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Psyllium Husk and Kidney Disease

author image Rachel Nall
Rachel Nall began writing in 2003. She is a former managing editor for custom health publications, including physician journals. She has written for The Associated Press and "Jezebel," "Charleston," "Chatter" and "Reach" magazines. Nall is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Tennessee.
Psyllium Husk and Kidney Disease
Talk to your doctor about taking psyllium husk if you have kidney disease. Photo Credit: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images

Psyllium husk is a high-fiber laxative you can take to add bulk to your stool. When you take psyllium husk powder -- also simply referred to as psyllium -- the components attract water to your stool, making it easier to pass, according to the University of Michigan Health System. Although psyllium husk can help to promote bowel regularity, taking psyllium is not typically recommended for those with kidney disease. This is because psyllium can be high in nutrients such as magnesium that should be avoided with chronic kidney disease. Always talk to your physician before taking psyllium to relieve irregularity to ensure it is safe for your condition.

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Diet and Kidney Disease

Those with chronic kidney disease or CKD experience a gradual slowing in functioning of the kidneys. The kidneys serve as your body’s filtration system, regulating the amount of sodium, phosphorus, potassium and more in your blood and excreting the excess in your urine. When your kidney function is compromised, your kidneys are no longer able to filter fluids and minerals effectively, according to the National Kidney Foundation. As a result, your physician likely will recommend a diet that restricts fluids and minerals your kidneys filter.

Psyllium and Minerals

Several aspects of psyllium might not fit well with a kidney disease diet. The first consideration is that certain psyllium brands might be high in potassium, sodium and magnesium, according to the National Kidney Foundation. The kidneys are responsible for filtering these minerals, and consuming psyllium powders high in these minerals can overload your kidneys. If your physician does give you the OK to take psyllium powder, ensure your particular brand contains mineral levels that align with your recommended kidney disease diet.

Psyllium and Fluids

Another difficulty with psyllium and kidney disease is that psyllium often should be consumed with one to two glasses of water to enhance absorption, according to the University of Michigan Health System. When you have kidney disease, however, you often are subject to fluid restrictions because your kidneys cannot properly filter, according to the National Kidney Foundation. This might make taking in enough water for psyllium to be effective a challenge.


Because of restrictions on high-potassium fruits, vegetables and grains that often contain fiber and fluid restrictions, constipation can often be an unwanted side effect associated with kidney disease, according to the National Kidney Foundation. If this is true for you, talk to your physician about alternative treatments to relieve constipation besides psyllium. A number of constipation-relieving products are on the market that do not require fluids as psyllium does.

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