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Get on Track with Better Living

Find information, tips, and resources on managing your diabetes

Live a healthier, fuller life by learning more about the types of diabetes, potential complications, and ways to receive insurance coverage.

Psyllium Husk Helps with Blood Glucose and Intestinal Issues

Native to India, the psyllium husk comes from a blonde plant known as Plantago ovata. It is primarily used as laxative; however, it can also reduce blood glucose levels in people with diabetes.

The herb possesses between 10-30% of soluble fiber known as mucilage. Mucilage is a sticky substance that absorbs water and expands into the small intestines. This process helps slow sugar absorption in the pancreas, causing a steadier rise in your glucose levels after a meal. For people with diabetes, this is important because they typically experience abnormally high glucose levels after eating. By mucilage taking up room in the stomach, it can also aid weight loss by prolonging the feeling of fullness.

In addition to slowing sugar absorption, psyllium husk reduces LDL cholesterol levels. For every gram of psyllium husk you ingest, your LDL cholesterol decreases by 1.1 mg/dL. This is beneficial for people with diabetes because they are at risk for several heart-related illnesses including stroke, heart attack, and cardiovascular disease. By reducing your body's LDL cholesterol levels, psyllium husk can prevent clogged arteries. However, it does not have an effect on HDL levels. This could be seen as a downside since HDL cholesterol rids your passageways of build up caused by LDL cholesterol.

Due to the richness of fiber in psyllium husk, the herbal supplement can also treat common intestinal issues like irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea, and constipation. Psyllium husk may also reduce your risk for colon cancer. Recent studies have shown that a diet high in fiber can prevent this type of cancer.

You can purchase psyllium husk at your local grocery store or health food store. Psyllium husk most commonly comes in powder form; however, you can buy cereals and other supplements that contain psyllium husk as one of the main ingredients. Depending on your doctor's recommendation, the dosage of psyllium husk ranges from 1 teaspoon three times a day to 1 tablespoon twice daily. Adding the nutrient to a glass of juice or water is an easy way to reach your recommended amount.

For those taking some form of psyllium husk, it is important to drink a lot of water because the herbal supplement can cause dehydration. Consult your physician before introducing psyllium husk into your diet. Even though it may reduce your blood glucose levels, it should not replace the necessary medication, exercise and diet needed to sustain a healthy life while living with diabetes.