SitNews - Stories in the News - Ketchikan, Alaska

By Rob Holston


June 11, 2006

Ketchikan, Alaska - Since I started using psyllium in my regular diet, I have dropped 18% of my body fat. I'm sure there are other factors that contributed to this improvement in my health and potential longevity, but psyllium played it's role. I'm recommending it to my family and friends and I thought I would do a little research on the internet to see what was known about this product. I found two web sites giving abundant information on psyllium, but what I learned was shocking!

The first local informative medical web site I found in my opinion had some alarming information and was presented in a manner typical of the medical profession. I think warnings are important, but they probably should come after the basic definition of what the product is. This medical web site warned that the most important things to know about psyllium are not to take this product "without a doctor's permission if you are presently experiencing stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, rectal bleeding or difficulty in swallowing." (Although this may be good advice, it certainly puts a negative connotation of the very notion of eating psyllium.) "Take it with enough water or it may cause you to choke!" (How very encouraging!) And last but not least, "If you experience chest pain, vomiting or difficulty in swallowing after taking psyllium, seek immediate medical attention."

With an introduction like that, who is going to want to go near the stuff? And how unfortunate it is that we have medical institutions, supposedly looking out for the best health interest of our communities that are doing little or nothing to encourage consumption of this healthful food. Don't they know that it helps with or prevents the following: blood sugar levels for diabetics, appendicitis, breast cancer, candida, cholesterol, colitis, colon and colorectal cancer, constipation, coronary heart disease, dental caries, diabetes, diverticular disease, gallstones, hemorrhoids, hiatus hernia, hypertension & stroke, infection, irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, prostate cancer, ulcers and varicose veins? I guess not!

Next, in my opinion, this medical information web site provided a misleading definition of psyllium by stating that it is a "a bulk forming laxitive." Although this may be clinically true, all potential consumers need to know foremost that it is a "God food." A natural growing plant not to be confused with harsh stimulant laxatives concocted by pharmaceutical labs somewhere. Compare the medical definition to the following Jackson Gastroenterology web site definition: "Psyllium is a soluble fiber that comes from a plant most commonly grown in India. Although it is often labeled a laxative, IT IS NOT! (emphasis mine). Soluble fiber becomes gelatinous and sticky in water. It is not absorbed in the small bowel. It is broken down in the large bowel and becomes a food source for the bacteria that live in the colon. These healthy bacteria bulk up the stool, creating a larger softer stool which is easier to pass. Other soluble fibers include oats, oat bran, fruit pectins, beans and guar gum. Incidentally after psyllium is metabolized in the colon, some of it is absorbed and so adds some calories to the diet."

Now this sounds like something we all should be interested in. In my opinion, if the entire U.S. medical community would promote positive information on fiber intake and encourage all adults to add 10 grams of psyllium to their meals and snacks each day, the entire country could flatulate itself to good health and many hospitals would be transformed into retirement homes for very old and very healthy Americans.

The medical information web site WARNS pregnant and nursing women about psyllium but Jackson INVITES pregnant and breast-feeding women to use psyllium by stating that: "Fiber is generally recommended during pregnancy when constipation can be a problem. Remember that fiber is not a laxative which is the term that the FDA makes manufacturers use on the label. Psyllium is no different than oatmeal or fruits, which is always a part of a healthy diet. These are all healthy soluble fiber."

"Who should not take psyllium?" is the sub-title on the medical web site that provides three warnings. With health recommendations like this, it is no wonder that most Americans are malnourished and overweight. The question should ask: "Who SHOULD eat psyllium?" and the answer should read: EVERYONE should "eat" psyllium. Please understand, people "take" medicine, like pills & tablets but they "eat" food and, after all, psyllium is a healthy food, not a pharmaceutical. The Jackson site states: "Everyone should get a healthy amount of soluble and insoluble fiber in their food each day. There are many beneficial effects of fiber. It promotes bowel regularity and probably reduces the chances of heart disease and certain cancers. Psyllium should be viewed as nothing more than a part of the foods that you eat to stay healthy each day. There is a great deal known about fiber. "

Fiber intake in the average American is 11 grams per day. This is nearly 2/3's BELOW the MINIMUM RECOMMENDED INTAKE. I wonder how many grams of fiber a day the PeaceHealth folks are feeding their bed ridden fiber-deficient patients?


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Rob is a retired teacher and a resident of Ketchikan, Alaska. He is not a health care professional but has an interest in health and fitness. You should contact your doctor regarding all health care issues and follow your doctor's advice.
Contact Rob at holston[at]

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