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All About Psyllium Husk

What is psyllium husk?

Derived from the Plantago ovata plant, Psyllium is an herbaceous shrub widely known for its medicinal properties. This powerful herbal remedy has been used in traditional Eastern medicines (1) to provide natural relief and remedies. Its distribution spans across continents - it may be found virtually anywhere on Earth!

Psyllium husk benefits

Psyllium husks are commonly used as a laxative, yet recent research indicates this plant has a plethora of additional advantages; it not only helps maintain digestive and cardiac health but also bolsters overall wellness.

Constipation and psyllium husk

Psyllium husk fiber is a type of soluble dietary fiber that dissolves in water and produces a thick, gel-like substance which then softens stool, making bowel movements smoother and easier without triggering bloating.

A 1998 double-blind randomized study (2) compared the efficacy of Psyllium powder (Metamucil brand) to docusate, a sodium based laxative. It discovered that Psyllium was more effective in softening stools by increasing water content than traditional medicinal laxatives.

Not only does psyllium husk help to alleviate constipation, it also promotes the health of one's gut microbiome - a crucial balance of bacteria in their intestine. A 2019 study (3) found that ground psyllium husk powder had remarkable positive results on the gut flora among those who struggled with constipation.

This study showed that psyllium husk encourages the growth of three essential bacteria, Lachnospira, Roseburia, and Faecalibacterium. These particular bacteria generate butyrate: a short-chain fatty acid known for its anti-inflammatory properties and overall gut health benefits. Additionally, this research indicated that psyllium powder improves water content in stools while accelerating colonic transit time as well as causing looser stools.

Psyllium husk for diarrhea

Psyllium fiber is an excellent remedy for relieving mild-to-moderate diarrhea. (4)

When it interacts with water, the psyllium absorbs the liquid and provides many advantages to those struggling with this condition:

  • improving the consistency of loose and watery stools

  • slowing colonic transit

  • reducing urgency to defecate

  • lowering the frequency of bowel movements

Psyllium husk and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Sufferers of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) may experience a range of uncomfortable symptoms including abdominal pain, bloating, gas and either constipation or diarrhea - or both! This condition can affect people in different ways.

During digestion, certain fermentable dietary fibers like inulin and FODMAPs are broken down by intestinal bacteria, resulting in the release of digestive gases that can worsen symptoms associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).

For those suffering from IBS, psyllium is a welcome relief. Its minimal fermentation process reduces the amount of intestinal gas produced by gut bacteria, relieving patients' discomfort almost immediately. According to an expansive 2017 study (5), psyllium's global effectiveness in treating IBS symptoms has been proven time and again with remarkable results.

Cholesterol and blood pressure

Psyllium husk is a beneficial soluble fiber that has been proven to improve cardiovascular health by decreasing bad cholesterol levels and stabilizing blood pressure in those suffering from hypertension.

According to a 2010 study (6), when overweight or obese volunteers consumed 12g of psyllium supplement three times per day for 6 and 12 weeks, their total cholesterol level and LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol levels dropped significantly.

Incorporating soluble dietary fiber into your diet can be beneficial, especially if you suffer from hypertension (high blood pressure), as it has been shown to significantly reduce blood pressure levels.

In 2020, a meta-analysis (7) of scientific findings revealed that taking 10-15 g of psyllium husk on a daily basis significantly decreased blood pressure. The effects were more profound in those with the highest levels of hypertension.

Weight loss

Soluble fiber has the remarkable capability to enhance satiety, which is that feeling of fullness after eating. Moreover, this type of fiber can help maintain a healthy weight by slowing digestion and absorption rates. In fact, there's even evidence from a 2010 study (8) that suggests psyllium husk can be an effective tool for achieving sustained weight loss!

This experiment, involving individuals with metabolic syndrome (a group of signs featuring abnormal glucose and blood lipid levels), proved that patients given psyllium husk powder lost 3.3 kg in the span of 6 months.

Psyllium husk side effects

For those who incorporate psyllium husk supplements to their diet, there may be some minor side effects in the beginning that typically vanish after a week or so when your digestive system adjusts. The common short-term reactions of psyllium husk include:

  • abdominal cramps

  • constipation

  • flatulence

Before adding any dietary supplements to your daily routine, it is always a good idea to consult with a medical professional for advice.

How to use psyllium husk

If you're seeking gentle and reliable constipation relief, Psyllium is the ideal choice. Available in a variety of forms from multiple brands, this mild laxative provides effective results.

Psyllium husk powder provides a convenient way to up your dietary fiber intake, as it is commonly found in over-the counter laxatives. Additionally, you can purchase psyllium husks online and add them to baked goods, water or smoothies for even more benefits! This amazing powder is known to absorb 20 times its weight in liquid - so make sure that when utilizing this product you are also taking care of yourself by drinking plenty of H2O!

If you want to raise your fiber content in an alternative way without the undesirable texture of ground psyllium husk powder, then try psyllium husk capsules. Swallow them with a large glass of water for best results and appreciate this convenient choice!

Psyllium husk dosage

The recommended dosage of psyllium husk is generally listed on its packaging. However, this should only be adjusted with the supervision of a medical professional. Studies have proven that 5 grams per day can help to relieve constipation and soften stools for better digestion (9).

Where to buy psyllium husk?

Psyllium husk is widely accessible anywhere-- supermarkets, online stores, and even organic sections of shops contain packets filled with this natural supplement. You can get it in powder or capsule form for convenience.

To ensure the best outcomes, make sure to speak with a healthcare provider before including supplements in your daily routine – particularly if you're already taking other medications!


  1. R. Masood, M. Miraftab, Psyllium: Current and Future Applications, Editor(s): S.C. Anand, J.F. Kennedy, M. Miraftab, S. Rajendran, In Woodhead Publishing Series in Textiles,Medical and Healthcare Textiles, Woodhead Publishing, 2010, Pages 244-253,

ISBN 9781845692247,


  1. McRorie JW, Daggy BP, Morel JG, Diersing PS, Miner PB, Robinson M. Psyllium is superior to docusate sodium for treatment of chronic constipation. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 1998 May;12(5):491-7. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2036.1998.00336.x. PMID: 9663731.

  1. Jalanka J, Major G, Murray K, Singh G, Nowak A, Kurtz C, Silos-Santiago I, Johnston JM, de Vos WM, Spiller R. The Effect of Psyllium Husk on Intestinal Microbiota in Constipated Patients and Healthy Controls. Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Jan 20;20(2):433. doi: 10.3390/ijms20020433. PMID: 30669509; PMCID: PMC6358997.

  1. McRorie JW Jr. Evidence-Based Approach to Fiber Supplements and Clinically Meaningful Health Benefits, Part 2: What to Look for and How to Recommend an Effective Fiber Therapy. Nutr Today. 2015 Mar;50(2):90-97. doi: 10.1097/NT.0000000000000089. PMID: 25972619; PMCID: PMC4415970.

  1. El-Salhy M, Ystad SO, Mazzawi T, Gundersen D. Dietary fiber in irritable bowel syndrome (Review). Int J Mol Med. 2017 Sep;40(3):607-613. doi: 10.3892/ijmm.2017.3072. Epub 2017 Jul 19. PMID: 28731144; PMCID: PMC5548066.

  1. Pal, S., Khossousi, A., Binns, C., Dhaliwal, S., & Ellis, V. (2011). 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. British Journal of Nutrition, 105(1), 90-100. doi:10.1017/S0007114510003132

  1. Korean J Intern Med 2020;35(6):1385-1399. Published online: February 19, 2020

  1. Lambeau KV, McRorie JW Jr. Fiber supplements and clinically proven health benefits: How to recognize and recommend an effective fiber therapy. J Am Assoc Nurse Pract. 2017 Apr;29(4):216-223. doi: 10.1002/2327-6924.12447. Epub 2017 Mar 2. PMID: 28252255; PMCID: PMC5413815.

  1. McRorie JW, Daggy BP, Morel JG, Diersing PS, Miner PB, Robinson M. Psyllium is superior to docusate sodium for treatment of chronic constipation. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 1998 May;12(5):491-7. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2036.1998.00336.x. PMID: 9663731.


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