Psyllium Fiber Improves Blood Sugar in Type 2 Diabetics

Psyllium Fiber Improves Blood Sugar in Type 2 Diabetics

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Title: Psyllium fiber improves glycemic control proportional to loss of glycemic control: a meta-analysis of data in euglycemic subjects, patients at risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus, and patients being treated for type 2 diabetes mellitus

Author: Gibb et al.

Journal: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Objective: The authors sought to assess the effects of psyllium, which is a soluble, gel-forming, nonfermented fiber supplement, on glycemic control in patients who were being treated for type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and in patients who were at risk of developing T2DM.

Background

Previously, I have reported on the health benefits of psyllium. I’ve linked the video below if you want to know more, but the highlight reel includes:

  • Beneficial for Constipation, Diarrhea and Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Shown to lower cholesterol, blood pressure and risk of heart disease
  • Associated with healthy weight, BMI and weight loss
  • May be beneficial for inflammatory bowel disease, but you should talk to your doctor first
  • Modest decrease in risk of colorectal cancer

One area of interest is the relationship between psyllium fiber and diabetes. It has been known for 30 years that non-digestible fibers in the gut may improve the body's ability to regulate blood sugar and insulin. The authors of this study sought to summarize the available data on the relationship between psyllium fiber and type 2 diabetes.

Methods

The authors completed a meta-analysis, which for those who do not know, is the gold standard for combining multiple studies and articles and drawing conclusions or answering a specific question.

In this meta-analysis, they included 3 randomized, controlled clinical studies that met the criteria for their study.

Results

In patients with T2DM, studies showed that psyllium dosed before meals showed significant improvement in both the fasting blood glucose (FBG) concentration (237.0 mg/dL; P , 0.001) and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) [20.97% (210.6 mmol/mol); P = 0.048].

No significant glucose lowering was observed in subjects with normal blood sugar.

A modest improvement was observed in subjects with pre-type 2 diabetes.

However, the greatest improvement was observed in subjects who were being treated for T2DM.

Conclusions

These data suggest that psyllium fiber administered before meals could be an effective addition to lifestyle and dietary changes targeted at individuals with type 2 diabetes.

Given the other benefits of psyllium fiber and the relative safety profile of this supplement, it would be an easy addition to a diabetic diet.

The long term benefits, if any, remain to be elucidated.

Original Article

Gibb, R., Mcrorie, J., et al. (2015). Psyllium fiber improves glycemic control proportional to loss of glycemic control: A meta-analysis of data in euglycemic subjects, patients at risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus, and patients being treated for type 2 diabetes mellitus. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition,102(6), 1604-1614.

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