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Psyllium Husk (Isabgol) For Weight Loss – How It Works, How To Consume, And Benefits

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ISSA Certified Specialist in Fitness & Nutrition
Psyllium Husk (Isabgol) For Weight Loss – How It Works, How To Consume, And Benefits September 28, 2018

Psyllium husk (isabgol or ispaghula) is one of the best remedies for weight loss (1). Especially if no diet or workout plan is working for you. It targets the root cause of weight gain like bloating, constipation, and indigestion and boosts metabolism.

So, if you want to shed the extra pounds, feel light, and sleep better, you must consider taking psyllium husk. Read on to know how psyllium husk aids weight loss, how to consume it, and other benefits. Swipe up!

Highlights Of The Article

  • What Is Psyllium Husk?
  • How Psyllium Husk Aids Weight Loss
  • How To Consume Psyllium Husk
  • How Much Psyllium Husk Should You Take?
  • Best Time To Take Psyllium Or Isabgol For Weight Loss
  • Benefits
  • Side Effects
  • Tips

What Is Psyllium Husk?

What Is Psyllium Husk Pinit

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Psyllium husk (Plantago ovata) is the outer covering (husk) of the seeds of the Psyllium plant. This plant is mainly grown in India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan and is known as isabgol (Persian: asp – horse and gul – flower).

The seeds are good sources of fatty acids and starch and are therefore used as an additive in animal feed. The seeds have also been used in traditional Iranian medicine since ages.

The husk, also known as mucilage, is a colorless, gel-forming dietary fiber that has innumerable health benefits. Around 95% of the husk is composed of carbs (good carbs that aid weight loss). Due to the husk’s gel-forming nature, it is used in the food industry as a thickening and texturizing agent (2).

How does psyllium husk aid weight loss? Find out in the section below.

How Psyllium Husk Aids Weight Loss

Psyllium husk aids weight loss by pushing the body toward the fat loss phase and improving various body functions. Here’s what will happen when you consume isabgol or psyllium husk:

  • Increases Satiety

Psyllium husk is composed of good carbs or dietary fiber. It contains two types of dietary fiber – soluble and insoluble fibers. The soluble fiber works by dissolving in water, which causes it to expand and form a gel-like layer. This layer helps slow down the transit of the food through the stomach. As a result, you feel full for a long duration, thereby limiting your food consumption (3), (4).

  • Acts As A Laxative

Being constipated and bloated for days can increase stress in the body and cause your metabolism to slow down. Isabgol or psyllium is a home remedy that has been used as a laxative since ages to relieve constipation. The insoluble fiber present in the psyllium husk helps draw water from the body and adds bulk to the stool, thereby improving gut movement (5). Click here to know more about high fiber foods for weight loss.

  • Improves Lipid Profile

Consuming psyllium husk can help improve the blood lipid profile and fat distribution. Researchers from New Zealand conducted a study on 47 15-16-year-old participants. The participants consumed 6 g of psyllium husk for 6 weeks. Their body composition, insulin sensitivity, lipid profile, and blood pressure were measured. The fiber in the psyllium husk helped the participants reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol and fat (by 4%) (6).

  • Reduces Cholesterol

Consuming psyllium husk also helps reduce cholesterol. Scientists at the Washington State University conducted an experiment with seven participants. They were on 21 g/day psyllium husk for 3 weeks. By the end of the third week, the total cholesterol was considerably low (7). Psyllium husk may also be effective in lowering cholesterol in postmenopausal women (8).

  • Improves Glucose Homeostasis

The soluble fiber present in the psyllium husk not only increases satiety but also improves glucose homeostasis. In a study, type 2 diabetes patients were supplemented with psyllium husk for 8 weeks, which improved their insulin levels, glucose tolerance, and metabolism (9).

  • Cleanses The Colon

As mentioned before, the insoluble fiber present in the husk draws water from the body into the large intestine, which helps add bulk to the stool. This helps to cleanse the colon by improving bowel movement. And once your colon is cleansed, your metabolism will improve and help you burn calories for energy.

  • Lowers Blood Glucose

By increasing satiety levels in the body, psyllium husk also helps lower blood glucose levels. This, in turn, prevents insulin spikes in the blood. A study published in the British Medical Journal showed that due to the slowing down of the transit time of the food, the blood glucose levels did not rise suddenly after a meal (10).

There are many ways that psyllium husk aids weight loss. But how do you consume it to lose weight? Scroll down to find out.

How To Consume Psyllium Husk

How To Consume Psyllium Husk Pinit

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You can consume psyllium or isabgol in the following ways:

  • Mix psyllium powder in a glass of warm water. Add a tablespoon of lime juice and drink it.
  • Mix psyllium husk in half a glass of water and drink it immediately. Follow it up with another glass of water.
  • Add psyllium husk to cakes, smoothies, and pancakes to consume it in innovative ways.

Now, the main question is, how much psyllium should you consume? Check out the answer in the next section.

How Much Psyllium Husk Should You Take

You may consume the recommended dosage as per the bottle. According to the Harvard Medical School, you need to consume 10-20 grams of psyllium husk per day with 8 ounces of water to lower cholesterol (11).

Another study showed that 20 g per day might be the optimum dosage of psyllium husk for preventing constipation (12).

We suggest that you take your doctor’s opinion before deciding the dosage.

So, what’s the best time to consume psyllium husk or isabgol? It’s all explained below.

Best Time To Take Psyllium Or Isabgol For Weight Loss

The best time to consume psyllium husk or isabgol for weight loss is in the morning before breakfast or at night before going to bed.

Tip: Do not consume it right before or after meals.

Apart from relieving constipation and aiding weight loss, there are other benefits of consuming psyllium husk. Find out what they are in the following section.

Other Benefits

Other Benefits Pinit

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  • Helps improve heart health by lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol.
  • Relieves acidity by preventing excess acid formation in the gut.
  • Helps improve digestion.
  • Helps patients with diabetes type 2 by lowering insulin and glucose levels.
  • Helps treat diarrhea.
  • The fiber in the husk helps improve the number and variety of good gut bacteria.

However, psyllium husk has a few side effects that you should be aware of. Take a look.

Side Effects

  • Consuming too much psyllium husk to lose weight quickly can lead to diarrhea, bloating, and inflammation of the stomach lining.
  • May aggravate IBS/IBD and stomach ulcers.
  • You may find it difficult to swallow it.

Here are some more tips.

Tips

  • Check if you are allergic to psyllium husk.
  • Do not consume it if you are pregnant or suffer from kidney disease.
  • Start with a very low dosage (half teaspoon with a glass of water).
  • Always consult your doctor before taking any laxative for weight loss.

Conclusion

Psyllium husk or isabgol is a traditional medicine for treating constipation and gut problems. It helps boost the metabolism by clearing your colon and improving gut function, which, in turn, helps burn fat. However, without a balanced diet and regular workout routine, you will not see any results.

Taking laxatives on a regular basis for weight loss is not good for your health and should be avoided. You may use them in the initial phase when you are constipated and bloated and need to kick-start your weight loss. Discuss with your doctor before moving ahead. Cheers!

References

  1. Psyllium (Plantago ovata) Husk: A Wonder Food for Good Health”, International Journal of Science and Research.
  2. The gel-forming polysaccharide of psyllium husk (Plantago ovata Forsk).”, US National Library of Medicine
  3. Evidence-Based Approach to Fiber Supplements and Clinically Meaningful Health Benefits, Part 2”, US National Library of Medicine
  4. Dietary fiber and satiety: the effects of oats on satiety”, US National Library of Medicine
  5. Diets for Constipation”, US National Library of Medicine
  6. Psyllium Supplementation in Adolescents Improves Fat Distribution & Lipid Profile: A Randomized, Participant-Blinded, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Trial”, US National Library of Medicine
  7. Three-week psyllium-husk supplementation: effect on plasma cholesterol concentrations, fecal steroid excretion, and carbohydrate absorption in men.”, US National Library of Medicine
  8.  “Serum lipid responses to psyllium fiber: differences between pre- and post-menopausal, hypercholesterolemic women”, US National Library of Medicine
  9. Soluble fibers from psyllium improve glycemic response and body weight among diabetes type 2 patients (randomized control trial)”, US National Library of Medicine
  10. Dietary fibres, fibre analogues, and glucose tolerance: importance of viscosity.”, US National Library of Medicine
  11. Ask the doctor: How much psyllium is needed to lower cholesterol?”, Harvard Medical School
  12. Optimum dosage of ispaghula husk in patients with irritable bowel syndrome: correlation of symptom relief with whole gut transit time and stool weight.”, US National Library of Medicine
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