What is it?
Psyllium seed husks absorb water in the stomach and form a large mass. This mass stimulates the bowel in people with constipation. In people with diarrhea, it can slow down the bowel and reduce bowel movements. This mass can also reduce the amount of cholesterol that is absorbed into the body.
Blond psyllium is commonly used as a stool softener in people with constipation and hemorrhoids. It is also used for diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), high cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes. It's used for many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these other uses.
How effective is it?
Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
The effectiveness ratings for BLOND PSYLLIUM are as follows:
- Constipation. Taking blond psyllium by mouth, alone or as a combination product, can relieve constipation and improve stool consistency.
Likely effective for...
- Heart disease. Blond psyllium is a soluble fiber. Eating foods high in soluble fiber as part of a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet can help prevent heart disease. You must eat at least 7 grams of psyllium husk daily to reduce the risk for heart disease.
- High levels of cholesterol or other fats (lipids) in the blood (hyperlipidemia). Taking blond psyllium by mouth reduces low density lipoprotein (LDL or "bad") cholesterol in people with mild to moderate high cholesterol. But it seems to be less effective in older people.
Possibly effective for...
- Diabetes. Taking blond psyllium by mouth can improve blood sugar control in people with diabetes. But it's not clear if it helps prevent diabetes.
- Diarrhea. Taking blond psyllium by mouth seems to reduce diarrhea symptoms.
- Hemorrhoids. Taking blond psyllium by mouth seems to relieve bleeding and pain in people with hemorrhoids.
- A long-term disorder of the large intestines that causes stomach pain (irritable bowel syndrome or IBS). Taking blond psyllium by mouth can relieve constipation and improve stomach pain, diarrhea, and overall well-being in people with IBS. It might take up to four weeks for it to help.
- Treating side effects of a drug called Orlistat (Xenical, Alli). Taking blond psyllium by mouth with each dose of orlistat seems to relieve orlistat side effects such as gas, stomach rumbling, stomach cramps, and oily spotting.
Possibly ineffective for...
- Non-cancerous growths in the large intestine and rectum (colorectal adenoma). Taking blond psyllium by mouth doesn't seem to reduce the risk of colorectal adenoma.
Is it safe?
Blond psyllium is likely unsafe when taken without enough fluids. It might cause choking or block the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.
When applied into the eye: Blond psyllium mucilage in eyedrops is possibly safe for most people.
When applied to the skin: There isn't enough reliable information to know if blond psyllium is safe or what the side effects might be.
Special precautions & warnings:Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Blond psyllium is likely safe when taken by mouth appropriately when pregnant or breast-feeding.
Growths in the large intestine and rectum (colorectal adenoma): Blond psyllium might increase the risk of new growths in people with a history of colorectal adenoma. People who have had this condition should avoid blond psyllium.
Gastrointestinal (GI) disorders: Don't use blond psyllium if you tend to develop hard stools in the rectum due to GI tract narrowing, obstruction, or conditions that can lead to obstruction, such as spastic bowel.
Allergy: Some people can have severe allergic reactions to blond psyllium. This is more likely in people who have been exposed to blond psyllium at work. Don't use blond psyllium if you are sensitive to it.
Phenylketonuria: Some blond psyllium preparations are sweetened with aspartame and should be avoided in patients with phenylketonuria.
Swallowing disorders: Do not use blond psyllium if you have problems swallowing. Blond psyllium might increase your risk of choking.
Are there interactions with medications?
- Carbamazepine (Tegretol)
- Blond psyllium contains large amounts of fiber. Fiber can decrease how much carbamazepine the body absorbs. This might decrease the effects of carbamazepine.
- Blond psyllium contains large amounts of fiber. Fiber can decrease how much lithium the body absorbs. To avoid this interaction, take blond psyllium at least one hour after lithium.
- Metformin (Glucophage)
- Blond psyllium might change how much metformin the body absorbs. This might increase or decrease the effects of metformin. To avoid this interaction, take blond psyllium 30-60 minutes after taking metformin.
- Olanzapine (Zyprexa)
- Blond psyllium contains large amounts of fiber. Fiber can decrease how much olanzapine the body absorbs. This might decrease the effects of olanzapine.
- Digoxin (Lanoxin)
- Blond psyllium is high in fiber. Fiber can decrease the absorption and decrease the effects of digoxin. To avoid this interaction, take digoxin one hour before or four hours after blond psyllium.
- Ethinyl estradiol
- Ethinyl estradiol is a form of estrogen that's in some estrogen products and birth control pills. Psyllium might decrease how much ethinyl estradiol the body absorbs. But this is unlikely to be a big concern.
- Medications taken by mouth (Oral drugs)
- Psyllium contains large amounts of fiber. Fiber can decrease, increase, or have no effect on how much medicine the body absorbs. Taking psyllium along with medicine you take by mouth may impact the effects of your medicine. To avoid this interaction, take psyllium 30-60 minutes after medications you take by mouth.
Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?
- Taking blond psyllium with iron supplements can reduce the amount of iron that the body absorbs. To avoid this interaction, take iron supplements one hour before or four hours after psyllium.
- Psyllium seems to slightly reduce the amount of riboflavin that the body absorbs. But this probably isn't a big concern.
Are there interactions with foods?
- Taking psyllium can make it difficult to digest fat from the diet. This can increase the amount of fat lost in the stool. Taking psyllium with meals over a long period of time might also affect nutrient absorption. In some cases, it might be necessary to take vitamin or mineral supplements.
How is it typically used?
Blond psyllium is available in many different types of products, including cereals, breads, and snack bars. Metamucil is a well-studied, commonly used brand of blond psyllium. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what type of product and dose might be best for a specific condition.
To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.
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