Psyllium is perhaps the most efficient soluble fiber that exists. Soluble fiber absorbs water, and when it does, it generally absorbs toxic or other unwanted substances in the colon with it. In fact, psyllium hulls typically absorb anywhere from 8-14 times their weight in water! This is far more than any other known fiber--including oat bran. Oat bran does well to absorb 15% of the water that psyllium hulls will. Psyllium is also used to help add bulk to the stool, regulate constipation, and shorten transit time of food in the colon.
Psyllium from Nature's Sunshine is available in this capsule form, but is also part of various other fiber combinations--both capsule and loose powder. When using psyllium as loose powder, it is generally mixed with water or fruit juice and ingested quickly. Waiting too long to drink will allow the psyllium to absorb the liquid, making a thick gel that will be next to impossible to drink.
Psyllium needs to be taken with plenty of water throughout the day. Not doing so may lead to constipation.
Some commercially over-the-counter fiber blends advertise that their fiber does not get thick. This may sound good to the consumer, but the logical question then becomes: "What good is it if it can't absorb much water and the toxins with it?"
Many, many studies have been done about psyllium over the years. In one particular study, psyllium given to senior citizens reduced food transit time from about 53 hours to 30 hours--a significant difference. Other similar studies with different groups show similar results.
Psyllium has also been studied for its effects on lowering cholesterol. In 1992, a study was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition touting psyllium for cholesterol-lowering capability. This would be due to its ability to absorb it in the colon before it is picked up and carried through the bloodstream. There have been several other studies confirming the same conclusion.
There is no question that soluble fiber needs to be a daily part of virtually everyone's diet. That being the case, psyllium hulls--either in capsule or powder form--make an excellent choice.
IMPORTANT NOTE: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. All statements are based on historical or anecdotal use of herbs and natural remedies. If a serious health condition exists, one should see a qualified medical doctor rather than rely on information given on this website.