Chitosan is a polysaccharide found in the shells of crustaceans.
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This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:
Refer to label instructions
Chitosan is a fiber-like substance that may reduce fat absorption. One study found it to be an effective weight-loss aid.
Chitosan is a fiber-like substance extracted from the shells of crustaceans such as shrimp and crab. Animal studies suggested that chitosan supplementation reduces fat absorption, but controlled human trials have found no impairment of fat absorption from supplementation with 2,700 mg of chitosan per day for seven days or 5,250 mg per day for four days. A double-blind study found that people taking 1,500 mg of chitosan three times per day during a weight-loss program lost significantly more weight than did people taking a placebo with the same program. Similar benefits were seen in another double-blind study that used 3,000 mg of chitosan per day. Other studies using smaller amounts of chitosan have reported no effects on weight loss.
Refer to label instructions
Chitosan is a fiber-like supplement that has been shown to lower cholesterol and raise HDL ("good") cholesterol).
The fiber -like supplement chitosan appears to reduce the absorption of bile acids or cholesterol; either of these effects may cause a lowering of blood cholesterol. This effect has been repeatedly demonstrated in animals, and a preliminary human study showed that 3 to 6 grams per day of chitosan taken for two weeks resulted in a 6% drop in cholesterol and a 10% increase in HDL ("good") cholesterol. Another preliminary trial showed a 43% lowering of total cholesterol in people being treated for kidney failure with dialysis who took 4 grams per day of chitosan for 12 weeks. These people also appeared to have improved kidney function and less severe anemia after chitosan treatment. In a double-blind trial, however, administration of 2.4 grams of chitosan per day for three months to people with high cholesterol had no effect on their cholesterol levels. Another study also found no cholesterol-lowering effect of chitosan when taken in amounts up to 6.75 grams per day for 8 weeks.
Chitosan in large amounts, given with vitamin C , has been shown to reduce dietary fat absorption in animals fed a high-fat diet. However, the absorption of minerals and fat-soluble vitamins was also reduced by feeding animals large amounts of chitosan. In studies in humans, chitosan did not reduce the absorption of dietary fat.
How It Works
How to Use It
Most human research has used 3–6 grams per day with meals.
Where to Find It
Chitosan is extracted from the shells of crustaceans, such as shrimp and crab.
Chitosan is not an essential nutrient, so deficiencies do not occur.
Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds
While no long-term studies of the effects of chitosan on human health have been done, animal studies suggest that this compound could inhibit the absorption of minerals and fat-soluble vitamins.
Interactions with Medicines
Adverse effects on the growth of children and on the outcome of pregnancy are possible.1 In addition, although chitosan-included alterations in intestinal flora are believed to be beneficial, the possibility that these changes may have negative long-term consequences has not been ruled out. People with intestinal malabsorption syndromes should not use chitosan.
Last Review: 05-12-2015
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The information presented by Healthnotes is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires December 2019.