How Effective is Psyllium for Weight Loss?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

Psyllium, like any weight loss aid, can assist people who are trying to slim down if it is taken correctly and complements a healthy diet and regular exercise. There are two ways in which psyllium assists with weight loss. If it is taken before meals, it can help to create a feeling of fullness, reducing the amount of food that is consumed. Psyllium is also a natural colon cleanser, helping to remove waste that has built up in the colon, which can help in the process of shedding some weight.

Psyllium is typically used as an appetite suppressor to help with weight loss.
Psyllium is typically used as an appetite suppressor to help with weight loss.

According to some reports, psyllium can help some people to lose between 4 and 10 pounds (between about 1.5 and 4 kilos) in impacted fecal matter alone. Before using psyllium for weight loss, however, individuals should consult with a medical professional. This is especially true for people who have a history of intestinal problems. There are some medications that may be adversely affected when combined with psyllium as well.

Psyllium supplements are taken with plenty of water 30 minutes before a meal.
Psyllium supplements are taken with plenty of water 30 minutes before a meal.

Psyllium husk is used as a appetite suppressant because, when it is combined with water, this natural product can swell ten to 20 times its natural size. In order to suppress the user's appetite and reduce his or her food intake, he or she usually needs to take the supplement with plenty of water about 30 minutes before having a meal. There are a number of kinds of psyllium products on the market, but those who are using psyllium for weight loss will probably do best with the husk in a loose form instead of in a capsule because it will expand in the stomach more quickly.

Psyllium husk.
Psyllium husk.

There are also some reports that suggest a third way in which psyllium might work to promote weight loss. By causing the body to produce bowel movements on a more frequent basis, it may reduce the amount of time that the body has to absorb fats that have been ingested. This being said, the best way to use it for weight loss is to combine it with a diet that is low in fat. Without making good dietary choices, psyllium may only work as a colon cleanser and not as a weight loss aid.

A digital bathroom scale may be used to track weight loss.
A digital bathroom scale may be used to track weight loss.
Psyllium can help people meet their weight loss goals.
Psyllium can help people meet their weight loss goals.
Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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Discussion Comments


Psyllium is just natural fiber - not a weight loss pill and not unlike bran. Fiber is great for you!


@anon963888. Just because a substance is "from nature" doesn't mean it's safe, or that it's good for you, or even that it works. Cocaine is a natural plant-derived substance too, you know,

Azuza is right to be cautious. There are thousands of "natural" weight loss products on the market, and very few of them, if any, work as advertised. At best, psyllium is a dietary aid -- it helps some people lose weight by giving them a full feeling that suppresses appetite. It is certainly not a miracle drug (not that the article claims it is).


@Azura: It's not a drug. It's from nature. And I think it's good.


@Azuza: What makes it so hard to do that? Why do millions of people overeat themselves sick? What's so impossible about getting up and jogging in place or dancing around the bedroom? And why can't we drink a bottle of water at the top of every hour?


Psyllium helped me lose twenty pounds. I have a hard time controlling what I eat, so with three tablespoons of Psyllium mixed into a cup of water three, and sometimes four times a day, I eat less and lose about two pounds per week. It reduces my appetite and that hunger I get when I try to get by with just eating a salad for lunch.

PS. Phen-fen is a mood altering drug that according to an online article, injures heart valves. Psyllium is a plant with no known serious issues than any other fibrous plant.


@Monika - I agree, this stuff sounds great! I have a few friends that have been looking to lose weight safely and naturally. I think I'm going to recommend that they check this stuff out and maybe also talk to their doctors about it before taking it.

Unlike some supplements I've heard about, this stuff seems like it could actually help you lose weight. Obviously if you fill up your stomach a little bit, you won't be as hungry, and you won't be able to eat as much. Cutting down your portions can help you lose weight.

And, making sure all your system are functioning, so to speak, can also help you lose a little bit of weight and just be healthier in general. I think this stuff sounds like it could be really great for someone who's trying to lose weight and needs a little bit of help.


@Azuza - I tend to agree with you. However, at least psyllium doesn't sound like it would be harmful. I could think of a lot more dangerous ways to try and lose weight, like going on one of those detox diets for weight loss where you only eat fruit or something like that!


I don't have any experience with psyllium husk weight loss, but I always feel kind of suspicious of any supplement that claims to help you lose weight. I have a lot of friends that have tried a lot of different weight loss pills, and none of them every really work. Or, they end up doing more harm than good (remember the whole fen-fen fiasco?)

If you want to lose weight, eat a healthy diet, drink water, and get lots of exercise. Stop looking for some kind of miracle drug to make yourself lose weight!

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