2018's 10 Best
PSYLLIUM HUSK SUPPLEMENTS
Psyllium is a soluble fiber that comes from the seed of the Plantago ovata, a plant native to Southeast Asia. It’s best known as a dietary supplement that works as a gentle, bulk forming laxative.
Psyllium has been cultivated and harvested for its seed and husk for a long time. The plant also has a long-standing repute in Ayurveda medicine and has been mentioned in many Middle Eastern medical works as well. More recently, it has been shown to have health benefits when used as a dietary supplement. Let’s take a closer look at psyllium husk and what it can do for you.
Fiber comes from many different sources, with some being more beneficial than others. The two types are soluble and insoluble fibers.
Of these, soluble fiber attracts water and gelatinizes during digestion. In contrast, insoluble fiber adds bulk and assists the food in moving more quickly through the intestines. Psyllium is in the soluble category. It has stood the test of time and is hailed as one of the best fiber supplements available.
The best psyllium husk supplements will offer you a number of health benefits with psyllium’s most promising benefits coming from its viscosity or ability to gel.
Not only does psyllium gel when mixed with water, it stays gelled. It stays this way as it passes through the body.
Many other fibers lack this important mechanism. They either don’t gel at all or have very weak gelling properties. The result is that most lose their stickiness as they move along through the intestines. While they do offer other benefits, these fibers may not be as effective as using psyllium husks.
To make an even stronger argument for psyllium husk supplements, just know that this is a gluten free option. The other top contender in the most effective fiber category is wheat bran. However, it contains gluten and is not suitable for everyone to use. Also, wheat bran fiber is insoluble in nature, so it does not have the gelling properties of psyllium husks.
Psyllium husk is largely composed of carbohydrates (about 85%). The rest contains fats, plant ash, and some protein.
The carbohydrate portion has twice as much soluble fiber as insoluble, though both are essential to the benefits provided by psyllium husk.
The inner seed contains various starches and fatty acids, which make it a useful natural additive for animal feed. The outer coat is ground down into mucilage, which is the clear, colorless gelatinous dietary fiber. It is mucilage that yields most of the health benefits for humans and animals.
Other than yielding a very high level of dietary fiber, psyllium has a nominal nutritional value. Research shows that one tablespoon of psyllium has about 20 calories, 2 grams of protein, and 10 mg sodium. The same also yields 5 grams of dietary fiber and negligible fats.
Mechanism of Action
Psyllium works by the mechanism of expansion when introduced to water. Up to 30% of psyllium’s seed coat is the water-absorbing substance mucilage. When exposed to water, the seeds swell to more than ten times their original size and become gelatinous.
This bulk forming action is what gives psyllium husks many of its beneficial properties.
Fiber works in more ways than just as a bowel regulator. As such, psyllium husk supplements can be used by almost anyone. Here are a few things you can expect when using psyllium husk:
Adding psyllium husk to your diet helps reduce constipation by drawing in and absorbing water. This happens as the psyllium husk passes through the gut.
The slippery gel that forms acts as a digestive lubricant for treating constipation and maintaining regular bowel movements. Plus, the bulk that gets created also factors in moving the contents along.
Even a teaspoon or two of psyllium swells up a lot, and the mass pushes feces through the intestines.
Psyllium husk is the active ingredient in most popular laxatives such as Metamucil.
Hemorrhoids often accompany constipation and can become a painful association of the condition. Since psyllium softens stool and facilitates elimination, it may also help you to avoid hemorrhoids.
This can seem somewhat counterintuitive given its constipation-relieving properties. However, psyllium has also been seen to regulate diarrhea. The mechanism lies in its water-absorbing properties which increases stool thickness and slows down its passage through the colon.
Psyllium is beneficial for heart health in a number of ways. First, it is considered beneficial for people struggling to manage their cholesterol levels. Second, observational studies have shown that it plays a role in keeping blood pressure levels in check. Typically, viscous soluble fiber such as psyllium husk is generally more effective at lowering blood pressure than insoluble fiber sources.
To explain it a little further, psyllium can bind to fat and bile acids, which promotes their excretion from the body. As the body tries to replace these lost bile acids, the liver uses cholesterol to produce more.
As such, with regular use, blood cholesterol levels start to drop. Research also indicates that soluble fiber prevents these bile salts from being reabsorbed by trapping them in the gut. At the same time, it has also shown to lower LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol levels.
LOWERS BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS
Fiber supplementation has long been associated with controlling the glycemic response to a meal and reducing insulin and blood sugar levels. Water-soluble fibers such as psyllium seem to be particularly helpful in maintaining a healthy glycemic balance in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
Once again, it is the viscous properties of psyllium that activate this mechanism. Its gel-forming fibers slow down digestion as well as the absorption of glucose from the small intestine. In addition, the fibers delay the stomach from emptying quickly, which has the effect of stalling carbohydrate digestion. And finally, by coating carbohydrates, fiber prevents them from accessing certain digestive enzymes, which alters their metabolism.
Together, these functions can prevent sugar spikes after a meal and hence promote more stable blood sugar levels. If you use psyllium husk for diabetes management, your dosage should be tailored to individual needs.
Given its absorbability, psyllium husk will give you a feeling of satiety. This can, in turn, help you control the amount of food you eat.
This holds true for viscous fiber, particularly since it thickens and sits in the gut. The gel-like substance then slows down the emptying of the stomach, giving it more time to digest and absorb nutrients. This can have the effect of creating a prolonged feeling of fullness and a reduced appetite.
Fibers with low viscosity, on the other hand, appear to have no such influence.
PSYLLIUM IS NON-FERMENTABLE
Since humans can’t digest soluble fiber, it reaches the large intestine mostly unchanged. When fiber that is fermentable reaches the intestine, it gets digested and used as fuel by friendly bacteria in the gut. When this happens, the number and balance of friendly gut bacteria increases. But when poorly fermentable fiber like psyllium is used, it doesn’t provide food for your gut flora. This can work either way for you.
For instance, being non-fermentable means that while psyllium won’t encourage an overgrowth of good bacteria, it won’t promote the growth of bad bacteria either. That said, psyllium is less likely than other types of fiber to cause issues like bloating, cramping, or abdominal pain, which are typical by-products of fiber fermentation.
Buying Psyllium Husk
You can choose to supplement with either whole psyllium husks or refined psyllium husk powder. The same can also be found in capsule form.
There are many brands featuring psyllium products, so the choice can get confusing. However, here are some basic considerations to keep in mind when you look for psyllium supplementation.
Ideally, you should find a product that features the following:
- All natural/organic
- Vegan/vegetarian friendly
- Wheat, yeast, soy, and corn free
- Not manufactured with common allergens like milk, egg, shellfish, or tree nut ingredients
- Sugar and sodium free
- No artificial preservatives or sweeteners
- Free of artificial dyes or flavors
- Chemical and solvent free
Other than these basics, you should also look for things like the serving size and recommended dosage. These will vary from one product to the next in terms of one serving equalling either 1 or 2 tablespoons. For capsules, the strength of the product will determine how many servings you need. Typical strengths range between 500 mg and 725 mg per capsule. The best psyllium husk supplements will also preserve their structure to keep nutrients and active compounds intact.
If you suffer from allergies, be sure to check the label for ingredients. While the husks and powder should be relatively free of additional ingredients, the encapsulated form may have some.
How to Use
Many people feel that mixing whole husks or husk powder in liquid produces a thick grainy substance that can be difficult to take unless finished quickly. So if you find it difficult to drink up dissolved psyllium, then you can also get it in capsule form.
Capsules are easier to work with and more convenient to swallow. They offer all the same benefits as their non-encapsulated counterparts and come in specific dosages that take the guesswork out of measuring the correct amount of psyllium.
Also, some powdered supplements will add flavorings to their mix. While this may improve the flavor, the concern with consistency stays the same. So it comes down to a matter of personal preference whether you want to take psyllium in a powder or capsule form.
However, if you don’t like either option, you can always add it to your cooking or baking. This makes the husks much more palatable. You can also sprinkle powdered husks over food that takes well to thickening such as oatmeal.
If you supplement with psyllium to manage certain medical conditions, your doctor can recommend your best suited dosage. Your individual needs for supplementation with conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol may vary. This becomes especially important if you also take medication to manage your condition.
For general health, experts recommend using psyllium in doses of 5-10 grams with meals, at least once every day. To use it as a bulk laxative supplement, you can go with 5 grams with a glass of water 1-3 times a day as a starting point. To manage cholesterol levels, most benefits are linked with dosages between 10-20 grams per day.
Psyllium husk seems to be well tolerated by most people, but some may experience mild digestive discomfort. Often, this is only temporary and resolves on its own as the body gets used to the new fiber supplementation of your diet.
When supplementing with psyllium husk, make sure to drink a lot of water, as psyllium swells and may present a choking hazard if you don’t take it with enough liquid.
People with swallowing disorders should not use psyllium, as it may increase the risk of choking. Another consideration is the use of medication. Psyllium may interfere with the absorption of certain medications, so always check with your doctor, if you have any concerns.
Best Psyllium Husk Supplements
Our top 10 list of psyllium husk supplements is organized to reflect what you most value in your supplements. First and foremost is quality. All of our top ten supplements meet high standards of quality and come from brands with a proven record in excellence and purity. Another important factor in deciding the top ten was cost. You don’t have to pay through the nose to get a high-quality psyllium husk supplement. In addition, all the companies represented on our list have stellar records with customer service and prompt shipping. This ensures that your supplement experience is enjoyable from the first click to your final dose.
- Debra Rose Wilson, PhD The Health Benefits of Psyllium HealthLine.com
- Dr. Axe Psyllium Husk — Relieves Constipation & Lowers Cholesterol DrAxe.com
- Dr. Mercola Organic Psyllium Husk’s Many Health Benefits Mercola.com
- Michigan Medicine Psyllium University of Michigan Medicine
- Natalie Butler, RD Can Metamucil Help Lower My Total Cholesterol? HealthLine.com
- National Library of Medicine Blond Psyllium MedLinePlus.gov
Sunergetic Psyllium Husk Capsules capsules are a rich source of natural dietary fiber that provides 725 mg per capsule. This high fiber Psyllium Husk supplement is a convenient and easy to way add fiber to your diet in order to:
- Support digestion and regularity
- Promote weight loss
- Ensure detoxification
- Boost Heart HealthM/li>
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