Supplementing with psyllium husk powder is a great way to increase your fiber intake, relieve bloating and constipation, feed your healthy gut bugs, and curb your appetite in between meals. Yet too large a dose of psyllium at one time can clog up the bowels and worsen symptoms. Choosing the correct dosage and drinking it with a lot of water are essentials to prevent it from clumping in the intestines.
Here’s what I recommend, to start:
- Take 1 teaspoon of finely ground psyllium husk once a day in the morning, mixed with at least 8 ounces of liquid and followed by an additional 8-ounce glass of water. You may feel full and even more bloated the first few days, but after a week your body should be used to the increased fiber.
- After a week, add a second teaspoon in the middle of the day.
- After two weeks, add a third teaspoon at bedtime.
Be sure to follow each dose with an additional glass of water. If you’re going to mix psyllium with something other than water, consider adding a little splash of juice or lemonade, but don’t use too much juice or it will be too thick. Also, you need to drink it briskly. If you sip it slowly, it tends to congeal and is hard to get down.
What brand of psyllium should you buy? The kind that tastes good enough that you’ll use it regularly. The psyllium husk I recommend is the kind my hard-core patients use – it’s pure ground psyllium husk without any flavoring or additives. The particles are a little bigger, it has a kind of birdseed consistency, and it doesn’t dissolve that well, but it has a very robust effect on the bowels. A more finely ground, smoother-texture, flavored psyllium is what a lot of other patients use. It dissolves more easily and tastes pretty good, although I’m not a fan of the artificially sweetened versions or the kind with lots of other additives.
If you’re constipated and also trying to lose a few pounds, a dose of ground psyllium husk three times a day will keep you full in between meals and is a healthy way to curb your appetite and treat your constipation at the same time.
By: Dr. Robynne Chutkan