Metamucil & Diabetes

Doctor Checking Glucose Level In Diabetic Patient
Metamucil psyllium can help control blood sugar and reduce cholesterol. (Image: AndreyPopov/iStock/Getty Images)

Metamucil is a fiber supplement brand that contains psyllium, a source of both soluble and insoluble fiber. Diabetes is a chronic disorder characterized by high blood sugar and cardiovascular complications. Increasing dietary fiber can help you manage diabetes and reduce your risk of complications. Consult your doctor about the benefits of Metamucil and diabetes.

Psyllium

Psyllium, also called isapgol and ispaghula, comes from the seed of the Plantago ovata plant that grows annually in silty and sandy soils in North Africa, the Mediterranean region and Asia, especially India and Pakistan. India exports over 85 percent of psyllium available on the global market and the United States is the world’s largest importer of the product. Psyllium is promoted as a bulk-fiber laxative that can be used to treat constipation. The soluble fiber content in psyllium may also reduce the amount of cholesterol you absorb from foods. The Food and Drug Administration approves a health claim that states, “Soluble fiber from foods such as psyllium, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, may reduce the risk of heart disease.” Metamucil psyllium is sold in powder, capsule, wafer and liquid forms.

Blood Sugar

Soluble fiber can help you manage your blood sugar. Soluble fiber slows down the absorption of sugars in food into your bloodstream, preventing spikes and enabling you to control your blood sugar. Research published in the "Annals of Pharmacotherapy" in November 2010, reports psyllium supplementation may be a therapeutic option for people with Type 2 diabetes who take medication, but experience elevated concentrations of blood sugar after meals. The results of the research showed 10.2 grams of psyllium daily effectively reduces blood sugar.

Cholesterol

High blood cholesterol is a risk factor for heart disease. Increasing dietary intake of soluble fiber can lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease in people with diabetes. Research published in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in June 2000 reports that psyllium lowers blood levels of total and low density lipoprotein cholesterol, the "bad" LDL cholesterol, by 4.7 percent and 6.7 percent, respectively, in patients with high cholesterol who consume 5.1 grams of psyllium daily for between 24 and 26 weeks.

Constipation

Diabetics who suffer from constipation can benefit from taking psyllium supplements. Research by scientists at the medical clinic at Krankenhaus Nordwest in Frankfurt, Germany, and published in "MMW Fortschritte der Medizin" in November 2007 discovered that up to 60 percent of patients with diabetes mellitus suffer from gastrointestinal tract symptoms, including constipation, that occur from disturbances of the autonomous nervous system. The scientists report that chronic constipation is a serious problem in diabetics and treatment should include long-term intake of laxatives, adequate amounts of liquids, dietary fiber and exercise.

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