Peer Reviewed

Woman with stomach pain

Psyllium is a seed/husk from the plantain plant (not the source of plantains) used as an intestinal cleanser, bulk laxative, and stool softener. Psyllium is used to treat/relieve constipation, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn's disease, hemorrhoids, and other intestinal disorders. High fiber foods also help to reduce high blood pressure, heart disease, cholesterol, and body weight.

This fiber supplement expedites the elimination of waste and toxins. Use of psyllium may help to prevent colon cancer and other intestinal diseases.

Sources of Psyllium
Psyllium is found in seed form or in combination with its husk. Metamucil is a commercial psyllium-based product. Psyllium is also found in some cereals.

Psyllium mixed with water; quickly thickens and must be consumed immediately. If just beginning to take psyllium, start with a lower dose (one-half to one teaspoon) mixed with 8-ounces of water daily. The dose can be stepped up to two teaspoons and two 8-ounce glasses of water daily, as needed. Take either in the morning or before bedtime.

It is very important to drink plenty of water throughout the day in addition to the 8-ounce glass full (at least six to eight full glasses of water). Psyllium soaks up water in the digestive tract. A shortage of water could cause constipation or intestinal blockage.

Guar is another fiber supplement that works in the same way as psyllium. Do not use both.

Psyllium may interfere with mineral and medication absorption (prescription and non-prescription). Therefore, allow at least two hours between taking medication and psyllium.

Disclaimer: Many people report feeling improvement in their condition and/or general well-being taking dietary, vitamin, mineral, and/or herbal supplements. The Editorial Board of, however, cannot endorse such products since most lack peer-reviewed scientific validation of their claims. In most cases an appropriate diet and a "multiple vitamin" will provide the necessary dietary supplements for most individuals. Prior to taking additional dietary, vitamin, mineral, and/or herbal supplements it is recommended that patients consult with their personal physician to discuss their specific supplement requirements.

Updated on: 03/16/16
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Vincent Traynelis, MD
Although many patients describe improvement in their condition after taking one of the supplements previously described, the Editorial Board is unable to endorse these supplements, as there is insufficient peer reviewed research available. Hopefully the role of these compounds will be better understood once more scientific research is compiled.
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