A review of the scientific literature indicated that psyllium supplementation may reduce metabolic risk factors by improving glucose levels and insulin response, blood pressure.
There are also potential appetite benefits from consuming psyllium, report scientists from Curtin University in Australia in Obesity Reviews.
“Collectively, research to date does support the notion that the consumption of psyllium may provide benefits to many components of the metabolic syndrome,” they wrote.
“It may also play a role in controlling body weight, body composition, appetite and hypertension, but further investigation is still required.”
Metabolic syndrome (MetS) is a condition characterised by central obesity, hypertension, and disturbed glucose and insulin metabolism. The syndrome has been linked to increased risks of both type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Fifteen per cent of adult Europeans are estimated to be affected by MetS, while the US statistic is estimated to be a whopping 32 percent. Obesity is established to be the main risk factor for MetS.
State of the science
S. Pal and S. Radavelli-Bagatini from Curtin University found that psyllium supplementation is associated with improvements in glucose levels and insulin response, while there is also data from both animal and human studies that indicate potential to improve blood lipid levels.
While some animal data suggests psyllium fiber may improve body weight, “human studies are still controversial on this issue, with most studies showing no improvement on body weight and body composition after psyllium consumption”, they said.
“Appetite has been reported to decrease after the consumption of psyllium, but this effect seems to be similar to other sources of fiber.
“Increasing psyllium intake may also promote a reduction in blood pressure and vascular function; however, this might be dependent on the dose and duration of the treatment and also baseline blood pressure of individuals,” they concluded.
Source: Obesity Reviews
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2012.01020.x
“Effects of psyllium on metabolic syndrome risk factors”
Authors: S. Pal, S. Radavelli-Bagatini