Psyllium Supplement Review

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  Evaluated for:
Effectiveness Rating Effectiveness Rating
+3 (Strong Evidence)
Lowering LDL cholesterol
+3 (Strong Evidence)
Diarrhea-predominant IBS
+2 (Moderate Evidence)
Tube feeds
+2 (Moderate Evidence)


  • Psyllium is a soluble fiber from the seed of the Plantago ovata plant. It mixes with water in the intestines to create a gel-like substance, propelling bowel contents along the intestinal tract and normalizing gut movement.
  • Psyllium normalizes gut function, which is helpful for irritable bowel syndrome (with predominant symptoms being constipation and diarrhea).
  • Psyllium lowers LDL cholesterol by absorbing cholesterol as it passes along the gut and preventing it from being reabsorbed and recycled back into the bloodstream. It does not affect HDL or triglyceride levels.


  • Psyllium actually increases triglycerides in postmenopausal women.
  • Frequent use of psyllium lowered serum vitamin and mineral levels, though only vitamin B-12 was significant.
  • Side effects include abdominal cramps, difficulty swallowing, and unpleasant gas and bloating. These may be avoided by dividing up the dose throughout the day and taking it with a large glass of water prior to the start of each meal.
  • Psyllium has some potential for allergic reaction.

Psyllium can interfere with the absorption of tricyclic antidepressants, anti-seizure medication, diabetes medications, bile acid sequestering medicines and lithium. If you take any of these medications, discuss its use with your health care provider.

DOSAGE:Adults: Start slowly, and work up to 3-6 grams of psyllium (1-2 teaspoons) with 8 oz. water, up to 3 times/day. Children ages 6-12: Start slowly, and work up to 3 grams of psyllium (1 teaspoon) with 4-8 oz. water, up to 3 times/day. Psyllium should be taken at least two hours before or after other medicines to prevent its interference with their absorption. Always take psyllium with a full glass of water.

CONCLUSION:We conclude that psyllium is a safe and effective product for lowering LDL cholesterol, and for IBS (with predominant symptoms being constipation and diarrhea). It is important to remain well hydrated when using psyllium (8 ounces of water per dose). Remember to include it in your list of medications when you visit your doctor and other health care providers.

“Psyllium.” Natural Standard –The Authority on Integrative Medicine. Natural Standard, 2013.
“Black Psyllium.” Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Therapeutic Research Faculty, 2013. 8 November 2013.

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