Does Psyllium Husk for Colon Cleansing Cause Absorption Issues?

Monday Feb 18 | BY |
| Comments (8)

Here’s a great question from a reader about whether or not psyllium husk causes absorption issues when taken with food. There are two pieces of science in play here so let’s get right into it…


Hi Kevin,

I have a question that I’m hoping you can clarify. I’ve heard mixed messages on psyllium husk powder…one thing says to never have it with food because it binds with the nutrients before your body can absorb them. Other info says to consume it with food because it works better…

Do you have any thoughts on this?? do you recommend psyllium husk powder for colon cleansing on a regular basis, or would you suggest something else?


What you have here is two different camps who are using psyllium husk for two different reasons. So let me explain what’s happening here.

First camp: Psyllium husk for colon cleansing

If you get some psyllium husk and put a tablespoon or so into glass water and let it sit for a minute or so you’ll see what happens. If you ingest this gelatinous substance you will get bulkier stools, which is great for anyone who wants to clean out the pipes every now and again. I definitely recommend using psyllium husk for this purpose.

To address whether psyllium husk “binds” to nutrients or not, I have to admit I’ve never seen any studies about the lack of absorption with psyllium husk. I’ve heard many people say it, but never seen hard data that says this is true or not. I do know that high fiber foods can slow absorption, but whether or not the nutrients leave before your body can use them, I think is questionable. I think this is a theory based on the observed properties outside of the body–like in the glass experiment above.

But, if anyone has any solid scientific data out there, I’d like to see it 🙂 Please go ahead and post it in the comments section.

Second Camp: Psyllium husk for weight loss, blood sugar regulation

The second camp HAS done studies on psyllium husk and absorption, but in this case their studies are based on blood sugar levels while taking psyllium husk. This camp has shown that adding psyllium husk to the diet just before meals slows the absorption of sugar into the blood and doesn’t cause insulin spikes due to high blood sugar. The information on this is pretty telling and Dr. Michael Murray’s book, “Hunger Free Forever” is the last one I read based on this type of usage.

So as the absorption of blood sugar slows, since there is more fiber in the diet, people can lose weight as well as keep their blood sugar in check.

I hope that helps. Again, if anyone has some hard data about absorption and psyllium I’d love to see it. Please click here and scroll down to the bottom to post it here if it applies.

Regardless, if you’re eating a highly nutrient dense diet, mainly raw and filled with good organic fruits and vegetables, you’d have little to worry about.

As for recommendations, I like Jon Barron’s supplement line Baseline Nutritionals. You can click here to take a look at his colon cleanse or search on Google and find them there!

Live Awesome!

Kevin Gianni

Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.


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  1. frann says:

    This is interesting. What are your thoughts about use of psyllium husk by diabetics?

    In general, I am against artificial aids to weight loss, because if you use them you don’t educate yourself to eat properly, and you will end up putting the weight back on. As I’m sure you are aware, the main cause of obesity is dieting.

  2. Mandy says:

    In my non-medical professional opinion, I think the main issue with psyllium husks are because they can absorb so much and Psyllium seeds can swell 10-20 times their size in liquid, so I think psyllium might aborb some nutrients when taken together, if I, myself were to take any medications or supplements, I would wait a hour or two before or after taking psyllium husks. Psyllium is kind of a super fiber, laxitive, bowl lubricant that can help clean and tone the colon walls and if you do have a impactation of fecal matter stuck to your colon walls, by taking pysllium husks to help clean the colon, you will be able to absorb more nutrients. There are many benefits to taking psyllium, to know more about psyllium look up psyllium husk benefits.

  3. Trish says:

    I took bulk psyllium husk, and I didn’t mix it with water, I almost chocked to death when I swollowed it. The next day I started having abdominal pain. I’ve had a cat scan and ultrasound, I have a pancreatic cyst, taht is rare in someone who isn’t an alcoholic. I wonder if this blocked my pancreatic ducts, which I now may need surgery for. Usually the cyst dosent cause pain everyday, made it blocked something else.

  4. donna says:

    I think it would be good to have a physiologist explain how psyllium does NOT absorb medications or nutrients. I’d like to know the actual behavior of the cells and what happens as the psyllium travels to the stomach, through the intestines and through the colon. What is absorbed, how is it absorbed, and how are certain things not absorbed. Considering the specialized functions that go on in our gut, I’m sure there’s a very simple explantion out there. Ha. Maybe my college physiology book can help me figure it out!

    what I’ve read so far seems to point to psyllium doing a lot of the absorption int he colon; if that’s the case, then nutrients and medicine are absorbed by the intestinal walls prior to that.

  5. Mitchell says:

    What I would like to know is, can taking psyllium husks on a regular basis, act on you like taking laxitives? In other words if you take for a good while and stop, then will you be prone to constipation, like repeated use of laxitives? In the end can pysllium be over done?

    I would like to try it, however I don’t want to mess up my bowels like over taking of laxitives can.

  6. Mitchell says:

    Also, I would like to know if you can mix psyllium husks with food like meatloaf, which I usually mix a good amount of golden flax seeds with. I find this is a good way to mix fiber with non fiber rich foods.

  7. bdt says:

    My Vit D level was checked one year ago. My doctor was amazed that it was so low at 31 units. I have taken a 1000 iu Vit D tablet every morning with my breakfast cereal for the last twelve months. I have just had my Vit D level retested. To my (and my doctor’s) surprise, it was less than 20 units. Could it be that the psyllium I have with my cereal has prevented it from being absorbed? If so, that is odd, because I had a test two months after the first one and my level had almost doubled from 31 to 59 units.

  8. dancing artist says:

    I took a small amount of psyllium husk power maybe 1/2 a teaspoon in 8oz of water and only drank about 1/2 of it and begin to feel a tightening in my check and throat. I have been forcing fluids ever since and feel sort of ok but still a tightening in my chest and throat. I can breathe ok … obviously this isn’t for me. My questions is, what shall I do to insure I am ok. More water ??

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