Psyllium and Absorption

  1. Lightbulb Psyllium and Absorption

    A few months back I asked a question regarding psyllium and absorption of nutrients in the body. I believe we established that rate of absorption would be no doubt slower but I think it was brought up that psyllium may actually block the absorption of nutrients. I figured that after getting mixed replies and thinking about it again today that I would go ahead and snoop around the intertubes myself.

    "Does Psyllium Husk for Colon Cleansing Cause Absorption Issues?"
    from: Does Psyllium Husk for Colon Cleansing Cause Absorption Issues? The Renegade Health Show
    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…


    Hi Kevin,

    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?


    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!

    Live Awesome!
    So that's one thing I found regarding the issue. It has eased my tensions regarding psyllium + bcaa's or psyllium and food in general. If anyone has any conflicting or additional information please include it here.
    "I am legally blind and if I can Squat,deadlift and over all get myself to the gym then anyone can get their a$$ in gear and get strong!!" - malleus25

  2. Unbreakable
    David Dunn's Avatar

    Just thinking out loud for a second.

    We know that you need to mix it in water or liquid of choice and drink it before it become a gelatin like glob. Suppose now that you drink it while it is that liquid form and it is in the stomach. While it sits there it will continue to draw up as much fluid it can until it is saturated. Suppose the actives of a dissolved capsule or tablet is mixed in with those stomach fluids that are being draw or leached by the psyllium.

    I guess the issue really has a lot to do with where the active needs or is designed to be absorbed. I assume that some are stomach some are small intestines etc.

    If it is the stomach does that leaching prevent the stomach from absorption. Once it passes through the stomach into the intestine is the intestine able to leach or absorb it from the gelatin glob as it passes through.

    My thinking is that if actives are taken separately from your psyllium intake there may not be any issue at all to be concerned about.

    Obviously you were talking about nutrients and quite honestly unless I have symptoms of nutrient deficiency or have date to proves so I am not at all concerned. What does concern me is wasting actives or supplements and the likes by consuming them and psyllium at or about the same time. Again my protocol when using psyllium has me doing so at different intervals. But my opinion is still inconclusive.

    So get back to your research
    All my life I've never stopped to worry 'bout a thing,
    Open up and shout it out, an' never try to sing,
    Wondering if I've done it wrong,
    Will this depression last for long, wont you tell me,
    Where have all the good times gone.

  3. Quote Originally Posted by B5150 View Post
    Suppose the actives of a dissolved capsule or tablet is mixed in with those stomach fluids that are being draw or leached by the psyllium.

    I guess the issue really has a lot to do with where the active needs or is designed to be absorbed. I assume that some are stomach some are small intestines etc.
    Good point, and the NIH website has this disclaimer regarding psyllium:

    Psyllium-containing products may delay gastric emptying time and reduce absorption of some herbs, supplements, vitamins, or minerals. Absorption of calcium may ... be affected. Other agents should be taken one hour before or a few hours after psyllium to avoid potential interactions.
    And then from an additional bit of interesting information:

    Prescription Drugs

    Psyllium seed may interfere with the body’s absorption of lithium, which is often used to treat bipolar disorder; and carbamazepine (Tegretol), which is used to treat epilepsy. If psyllium is taken at the same time as one of these drugs, the effect of the lithium or carbamazepine may be decreased and the condition may not be treated adequately.

    On the other hand, psyllium's possible blood sugar-lowering effect may increase the effects of insulin and oral drugs for diabetes, such as:

    glimepiride (Amaryl)
    glipizide (Glucotrol XL)
    glyburide (Glynase)
    metformin (Glucophage)

    Non-prescription Drugs

    Taking psyllium may interfere with the body’s absorption of vitamins (such as vitamin B12) and minerals (such as calcium and iron) from supplements or foods, making fewer nutrients available for the body to use. If multivitamins or vitamin-mineral combinations are being taken at the same time as psyllium, the supplement should be taken more than one hour before psyllium or more than 4 hours after psyllium.
    And I think I'm starting to branch off topic a little bit, I'm more curious about psyllium and food than I am psyllium and supplements/drugs. Oh well, it's still interesting.
    "I am legally blind and if I can Squat,deadlift and over all get myself to the gym then anyone can get their a$$ in gear and get strong!!" - malleus25

  4. I've been wondering the same questions as i have usually 2 servings a day. I think it is better to be safe and take the food or supps a while before. I usually drink a glass mid afternoon an hr or two after lunch and then right before bed, this way I don't have to worry as much about it blocking nutrient absorption. I think we need some more conclusive data though to really know for sure.

  5. Yeah, I used Psyllium while bulking for "damage control" after cheating, but never thought that much about the fiber's interaction with supps. Then again, I wasn't taking hardly any supplements on my last bulk.
    Wonder how insulin-mimetics would respond when psyllium is introduced? Like p-slin, neovar or ap, wait 20 mins, few tbsp of psyllium, followed by a meal. Be interesting to see if the supp and the psy synergize in serum glucose regulation, or the psy negates the benefit of the pill.



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