Pros & Cons of Metamucil

Psyllium seed husks or isabgula
A spoon containing ground psyllium husks sits on a wooden table. (Image: konok1a/iStock/Getty Images)

Metamucil is a brand name for a fiber supplement containing psyllium seed husks, according to Drugs.com. Psyllium is created from the crushed seeds of Plantago ovata plants. Native to Asia, the Mediterranean and north Africa, Plantago ovata is now commonly grown in the U.S. as well as India and Pakistan.

Promotes Healthy Bowel Movements

Psyllium is used to treat occasional or chronic constipation, according to the American Cancer Society. Psyllium husk seeds absorb water and expand as they travel through your digestive system, where the psyllium acts as a bulk-forming laxative. Taking psyllium supplements can also improve stomach pain and diarrhea, according to MedlinePlus.

Choking Hazard

Psyllium supplements must be taken with ample amounts of water to prevent choking, according to Drugs.com. Take your psyllium with at least 8 oz. of water to help the fiber pass through your esophagus safely. Psyllium can swell in your throat without ample water, causing you to choke. If you experience choking every time you take psyllium, discontinue use and talk to your doctor.

Lowers Cholesterol Levels

Taking psyllium supplements may help you lower your cholesterol levels, according to MedlinePlus. If you have cholesterol levels that are mildly or moderately high, adding 10 to 12 g of psyllium seed husks to your diet daily for seven weeks can help reduce your cholesterol levels by five to 10 percent. Talk to your doctor about using psyllium to help reduce your cholesterol levels.

Habit Forming

Drugs.com warns that laxatives, such as psyllium seed husks, can be habit forming if taken for long periods of time. Long-term use of bulk forming laxatives could cause permanent damage to your digestive tract. Talk to your doctor to determine if daily psyllium use is safe for you.

Lowers Blood Sugar

Taking supplemental psyllium can reduce blood sugar levels if you suffer from diabetes, according to MedlinePlus. Take psyllium with your meals to experience the best blood sugar lowering benefits. Psyllium will not reduce your blood sugar levels if you do not have diabetes. Talk to your doctor to see if psyllium is a good choice to treat your diabetes.

Could Interfere with Medications

Drugs.com suggests taking psyllium two hours before or after taking other medications. Psyllium seed husks may make it more difficult for your body to absorb medications if you take fiber supplements and medications together. Avoid using psyllium supplements if you are taking prescription blood thinners. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist before adding psyllium supplements to your daily regimen to make sure the fiber won't interfere with your medications.

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