A sedentary lifestyle and high-fat diet can increase your risk of obesity and cardiovascular disease. Exercise and a balanced diet are essential, but adding psyllium husk to your regimen may be the way to kick off a new, healthy lifestyle.
Think of the psyllium husk as a biological sweeping machine. Once ingested, psyllium husk gathers the waste and toxins built up throughout the body and helps you get rid of them naturally -- literally, taking out the trash.
Psyllium husk comes from the seed of the Plantago ovata plant, which originated in India and is now grown throughout Asia, the Mediterranean and North Africa. This herb is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Indian Ayurvedic medicine to treat gastrointestinal diseases and high blood pressure.
Psyllium husk is a soluble fiber, which binds with the water in your body to form a gel-like substance. The gel absorbs the fecal matter and other toxic elements in the body. Since soluble fibers are not easily broken down by the body and passed through the digestive system, the gel facilitates its passage through the gastrointestinal tract, promoting bowel movement.
What does psyllium husk do?
Taken regularly, psyllium husk provides various health benefits not only to the gastrointestinal tract but other systems as well. When psyllium husk reaches the stomach and intestines, it absorbs lipids and other cholesterol precursors before they penetrate the intestinal lining and enter the bloodstream. Psyllium husk also triggers movement of stagnant fecal matter. Some benefits of psyllium husk include:
Promotes weight loss
Softens stools following surgery for anal fissures or hemorrhoids
Lowers "bad" (LDL) cholesterol without affecting "good" (HDL) cholesterol levels
Prevents colon cancer
Controls high blood pressure
Regulates blood sugar
Prevents inflammatory gastrointestinal diseases
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recognized the effects of psyllium husk in lowering the risk for coronary artery disease by decreasing cholesterol levels.
Dosage for adults
Psyllium husk is available in capsule or powder form. When using the powder, start with a small amount (one half teaspoon) of psyllium husk if you are taking it for the first time and increase gradually. Mix up to two teaspoons of psyllium husk per one cup of warm water and drink immediately. Letting it stand even for a few minutes turns it into gel and makes it difficult to take in. Follow this with an additional full glass of water, drinking six to eight glasses of water throughout the day. When taken in capsule form, one capsule per day is recommended, taken with a full glass of water and also consuming up to eight additional glasses of water.
The FDA warns against improper use of psyllium husk. Taking this supplement without the sufficient water can lead to constipation, esophageal obstruction, choking or asphyxiation. Psyllium husk is not recommended for use by children or those experiencing bowel obstructions or spasms.
Interaction with other medications
Psyllium husk may affect the action and/or absorption of other medications. Ask your health care provider before starting a psyllium husk regimen if you are taking any of the following medicines:
Cholestyramine or colestipol (bile acid sequestrants and cholesterol-lowering drugs)
Digoxin (regulates heart function)
eVitamins recommends that you do not rely on the information presented in this article as diagnosis for treatment to any health claim. Content and information on this site is for reference purposes and is not intended to substitute for advice given by a physician, pharmacist, or other licensed health-care professional. You should not use this information as self-diagnosis or for treating a health problem or disease. Contact your health-care provider immediately if you suspect that you have a medical problem. The information and statements in this article have not been evaluated by the US Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. eVitamins assumes no liability for inaccuracies or misstatements.