What You Should Know
Psyllium comes from the plant family Plantago. The husks of psyllium are high in soluble fiber. Psyllium is a common ingredient in many fiber supplements and over the counter bulk laxatives. Products containing psyllium can help relieve constipation caused by a lack of fiber in the diet or a sedentary lifestyle.
Psyllium can be found in powder form in products like Fiberall and Metamucil. The powder is mixed with water and taken daily to help promote bowel regularity. Many of these powdered products containing psyllium can be purchased at local grocery stores, pharmacies and major retail stores such as Walmart, Target and Kmart. They can also be purchased at many online health websites.
Psyllium Husk can also be found in capsule form. GNC and Nature’s Herbs are two companies that sell Psyllium Husk capsules.
Some cereals and fiber wafers also contain psyllium. Bran Buds and Heart Wise are two cereals containing psyllium.
The cost of adding psyllium to your diet will vary depending what the type of product is purchased. Powdered products like Fiberall and Metamucil are priced at approximately $6.00 for 16 oz. and $10.50 for 23 oz. A bottle of 100 capsules of psyllium husk (560 mg) from Nature’s Herbs costs approximately $10.00 and a bottle of 180 capsules (500 mg) from GNC costs approximately $11.50.
Psyllium products can be an effective and gentle way to relieve occasional constipation. However, taking laxatives too often or for too long can cause problems. Laxatives can become habit-forming and can lead to intestinal nerve or muscle damage.
Side effects can occur while using psyllium products. Minor side effects include bloating or small changes in bowel habits. Serious side effects can include an allergic reaction such as hives, difficulty breathing or swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat. Other possible serious side effects can include choking or trouble swallowing, severe stomach pain, constipation that lasts longer than 7 days, rectal bleeding or itchy skin rash.
Diabetics, people with hypertension or phenylketonuria (PKU) should be very careful taking psyllium products because they may contain sugar, sodium, or artificial sweeteners. People with medical conditions such as those previously mentioned or anyone on medication should consult with their doctor before taking any psyllium products. Also, psyllium products should not be used on a daily basis unless recommended by a doctor.
List of Ingredients
Varies, depending on the product and company. Ingredients can be found on most websites that sell products containing psyllium.
There are a variety of products to choose from that contain psyllium. By being able to choose from cereals, powdered mix formulas or capsules, a person can easily add fiber to their diet. These products are reasonably priced and can be easily purchased at many stores and online websites.
- Easy way to add fiber to your diet
- Effective and gentle
- Reasonably priced
- Use of laxatives can be habit forming causing intestinal nerve or muscle tissue damage
- Serious side effects can occur
- People with medical conditions or people on medication may not be able to take products containing psyllium
Psyllium can be helpful for occasional bouts of bowel problems. However, if you have other medical conditions, you should consult your doctor before using products containing psyllium. Also, if your bowel problems last for longer than two weeks, consult your doctor before continuing to use products containing psyllium. If you try psyllium, be aware that side effects can occur. If you experience any serious side effects, seek medical help immediately.