Psyllium Husk – Uses, Benefits and Side Effects

What is Psyllium Husk?

If you have ever taken Metamucil, Serutan, or Fiber Eze, you have taken psyllium husk. Maybe you didn’t realize it at the time, but now you are probably wondering “what is psyllium husk?” Psyllium is a plant that goes by several names including:

  • Plantago ovata Forssk
  • Ispaghula
  • Isapghol
  • White psyllium
  • Blond psyllium
  • Indian Plantago

The term “Plantago” is derived from the Latin word “planta” which means “sole of the foot.” This refers to the shape of psyllium leaves.

Psyllium means “flea” in Greek. This is about the shape, color, and size of the psyllium seed. Psyllium is native to Persia but is now grown primarily in India.

A psyllium seed has an outer shell which, when removed from the seed, is called psyllium husk.

Psyllium husk produces a thick mucilage, or gel when water is added to it. Psyllium husk can absorb up to fourteen times of its weight in water.

This gel is used in the health care industry as a medical treatment, in the food manufacturing industry as a thickener, a binder, and as a fiber additive.

It is also used in the agricultural industry as animal food and as a soil treatment to help prevent erosion. 


What is Psyllium Husk Used For? Psyllium Husk Benefits

Many people are wondering “what is psyllium husk used for?” and have questions about psyllium husk benefits. Psyllium husk is an excellent source of natural fiber.

It has been shown through scientific studies that psyllium husk fiber can help relieve constipation, relieve diarrhea, lower blood sugar, help control appetite, and reduce weight gain.

Also, psyllium husk fiber has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol blood levels, improve irritable bowel syndrome symptoms, reduce blood pressure, and act as a prebiotic.

It has also been shown to be beneficial in treating hemorrhoids and ulcerative colitis.

When warm water is added to psyllium husks, they form a thick gel that is used in industry as a natural thickening agent and emulsifier.

It is this characteristic that makes psyllium husk so useful. It is used in ice cream, frozen dessert, jams, breakfast cereals, and more.

In the pharmaceutical industry, psyllium husk is used as a tablet binder.

In the landscaping profession, psyllium husk is used to prevent soil erosion. In animal husbandry, psyllium husk is used as feed.


Psyllium Husk Powder

Another question that you may have is “what is psyllium husk powder?” Psyllium husk powder is finely ground psyllium husks.

You can purchase psyllium husk powder from several manufacturers.

It is sold either as a loose powder or in capsule form. Some manufacturers combine psyllium husk powder with sweeteners and flavorings and then sell it as a laxative.


Psyllium Husk Powder Benefits

Are you wondering about psyllium husk vs powder? To decide between psyllium husk vs powder, think about what you are trying to achieve.

Depending on your application, psyllium husk powder may be easier to use than whole psyllium husk.

If you want to add it to baked goods, beverages, or dessert, you will have a much more pleasant end product if you use psyllium husk powder instead of whole psyllium husk.

Also, if you would rather take a capsule than mix powder into a food or beverage, you may prefer psyllium husk capsules.



Psyllium Husk Nutrition

Here are the facts about psyllium husk nutrition. Many manufacturers of supplemental psyllium list psyllium husk as a source of iron and calcium on their nutritional labels.

But you have to take this with a grain of salt. Psyllium husk can remove iron from the body.

If you are supplementing with iron, take your iron supplements and your psyllium supplements at separate times, preferably several hours apart.

Psyllium has not been shown to interfere with calcium absorption if taken in normal amounts.

How Much Psyllium Husk to Take

If you want to know how much psyllium husk to take on a daily basis, here is a general rule to follow.

Every 5 grams of psyllium husk that you take should be dissolved in 8 ounces of water.

The recommended daily dosage for psyllium husk is 10 grams to 30 grams a day, divided into several doses, taken at meals.

It is also best to start out with a smaller amount and then gradually work your way up to taking larger amounts, if needed, so that your body can adjust to taking psyllium. [9]

Psyllium Husk Dosage

The correct psyllium husk dosage for you depends on your situation. Here are some recommendations (please note that this does not substitute for a doctor’s advice. Be sure to check with your doctor before beginning any regimen for your health).


If you are dealing with constipation, you should take 5 grams (0.18 ounces) to 10 grams (0.35 ounces) of psyllium husk dissolved in water and then drink another glass of plain water. Do this every day.

Diverticular Disease

If you have diverticular disease, take 7 grams (1/4 ounces) of psyllium husk dissolved in water and then drink the second glass of plain water. Do this on a daily basis.

IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome)

If you have IBS, take 3-1/4 grams (0.12 ounces) of psyllium husk with each meal, up to three times a day.

Type 2 Diabetes

If you have type 2 diabetes, take 5.1 grams (0.18 ounces) of psyllium husk with each meal.


To help with diarrhea, take 9 grams (0.3 ounces) to 30 grams (1.06 ounces) of psyllium husk every day.

Psyllium Husk for Constipation

Studies show that psyllium husk is effective in treating constipation. In one study, 22 individuals were tested to see what effect psyllium would have on their constipation symptoms.

Eleven of the individuals were given psyllium; the other eleven were given a placebo. The study lasted for twelve weeks.

Based on the results of the study, the authors concluded that psyllium does help to alleviate constipation.

Psyllium Husk For Diarrhea

Thinking about using psyllium husk for diarrhea? In one study, 23 children who had chronic diarrhea were treated to study the effect of psyllium on their symptoms.

The children were allowed to have a diet free from all restrictions for one week, and then for the next two weeks, they were treated with psyllium.

The study reported that 87 percent of the children responded to treatment and suggests that psyllium husks, when combined with the proper diet, were an effective treatment for diarrhea. 

Another study tested the effect of psyllium husk on medically induced diarrhea. The participants in this study were seven men and two women ranging in age from 20 to 36.

They were given a placebo, psyllium, calcium polycarbophil (a laxative), and wheat bran at different times and the effects of these four treatments were measured.

After measuring the results of the study, the authors concluded that psyllium, not calcium polycarbophil or wheat bran, improved the symptoms of diarrhea. 




Psyllium Husk For Weight Loss

Many people want to know how to take psyllium husk for weight loss.

According to the authors of the book titled “Integrative Weight Management: A Guide for Clinicians,” psyllium may help obese individuals lose weight because it causes a feeling of fullness after eating.

They mentioned a study in which four different diets were compared in overweight and obese adults.

The results of the study demonstrated that the individuals whose diets included psyllium husk lost weight as a result of their diets. In this study, the participants had a body mass index between 25 and 40 kg/m², and those taking psyllium took 12 grams of psyllium three times a day before their main meals. 

What Does Psyllium Husk Do?

Are you wondering “what does psyllium husk do?” Do you want to know why you should always drink water when taking psyllium husk? When psyllium husk comes into contact with water it swells up and forms a gelatinous mass.

This mass, as it travels through the digestive system, does interesting things. In people with constipation, the gelatinous mass helps to stimulate bowel movements and move waste through the intestines.

As it is moving waste along, it is also binding with bile acids which helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels.

In people with diarrhea, the gelatinous mass binds with matter in the digestive system which helps to reduce bowel movements, thereby alleviating diarrhea.


Psyllium Husk Side Effects

To prevent choking, be sure to drink plenty of water when taking psyllium husk. You should drink plenty of water when drinking it. Be sure to use at least 8 ounces of water for every 5 grams of psyllium husk. If you are taking psyllium husk pills, be sure to chew them well before swallowing. 

Psyllium husk interferes with the absorption of Carbamazepine (Tegretol), Lithium, and Warfarin (Coumadin). If you are taking anti-diabetes drugs or antihypertensive drugs check with your physician before taking psyllium husk.

Since psyllium husk has been shown to decrease blood sugar and decrease blood pressure, you may be magnifying these effects if you take psyllium husk with medications for these health issues.

Also, if you are taking any herbal supplements that lower blood pressure (like fish oil, L-arginine or stinging nettle) or that lower blood sugar (like bitter melon, garlic, guar gum or Panax ginseng), you may want to limit your intake of psyllium husk.

Psyllium Husk Side Effects – Long Term

If you take higher doses of psyllium husk you may experience bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, gastrointestinal distress, constipation, or feelings of nausea. Taking too much psyllium husk can prevent fat-soluble vitamins and minerals from being absorbed.

Psyllium Husk Carbs

If you are confused about psyllium husk carbs, don’t be. Most psyllium husk supplement packages will say something like this on the nutrition label:

  • Total Carbohydrate – 4.5 g
  • Dietary Fiber – 4.5 g
  • Soluble Fiber – 3.5 g
  • Insoluble Fiber – 1 g

Notice that the grams of carbohydrate are equal to the grams of dietary fiber which is equivalent to 4.5 grams in this case.

These two numbers are equal because dietary fiber is a carbohydrate.

Although dietary fiber is a carbohydrate, it is the type of carbohydrate that the human body cannot digest.

That is why psyllium husk works – it passes through the body instead of being digested by the body. It lowers blood sugar instead of raising it.

So you don’t have to consider the carbs in psyllium husk if you are counting carbs.

Psyllium Husk Recipes

You can make your psyllium husk cleanse by blending juices and other ingredients with psyllium husk. Here are some recipes:

Psyllium Husk with Orange Juice and Ginger

Blend one teaspoon psyllium husk with 1/4 tsp powdered ginger and two to three drops of liquid stevia extract. Stir well. Add 8 ounces of orange juice, stir well and drink.

Psyllium Husk with Apple Juice and Spinach

Use a juicer to make spinach and apple juice from fresh spinach leaves and fresh apples. Blend 8 ounces of your spinach and apple juice mixture together with one teaspoon of psyllium husk. Stir well and drink.

Psyllium Husk with Cucumber and Pear

Use a juicer to make cucumber and pear juice from fresh cucumbers and fresh pears. Blend 8 ounces of your cucumber and pear juice mixture with one teaspoon of psyllium husk. Stir well and drink.

Easy Psyllium Husk with Cherry and Pomegranate Juices

This recipe doesn’t require a juicer. Simply purchase cherry juice and pomegranate juice from your local health food store. Mix four ounces of cherry juice with four ounces of pomegranate juice. Add 1 teaspoon of psyllium husk, stir well and drink.

Bottom Line on Psyllium Husk

If you are wondering when to take psyllium husk, just remember that for most people the best time to take psyllium husk is with meals.

However, if you are taking medication or iron supplements, you should separate your medication from your psyllium.

In these cases you should take psyllium husk either one hour after or four hours before taking medication or iron. [

Some people have experienced allergic reactions after repeatedly being exposed to psyllium husk. If you are allergic to psyllium, English plantain (Plantago lanceolata) or members of the Plantaginaceae family, you may want to avoid psyllium husk. 

Take Shape For Life, just another “miracle” diet MLM

Take Shape For Life is a popular health and wellness MLM company that offers products backed by science.

Eat less, exercise more. Come on people, this weight loss thing isn’t rocket science. Or is it?

Take Shape For Life, with its “roots in scientific rigor”, claims that weight loss can actually be a very scientific thing, and they’ve got some medical and corporate backing.

So should you get involved?

I’m not going to say you won’t make money with TSFL, but there are certainly better options out there…

Click here for my #1 recommendation

Either way, here’s the full review on Take Shape For Life.


First of all, they’re a subsidiary of Medifast, a brand that’s been recommended by over 20,000 doctors since 1980. [1]

They were founded by the perfect duo – Bradley MacDonald (who has since passed), Chairman of the Board of Directors for Medifast and big business expert, and Dr. Wayne Scott Andersen, a major critical care physician.

Their Medifast products are backed by doctors and clinical studies, while the healthy lifestyle program is created by Dr. Andersen. They’ve also got a personal component thrown in there in the form of their distributors, or “Health Coaches”.

So, they’ve got some science and research to back them up. Although, there’s not a shred of evidence that suggests their supplements and shakes work any better than any other brand.

In 1992, Medifast did get themselves tangled up in a lawsuit regarding their weight loss claims (saying people were losing 5 pounds a week), and the Federal Trade Commission ended up ruling against them.

However, that was a good while ago, and they seem to have shaped up.

Medifast, a publicly traded company, just announced their 2016 third quarter earnings at over $6 million, which is up almost $1 million from last year. Revenue increased by 4.1% year-over-year.

Their Take Shape for Life branch specifically is doing even better, up 13% in year-over-year revenue at a whopping $56.5 million in one-quarter. [2]

However, both the franchised Medifast Weight Control Centers (they ended up closing down and selling most of these) and the Wholesale business saw decreasing revenue this year, and gross profits only increased 6%. But hey, that’s something. [3]

But what about their direct selling branch? And that’s great that the company is making money, but are their “Health Coaches”?


Take Shake for Life sells all kinds of diet foods, shakes, bars, and smoothies galore through their website, and they’ve got a few different lines of product.

  • OPTAVIA “Fuelings” are diet food products that have bold flavors and specialty ingredients from around the world, and come in 30-day kits with samplings. They sound pretty tasty to be honest – they’ve got a chia bliss smoothie, an aged cheddar chipotle mac and cheese, and a cinnamon cream cheese swirl cake, to name a few.
  • Optimal Weight and Optimal Health Meal Replacement products include bars, shakes, smoothies, and drinks on the light end and hearty choices, soups, breakfasts, and desserts on the heavier end.
  • Lean & Green Meals are healthy meals, such as chicken and rice with vegetables or beef stew, that include a lean protein and a vegetable. They come pre-packaged in boxes of six servings.
  • Snacks include crisps, popcorn, and crackers.
  • Flavor Infusers are nutritional flavor packets for water, in everything from Raspberry Acai to Mixed Berry. They are free of artificial flavors and colors have have no preservatives, and they provide additional B vitamins.
  • Supplements include various herbal supplements for digestive health, heart health, and melatonin.

Their individual products aren’t cheap but they aren’t terribly priced. A 7-serving box of their chocolate peanut butter shake is $18.95. A 6-serving box of chicken cacciatore is $29.70. At $4.95 a serving, it’s still way cheaper (and healthier) than eating out.

But their real money makers are their Optimal Health Programs, weight loss programs and kits that get you to buy bulk amounts of their food and snacks on a regular basis, along with a “free” Health Coach…

  • The Optimal Weight 5&1 Plan is for people looking to drop significant amounts of weight, and consists of 5 Optimal Weight Meal Replacements (for example, a soup, a meal, a bar, a smoothie, and a dessert) and 1 Lean & Green Meal each day. Meal replacements are consumed once every 2-3 hours and the Lean & Green Meal is for whenever you feel like you need it.
  • The Optimal Health 3&3 Plan is for people who have already achieved their weight loss goals and want to make sure they’re maintained. The program includes 3 Optimal Health Meal Replacements (for example, one bar, one shake, and one smoothie), and then you prepare 3 balanced meals yourself each day.

The meals and snacks can be vegetarian friendly, they are kosher, many are gluten-free, and they contain no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners.

A big problem with weight loss is lack of support and motivation, so it’s awesome that that’s also built into the program, really sets them apart from other weight loss and nutrition MLMs (like Herbalife, Isagenix, or Vasayo). When you buy into one of their programs, your distributor becomes your Health Coach and you get to join a community of other people on the program. [4]

The program also includes Dr. A’s Habits of a Healthy System, which really helps you make a lifestyle out of healthy eating. [5]

I like that these are clearly not starvation diets, and they’re focused on helping you lose weight in a healthy way rather than all at once. The average weight loss for clients who follow the program is 20 pounds. [6]

Take Shape For Life Review

However, this stuff ain’t cheap.

It costs $300+ for a 30-day BeSlim kit, and that includes only a sampling of the shakes, bars, and meals, you would eat throughout the month.

  • French Vanilla Shake
  • Dutch Chocolate Shake
  • Peanut Butter Crunch Bar
  • Chocolate Mint Crunch Bar
  • Cinnamon & Brown Sugar Cereal Crunch
  • Original Pancakes
  • Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  • Parmesan Cheese Puffs
  • Chocolate Pudding
  • Strawberry Shake
  • Orange Cream Shake
  • Peanut Butter Chocolate Chewy Bar
  • Caramel Crunch Bar
  • Brownie Soft Bake
  • Maple & Brown Sugar Oatmeal
  • Hearty Vegetarian Sloppy Joe
  • Cinnamon Pretzel Sticks
  • FREE TSFL Blender Bottle*
  • 5 FREE Client Choices*

Considering that the 5&1 weight loss program requires you to consume 6 products a day, this kit isn’t enough to provide even half your consumption for the month.

But, depending on how much you normally spend on food each month, this program might be worth the expense.

Compensation Plan

Their compensation plan is very different, and not fully clear either.

Rather than giving their Health Coaches a wholesale discount and allowing them to make retail profit, Health Coaches and regular customers pay the same exact amount for products. In fact, new customers just order product directly from the company.

Health Coaches, then, don’t get discounts on personal orders either.

Health Coaches also aren’t compensated for recruiting new distributors. [7]

On top of all that, if you want to become a Health Coach, you have to buy a Health Coach Business Kit (training and marketing materials) for $199. [8]

So wait…how the heck do you make any money?

Well, compensation is paid off as a percentage of the retail dollar amount of commissionable goods in an order by one of their customers.

You get commission from your clients because they actually have to pay for your coaching and support in addition to buying their food products.

There are also bonuses for team growth and leadership, just no direct commission for recruitment. [9]

What’s more, there are no long-term rank advancements. Your pay is based only on your current monthly performance.

A little weird, but hey, I kind of like the straight forwardness…more like a real business opportunity.



So their compensation plan is a little more honest and a little less pyramid-y than your typically MLM.

And their weight loss program is healthier and more effective than a lot of weight loss programs.

That’s all great, but does that mean you’ll be making any money?

You might get some good side cash if you build a strong client-base, but you’re definitely not getting rich.

Look, I’ve been involved with network marketing for over ten years so I know what to look for when you consider a new opportunity.

After reviewing 200+ business opportunities and systems out there, here is the one I would recommend:


  • I’m a health coach with TSFL and just wanted to make a couple corrections on this otherwise not-too-bad review:

    1. It’s not a sampling kit if the products for over $300, it’s actually a full month’s supply of meal replacements, or fuelings. (And it’s more like $385 and also includes the curriculum we teach.) Five a day and the client prepares one meal of lean protein and low starch veggies for themselves.
    2. The clients don’t have to pay for the health coach’s services. Thus, your mention of “free health coach.” The company pays us to coach our clients.
    3. There are big opportunities with this company, my husband and I do very well, we make six figures- and while we don’t consider ourselves “rich” there are many who are getting rich and helping people get healthy. It is the spirit of service rather than the spirit of recruiting. We teach coaches how to find new clients, and how to train them. It’s a pretty rare, but cool mentor/apprentice model. Just like any opportunity tho, it’s not magic, work is required! ?