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Pills, drink mixes, meal plans, point systems, shakes, meal bars, and various starvation techniques have topped the lists of weight-loss strategies for generations. The healthiest of these weight loss products are natural detoxification products—natural colon cleansing supplements. Originally, colon cleansing was considered a purely surgical process; gradually into the forefront of the herbal weight loss industry, however, are capsule and powder varieties of colon-cleansing supplements. These are largely dietary fiber supplements. The most basic and natural of these is psyllium.

Benefits

Psyllium comes from the processed and ground seed husks of the plantago ovata plant. Psyllium seed husks are valued as dietary fiber because of the high water affinity of the powdered husks, which bond easily to water and expand, making it an effective cleansing product. As a dietary fiber, it reduces belly fat by removing built-up toxins and waste within the intestine, particularly the small intestine, which cannot absorb the fiber. This cleanliness of the intestine also allows for more effective absorption of nutrients, contributing to overall health.

Risks

Individuals with sensitive digestive systems, however, should take care before introducing psyllium into their daily dietary regimen. Because supplements are not regulated by the FDA, there is a slight risk of overdose, which could result in damage to the digestive tract. While psyllium typically increases regularity and reduces the effects of diarrhea, some individuals have experienced increased diarrhea or gas. As with any medication or supplement, users should start taking only a small amount for a couple weeks, increasing the dosage gradually. This allows the body to adjust, and to protect against possible serious reactions. A few cases of allergic reactions have been reported.

Also, care should be taken when consuming capsule-form psyllium, as moisture may cause the capsule to expand before it has passed completely through the esophagus, potentially resulting in choking. If taking psyllium in capsule form, be sure to consume AT LEAST 8 ounces of water with every two capsules.

Usage

Psyllium can be consumed daily for an indefinite period of time—as many as two capsules, (one rounded teaspoon of powder), three times a day. Many individuals, some as mature as 85, claim to have used psyllium husk powder for more than fifty years as their daily fiber supplement. It is occasionally included in cereals, and can be found in both powder and capsule varieties. While the flavor of the powder is distasteful to some, and most would prefer the supplement in capsule form, the effects of both powder and capsule varieties are equally beneficial to the digestive and cardiovascular systems of most individuals. As a natural detoxifier, promoting regularity and heart health, psyllium has tremendous appeal both to the weight-loss and healthy-living industries.

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