Here’s a great question from a reader about whether or not psyllium husk causes absorption issues when taken with food. There are two pieces of science in play here so let’s get right into it… Question:
I have a question that I’m hoping you can clarify. I’ve heard mixed messages on psyllium husk powder…one thing says to never have it with food because it binds with the nutrients before your body can absorb them. Other info says to consume it with food because it works better…
Do you have any thoughts on this?? do you recommend psyllium husk powder for colon cleansing on a regular basis, or would you suggest something else? Answer:
What you have here is two different camps who are using psyllium husk for two different reasons. So let me explain what’s happening here. First camp:
Psyllium husk for colon cleansing
If you get some psyllium husk and put a tablespoon or so into glass water and let it sit for a minute or so you’ll see what happens. If you ingest this gelatinous substance you will get bulkier stools, which is great for anyone who wants to clean out the pipes every now and again. I definitely recommend using psyllium husk for this purpose.
To address whether psyllium husk “binds” to nutrients or not, I have to admit I’ve never seen any studies about the lack of absorption with psyllium husk. I’ve heard many people say it, but never seen hard data that says this is true or not. I do know that high fiber foods can slow absorption, but whether or not the nutrients leave before your body can use them, I think is questionable. I think this is a theory based on the observed properties outside of the body–like in the glass experiment above.
But, if anyone has any solid scientific data out there, I’d like to see it Please go ahead and post it in the comments section. Second Camp:
Psyllium husk for weight loss, blood sugar regulation
The second camp HAS done studies on psyllium husk and absorption, but in this case their studies are based on blood sugar levels while taking psyllium husk. This camp has shown that adding psyllium husk to the diet just before meals slows the absorption of sugar into the blood and doesn’t cause insulin spikes due to high blood sugar. The information on this is pretty telling and Dr. Michael Murray’s book, “Hunger Free Forever” is the last one I read based on this type of usage.
So as the absorption of blood sugar slows, since there is more fiber in the diet, people can lose weight as well as keep their blood sugar in check.
I hope that helps. Again, if anyone has some hard data about absorption and psyllium I’d love to see it. Please click here and scroll down to the bottom to post it here if it applies.
Regardless, if you’re eating a highly nutrient dense diet, mainly raw and filled with good organic fruits and vegetables, you’d have little to worry about.
As for recommendations, I like Jon Barron’s supplement line Baseline Nutritionals. You can click here to take a look at his colon cleanse or search on Google and find them there!