If you have considered the benefits of using psyllium seed husk as a healthy baking ingredient or dietary supplement to aid in detoxification, digestion, or colon cleansing then you are less likely to be unaware of the risks sometimes associated with psyllium seed husk and products containing it. For other readers who are unfamiliar with the uses and cautionary information we offer this brief summary of the positive and negative aspects of psyllium seed husks.
Psyllium seed husks are precisely what the name implies. These remnant pieces of the seeds come from a plant believed to originate from lands which lie along the Mediterranean Sea. Today the plant is easily grown in many countries that have appropriate climate though Pakistan and India account for a great deal more of the production than others do. Medicinal use of these seeds is believed to predate the early modern period of history. Current day uses of products that derive from psyllium seed husks include foods such as ice cream and breakfast cereal, dietary supplements, and over the counter medications. The psyllium seed husk is also used alone at various stages of processing as a dietary supplement for gastrointestinal cleansing and detoxification.
In 1998 the FDA announced that it was confirming the previously suggested health attribute of human consumption of psyllium seed husk. Specifically the FDA cleared future labeling which would attribute reduced risks of coronary heart disease (CHD) when psyllium seed husk as a food ingredient is ingested along with a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Since then various over the counter medications and food products have lauded psyllium seed husk’s health benefits. Today in the U.S. we import more psyllium seed husk than any other single nation in the world. Even in the medical community it has been suggested that diabetic patients may benefit from using products containing psyllium seed husk. With all this good information where are is the downside of psyllium seed husk products? Though the negative aspects may truly take little away from the positives they amount to serious health concerns when psyllium seed husk is used without proper caution.
Here are the things you should know before using it.
The greatest risk for someone ingesting psyllium seed husk as a central or solo ingredient can be choking either due to an allergic reaction or a lack of sufficient water consumed when taking it. The expansion that occurs when these products encounter moisture is great, great enough in some cases to block the airway, restricting breathing. Whether chocking occurs or an allergic reaction triggers anaphylaxis the risk of serious harm is very real and so the safest way to use psyllium seed husk products is with the advice of a physician.
There are also some health risks to consider if you plan to use psyllium seed husks to cleanse your colon. When using products specifically to cleanse the colon it is always best to consult your primary care doctor anyway but with this type of cleansing there are possible risks such as a blockage of the digestive tract. Benefits of colon cleansing can be excellent but psyllium seed husks have sometimes been known to complicate preexisting conditions in the digestive system. For this reason consulting a physician is wise, particularly if you have ever had problems with your intestines. Even after swallowing the psyllium seed husk product safely there is still a need to drink the recommended amount of water. Your doctor can explain what is appropriate and really it’s important to talk with a physician prior to beginning this type of regimen even if psyllium seed husk is not the intended dietary supplement or medication ingredient.
Since an allergy to psyllium may not have already been discovered you should watch for signs of allergic reactions if you begin eating foods with psyllium seed husk in them. Allergic reactions can start out mild and then increase in intensity each time you expose your body to the allergen. To understand the signs you might be missing talk with your physician about ways to detect food allergies or research them on your own. Family members or friends may also be able to help by sharing their experiences with allergic reactions to psyllium seed husk or other food products.
It certainly isn’t necessary to think that psyllium seed husk is a risk to your health but with so many possible concerns your doctor’s advice is indispensable.