02 September, 2011
Psyllium Husks & Acne
Psyllium husks come from the seeds of the Plantago ovata, a shrub-like herb. They are rich sources of fiber, which may make them beneficial for people suffering for acne, but there are no specific studies proving this benefit. Also, psyllium husk may cause adverse reactions in some people. Consult a dermatologist for more advice on taking psyllium husk supplements for acne and for other treatments you can use for clearer skin.
Psyllium Husks and Inflammation
As with other sources of fiber, psyllium husks help to slow the emptying of food from your stomach, which helps to prevent surges in blood glucose and insulin levels. Insulin is a hormone that boosts inflammation in your body, according to James Balch, M.D., and author of “Prescription for Drug Alternatives.” Inflammation affects all types of acne, but it’s a major problem in cystic acne, leading to swollen, pus-filled cysts that can be painful.
Acne Complications of Psyllium Husk
If you have an allergy to psyllium husk, it’s possible that consuming this fiber can make your acne worse. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, food allergies may affect acne in adults. An allergy to psyllium husk is a reaction to a protein in the fiber, which sets off reactions such as oral itching, hives or swelling in your mouth. In this case, it’s best to avoid taking psyllium husk to treat acne.
Although there are no studies proving the benefits of taking psyllium husk specifically for acne, there are several studies showing its benefits for lowering blood glucose levels. In one study published in the “Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology” in September 2010, Italian researchers looked at psyllium fiber’s effects on metabolic syndrome, a set of medical conditions that includes high blood glucose levels, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. The researchers found that water-soluble fibers, such as psyllium, help to regulate post-meal blood glucose and insulin levels in non-insulin dependent diabetic patients when taken with meals.
Because diet is not a factor for everyone who suffers from acne, only you can determine its effect on you through removing it or adding it to your diet. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends that adults take ½ to 2 tsp. of psyllium daily. It may take a few weeks or months before you notice any improvements in your acne. Consult your doctor before making dietary changes if you have a medical condition, such as diabetes or heart disease. Also, you should take a multifaceted approach to treating acne, including using remedies your dermatologist recommends.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Psyllium
- “Prescription for Drug Alternatives”; James Balch, M.D., et al.; 2008
- “Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology”; The Right Fiber for the Right Disease: An Update on the Psyllium Seed Husk and the Metabolic Syndrome; A. Giacosa; September 2010
- BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images