For years, you've always heard that fiber is good for you. The many well known, research-backed health benefits of fiber include: regulating blood sugar levels, aiding weight loss, and reducing the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, breast cancer, colon cancer, and gastrointestinal disorders such as reflux, ulcers and IBS.
What you may be less familiar with is how fiber -- particularly soluble fiber -- plays an essential role in a little-known system in our body called enterohepatic circulation. Entero is Latin for relating to the intestines, or gut; and hepatic is Latin for pertaining to the liver. This system, which has the key job of clearing all fat-soluble waste from the bloodstream, governs the progression of bile — from the liver, through the small intestine, and back again.
Let's take a step back: What is the liver and how does bile work?
The liver is the workhorse of our digestive system. Weighing in at 3 lbs and the size of a football, the liver performs 500 functions that keep our body healthy and detoxified. One of these functions is breaking down fats and converting excess carbs and proteins into forms that we can use later.
When we eat a meal, our liver produces bile to break down and absorb fats. Bile is liver’s liquid gold. It is made up of acids, cholesterol, lecithin and other substances. The liver produces around 4 cups of bile every day, all of which is eventually secreted into the duodenum — the first section of the small intestine — where it helps break down the fat into smaller pieces. Bile works in the small intestine similar to how dish soap works on dirty dishes — to help break up grease and food particles.
As bile travels back and forth from the liver to the intestine (enterohepatic circulation), it’s ultimate responsibility is to carry toxins out of the liver, and toss them out of the body through our stool.
So, how does psyllium husk help me detox?
Consuming psyllium husk will help ensure that toxins filtered by the liver actually exit your body. Think of psyllium like a Lyft giving the bile, toxins and waste a ride out of your system.
If we don’t eat enough soluble fiber, our bile, instead of being ushered out of the body and then replaced with fresh bile produced by the liver, is repeatedly recirculated in our system. In the process, it becomes more concentrated with toxins, which, in turn, can lead to all sorts of inflammatory diseases such as gallbladder disease, intestinal inflammation, and even skin conditions like acne, clogged pores, eczema and psoriasis. While salicylic acid may dry your pimples out, the truth is, clear skin is only a result of detoxifying the body.
Please explain more . . .
The soluble fiber from psyllium forms a tight bond with the bile in the intestine, binding up all the harmful toxins, cholesterol and fat that it contains. Since the soluble fiber cannot be absorbed by the intestinal wall, neither can the bile attached to it. This fiber-bound bile ultimately leaves the body in a bowel movement, with its load of toxins, cholesterol and fat in tow.
However, if you’re not getting enough fiber, your supply of bile can become increasingly concentrated with toxins and fats as it recycles back to the liver.
And through this process, psyllium can also lower my cholesterol?
Yes! As psyllium escorts bile out via your poop, that means there are fewer bile acids in your body being recycled for future use. As a result, the next time you eat a meal with fat in it, your body has to make a fresh batch of bile. It does so by pulling cholesterol (one of the key components of bile) out of the blood, thereby reducing blood cholesterol levels. Under a low-fiber diet, however, this process doesn’t happen as readily, and thus cholesterol has an opportunity to increase in the bloodstream and accumulate in our arteries.
We truly live in toxic times. Soluble fiber from sylly can help ensure you keep the waste flushed out -- preventing disease, clearing skin and lowering your cholesterol.