Clinical Study: Effects of psyllium on glucose and serum lipid responses in men with type 2 diabetes and hypercholesterolemia

Byte Sized Summary: Consuming 5.1 g of a psyllium husk product (a common fiber powder) twice daily had favorable effects on blood sugar and lipid values in diagnosed Type 2 Diabetic men. (A dated, but nonetheless useful data point.)

Updated by request: we added the test articles and some links at the end of the blog entry.

“In the metabolic ward, the psyllium group showed significant improvements in glucose and lipid values compared with the placebo group. Serum total and LDL-cholesterol concentrations were 8.9% (P < 0.05) and 13.0% (P = 0.07) lower, respectively, in the psyllium than in the placebo group. All-day and postlunch postprandial glucose concentrations were 11.0% (P < 0.05) and 19.2% (P < 0.01) lower in the psyllium than in the placebo group. Both products were well tolerated, with no serious adverse events related to treatment reported in either group.”

That is from a study at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center at the University of Kentucky in Lexington Published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

To be clear, there was a 2-week preparatory diet for this study; additional study details here:

“This study was double-blind, placebo-controlled, and parallel. The study consisted of a 2-wk dietary stabilization phase during which subjects followed a diet for diabetes followed by an 8-wk treatment phase in which subjects continued the diet but were also randomly assigned to receive either 5.1 g psyllium (psyllium group) or cellulose placebo (control group) twice daily. Subjects were instructed to consume the test products 20–30 min before the morning and evening meals.

All subjects underwent 2-d metabolic ward studies at weeks 0 and 8. During these studies, standardized meals were used to more accurately measure the effects of psyllium on glycemic and lipid control. After an overnight insulin infusion, a random subset of 8 subjects in the psyllium group and 8 subjects in the placebo group underwent a euglycemic clamp procedure during the third day of each metabolic ward evaluation to more fully evaluate glucose metabolism and peripheral insulin sensitivity.”

Full Reference

Anderson JW, Allgood LD, Turner J, Oeltgen PR, Daggy BP. Effects of psyllium on glucose and serum lipid responses in men with type 2 diabetes and hypercholesterolemia. Am J Clin Nutr. 1999;70(4):466-73.

Link to Full Study Here

We note the following product information from the study:

During the treatment phase, subjects in the psyllium group received an orange-flavored, sugar-free product (Metamucil; Procter & Gamble Co, Cincinnati); subjects in the placebo group received an insoluble fiber, microcrystalline cellulose (Avicel, PH-101; FMC Corp, Philadelphia)

For those unfamiliar, here is the link to Metamucil on Amazon (also available at your favorite grocery store or pharmacy, watch out for the added sugar!)*:

Metamucil Daily Fiber Supplement

Here are other examples of psyllium husk products on Amazon*:

Organic Psyllium Husk Powder

Psyllium Husk Capsules

Standard Psyllium Husk Powder

*Disclaimer: These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Consult with your physician before acting on any information pertaining to this article.


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