Psyllium Husk Fiber: Benefits & Uses
Medically Reviewed by Vincenta Faulkner, RD, CNSC, CCTD
When your body digests carbohydrates, it breaks them down into glucose for energy. However, fiber is a unique carbohydrate type because your body cannot digest this substance. This means that although fiber is a key ingredient on your plate to constitute a healthy meal, the substance has no caloric or nutritional value. Why is fiber so essential, then?
Here, Zizi discusses the importance of fiber and details one type of fiber in particular: psyllium husk. Unfortunately, while the USDA daily recommended fiber intake is 25 to 28 grams, only about 5-10% of Americans achieve this amount.
This is where fiber supplements such as psyllium seed husk can help. Psyllium husk has several potential benefits as a fiber supplement. Let’s explore this unique dietary fiber source in more detail below with Zizi.
What Is Psyllium Husk?
Fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate that derives from plants. Psyllium husk is a specific type of soluble fiber from the Plantago ovata plant. This plant is a shrub-like herb that primarily grows in India.
The part of the psyllium plant that is richest in fiber is the seed husks. Each psyllium plant produces thousands of tiny seeds–around 15,000, to be more exact. Mechanical milling or grinding removes each seed’s outer layer, or husk, to harvest a highly concentrated amount of fiber.
Psyllium husk is a valuable soluble fiber source with many health benefits, including smoother digestion, constipation prevention, curbed appetite, weight loss or maintenance, and decreased cholesterol levels.
How Will Psyllium Husk Help My Cholesterol Levels?
Psyllium husk is a great option to help lower your cholesterol levels alongside other lifestyle and wellness changes. Psyllium fiber can lower your LDL (or “bad” cholesterol) levels without reducing your “good” HDL cholesterol levels. These effects are true for female and male-identifying cohorts that use psyllium husk fiber to promote heart health.
Psyllium husk fiber can effectively reduce cholesterol levels because its indigestibility allows it to resist absorption in the small intestine. This fiber type can therefore work with your body to yield benefits throughout the digestive tract. When it mixes with water, it forms a gel-like substance whose volume is around 20 times larger than the dry powder form.
As a gel in your gut, psyllium fiber traps cholesterol and prevents its reabsorption into your bloodstream. Instead, cholesterol stays in your digestive system and exits your body as waste. This results in lower overall blood cholesterol levels because less cholesterol reabsorbs to distribute back throughout your body and instead leaves your body in your stool.
As a soluble fiber, psyllium husk also interferes with bile acid absorption in your intestines, which forces more bile acid to exit your body in your stool. Your liver compensates for so much lost bile acid by using cholesterol, which means that even less cholesterol leaves your liver or your intestine to circulate in your bloodstream. This results in reduced LDL cholesterol levels and support for a healthier heart.
Psyllium fiber is so effective as a cholesterol-lowering supplement that the Food and Drug Administration even allows health claims about soluble fiber and associated reduced risk of heart disease to appear on psyllium-containing products.
How Much Psyllium Should I Take?
Even if you consume just 5 to 10 grams of soluble fiber a day, you create the potential to lower your total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels by 5 to 11 mg/dL numbers below their original range. Your overall fiber intake should be between 25 to 28%, with your psyllium husk intake as a part of this data log.
Different psyllium-based products have different dose requirements. You should always check the label before taking a supplement. In general, a psyllium husk fiber dose of around 10 grams daily may be effective.
We recommend that you take psyllium supplements one to three times daily, each time with a glass of water and during or right after a meal, to achieve a total daily dose of 10 grams of psyllium husk fiber.
What Are Other Psyllium Husk Uses and Benefits?
Psyllium husk fiber can help you lose weight as part of other health changes. The fiber slows digestion because it is rich in soluble fiber content. With slower digestion, your body has more time to absorb nutrients from your food as it passes through your stomach and intestines.
Slower digestion time also means increased satiety or feeling full for a longer period, which helps prevent you from snacking or overeating at your next meal.
Some people believe psyllium can help support healthy blood sugar levels. Those allergic to psyllium could have an allergic reaction to psyllium fiber powder. If you have abdominal pain, nausea, bloating, or other recurring symptoms, speak with your healthcare professional before adding supplements to your regular diet.
Where Can I Find Psyllium Husk Fiber?
Psyllium husk fiber is an over-the-counter supplement that is relatively easy to find. This is especially true with Zizi — our Heart Health Reset Program includes a 30-day supply of plant sterols and psyllium husk plant fiber dietary supplements.
We make the supplements easy to use. We separate them into packets that we pre-portion out to give you the correct daily dose of psyllium you need to help target your health goals. To meet your daily fiber goals, you will take two plant sterols and four fiber supplements in the morning and two plant sterols in the evening.
Make sure you take your supplements with food and a full glass of water. When you increase your fiber intake, you should always increase your water intake as well to allow ample opportunity for water absorption.
How Can I Achieve the Best Results?
Remember that while psyllium husk fiber can be an effective way to support your overall heart health, you should never take a supplement as your sole strategy to improve your heart health. That would be like having a goal to lose an incredible amount of weight, yet only walking more often without considering other strategies such as a weight loss diet and a wellness plan.
Alongside psyllium supplements, don’t forget to incorporate a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol and a lifestyle that incorporates physical activity three to five times a week.
Take Psyllium Husk Supplements With Heart-Healthy Meals
We recommend that you take your supplements with plenty of water and food, which is why it is a great idea to make it your routine to take your supplement at a mealtime. When planning your heart-healthy diet, don’t forget to design your meals to be rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy products, and mono or polyunsaturated fatty acid-based foods.
Try to avoid or at least limit your intake of full-fat dairy products, red meat, fried food, refined or processed foods, and sugary foods to avoid unpleasant side effects on your overall health. Look for phrases like saturated fat or trans fat on labels, and avoid these ingredients for better digestive health.
Maintain an Active Lifestyle Alongside Your Heart-Healthy Diet
While eating a heart-healthy diet supplemented with psyllium husk fiber and plant sterols is important, this strategy to improve your heart health will only go so far on its own. Staying physically active and getting enough exercise throughout the week is just as important as a factor when it comes to reducing your risk for heart disease.
Exercise has many health benefits, including weight loss or maintenance, a metabolism boost, and overall mood improvements. Aim for at least 30 minutes of exercise, three to five times a week, for the best results for your heart health.
Zizi Is Here To Help You Tackle Your High Cholesterol
Psyllium husk is a type of soluble fiber from the outer layer of the Plantago ovata plant’s seeds. This plant’s seed husks have such a high concentration of soluble fiber that psyllium has become a widely known supplement as a way to meet many different health goals.
Because it is a type of soluble fiber, psyllium has the potential to help lower LDL cholesterol levels by blocking cholesterol absorption and sometimes even preventing or reducing cholesterol synthesis levels in your liver in conjunction with lifestyle changes.
Taking just 10 grams of psyllium husk fiber a day in supplement form can have huge positive impacts on your cholesterol levels when part of a balanced heart-focused approach.
As long as you pair your psyllium supplement intake with a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, you are likely to greatly lower your risk for heart disease by lowering your LDL cholesterol levels.
Try psyllium husk fiber supplements today with Zizi. Let’s tackle your high cholesterol levels together.
Learn more about lowering your cholesterol in 30 days with Zizi’s Heart Health Reset program here, or your money back.
The site cannot and does not contain medical/health advice. The medical/health information is provided for general information and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Accordingly, before taking any actions based upon such information, we encourage you to consult with appropriate professionals. We do not provide any kind of medical/health advice. The use or reliance of any information contained on the site is solely at your own risk.
Psyllium (Plantago ovata) husk: a wonder food for good health | IJSR
Three-week psyllium-husk supplementation: effect on plasma cholesterol concentrations, fecal steroid excretion, and carbohydrate absorption in men | The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Long-term cholesterol-lowering effects of psyllium as an adjunct to diet therapy in the treatment of hypercholesterolemia | The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Soluble fiber and serum lipids: A literature review | ScienceDirect