Psyllium husk powder is made by grinding up the outer coating of psyllium seeds. It is used as a nutritional supplement because it has a very high quantity of fiber. The fibers in psyllium husk powder are highly absorptive and, according to some experts, they can swell to more than 40 times their size if they are exposed to liquid. This absorptive quality means that people can use the powder to improve bowel movement performance and make their stomachs feel fuller. The powder is also used as a way to generally increase the fiber intake in a person's diet, and sometimes it is used for cleansing diets.
One of the primary uses of psyllium husk powder is to help improve constipation problems. It has the potential to greatly reduce the firmness of bowel movements and help flush out the colon. Some people also claim that it can help clean the toxins out of a person’s digestive tract.
When taking psyllium husk powder, timing is generally considered important, along with quantity. Most experts recommend about three doses per day when using it for some specific purpose like constipation. When using it just for general nutritional purposes, the normal recommendation is two doses. The main approach to taking the powder is to mix a dose with some kind of fruit juice or other liquid.
The fiber percentage in psyllium husk powder is generally much higher than most carbohydrate-based foods. Almost 90 percent of the carbohydrates in psyllium husk are from fiber content, which means that it can work well for many different kinds of diets. Most diets that specify low-carbohydrate levels make exceptions for foods that have extremely high fiber levels. This is because people don’t digest fiber content the same way they do other carbohydrates, and experts don’t believe it contributes to weight gain.
Fiber does make the stomach feel fuller, which is one of the reasons people sometimes add psyllium husk powder to their diets. The fact that it increases in size as it absorbs liquid makes the powder especially effective for this. If a person eats a small quantity of the powder and then drinks some water, it can swell in the stomach and take up a lot of space. This can make people feel like they’ve eaten a lot more food than they actually have, and they may unconsciously reduce their daily food intake, which can lead to weight loss.