- 10 Simple Steps to Lower Your Cholesterol in 4 Weeks
- Fiber supplement increases insulin secretion in type 2 diabetic patients
- Using Fiber Over the Long Term
- Can Metamucil Help Lower My Total Cholesterol?
- What Is Metamucil?
- How Does Metamucil Affect Cholesterol?
- What the Research Shows
- How to Use Metamucil
- Metamucil Side Effects and Precautions
- Talk to Your Doctor About Lowering Cholesterol
- HOW PSYLLIUM FIBER CAN HELP MAINTAIN HEALTHY BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS
- Seven benefits of psyllium
- What is Metamucil?
- Important Information
- Before taking this medicine
- How should I take Metamucil?
- What happens if I miss a dose?
- What happens if I overdose?
- What should I avoid while taking Metamucil?
- Metamucil side effects
- What other drugs will affect Metamucil?
- Further information
- More about Metamucil (psyllium)
10 Simple Steps to Lower Your Cholesterol in 4 Weeks
Statin drugs, make up the majority of cholesterol lowering medications prescribed by physicians. These statins like all medications have benefits and side effects. Studies are clear that statin drugs can reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, and death from heart disease by 25%-35%. However, what if you cannot take these medications due to unfavorable side effects or they are contraindicated? Well, take your diet in your own hands and follow these 10 steps to lowering your cholesterol.
1) Consume Phytosterols:
Phytosterols are the plant version of cholesterol & block the absorption of dietary cholesterol while increasing resorption of bile cholesterol from the intestinal tract. Because they are not recognized by the human body, after they have decreased “bad” cholesterol retention, they are simply excreted back into the colon.
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2) Eat Soy Protein:
Phytoestrogens contained in soy products, known as isoflavones, are plant-derived chemicals that are structurally very similar to the hormone estrogen (men can take with no negative side effects). Estrogen has been known to prevent heart disease in premenopausal women by increasing effectiveness and number of LDL cholesterol receptrors on liver. This chemical is also a strong antioxidant.
3) Eat Garlic:
Fresh garlic lowers LDLs through decreasing HMG-CoA reductase activity, which is an enzyme in cholesterol synthesis in the liver, and inhibits this activity. It also reduces the number of cholesterol and fat carrying lipoprotiens (chylomicrons) that are formed in intestinal cells and transport cholesterol from cells to the liver. It can also slow or stop atherosclerosis.
4) Take Metamucil or Konsyl (Psyllium Husk):
Psyllium husk, the active ingredient in Metamucil, is one of the most powerful LDL-lowering viscous soluble fibers in existence. A high fiber diet has been shown to reduce risk of heart disease. Psyllium also traps undesirable bile acids within the intestine, which means the liver must pull more LDLs in from the bloodstream to compensate. It also prevents cholesterol and fat from entering the intestinal cells by expanding the unstirred water layer, which increases the barrier for diffusion of fat and cholesterol across the intestinal wall.
5) Eat Oatmeal and/or Barley:
Whole grains are so beneficial because they contain naturally occurring components and plant hormones that help lower cholesterol. The key element is beta-glucan, which is insoluble and acts as an intestinal sponge, soaking up and driving out LDL’s within the body. (Examples: steel-cut oats, groats, rolled oats, oat bran). Barley has been shown to decrease plasmacholesterol and other lipids. It may be even more effective at lowering cholesterol when compared to oats due to the higher beta-glucan content.
6) Eat Flaxseeds:
Omega-3 fatty acids contained in flaxseeds have an anti-inflammatory property that decreases risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease. Flaxseeds also contain lignan, which is an extremely powerful antioxidant that inhibits the process of atherosclerosis and cut down LDL cholesterol.
7) Eat Apples:
Pectin, the soluble fiber contained in apples, works through a similar pathway as the other soluble fibers. It forms a thick, gel-like matter in the intestine and is consumed in the colon by healthful bacteria in order to produce short-chain fatty acids. In this case, acetate is formed. Acetate is a fatty acid that is thought to decrease blood clotting. Apples also contain antioxidants, which help prevent atherosclerosis.
8) Eat Beans, Peas, Lentils:
Beans are an excellent source of fiber, plant protein, and are virtually fat-free. Beans’ soluble fibers and innate sugars feed healthful bacteria in the colon that generate short-chain fatty acids, which hinder cholesterol production in the liver. Beans also prevent cholesterol diffusion in a similar fashion as Metamucil. Beans also play an important role in decreasing glucose absorption, which yields a decreased amount of insulin and, in turn, a decrease production of lipoproteins and VLDL secretion from the liver.
9) Eat Almonds:
Almonds contain a high amount of monounsaturated fat, which incorporate themselves into the core of the LDL, allowing them to have a higher affinity for binding to their receptor, which means increased LDL clearance. Also, almonds are high in fiber, which is linked to lower cholesterol and a reduced risk for heart disease. Antioxidants contained in almonds help to prevent atherosclerosis as well.
10 ) Walk:
The act of walking lowers LDL cholesterol, prevents diabetes, helps increase longevity, reduces the risk of contracting certain types of cancer, enhances later life ability and will dramatically decrease risk of senility. It is equally unhealthy to avoid exercise as it is to smoke cigarettes! It increases the resistance of LDLs to oxidation, which protects against atherosclerosis. *Walking also decreases likelihood of obesity, coronary artery disease, diabetes melletis, hypertension, osteoporosis, arthritis, Alzheimers and certain types of cancer. Physical activity also can assist with depression and anxiety as well as assist in better sleep patterns
Twice Per Day- Servings
Eat one clove of fresh garlic and take 1 Kyolic One Per Day 1,000 mg capsule daily.
Psyllium Husk (Metamucil)
Eat 3-10 grams psyllium (either 6-18 capsules or 1-2 tablespoons powder) per day. Work up to 3 grams in the morning and 3 grams at night.
Once Per Day
Eat one cup of oatmeal or barley with added oat bran per day (3 grams of beta-glucan).
Eat 1-2 tablespoons of ground flaxseeds every day.
Eat one apple every day.
Beans, Peas, Lentils
Eat ½ cup of some type of beans, peas or lentils every day. (Garbanzo beans, kidney beans, black beans, lima beans, black-eyed peas, split peas, etc.)
Eat 1 ounce of almonds or walnuts every day or 2 tablespoons of almond butter.
Walk at least 30 minutes every day, preferably at a fast pace.
Resource: Brill, J.A. Cholesterol Down: 10 Simple Steps to Lower Your Cholesterol in 4 Weeks – Without Prescription Drugs. New York: Three Rivers Press.
What to do with this information
South Denver Cardiology wants to remind you to keep eating healthy! Keep up to date with heart healthy recipes and nutrition, staying fit tips and healthy thinking on our website and blog. If you would like more information on a heart healthy diet or how to reduce your cholesterol Susan Buckley RD is on staff to serve you. See our web site to schedule a consultation.
How are you feeling about fiber these days? Do you have a better understanding of what insoluble, soluble, and functional fibers are? And most importantly, do you think you’re getting enough fiber in your diet?
That’s really the question, isn’t it? Remember that the average person gets about 13 grams of fiber each day. Yet we all need more than that (14 grams per 1,000 calories) and only 10% of Americans get the amount of fiber that’s recommended. Dietitians will tell you that it’s best to get your fiber from food sources. Why? Because high-fiber foods offer other health and nutrition benefits, of course! So, your diet should include whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.
Yet, as is the case with many nutrients, sometimes we fall short. It’s during these times when it seems so much easier to be able to pop a pill or gulp down a drink that gives us what we need. And just as there are pills and supplements for vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients, there are supplements that contain fiber. Are these any good? Do they actually contain fiber? Are they harmful in any way? Let’s look.
Stroll down one of the aisles of any drugstore and you’ll see fiber supplements. They’re often in powder, pill, or even wafer form. They seem appealing, especially to the person who dislikes whole wheat bread, bran flakes, or the skin of an apple. And why not take one if you can’t get enough from food? Here’s a rundown of some of the more popular types of supplements.
Psyllium. Psyllium is a natural (as opposed to synthetic) type of soluble fiber that offers the following benefits:
- Promotes regularity
- Relieves constipation
- Lowers blood cholesterol
- May lower blood glucose
Metamucil. Metamucil is a psyllium-based supplement that has been around for years. The powder version comes in different flavors (including sugar-free) and textures (smooth or coarse). One teaspoon of Metamucil powder contains 3 grams of fiber and the manufacturer recommends that you take Metamucil (mixed into your favorite beverage) three times daily, which gives you a total of 9 grams of fiber. That’s a start for meeting your fiber quota, but you still have a ways to go.
Metamucil also comes in a capsule, either regular or with calcium added. Capsules sound great until you realize that the serving size is up to 6 capsules, one to three times per day (6 capsules of the regular version contain just three grams of fiber!). What about the Metamucil wafers? They actually taste pretty good and come in two flavors: Apple Crisp and Cinnamon Spice. The serving size is 1 packet (2 wafers), which contain 100 calories, 16 grams of carbohydrate, and 4.5 grams of fat. The fiber content is 5 grams for two wafers. You’d be munching a lot of those wafers to get enough fiber, and that comes at a cost of calories, carbohydrate, and fat, not to mention that a box of 12 two-pack wafers costs $5.99 at Walgreens.
Konsyl. Konsyl is similar to Metamucil in that it too is a psyllium-based fiber supplement. And like Metamucil, it can promote regularity, and help lower cholesterol and blood glucose. Konsyl is available as a powder, both regular and sugar-free. A one-teaspoon dose contains 6 grams of fiber, including 3 grams of soluble fiber (compared to 2 grams of soluble fiber in a dose of Metamucil). And just like Metamucil, Konsyl offers fiber capsules, each one containing 0.5 grams of fiber. The directions on the Web site advise adults to take 2 to 6 capsules up to three times per day day for increasing fiber intake. That’s a lot to swallow. The cost of the capsules on Konsyl’s Web site is $9.50 for a bottle of 100 and the powder ranges from $14 to $19, depending on the size of the package.
Psyllium-based fiber supplements are generally regarded as safe, but possible side effects include:
- Abdominal fullness
- Allergic reactions (hives, chest pain, difficulty breathing or swallowing, facial swelling)
Three other points:
- Metamucil and Konsyl powder and capsules are gluten-free but if you are following a gluten-free diet you should always double-check the ingredient list for changes in formulation.
- You need to take any kind of fiber supplement with plenty of liquid to prevent the product from swelling in your throat and possibly causing choking.
- Psyllium is also found in Kellogg’s All-Bran Bran Buds cereal. One-third of a cup contains 70 calories, 1 gram of fat, 24 grams of carbohydrate, and 13 grams of fiber. All for under $5 per box. You can mix Bran Buds with another type of cereal or stir it into non-fat Greek yogurt for a protein-and-fiber-rich treat.
More on fiber supplements next week!
Fiber supplement increases insulin secretion in type 2 diabetic patients
Credit: University at Buffalo
University at Buffalo researchers have found that taking a fiber supplement can help patients with type 2 diabetes boost their insulin secretion even after eating a high-fat, high-carbohydrate meal.
The research was presented on March 20 at ENDO 2018, the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in Chicago.
The study was led by Paresh Dandona, MD, Ph.D., SUNY Distinguished Professor and chief of the Division of Endocrinology in the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at UB. Dandona, who sees patients at UBMD Internal Medicine, is an expert in diabetes research and treatment, and a pioneer in exploring novel ways that patients with both Type 1 and type 2 diabetes can achieve better blood sugar control.
The current work builds on his team’s previous research, published last year in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, showing that adding fiber to the diet after a high-fat, high-carbohydrate meal, which is known to increase inflammation, will have beneficial anti-inflammatory and metabolic effects.
“Dietary fiber is known to reduce the incidence of diabetes and cardiovascular disease in large epidemiological studies,” said Dandona. He noted that his team at UB provided the first mechanistic evidence—meaning evidence aimed at determining a mechanism—at cellular and molecular levels that fiber exerts an anti-inflammatory effect, lowering glucose levels and boosting insulin concentration in normal subjects.
The current study was aimed at finding out how fiber might function in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Dandona and his colleagues studied 12 patients at the Clinical Research Center, a part of the UB Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism.
Levels of blood sugar, insulin and proteins involved in inflammation were measured in the patients after they consumed a high-fat, high-carbohydrate meal. The same patients consumed the same meal a week later, but this time they also consumed Fiber One (a commercially available supplement) before and after the meal.
“After eating the meal, diabetics’ insulin secretion increased significantly after the fiber. However, this increase wasn’t sufficient to reduce their glucose levels,” said Dandona.
The fiber supplement also resulted in suppressing comprehensively inflammation and oxidative stress in these patients.
“An increase in dietary content of fiber, whether through food or a supplement, should be encouraged in order to reduce oxidative and inflammatory stress and hence, a tendency to induce insulin resistance,” said Dandona.
Drug for type 2 diabetes provides significant benefits to type 1 diabetic patients Journal information: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism Provided by University at Buffalo Citation: Fiber supplement increases insulin secretion in type 2 diabetic patients (2018, March 21) retrieved 2 February 2020 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-03-fiber-supplement-insulin-secretion-diabetic.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
Using Fiber Over the Long Term
I have IBS with constipation and have been taking Metamucil daily for the past couple of years. It helps a lot. But I’ve noticed I can’t have a bowel movement now without it. Can taking this for a long period of time do more harm than good?
– Kelly, Canada
The answer is no. Metamucil is one of several commercial products on the market containing psyllium. This fiber serves to soften stool over the long-term by bulking it up, attracting water to make the stool softer, and changing the bacterial flora of the stool to those that promote healthy bowel habits. Metamucil and other fiber products are not absorbed and do not worsen constipation over time, in contrast to many over-the-counter laxatives that deplete neurotransmitters (natural chemicals that stimulate our muscles) in the colon and are associated with worsening constipation after months or years of use. Metamucil has no known harmful effects even after taking it for years. In fact, fiber products, when used regularly over a long period of time, may reduce blood cholesterol levels and offer some protection against colon cancer.
Learn more in the Everyday Health Irritable Bowel Syndrome Center.
Review by Linda
I have had belly cramping since I was a child associated with bowel movements. For years, no-one knew what caused it. As an adult, many years ago, I was finally diagnosed with IBS. The only product I have found that has given me complete relief, with no more worries, are the Metamucil wafers – thank God for them. I can now go to a restaurant and not worry about having to find the bathroom before I leave, and I can go shopping without being hit with a bout of cramps in the store and having to find a bathroom. They have changed my life in many ways.
Review by Gaye
I was just diagnosed with IBS. I’ve had diarrhea and stomach cramps for over a year. My doctor did several tests, including a colonoscopy. He was not sure if I had colitis so he had me take Asacol for several weeks to see if it would help. It didn’t help at all.
He then told me that I most likely have IBS and told me to take Metamucil. Wow! I noticed a difference right away! I had forgotten what a normal BM was like! I take the Metamucil (one capsule) every other day, otherwise it will make me constipated.
Review by Patricia
I have tried just about every product on the market for my IBS. The only product that has worked is Metamucil fiber wafers. The capsules and powder don’t work, only the wafers. I have since prescribed this product for all of my IBS patients and every patient had the same remarkable, life-changing results!
Review by Matt
After being diagnosed with IBS and suffering immensely for about a year with constant attacks, I thought nothing would help me. I tried all the different drugs my doctor prescribed, but none of them worked. Finally, he suggested Metamucil. Almost right away my severe symptoms disappeared. I still get bad gas at times, and the rare mild attack, but I’m no longer in daily agonizing pain, and I haven’t had an attack in almost nine months. I owe my new quality of life to Metamucil. Though when I miss a dose, the pain comes back almost right away.
Review by Chris
I have IBS since I was a teenager. I am now 39 and I have been taking Metamucil for at least 20 years or so. It helps a great deal and makes me regular. The gas is nothing and easy to pass. I have not had any IBS symptoms since I started using Metamucil over 20 years ago.
Review by Shawn
I was taking acacia fiber, but I tried Metamucil mainly because it was easier to get (any store instead of mail order). But it didn’t work, in fact it made the constipation worse, and it seemed like the flow in my intestines worsened considerably.
Review by Lauren
I have suffered from IBS constipation since my teenage years. Metamucil has made me more regular but has worsened my gas. It is annoying and uncomfortable, but not as bad as the constipation I was experiencing, which nothing else seemed to help.
Review by Jackie
The Metamucil plus calcium capsules are way better than mixing the powder. They have helped with more regular and formed elimination. They have not controlled the gas or bloating which I am finding is mainly a problem when I am at work and definitely if I drink pop. It seems that any food I eat causes symptoms. But one or two capsules has made a difference and they are easy to use.
Review by Rita
I suffer from IBS with constipation and severe gas. Since I started taking Metamucil regularly I have been eliminating two or three times a day! I’ve never gone to the bathroom regularly, since I was a little girl. I am now 36 years old. It feels good to get the waste out of my system. Metamucil was a big help for me.
Review by Brack
I suffer from severe IBS with diarrhea. My symptoms started to improve after just one dose of Metamucil. I have been using Metamucil for five days now, and the diarrhea has resolved. I have not had any problems with increased gas. I would recommend Metamucil to anyone with IBS-diarrhea.
Review by Jes
I have IBS with constipation. I have taken Metamucil capsules for a week, and they have just caused a lot of gas, which exacerbates my condition. I’m definitely going to try Fibercon instead, since the manufacturers say that it is not digested by bacteria in the gut and thus does not cause gas.
Review by Steve
I tried Metamucil for IBS several different times, for at least a month. For me, if had virtually no effect, besides the fact that it was a pain to mix with a drink, rather than take a capsule. I have suffered mainly from gas and constipation for six years and haven’t found a cure. That’s just my take.
Do you suffer from IBS? Have you tried Metamucil? Please contact Sophie to send in your review.
Can Metamucil Help Lower My Total Cholesterol?
What Is Metamucil?
Metamucil is a bulk-forming fiber laxative made from psyllium. Psyllium is a fiber that comes from Plantago ovata seed husks. It absorbs liquid in the intestine and swells. This helps produce softer, bulkier stools that lead to improved bowel movements.
What Are Bulk-Forming Laxatives?
Psyllium has been used as a natural remedy for ages. Metamucil didn’t come on the scene until 1934. According to Metamucil’s website, the product contains 100 percent natural psyllium husk fiber. In addition to lowering cholesterol and promoting regularity, Metamucil is thought to help you feel fuller between meals and help maintain blood sugar levels.
How Does Metamucil Affect Cholesterol?
Psyllium is a natural product. It may reduce total cholesterol and low density lipoprotein (LDL). LDL, also known as “bad” cholesterol, contributes to clogged arteries and may lead to stroke and heart attack.
Psyllium is believed to help absorb waste, bile acids, and cholesterol, which are removed from the body during bowel movements. This may be due to its ability to swell and form a thick gel.
What the Research Shows
A 1990 study concluded that psyllium could help lower cholesterol. This led to additional research into the effects of psyllium on cholesterol. In 2000, a meta-analysis was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN). It looked at eight studies on the cholesterol-lowering benefits of psyllium. Researchers determined psyllium significantly lowered LDL cholesterol in participants who were already consuming a low-fat diet. No significant differences were noted between men and women, but older age groups had the largest decrease in LDL cholesterol.
According to a more recent study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (EJCN), psyllium may help reduce triglycerides in people with type 2 diabetes. The study followed 40 people with type 2 diabetes. They were treated with sulfonylureas, or antidiabetes drugs, and a prescribed, controlled diet. Study participants were either given psyllium three times per day or assigned to a control group. The control group was only given the controlled diet. Those treated with psyllium had significantly lower triglycerides. People in the control group experienced no change.
A 2011 study published in the British Journal of Nutrition also found a connection between psyllium and cholesterol. Researchers concluded that adding psyllium to a normal or high-fiber diet resulted in lower LDL and total cholesterol levels.
How to Use Metamucil
Metamucil is available in a variety of forms, including:
- health bar
Wafers and health bars are great sources of fiber, but they’re not recommended to lower cholesterol. According to Metamucil’s website, the following dosages are needed to reduce cholesterol:
|Smooth texture, sugar-free, orange, and berry burst powders||3 level teaspoons three times per day|
|Smooth texture orange powder||4 level teaspoons three times per day|
|Original texture unflavored powder||3 level teaspoons three times per day|
|Capsules plus calcium||5 capsules four times per day|
You should take each Metamucil dose with at least eight ounces of water and drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Check with your doctor to confirm the proper dose for you.
Metamucil Side Effects and Precautions
Metamucil is well tolerated by most people. However, side effects may occur, such as:
- stomach pain
To decrease your risk of discomfort, start with a lower dose and increase it gradually.
There are also additional side effects and precautions to consider when using psyllium. Some people may experience mild allergic reactions, such as hives, swollen nasal passages, swollen eyelids, and asthma. Metamucil may also cause rare, severe allergic reactions, such as:
- severe itching
- shortness of breath
- throat tightness
- chest tightness
- loss of consciousness
You should not take Metamucil if you have:
- fecal impaction
- narrowing of the colon
- bowel obstruction
- spastic bowel
Metamucil may also lead to a drop in your blood pressure.
If you’re planning to have surgery, you should stop taking Metamucil two weeks before the surgery. This is to avoid a potentially dangerous drop in blood sugar.
Metamucil may also interact with the following drugs or impact their effectiveness or potency:
- lithium (Lithobid, Lithane)
- carbamazepine (Tegretol, Carbatrol, Equetro, Epitol)
- antidiabetes drugs
- drugs for high blood pressure
- warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven)
- digoxin (Digox, Lanoxin)
- herbs and supplements that lower blood pressure
- herbs and supplements that lower blood sugar
Talk to Your Doctor About Lowering Cholesterol
Metamucil may be a natural alternative to cholesterol-lowering drugs. When combined with a healthy diet and exercise, it may help lower cholesterol on its own or increase the effectiveness of cholesterol-lowering drugs. Talk with your doctor about your options for lowering your cholesterol. They can help you determine if taking Metamucil is right for you.
HOW PSYLLIUM FIBER CAN HELP MAINTAIN HEALTHY BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS
Did you know that national nutrition surveys show that the average American eats 22 teaspoons of sugar per day?
That’s more than double the recommended daily amount! Along with the high amount of sugar, the average American is also consuming only 15-16 grams of fiber per day, which is only about half of the daily requirement.
The fiber gap in our diets has become so wide that the USDA recently listed fiber as a “nutrient of concern”.(1) The sugar surplus and fiber gap in today’s typical diet is a real problem – high intake of sugar with low intake of fiber can make it difficult to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. With high sugar and low fiber in almost every processed food we eat closing the gap can be difficult. Adding a gelling fiber supplement like the psyllium in Metamucil to your daily routine can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels* and close the fiber gap.
WHY ARE HEALTHY BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS IMPORTANT?
Sugar absorbs into your bloodstream very quickly, and this can impact your blood sugar levels over time. If your blood sugar levels are consistently high, you could be diagnosed with prediabetes. According to the American Diabetes Association, 86 million people in the U.S, have prediabetes, which is a concerning statistic given how life-changing this diagnosis can be. If you are concerned about maintaining your blood sugar levels, adding Metamucil to your daily routine can help!
HOW CAN METAMUCIL HELP MAINTAIN HEALTHY BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS?
After you eat, carbohydrates like bread or pasta are broken down into simple sugars, which are absorbed into the blood stream.
Typically, most sugar absorption occurs early in the digestive process. Metamucil forms a thick gel that traps some of the sugar and carbohydrates.
This delays the absorption of the sugar so that some of it is absorbed later in the digestive process.
And that’s how Metamucil works with your body to trap some carbohydrates and sugar, slow sugar absorption, and help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.* To learn more about how Metamucil can help you maintain your healthy blood sugar levels, check out this video:
Try Metamucil today to start maintaining your healthy blood levels!
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease
Seven benefits of psyllium
Psyllium can be found in various forms and has many health benefits.
1. Psyllium Relieves Constipation
Psyllium is used as a bulk-forming laxative. It works by increasing stool size and therefore helps relieve constipation (5, 6).
Initially, it works by binding to partially digested food that’s passing from the stomach into the small intestine.
It then helps with the absorption of water, which increases the size and moisture of stools. The end product is bigger and more easily passable stools (3, 7, 8).
One study found that psyllium had a greater effect than wheat bran on the moisture, total weight and texture of stools (9).
Another study showed that taking 5.1 grams twice a day for two weeks significantly increased the water content and weight of stools, as well as the total number of bowel movements, in 170 individuals with chronic constipation (10).
For these reasons, taking psyllium supplements promotes regularity.
Bottom Line: Psyllium is known as a bulk-forming laxative that helps relieve constipation and promote regularity.
2. It May Help Treat Diarrhea
Psyllium has also been shown to relieve diarrhea (2, 11, 12, 13).
It does this by acting as a water-absorbing agent, which can increase stool thickness and slow down its passage through the colon.
One study showed psyllium husk significantly decreased diarrhea in 30 cancer patients undergoing radiation therapy (14).
Another study treated eight people who had lactulose-induced diarrhea with 3.5 grams, three times daily. Doing so increased their stomach emptying time from 69 to 87 minutes, which meant fewer bowel movements (15).
So psyllium can both prevent constipation and reduce diarrhea, effectively helping to normalize your bowel movements if you are having problems.
Bottom Line: Psyllium can help treat diarrhea by increasing stool size and slowing its passage through the intestinal tract.
3. It Can Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Fiber supplementation has been shown to control glycemic response to a meal and reduce insulin and blood sugar levels. This is particularly the case with water-soluble fibers like psyllium (16, 17, 18, 19, 20).
In fact, psyllium works better than other fibers like bran. This is because its gel-forming fibers can slow down the digestion of food, which helps regulate blood sugar levels (21, 22).
One study treated 56 diabetic men with 5.1 grams of psyllium twice per day for eight weeks. It reduced their daily blood sugar levels by 11% (23).
In another study in people with type 2 diabetes, a higher daily dose (five grams consumed three times per day) for six weeks resulted in a 29% reduction in blood sugar levels within the first two weeks (19).
Because psyllium is able to slow down the digestion of food, it’s recommended to take it with food, rather than on its own, so it has a greater effect on your blood sugar levels (22).
It seems that a daily dose of at least 10.2 grams can promote lower blood sugar levels (23, 24, 25).
Bottom Line: Psyllium is able to delay food digestion, which helps regulate blood sugar levels. A daily dose of 10.2 grams ingested with meals appears to significantly affect blood sugar levels.
4. It May Boost Satiety and Aid Weight Loss
Scales, a Fork, a Knife and a Measuring Tape
Fibers like psyllium that form viscous compounds can help control appetite and aid weight loss (20, 26, 27, 28).
One study had 12 healthy participants consume 10.8 grams of psyllium immediately before a meal.
They experienced significantly delayed stomach emptying from the third hour after the meal and prolonged sensations of satiety six hours after the meal (29).
Another study explored the effects of two, 20-gram doses in 17 healthy participants. One dose was consumed three hours before a meal, while the other dose was consumed immediately before a meal.
The results indicated increased feelings of fullness one hour after the meal and reduced total fat intake during the day, compared to the placebo (30).
However, studies investigating a direct relationship between psyllium and weight loss seem to show mixed results.
One study found that 16 weeks of a calorie-restricted diet paired with three grams of psyllium either twice or three times daily resulted in an average weight loss of 9.9 pounds (4.52 kg) and 10.12 pounds (4.60 kg), respectively (31).
Furthermore, another study showed that psyllium supplementation on its own, as well as paired with a fiber-rich diet, resulted in a significant reduction of weight, body mass index and percentage of body fat (32).
In contrast, other studies did not report significant effects on body weight (19, 33).
Bottom Line: Psyllium aids appetite control by slowing down stomach emptying and reducing appetite. Decreased appetite and calorie intake may support weight loss.
5. It Can Also Lower Cholesterol Levels
Psyllium is able to bind to fat and bile acids, which promotes their excretion from your body.
In the process of replacing these lost bile acids, the liver uses cholesterol to produce more. As a result, blood cholesterol levels decrease (34).
One study reported an increase in bile acid synthesis and lowered LDL (“bad”) cholesterol in 20 individuals treated with 15 grams of psyllium daily for 40 days (34).
In another study, 47 healthy participants experienced a 6% reduction in LDL cholesterol after taking 6 grams each day for six weeks (33).
Furthermore, psyllium can help increase HDL (“good”) cholesterol levels (18, 19).
For instance, taking 5.1 grams twice a day for eight weeks resulted in a decrease in total and LDL cholesterol, as well as an increase in HDL levels in 49 patients with type 2 diabetes (18).
Lastly, one study treated 125 type 2 diabetics with 5-gram doses of psyllium three times a day for six weeks. Participants experienced increases in HDL cholesterol up to 45.7% (19).
Interestingly, a review of 21 studies reported that reductions in total and LDL cholesterol are dose dependent. This means greater results were observed with treatments of 20.4 grams of psyllium per day than 3 grams per day (35).
Bottom Line: Psyllium can lower total cholesterol levels by promoting the removal of bile acids from the body. It has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and increase HDL cholesterol significantly.
6. It Seems to Be Good for Your Heart
Adding water-soluble fibers like psyllium to your diet might reduce blood triglycerides, blood pressure and the risk of heart disease (36, 37).
One study confirmed that 5 grams of psyllium three times daily for six weeks reduced triglycerides by 26%, compared to the placebo (19).
Moreover, in 40 patients with type 2 diabetes, triglyceride levels were significantly reduced after two months of treatment with psyllium fiber (36).
Furthermore, a diet with an additional 12 grams of fiber from psyllium supplementation reduced systolic blood pressure by 5.9 mmHg in 36 people with high blood pressure (38).
Lastly, another study in obese individuals showed that a 7-gram daily dose for 12 weeks led to a seven percent decrease in blood pressure in the first six weeks of treatment (39).
Bottom Line: Regular intake of psyllium fiber has been linked to reduced blood pressure, lowered triglycerides levels and reduced risk of heart disease.
7. It Has Prebiotic Effects
Prebiotics are non-digestible compounds that nourish intestinal bacteria and help them grow. Psyllium is considered to have prebiotic effects (40, 41).
Although psyllium is somewhat resistant to fermentation, a small portion of psyllium fibers can be fermented by intestinal bacteria. This fermentation can produce short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), which have been linked to health benefits (3, 42, 43, 44).
One study showed that 10 grams twice a day for 12 months increased the production of the SCFA butyrate (45).
Also, because it ferments more slowly than other fibers, it doesn’t increase gas and digestive discomfort.
In fact, treatment with psyllium for four months helped reduce digestive symptoms by 69% in patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) (46).
Furthermore, a combination of psyllium and probiotics seems to be particularly effective at treating ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease (47, 48).
Bottom Line: Psyllium is considered a prebiotic fiber. It can promote short-chain fatty acid production and decrease digestive discomfort in patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
Generic Name: psyllium (SIL ee um)
Brand Name: Hydrocil, Konsyl, Laxmar, Metamucil, Natural Fiber Therapy, Reguloid
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Nov 11, 2019 – Written by Cerner Multum
- Side Effects
What is Metamucil?
Metamucil is a bulk-forming fiber laxative. This medicine works by absorbing liquid and swelling in the intestines to create a softer, bulky stool that is easier to pass.
Metamucil is used to treat occasional constipation or bowel irregularity. This medicine may also help lower cholesterol when used together with a diet low in cholesterol and saturated fat.
Metamucil may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Before taking this medicine
You should not take Metamucil if you have ever had an allergic reaction to it.
Ask a doctor or pharmacist if it is safe for you to take Metamucil if you have other medical conditions, especially:
stomach pain, nausea, or vomiting;
trouble swallowing; or
a sudden change in bowel habits lasting longer than 2 weeks.
Metamucil products may contain sugar, sodium, or artificial sweetener. These ingredients may be of concern if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, or phenylketonuria (PKU). Check the product label if you have any of these conditions.
Ask a doctor before using Metamucil if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Your dose needs may be different during pregnancy or while you are nursing.
Do not give Metamucil to a child younger than 6 years old without medical advice.
How should I take Metamucil?
Use exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Laxatives may be habit-forming if they are used too often or for too long.
Take Metamucil with a full glass (at least 8 ounces) of water or other liquid. This medicine can swell in your throat and cause choking if you don’t take it with enough liquid. Drink plenty of fluids each day to help improve bowel regularity.
Swallow Metamucil capsules one at a time. Do not take more than the recommended number of capsules per dose.
Metamucil powder must be mixed with liquid before you take it. Do not swallow the dry powder. Mix the powder with at least 8 ounces of liquid such as water or fruit juice. Stir and drink this mixture right away. To get the entire dose, add a little more water to the same glass, swirl gently and drink right away.
The Metamucil wafer must be chewed before you swallow it.
Metamucil usually produces a bowel movement within 12 to 72 hours.
It may take up to 3 days before your symptoms improve. Do not take Metamucil for longer than 7 days in a row without a doctor’s advice. Using a laxative too often or for too long may cause severe medical problems with your intestines.
Call your doctor if your symptoms do not improve, or if they get worse while using Metamucil.
Metamucil may be only part of a complete program of treatment that also includes diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your doctor’s instructions very closely.
Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Since Metamucil is used when needed, you may not be on a dosing schedule. If you are on a schedule, use the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.
What should I avoid while taking Metamucil?
Avoid taking other oral (by mouth) medicines within 2 hours before or 2 hours after you take Metamucil. Bulk-forming laxatives can make it harder for your body to absorb other medications, possibly making them less effective.
Avoid breathing in the dust from Metamucil powder when mixing. Inhaling this medicine dust may cause an allergic reaction.
If you take Metamucil as part of a cholesterol-lowering treatment plan, avoid eating foods that are high in fat or cholesterol. Your treatment will not be as effective in lowering your cholesterol if you do not follow a cholesterol-lowering diet plan.
Metamucil side effects
Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Stop using Metamucil and call your doctor at once if you have:
choking or trouble swallowing;
severe stomach pain, cramping, nausea or vomiting;
constipation that lasts longer than 7 days;
rectal bleeding; or
itchy skin rash.
Common side effects may include:
minor change in your bowel habits.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect Metamucil?
Other drugs may interact with psyllium, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 8.02.
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More about Metamucil (psyllium)
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- Drug class: laxatives
- Metamucil (Psyllium Capsules)
- Metamucil (Psyllium Powder)
- Metamucil (Psyllium Wafers)
Other brands: Reguloid, Konsyl, Natural Fiber Therapy, Hydrocil, Laxmar
Related treatment guides
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Dietary Fiber Supplementation