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J Ethnopharmacol. 2005 Nov 14;102(2):202-7. Epub 2005 Sep 8.

Psyllium decreased serum glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin significantly in diabetic outpatients.

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Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Medicinal Plants, ACECR, No. 97 Bozorgmehr Street, Qods Street, Enghelab Avenue, P.O. Box 13145-1446 Tehran, Iran.


Psyllium is a bulk-forming laxative and is high in both fiber and mucilage. The beneficial effect of dietary fiber in the management of type II diabetes, has not been totally demonstrated. The purpose of this study was to determine the plasma-lowering effects of 5.1g b.i.d. of psyllium husk fiber, as an adjunct to dietary and drug therapy on lipid and glucose levels, in patients with type II diabetes. Patients were randomly selected from an outpatient clinic of primary care to participate in a double-blind placebo-controlled study in which Plantago ovata Forsk., or placebo was given in combination with their anti-diabetic drugs. Forty-nine subjects were included in the study that were given diet counseling before the study and then followed for 8 weeks in the treatment period. Fasting plasma glucose (FBS) was measured every 2 weeks, and total plasma cholesterol (TC), LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C), HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C), triglyceride (TG), and insulin levels were measured every 4 weeks. Glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) was also measured at the beginning and ending of the study. The test products (psyllium or placebo) were supplied to subjects in identically labeled foil packets containing a 5.1g dose of product, to consume two doses per day, half an hour before breakfast and dinner. Both products were well tolerated, with no serious adverse events related to treatment was reported in either. Better gastric tolerance to metformin was recorded in the psyllium group. FBS, and HbA1c, showed a significant reduction (p<0.05), whereas HDL-C increased significantly (p<0.05) following psyllium treatment. LDL/HDL ratio was significantly decreased (p<0.05). Our results show that 5.1g b.i.d. of psyllium for persons with type II diabetes is safe, well tolerated, and improves glycemic control.

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