Psyllium husk is a source of fiber found in most supplements. Fiber is good, right? Haven’t we all heard how necessary it is for keeping blood sugar levels low and feeding the beneficial bacteria in our guts?
Soluble vs. Insoluble Fiber
Yes, but that’s soluble fiber. Psyllium husk is almost entirely insoluble fiber. We can’t digest it and our gut bugs can’t do anything with it. It passes right through us and bulks up our stool because none of it can get absorbed. For those with digestive issues like IBS, consuming insoluble fiber can actually make their condition worse, instead of better. If you’re healthy, there’s probably nothing wrong with consuming psyllium husk, but it’s not beneficial either.
Psyllium seed, on the other hand, contains soluble fiber. That’s the good stuff our gut bacteria use to create short chain fatty acids like butyrate, and that’s where most of the health benefits come from. High levels of butyrate are linked to increased insulin sensitivity, and may even be able to help protect against cancer (source).
A Health Fad
So don’t fall for those supplements that promote their psyllium husk content. They won’t help you, and they may even be harmful if you already have digestive issues. Most of us don’t go around eating nuts and seeds with their husks. There’s a reason we discard the tough fibrous shells. It’s because they’re too difficult to eat and that goes for psyllium husks as well.