Psyllium Seed Husks - Good, Bad or Ugly? Dr. Cam takes a quick look at the upside, and the downside of psyllium seed husks.

One quick way to get more fiber is to take psyllium seed husks. These handy little things easily add bulk to your diet, and can give fast relief during times of irregularity. But is that a good idea?

Step one, if you have constipation or any other health problem is to take a look at your diet. Following some healthy eating guidelines is the most important step in restoring normal function.


What is psyllium?

First the basic facts.

The psyllium plant is called Isabgol in it's native India. It's name means "horse ear" and describes the shape of the seed. The husks are not digestible by the human body.

What are the benefits of taking psyllium?

Psyllium is soluble in water, and in the intestines they expand becoming thick and gluey. This soluble fiber helps move things along, and can help to restore normal bowel function during times of irregularity.

When taken with plenty of water, the seed husks break down to hemicellulose and mucilage. These substances bind to cholesterol and heavy metals, and stop them from being absorbed by the colon.

Psyllium husks can provide a safe, non-chemical laxative, that can help out when you are having problems. It is far superior to taking a man made chemical to alter your body's intestinal function.

Okay, but what are the down sides to taking them?

One problem is that taking psyllium seed husks is not a normal part of smart healthy eating. If your body is getting everything it needs from your diet, (and it should be) then there will not be a need for psyllium supplements. Constipation may be a sign that you need to look at what you are eating (or not eating).

Making sure that your everyday diet has plenty of fresh fruit, vegetables and water will massively reduce the chance of you having digestive problems.

When taking psyllium seed husks, make sure you use use some common sense. The way they help is by swelling up with water, giving more bulk for your intestines to push along.


If you do not drink enough water (see point number 7 at this page) they can cause constipation, or bowel obstruction. That's right, they can cause the very problem you are trying to correct if you don't drink enough water.

Water- Not pop, coffee, tea, juice, koolaid or anything else (yes, I've actually had people ask that!). When taking your psyllium supplement make sure you follow the directions on the package, and drink your water.

Once you are back to being regular, then it's time to make some plans to get eating what you need, so you don't need to supplement.

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