The right fiber for the right disease: an update on the psyllium seed husk and the metabolic syndrome

J Clin Gastroenterol. 2010 Sep:44 Suppl 1:S58-60. doi: 10.1097/MCG.0b013e3181e123e7.


The metabolic syndrome (MS) is a clustering of hyperglycemia/insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, overweight and hypertension. MS identifies patients who are at high risk of developing atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (CVD) and type 2 diabetes (T2D). Based on current data dietary fibre intake from whole foods or supplements may lower blood pressure, may improve serum lipid levels, may reduce indicators of inflammations,may lower serum glucose levels and favour body weight loss. US Food and Drug Administration in 2006 authorized a health claim that psyllium husk, beta glucan in oats and beta glucan in barley can reduce the risk of heart disease. Solubility in water, viscosity, fermentability, and the kind and amounts of protein and tocotrienols have been explored as possible basis for this effect. In particular, many experimental and clinical studies suggest that psyllium does lower serum and liver cholesterol concentrations and may increase HDL-cholesterol levels- Moreover,water soluble fibres, such as psyllium, moderate post prandial glucose and insulin concentrations in non-insulin dependent diabetic patients, if taken with meals and favour the reduction of body weight and hypertension. Therefore, the favourable effect of various fibres and particularly of psyllium, on body weight reduction and satiety, on cholesterol and tryglycerides levels, on fasting glycaemia and on blood pressure suggests a potential role of these fibres in the treatment of MS.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Blood Pressure
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Dietary Fiber / administration & dosage*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Evidence-Based Medicine
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Syndrome / blood
  • Metabolic Syndrome / diet therapy*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Psyllium*
  • Satiety Response
  • Seeds
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Weight Loss


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Fiber
  • Triglycerides
  • Psyllium
  • Cholesterol