What can I substitute for psyllium husk powder?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “What can I substitute for psyllium husk powder?” and elaborate on the possible substitutes for psyllium husk powder.

What can I substitute for psyllium husk powder?

If while cooking, you have run out of psyllium husk powder, then no need to worry, we have prepared a long list of substitutes that you can use as a replacement for psyllium husk powder. 

You can replace psyllium husk powder with flaxseed, xanthan gum, corn starch, chia seeds, almond flour, coconut flour, arrowroot powder, tapioca powder, potato starch, and guar gum.

According to a scientific report, the USA is the chief importer of isabgol seeds and husk and consumes 8,000 metric tons which indicate the market value of this crop all over the world. This continued expansion of interest and market seems like due to natural dietary fibers. The crop has a large export demand in the USA and Western Europe and about 90% of the production is exported to these countries. Currently, India is the largest producer and the main supplier of psyllium seed and husk to the world market (1).

Psyllium husk powder

Psyllium husk powder is considered a natural source of fibre that is useful against diabetes, overweight conditions, constipation, and gastrointestinal disorders.  In the pharmaceutical industry, psyllium is used as a thickening agent during capsule formulations (1).

Psyllium husk powder consists of the main constituent, psyllium. Psyllium is termed as one of the native crops in India most common in western states of Pakistan, Africa, India, and Mediterranean Europe.

Psyllium is converted into a husk after gathering and harvesting these seeds. Then, it is an annually conducted practice in which husk is transformed into powder. Then, this powder form of psyllium husk is available in the markets.  Psyllium Husk may also be added to fresh fruit drinks or flavored drinks to improve the mouthfeel of the drink and make it richer and impart good consistency to it. In the food and beverage industry psyllium is used to improve softness and body texture, to provide strength as binder and stabilizer (1).

Substitutes for psyllium husk powder


Flaxseed is one of the nearest substitutes for psyllium husk powder which is also considered linseed. It is a suitable product that can go with both gluten-free and vegan diets. Flaxseed can be used both for cooking and baking. 

Flaxseed can also thicken the crust of pie or pizza dough and make it stronger in texture. The exterior of the recipes can be made crispier if flaxseed is added in making loaves of bread or as a topping of dessert.

One common factor in both flaxseed and psyllium husk powder is that these both are highly rich in fibre. So, we can enjoy some benefits from both these products.

Flaxseed also consists of protein content along with healthy fats, and multiple minerals. 12 grams of fat is present in just one ounce of flaxseed. These are healthy fats. It is also enriched with antioxidants which are lutein, zeaxanthin, and lignans (2). 

These antioxidants play a significant role in preventing cells from being attacked by free radicals. Antioxidants also act as boosters for cardiovascular health. Flaxseed is source of omega-3 fatty acid a-linolenic acids, which reduce inflammation and prevent chronic ailments such as heart disease, stroke, memory loss, depression, arthritis, cataract, cancer (3).

In experiments on rodents, flaxseed has been shown to decrease tumors of the colon, mammary glands, and lungs. Only a few studies have been conducted to evaluate the possible cancer-reducing potential of flaxseed consumption among humans.

Xanthan gum

Xanthan gum is another substituted product from psyllium husk powder. Xanthan gum is not a kind of gum that is chewable while it is a type of powder substitute which thickens the texture of liquid when it is mixed together.

Xanthan gum is one of the polysaccharides, which is obtained through the fermentation of simple sugars such as glucose and sucrose. Bacteria that produce xanthan gum are Xanthomonas campestris, Xanthomonas pelargonii, Xanthomonas phaseoli and Xanthomonas malvacearum during aerobic fermentation (4). Xanthan gum is also helpful in combining all the constituents while baking the products such as cakes, pastries.

Xanthan gum is high in fibre content which keeps you full for a longer time. So, it is also helpful in the weight loss journey. The digestibility and caloric availability tests indicated that xanthan was non-digestible in humans and improved passage of food through the upper gastrointestinal trace.

Xanthan gum is a perfect replacement for psyllium husk powder that is mostly recommended in cooking while xanthan gum does not have the same nutritional content. It also helps to avoid more eating.


Cornstarch is an important substituted product for psyllium husk powder. It is also one of the important ingredients which are present in almost every kitchen where dishes like sweet and spicy are cooked.

Cornstarch is also used in thickening the liquid of recipes such as soup, gravy, custards, and pie fillings. It also gives protection from moisture. Cornstarch should be free of lumps before adding it into the recipes. 

While adding it into the recipes, gradually continue it to stir. So, lumps will not be formed. Continue the stirring until you get the smooth texture of the recipes.

However, cornstarch is very poor in nutrients and 100 g of cornstarch contains very small amounts of proteins (0.26 g), fats (0.05 g) and fibers (0.9 g) and is composed mainly of carbohydrates (91.3 g), according to the USDA.

Chia seeds

Chia seeds are quite similar to flaxseeds. Chia seeds are also considered as soluble fibre which is nourished with omega-3 fatty acids, which is a strong constituent that fights against cardiac syndromes. Consumption of chia seeds regularly can lead towards the normal maintenance of blood pressure.

Chia seeds are also a source of minerals (calcium, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium), vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folic acid, ascorbic acid and vitamin A) and antioxidant compounds (5).

These swell up when we keep them in water for a short interval of time, which is a perfect substitute for dessert or breakfast. It can be left overnight in the water to use for the next day. One of the delicious recipes is chia pudding. Chia seeds should be ground into a fine powder for a perfect replacement of psyllium husk powder.

Almond flour

Almond flour is a good substituted product for psyllium husk powder. It is used in modern diets like keto. It is very low in carbohydrates which helps to lose weight rapidly.

Almond flour is rich in protein, fibre, and some vitamins and minerals, such as  chlorine, iron, zinc, magnesium and calcium. From all gluten-free flour types, almond flour is superior in terms of nutritional components, is rich in protein and good fats for health. Also in the almonds composition can be found a substance called amygdalin, also known as vitamin B17, which plays an important role in the fight against cancer and successfully prevents the occurrence of the disease by removing the cancer cells (6).

We hope that the list above brought additional insight on what to substitute the next time you run out of psyllium husk powder. But, if you personally prefer the real thing, that is perfectly fine, too!


In this brief article, we have provided an answer to the question, “What can I substitute for psyllium husk powder?” and elaborate on the possible substitutes for psyllium husk powder. 


  1. Rehana, K. H. A. L. I. Q., et al. Industrial application of psyllium: an overview. Acta Univ Cibin Technol Ser, 2015, 67, 210-214.
  2. Jackson, Chung‐Ja C., and Gopinadhan Paliyath. Functional foods and ingredients. Handbook of Food Products Manufacturing—Principles, Bakery, Beverages, Cereals, Cheese, Confectionary, Fats, Fruits, and Functional Foods. 2007.
  3. Pham-Huy LA, He H, Pham-Huy C. Free radicals, antioxidants in disease and health. Int J Biomed Sci, 2008, 4, 89-96.
  4. Habibi, Hossein, and Kianoush Khosravi-Darani. Effective variables on production and structure of xanthan gum and its food applications: A review. Biocatal Agri Biotechnol, 2017, 10, 130-140.
  5. Marcinek, Katarzyna, and Zbigniew Krejpcio. Chia seeds (Salvia hispanica): health promoting properties and therapeutic applications-a review. Roczniki Państwowego Zakładu Higieny, 2017, 68.
  6. Stoin, Daniela, et al. Effect of almond flour on nutritional, sensory and bakery characteristics of gluten-free muffins. International Multidisciplinary Scientific GeoConference: SGEM: Surveying Geology & mining Ecology Management, 2018, 8, 127-134.