Psyllium is beneficial for children with irritable bowel syndrome Original paper

    In this 4-week randomized controlled trial, children with irritable bowel syndrome who supplemented with psyllium experienced notable improvements in their symptoms, with around 32% of the children achieving IBS remission.

    This Study Summary was published on December 5, 2022.


    Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a gastrointestinal disorder with symptoms that include changes in bowel habits (constipation, diarrhea, or both), bloating, and intestinal pain. IBS in children is common and can be difficult to manage because treatments are limited, aside from avoiding trigger foods. Supplementation with psyllium (a fiber derived from the husk of Plantago ovata seeds) may be beneficial for children with IBS,[1] but more research was needed.

    The study

    This 4-week randomized controlled trial examined the effect of supplementation with psyllium in 81 children with IBS (average age of 10), of whom 26 had IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D), 31 had IBS with constipation (IBS-C), and 24 had IBS with alternating constipation and diarrhea (IBS-M). IBS severity was rated as mild in 11 of the participants, moderate in 44 participants, and severe in 28 participants. The median duration of IBS was 12 months.

    The participants were assigned to take either a psyllium supplement or a placebo (maltodextrin). Younger participants (ages 6–12) received 6 grams per day, and older participants (ages 13–18) received 12 grams per day.

    The primary outcome was IBS remission, defined as a score below 75 on the IBS Symptom Severity Score (IBS-SSS) questionnaire. The investigators also assessed median IBS-SSS scores in both groups.

    The results

    By the end of the trial, 43.9% of children in the psyllium group achieved IBS remission, as did 9.7% in the placebo group.

    The median IBS severity score was lower (improved) in the psyllium group compared with the placebo group at the end of the trial.


    The investigators calculated that one in every three children given psyllium achieved IBS remission as a result of taking the supplement.

    This Study Summary was published on December 5, 2022.


    1. ^Shulman RJ, Hollister EB, Cain K, Czyzewski DI, Self MM, Weidler EM, Devaraj S, Luna RA, Versalovic J, Heitkemper MPsyllium Fiber Reduces Abdominal Pain in Children With Irritable Bowel Syndrome in a Randomized, Double-Blind Trial.Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol.(2017-May)