Comparison of the effects of psyllium and wheat bran on gastrointestinal transit time and stool characteristics

J Am Diet Assoc. 1988 Mar;88(3):323-6.


Gastrointestinal transit time, frequency of defecation, stool weight, and stool consistency were studied in 12 subjects who were each given fiber supplements containing wheat bran, psyllium gum, a combination of wheat bran and psyllium gum, or a low-fiber control for 2 weeks. Gastrointestinal transit time was measured using four different markers: plastic pellets, chromium mordanted bran, cobalt-ethylenediamine-tetraacetic acid, and terbium oxide. The wet weight and dry weight of stools were measured, and a questionnaire accessed subjects' perceptions of the consistency of their stools. Fiber supplementation decreased transit time and increased the daily number of defecations and the wet weight and dry weight of stools. Bran had a greater effect on transit time than psyllium. Psyllium had a greater effect on the amount of water found in the stools and the total stool weight. On the days that stools were passed, 50% of the daily stool ratings were scored as "hard" when subjects received the control supplement. Less than 10% of the ratings were scored as "hard" when subjects received the high-fiber supplements. The type of marker used did not significantly affect the transit time measured.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Defecation
  • Dietary Fiber / pharmacology*
  • Feces / analysis*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Transit*
  • Humans
  • Psyllium / pharmacology*


  • Dietary Fiber
  • Psyllium