Psyllium Husk Powder Review: Pros and Cons
Psyllium husk powder is one choice for a popular selection amongst fiber supplements. These supplements are most often used to promote regularity and make passing stool less difficult. While they are no substitute for dietetic incorporation of natural dietary fiber sources, they can certainly fill in for the less than well rounded diet. Of all supplements, psyllium husk products in the powder form are one of the most popular.
Psyllium husks are indigestible pieces of seeds derived from a plant known as Plantago Ovata. They work by adding bulk to the G.I. tract that helps promote constant movement of clogged colon contents and make passing stool easier. Psyllium husk is better known in its powdered form of supplement; however it also comes in wafer form, capsules, and variants of the whole raw product or chopped portions as well. There are some reasons why fiber supplements like psyllium are great choices. But, there are also some reasons why their use should be considered beforehand. We have come up with a list of pros and cons to help you decide whether this popular choice amongst fiber filled supplements is right for you.
Psyllium Husk Powder Pros
PRO: Clears up Constipation: Of course, the most pronounced of psyllium husk benefits is the ability to relieve constipation, a condition which can cause discomfort and even painful symptoms. It does this by two different approaches. First, it adds bulk to the stool, which can help get it moving and make it easier to pass. In addition, it also adds in beneficial hydration and this extra water also makes passing stool much less difficult. While the effects of using the powdered form of psyllium are often successful, results in most cases are not instant. It is not uncommon for one to three days to elapse before constipation is fully remedied when using psyllium husk powder (http://www.webmd.com/drugs/drug-56088-Psyllium+Husk+Fibre+Oral.aspx?drugid=56088&drugname=Psyllium+Husk+Fibre+Oral.)
PRO: Can help those with IBS alleviate symptoms: There is another benefit not related to simply passing stool that can be provided with psyllium husk. It has reportedly been successful in managing the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome according to Web MD (http://www.webmd.com/drugs/drug-56088-Psyllium+Husk+Fibre+Oral.aspx?drugid=56088&drugname=Psyllium+Husk+Fibre+Oral.) In this regard, users have been able to obtain some control over the digestive difficulties of the chronic condition by using psyllium husk. Symptom reduction has been reported as well as improvement of digestive health.
Psyllium Husk Powder Cons
CON: Not the tastiest beverage you will ever drink: Typically, psyllium husk powder is added to preferred beverages like water or fruit juices. Some people even elect to add them to protein shakes or other liquid concoctions. However, many find that regardless of what the fiber filled powder is being added to, the flavor is still less than enjoyable. Being compared in taste to cardboard, it may be too unpalatable for some. In addition to questionable flavor profile, the powder can also substantially thicken its selected mixer, thereby making drinking difficult. Some people find that further diluting the drink can remedy this to some degree.
CON: Breathing it in can be hazardous: Most people do not spend a lot of time enjoying the aroma of psyllium husk powder. And, it is uncommon for the dry fiber source to be breathed in. However, in some cases this can occur and, according to WebMD, this can potentially cause a rare allergic reaction. Most often, this results from carelessness during preparation and mixing, and therefore it is important to be cautious not to breathe in any of the airborne powder during drink preparation.
CON: Side effects can be mildly unpleasant: Some of the side effects associated with psyllium husk powder are simply to be expected. For instance, it is no surprise that diarrhea can be encountered; after all, the product is designed to loosen stools and make them easier to pass, and no stool is easier to pass then the liquid variety. However, other side effects like temporary stomach bloating have also been reported. Increased gas and flatulence are also not uncommon. For most people, these are mild but cramping, discomfort and various gas related disturbances may occur with use.
Those less than amused by the pros and cons of psyllium powder may consider home remedies for constipation instead of over the counter concoctions for relief. Dried fruits, various vegetable oils as well as molasses and honey are all considered great choices for fast home remedies for constipation and most of them will work much faster than psyllium husk powder. A box or two of raisins combined with a walk around the block and a warm bath may be all that is needed to battle an acute case of a clogged colon.
But, for developing consistent regularity, products like psyllium husk powder can be ideal and still have their place. This is because they contribute to making stool easier to pass and when taken regularly, can promote a properly functioning G.I. tract. Adding in fiber rich foods to your diet can reduce the long term need for these types of supplements however, and increasing dietary fiber should be considered in place of supplements when possible.