I discovered psylium husk powder at the health food store a while back when I was having troubles with constipation. Mixing it into my juice every morning has certainly done the trick, but I wonder if my body is getting addicted to it or something. Is psyllium husk safe to use every day?
— Regular Rita
Well Rita, I am happy that you found a workable solution to your problems, but let me step back and fill everyone in on psyllium husk. While psyllium is sold in health food stores as a bulk powder, it is also sold under the brand names Metamucil or Fiberall. Many women, like yourself, have issues with constipation and have been prescribed plant-derived psyllium husk to alleviate the problem. It contains 70 percent soluble fiber and is considered a bulk-forming laxative. To find out if psyllium husk is OK for long-term use,
Psyllium has been used for years to effectively treat constipation. It must be taken with plenty of water so it doesn't bulk up and block your esophagus, throat, or intestines. If a person takes too much, they can have excessive bloating, gas, or diarrhea.
One rounded tablespoon equals one serving of psyllium, which contains about three grams of fiber. While psyllium is safe to use to relieve temporary constipation, it shouldn't be used to treat chronic constipation. It's better to promote a healthy digestive system and lower cholesterol through regular exercise, and by obtaining enough fiber from your diet. Not only will fiber-rich foods keep you regular, but they'll offer vitamins and nutrients that you won't get from psyllium. One apple, one pear, a serving of whole grain cereal, or half an avocado will offer you the same amount of fiber as one serving of psyllium. So I'd try gradually phasing out the psyllium and phase in fresh fruits, veggies, and whole grains. Also try to cut out foods that may be preventing regularity.