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Psylium Seed Husk
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I would like to find something that I can take that will help "bulk" me up... The immodium is helping somewhat but I am still loose.... A long time ago, before diagnosis, I used to take psylium seed husk. Is it from a grain that is forbidden? Is it gluten free?

Thanks for any help!

Karen

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I am cutting and pasting a article I found. Hopefully this helps you.

By Pat Kendall, Ph.D., R.D.

Food Science and Human Nutrition Specialist

Colorado State University Cooperative Extension

June 10, 1998

Are you contemplating eating oatmeal for breakfast to get cholesterol-lowering benefits? Well, there's a new kid on the block, psyllium. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently granted approval for manufacturers of products that contain the soluble fiber found in psyllium seed husk to put heart-healthy claims on their labels.

Psyllium, a plant primarily cultivated in India, is known as blond or Indian psyllium. Its seeds are rich in soluble fiber extracted from the dried seed husks. Grandma was onto something when she chided "eat your roughage". It's that roughage, found exclusively in plant foods, that plays an important role in health.

Fiber comes in both soluble and insoluble forms. Besides psyllium, other foods rich in soluble fibers include oats, citrus fruits, barley, apples and dried beans. Those high in insoluble fibers include wheat bran, the skins of fruits and vegetables, beans, berries and seeds. Both types promote laxation and increase bulk.

Besides laxation, soluble fiber has been studied extensively for its role in reducing blood cholesterol levels. This type of fiber has the ability to bind with bile acids. Bile acid, an important player in the digestion of fats, is made in our body from cholesterol. When bile acids are bound to fiber, they are excreted and demand that more cholesterol be converted to bile acids. This process lowers circulating blood cholesterol levels. The effect may be subtle, but even a small drop in blood cholesterol levels has shown to protect against heart disease.

Studies of oats were the first to show a definitive relationship between a specific food and reduced cholesterol levels. In 1997, the FDA allowed products that contain whole oats or soluble fiber from oats to make health claims on product labels about the association between oats and reduced heart disease risk. Since then, results from several well-controlled studies of psyllium seed husk have persuaded the FDA to add it to the list of cholesterol-lowering soluble fibers. The studies evaluated a daily intake of 10 grams of psyllium seed husk, equivalent to 7 grams of soluble fiber, among test subjects consuming a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Results showed significantly lower total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels among those ingesting the psyllium.

Watch for new product labels to hit markets soon. Claims will read: "The soluble fiber from psyllium seed husk in this product, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease." Only products that contain 1.7 grams of soluble fiber from psyllium seed husk per serving can carry the health claim on its label. Four servings of such a product throughout the day would equal the 7 grams of soluble fiber used in the studies. Currently, psyllium seed husk is found in Kellogg's Bran Buds cereal and in a variety of dietary supplements promoted for increased fiber intake and as aids for weight loss.

Because some foods that contain phylum seed husk can be difficult to swallow, foods carrying the claim may also need to carry a label advising to consume the food with adequate amounts of liquid and avoid eating the food if one has difficulty swallowing.

For more information, contact your local Colorado State University Cooperative Extension office.

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Updated Wednesday, June 09, 2004

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