Psyllium Seed Husk
Anyone concerned about their bowel health should hesitate to make a quick decision regarding the use of any herb or its seed or husk.
History of Psyllium Usage
Psyllium seed husk has been used for centuries as a remedy for constipation. Psyllium husks add considerable bulk to bowel movements. It also helps the stool assimilate much more water. Moisture eases the passage of contents through the intestinal tract into the colon, from which the formed stool is then expelled.
Psyllium seed husk has often been added to laxatives, because it encourages movement of the intestinal muscles. Scientists have discovered using Psyllium seed husk can add as much as 5.9 grams to a stool’s weight. However, scientists have not yet determined the exact mode of action for this partially fermented dietary fiber.
Dangers of Psyllium Ingestion
Science has also not demonstrated conclusively why ingestion of the husk from the seeds of the Plantago psyllium plant leads to increased ambient moisture within the intestines. In fact, evidence supports the theory that ingestion of Psyllium seed husks serves to diminish the levels of some hormones. Some health experts suspect the body retains moisture as a defensive reaction for eliminating the hormone-depleting husks.
Scientists also remain in the dark concerning the mechanism by which Psyllium seed husk manages to decrease serum (good) cholesterol. It appears the husks help intestinal contents absorb more cholesterol as well, to a degree exceeding that absorbed by other fibers. Still, no explanation satisfactory reveals why the absorption of an additional amount of cholesterol leads to noticeable decreases in levels of serum cholesterol.
One should always bear in mind it’s unwise to ignore confusion about a substance’s mode of action, even when a clear benefit can be derived in the same instance. For example, during the 1960’s, many European women used Thalidomide as a sleep aide. Because Thalidomide’s mode of action had not been thoroughly studied, those women did not realize it would harm a developing fetus. A large number of these mothers subsequently gave birth to hideously deformed babies.
Lack of Full Disclosure
Some of these facts concerning remain conspicuously absent from online media touting the benefits of Psyllium seek husk as a laxative or dietary supplement. For example, some manufacturers of laxatives make only passing reference (if any) to the fact some preparations of Psyllium also contain sugar. Obviously, those preparations should not be consumed by people with diabetes.
In rare instances, ingesting Psyllium seed husk has led to the development of an immunological response within certain body cells. Such a response triggers the production of antibodies and this leads to the potential for a severe allergic reaction.
Since arthritis has been linked to the occurrence of an immunological response, health professionals have reason to suspect long-term use of Psyllium seed husks could lead to the onset of arthritis. In fact, scientists now believe certain allergens can cause palindromic (intermittent) arthritis. At this point, scientists can’t rule out the inclusion of Psyllium seed husk in that list of allergens.
The link between ingestion of Psyllium seed husks and the possible development of intestinal inflammation should not go unmentioned either. On the contrary, this symptom deserves the greatest emphasis. Statistics indicate at least one million Americans currently suffer from some type of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
Such inflammations of the intestine can’t be healed by ingesting Psyllium seed husk. A careful analysis of the intestine’s behavior show the Psyllium seed husk might instead aggravate any existing inflammation. Certainly, an intestine working overtime to expel large amounts of fiber will not heal very quickly. Hence, anyone with an intestinal inflammation should avoid using any supplement containing Psyllium seed husk.
People with certain other bowel disorders should likewise refrain from using Psyllium seed husk. Anyone with a bowel obstruction will obviously derive no benefit from adding to the amount of material blocking the passage of waste through large intestine. No one suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) should subject their digestive system to the plant-based fiber within Psyllium seed husk.
Should You Use Psyllium Seek Husk?
The treatments for various bowel disorders do not remain fixed or absolute. These treatment methods change frequently, hinting at modern medicine’s inability to pinpoint an ideal way to promote proper bowel function. For example, about 30 years ago a Pennsylvania woman who had Diverticulitis received instructions from her doctor to avoid foods high in fiber. About 10 years ago, physicians began recommending high fiber foods for the same types of patients. We can therefore conclude it took the medical industry 20 odd years to figure out that fiber is good for you!
Such slow maturation of medical practices demonstrates no single approach can promise optimal bowel function for every individual. This concept underlines the wisdom of moving with caution, especially if considering using Psyllium seed husk to alleviate constipation and other digestive problems.