Chitosan is a natural polymer. The active ingredient can be obtained from the tank of shellfish such as crabs. Chitosan can convince with numerous positive effects. Thus, it can help with wound healing, inhibit bacterial formation and prevent inflammation. In addition, it can bind fat,which is why chitosan is used especially in weight loss agents.
What exactly is Chitosan?
If you look at chitosan scientifically, it is a polyglucosamine or polyaminosaccharide. It can be deduced from the word stem aminosaccharide that here various sugar molecules, which are provided with amino groups, are lined up. Poly indicates that a variety of aminosaccharides are chained. Chitosan is present in nature, so it is not an industrial product, but a natural active ingredient. However, this substance has numerous positive properties that can be used in a wide range of industries – from water treatment to weight reduction.
Chitosan is used in various dietary supplements for weight loss. Since chitosan is a fiber, it is not absorbed by the body and is not digested. The active ingredient thus only passes through the digestive tract. Fats can be bound so that they cannot be absorbed by the body, but can be excreted via digestion.
Chitosan should not only help with weight loss, but can also lower cholesterol levels or ensure that they remain in balance.
The extraction of Chitosan
Chitosan is obtained from chitin and mainly from the shells of crabs and shrimps such as Panalus Borealis. For this purpose, deacetylation is used as a technical method. This can be done either enzymatically or by hot soda. It should be noted that more quantity can be produced by the alkaline process. Due to the different processes and, since the deacetylation can also vary enormously, the end products can also differ significantly from each other. Depending on the method, the chain length can be changed by the polymer, which can lead to a reduction in viscosity and an improvement in solubility.
Chitosan in nature
This polymer can also be found in nature. For example, there are some fungal species that have not only chitin, but also chitosan in their cell walls. This allows you to obtain the active ingredient directly from these fungi. Among the most well-known fungal species that possess the natural fiber are Rhizopus oryzae, Absidia coerulea and Mucor rouxii.
The characteristics of Chitosan
It is a tough, amorphous and colourless fabric. If the active substance is manufactured industrially, it is highly molecular. With the exception of sulfuric acid, it can be dissolved in organic acids and highly diluted acids. On the other hand, chitosan is poorly soluble in alkaline or neutral environments. This in turn is characteristic of the active ingredient and makes it unique among all the known biopolymers. Chitosan is non-toxic, anti-allergenic, antibacterial and antiviral.
Chitosan: binding of fats and suspended matter
The good fat binding can be detected very easily in the laboratory. That is why numerous patents deal with the active ingredient and the principle of action. Efficient fat binding is extremely important, which is why Chitosan is used more frequently, especially in biochemistry. Even in disposal, when it comes to oil disposal, people are increasingly relying on biopolymers. For this purpose, the fat-binding fiber is also occasionally used in pharmaceuticals. Chitosan can be found in medical devices and various dietary supplements under the name lipid adsorbens. In this form, the substance is freely marketable in all EU Member States. Since suspended particles can also be bound by the biopolymer, it is also relied on in the beverage industry, wastewater treatment and water treatment.
The use of Chitosan
Chitosan is used in an interdisciplinary way, as is also known from many other biopolymers or cellulose. It is used as a filter medium in sewage treatment plants or in water extraction. It can also be found more and more frequently in the production of films, membranes and fibers.
In particular, chitosan is used in medicine with its healing, blood-killing, anti-microbial and fat-binding effects. Chitosan can also be discovered as an ingredient in some toothpastes. It can have a positive effect on cholesterol levels as it can lower cholesterol levels. In tumor therapy, too, the positive effects of this biopolymer are now being used.
In cosmetics, chitosan and the positive properties of hair care products, oral care products and skin care products are used.
When losing weight, chitosan can help as a dietary supplement as it can bind fats and help the body digest fats. Chitosan is assigned to the group, the fat blocker.
The positive properties of Chitosan at a glance
- can inhibit bacteria
- can inhibit mushrooms
- is completely non-toxic and biodegradable
- can inhibit inflammation
- can support wound healing
- can stimulate the immune system and metabolism
- can bind fats and thus contribute to weight loss
Chitosan as a dietary supplement
Chitosan is offered as a dietary supplement both as a powder and in capsules. Whether you take it as a powder or capsule has no effect on the effect – so that’s a matter of taste.
The effect of Chitosan
Basically, fiber is always good, especially for digestion. In Chitosan, it can directly reach the digestive tract and bind fats before they can be processed by the body. As a result, weight gain by fats can be prevented. This is because the fats can be excreted unprocessed together with the fiber. In the long term, chitosan can therefore have a positive effect on weight loss and thus help with weight loss. In addition, the overall antibacterial effect can have a very positive effect on digestion and intestinal flora and thus also on intestinal health.
How does chitosan work in the body?
Basically, Chitosan is taken together with meals. In the body, the fiber then swells up and a gel is born. As a result, the feeling of satiety can occur earlier. In addition, it can prevent craving attacks.
The fat absorbed with the respective meals can be partially bound by the natural fiber. As a result, the fat does not remain in the body, but can be excreted. The great advantage of chitosan: it can bind a multiple of its own weight to fat.
However, the active ingredient can not only bind fat, but also other fat-soluble substances such as vitamins. In the long term, therefore, a dose of deficiency can occur, especially with regard to vitamin A, vitamin D and vitamin E.
Lose weight with Chitosan
The fat-binding effect can help people who are overweight lose weight. Because if you take a chitosan-containing dietary supplement before a fatty meal, the fat blocker can cause the fat not to enter the body. Thus, the excess fat cannot be stored by the body. This can then avoid fat pads on the hips, on the thighs or, for example, on the buttocks.
Basically, therefore, during a diet, which is also possible with flea seed shells,you should take this with every meal, as you can reduce a possible fat intake to a minimum. Especially with very high-fat foods, taking the natural fiber can have a positive effect.
At the same time, Chitosan can also curb the feeling of hunger due to its swelling property. Less hunger is synonymous with eating less. Eating less can of course also encourage weight loss. Similarly, a reduced hunger sensation can also cause dreaded craving attacks to fail during the weight loss process. It is especially important to take the chitosan-containing product regularly.
Since the agent mainly acts as a fat blocker, this also means that the positive effect only affects a reduced fat intake during eating. So if you continue to eat sugary desserts or soft drinks, you won’t have much success in losing weight. Therefore, if you want to lose weight, you should also pay attention to the diet and adjust the diet. Only then can the polymer also be a support for weight loss.
Chitosan is therefore not an alternative to a healthy and balanced diet. Simply continue to feast without regret and hope that the capsules or the powder will ensure that you still take off, this does not work with this active ingredient either. Therefore, it can only be recommended to look at the fiber as a supplement to a dietary diet, because only then will one probably be able to achieve the desired goals for weight loss.
Likewise, the fat-binding polymer cannot be understood as a substitute for movement. However, since you can burn many calories by exercise and especially sporty activity, you should also move as much as possible while taking this fat blocker.
So if you decide to take it, you should take into account that the fat-binding fiber chitosan can only be an aid in losing weight. The change of dietary habits to a healthy diet and exercise should definitely be part of the respective diet program for a successful weight loss.
The dosage of Chitosan
Since chitosan is used in different forms and in different dietary supplements, a general dosage recommendation cannot be expressed. The respective dosage depends on the selected product and of course also on the concentration. You should always follow the dosage recommendation. Only then can chitosan be guaranteed to have its full effect.
Known side effects of Chitosan
Since chitosan becomes active in the intestinal tract, side effects can also occur here. Thus, the use of chitosan can cause gastrointestinal discomfort. The most common side effects include bloating, nausea and constipation. Overall, however, the natural fiber can be attributed to good tolerability.
However, those who are allergic to shellfish should check whether the allergy is directly related to the active substance before taking chitosan. If so, there may of course be a variety of unpleasant allergic reactions.
When not to take Chitosan?
A contra-induction exists if one reacts hypersensitive to this active substance or if there is an allergy to crustaceans. In these cases, it is not recommended to take it. In addition, women should not take chitosan during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Possible interactions of chitosan with other medicines
Chitosan can reduce the uptake of fat-soluble active ingredients. Therefore, medications or fat-soluble vitamins should be taken either at least 4 hours before taking chitosan or after ingestion. Chitosan can also prevent essential fatty acids from being absorbed by the body.
There may also be restrictions on the effectiveness of contraceptives such as the pill. Women who use the contraceptive pill should therefore never take it together with Chitosan, but should always keep at least 4 hours between taking the pill and chitosan.
Epileptics should refrain from taking chitosan. Italian doctors report that two women with epilepsy in their 30s, took a drug containing valproic acid and wanted to lose weight with a chitosan product at the same time, suffered unexpected epileptic seizures.
People suffering from acute digestive problems or diseases such as gastric mucosa inflammation, Crohn’s disease, gastrointestinal ulcers, metabolic disorders, reflux disease, diverticulitis, ulcerative colitis or signs of intestinal obstruction should refrain from using chitos-containing products.
In addition, people who regularly eat blood thinners or are diabetics should consult with the attending physician before using chitosin.
The positive influence of chitosan on cholesterol levels
In addition to fatty acids, the polymer chitosan can also bind cholesterol. For this purpose, a double-blind study was conducted with women who had hypercholesterolemia. It was noted that cholesterol levels could be improved by taking chitosan. Over a period of 8 weeks, a significant reduction in cholesterol could be detected by administration of 1.2 g per day. The effect was even greater in women over 60 years of age.
The Effects of Chitosan on Fat Cells and Metabolism
In the Invitro study Chitosan oligosaccharides inhibit adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 adipocytes by Cho EJ, Rahman MA, Kim SW, Baek YM, Hwang HJ, Oh JY, et al.. carried out in 2008, it was clear that chitosan was able to inhibit adigonesis, i.e. the maturation of fat cells. It was also found that there was a suppression of fat accumulation and the lack of activation of various genes responsible for the accumulation of fat.
The antibacterial effect of chitosan
The studies Bacterial-binding chitosan microspheres for gastric infection treatment and prevention from 2013 and The potential utility of chitosan micro/nanoparticles in the treatment of gastric infection from 2014, one could observe, that the harmful germ Helicobacter pylori can be bound by Chitosan and that chitosan has an overall antimicrobial effect.
Chitosan studies: convincing results in fat binding, but no clear evidence
In the meantime, various studies have been conducted on the effects of chitosan. In particular, the fat-binding property was considered by the natural fiber. A 2002 study by Arnanda et al found that taking chitosan can excrete 3.63 g more fat daily. In addition to chitosan, the subjects were given flea seeds, which may have affected the effect.
In a 2001 schiller study, participants were given 3 g of chitosan daily for a period of 8 weeks. A rapidly soluble and high molecular weight chitosan was used. An additional diet was not performed by the subjects. On average, a weight loss of 2.5 kg was observed in the study participants after 8 weeks.
Similarly, scientific studies have shown that the effect of the dietary supplement can be enhanced by the simultaneous intake of vitamin C. Basically, it can be stated that the different chitosan products have different degrees of strength. High viscosity Chitosan can bind fat particularly well.
This can be evidenced by a more recent study in which obese women took 3 g of chitosan each day during a comparison group, in addition to the 3 g of chitosan, 2 g of vitamin C was administered daily. In a previous study in animals, the researchers found that vitamin C could positively influence the effect of chitosan. The human study was also able to show the same. At the end of the study, the body mass index of women who had taken only chitosan was healthy by an average of 1.0 kg/m2. In the comparison group, which had also taken vitamin C, the Body Mass Index fell by 1.6 kg/m2, which corresponds to an increase of 60%.
Overall, however, the results of the individual studies on Chitosan are still too different. In the test tube, the binding of fat can be clearly detected. On the other hand, it is not clear that the same thing is happening in the human body. Although various study results suggest this, it is not possible to say 100% that the amount of fat excreted increases significantly by taking chitosan. Only when there are sufficient study results can a final assessment be made. Laboratory values are all well and good, but in the end the results of clinical trials or everyday life count.
Future studies should be limited to verifying the efficacy of the natural fiber chitosan. No other weight-reducing substances should be supplied to the subjects. In addition, the sport activity and diet should also be highlighted. For this purpose, the duration of the studies should be correspondingly long. Only then can the study results be described as reliable.
Good results were achieved in a human study in which the study participants had to perform a diet with a daily calorie intake of around 1,000 kcal. Various customer sequences have been recorded here, so that it can be concluded that, in combination with such a diet, an average of 2 kg can be reduced within 6 months, depending on the constitution. As other studies have again shown a lack of effectiveness, EFSA – the European Food Safety Authority – has decided to issue a ban on advertising on food supplements first. Therefore, many manufacturers of chitosamine point out that a balanced diet and sports are also recommended. Similarly, phrases such as “can support a reduction diet” can often be found.
As of now, about 14 different studieswere conducted, in which a total of 1,071 subjects participated. All results of these studies have been summarized in a meta-analysis. The average duration of the studies was about 8 weeks. Doses between 1 g and 15 g per day were administered. Overall, study participants who took chitosam were able to lose about 1.7 kg more than the participants in the respective comparison group.
What should I look out for when buying Chitosan?
No matter which chitosan-containing agent you choose, you should of course pay attention to the origin. Products containing chitosan produced and marketed in Germany should be considered safe, otherwise they would not be authorised on the German market.
Certificates and seals can also provide information on the quality of the respective preparation,as well as well-known manufacturers. For this purpose, one should also consider the respective concentration and composition of the products. Chitosan-containing agents with a higher concentration are also likely to have a stronger effect. Of course, the best-before date is always to be neglected. Make sure not only that the product is still durable, but also how long it will last. After all, you want to lose weight with the chitos-containing product and probably take it for a longer period of time.
Since the dietary supplement in combination with vitamin C can be particularly efficient, you can also opt directly for a supplement that has not only the dietary fiber but also the valuable vitamin. Helpful when buying a chitos-containing agent can also always be reviews and testimonials from other users.
Where can I buy Chitosan?
Chitosan-containing products can be purchased in brick-and-mortar stores as well as in various online shops. Numerous local drugstores and pharmacies offer chitosan-containing medical devices. The same applies to the Internet. If you want to buy Chitosan, you are spoilt for choice and can decide whether to order it in classic retail or over the Internet. Often you can order chitosan-containing products online cheaper,because the offer on the web is even larger. In addition, you always have the possibility to compare the different offers with each other. By comparing it, you can also get a good overview and select the preparation with the best price-performance ratio.