Psyllium Husk Fiber
by Carol Allman
"Does Psyllium husk fiber interfere with the absorption of calcium by the bones? I believe that bran does. Is psyllium husk classed as a bran?"
Let us look at the questions separately.
Lets first take, “Is Psyllium husk classed as a bran?”
Bran is the husk or covering of cereal grains whereas psyllium husk is the covering of psyllium seeds Both bran and psyllium husk is the same part of a seed, that is bran is the husk or covering of cereal grains whereas psyllium husk is the covering of psyllium seeds.
Psyllium husk fiber is similar to bran as they are both fibers. Both contain soluble fibers and some insoluble fibers too.
- The amount of soluble fibers differ in Psyllium and bran. For example wheat bran has a lot of insoluble fiber compared to Psyllium, which has a lot of soluble fibers.
- Psyllium fiber has very little nutritional value, whereas bran has some nutritional value.
- Psyllium originates from the Plantago genus, whereas bran is present in any cereal grain, such as oats, wheat, barley, corn, rice and millet.
- Bran is the husk or covering of cereal grains whereas psyllium husk is the covering of psyllium seeds Psyllium Husk is so commonly used and people do add it to their cereals.
Who knows, one day psyllium maybe considered a cereal and its husk will then be called bran!
Your next question, “Does Psyllium husk fiber interfere with the absorption of calcium?”
Recent studies have found that a low-fat and high fiber diet consisting of wheat bran can cause a lack of calcium.
To overcome this, they say, it is best also to increase the intake of food, rich in calcium, so that more calcium is absorbed.
Why is calcium absorption important in the first place.
It’s because calcium is important for practically all tissues in your body. Bones are the storehouse of calcium. Bones are strengthened by the calcium present.
However if your body does not take in enough calcium through diet, it just takes the calcium from the bone and weakens it, makes it fragile, and causes breakage.
There must be a constant supply of calcium, to avoid absorbing it from your bones.
Why does fiber interfere with the absorption of calcium?
Fibers can reduce and even stop the absorption of calcium from the intestines. And why is that?
It is because Fibers contain phytic acid that chemically combine with calcium to form a chemical calcium compound that cannot be absorbed by the intestines. Even other minerals such as zinc is also not absorbed.
Wheat bran contains a lot of phytic acid.
It is said that pre-soaking the fiber in water before eating or cooking reduces the phytic acid. This is because the grains release an enzyme called phytase, which breaks down the phytic acid.
Sprouting the grain is even better as more phytase is released.
And your question,"Does Psyllium husk fiber interfere with the absorption of calcium by the bones?"
There is no research done about the psyllium fiber. However being a fiber, Psyllium husk may contain phytic acid. If psyllium seeds are used, they may release the enzyme phytase that can breakdown phytic acid.
However if you stick to the daily fiber amount recommended, which is 25 grams for females and 35 grams for males, it will not adversely affect the calcium absorbed.
Studies by the UTSouthwestern Medical Center have shown that 50 grams of fiber daily reduces the amount of calcium absorbed.
Phytic acid is a good antioxidant, but too much of it reduces calcium absorbed by the bones. Stay within the recommended amount of fiber – 25 to 35 grams, and you will do fine.
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