with gut health?

Although people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome often eliminate fiber-rich foods from their diet, studies show that a higher fiber intake reduces symptoms in the long run [16]. The reason is that the normal function of the microflora of the colon is restored. Psyllium is a food for the good microorganisms that live in the intestine (probiotic). A healthy balance of bacteria is essential for good immune function.

Dutch researchers have conducted a study on whether fleas can reduce the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. The study included 275 people aged 18-65 years who had irritable bowel syndrome. For 12 weeks, a group of patients received 10 g twice daily. another group received the same dose in bran (mainly insoluble fiber) and a third group received placebo. The psyllid group had the best results [17].

Dosage and possible side effects

As a supplement, fleas are usually available in powder form – there is also organic. The 3-5 gr. with a glass of water 3 times a day is a common starting point. Then you can find your tolerable dosage. It is important to drink water regularly throughout the day.

Most people can tolerate fleas well. Doses of 5-10 gr. three times a day does not seem to have serious side effects, however, some people may have gas or bloating [10, 13].

Flea can delay the absorption of certain medications. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, it can interact with tricyclic antidepressants, carbamazepine, cholesterol drugs, digoxin, lithium, and diabetes drugs. If you are taking these medicines, talk to your doctor first.

Although not common, some allergic reactions may occur, such as skin rashes and itching. Cases of rash have also been reported [18].

Psyllium should not be taken by people with gastrointestinal obstruction.

At Vita4you.gr you will find a variety of food supplements with fleas!

References

  1. Psyllium (Plantago ovata) Husk: A Wonder Food for Good Health.
  2. Fiber supplements and clinically proven health benefits: How to recognize and recommend an effective fiber therapy.
  3. Psyllium Supplementation in Adolescents Improves Fat Distribution & Lipid Profile: A Randomized, Participant-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Trial.
  4. Effect of psyllium (Plantago ovata) fiber on LDL cholesterol and alternative lipid targets, non-HDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.
  5. Whole Grains, Refined Grains, and Dietary Fiber.
  6. The effect of psyllium supplementation on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.
  7. Dietary Fiber Intake and Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus: An Umbrella Review of Meta-analyses.
  8. Evidence-Based Approach to Fiber Supplements and Clinically Meaningful Health Benefits, Part 1. What to Look for and How to Recommend an Effective Fiber Therapy.
  9. Effects of psyllium vs. placebo on constipation, weight, glycemia, and lipids: A randomized trial in patients with type 2 diabetes and chronic constipation.
  10. Psyllium fiber improves glycemic control proportional to loss of glycemic control: a meta-analysis of data in euglycemic subjects, patients at risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus, and patients being treated for type 2 diabetes mellitus.
  11. Comparison of the effects of psyllium and wheat bran on gastrointestinal transit time and stool characteristics.
  12. Psyllium is superior to docusate sodium for treatment of chronic constipation.
  13. Satiety effects of psyllium in healthy volunteers.
  14. The effect of a fibre supplement compared to a healthy diet on body composition, lipids, glucose, insulin and other metabolic syndrome risk factors in overweight and obese individuals.
  15. The effects of psyllium supplementation on body weight, body mass index and waist circumference in adults: A systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.
  16. Dietary fiber in irritable bowel syndrome (Review).
  17. Soluble or insoluble fibre in irritable bowel syndrome in primary care? Randomised placebo controlled trial.
  18. Plantago psyllium-secondary anaphylaxis. Case report.
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