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Chitosan is a substance formed from chitin by partial deacetylation with alkali. [1]


Chitosan the distinct natural biopolymer is commercially originated from chitin. Although usually manufactured by de-acetylating chitin trough chemical processes. Chitosan is also found in nature, for examples as a key component in fungal cell walls.

Its chemical structure can most simply be described as a co-polymer of glucosamine and acetyl-glucosamine. As a natural cationic biopolymer in its liquified form (ph<< 5,7), Chtitosan has a positive charge, triggering flexible usages based upon tis chlating, anti-microbioal, gelling and film-forming residential or commercial properties. Chitosan consist of a family of products, differing in polymer length, chemical series and product purities. [2]

What are other typical names?

  • Chitin
  • Chitosan Ascorbate
  • Chitosane
  • Deacetylated Chitosan
  • Enzymatic Polychitosamine Hydrolisat
  • HEP-30
  • Mono-Carboxymethylated Chitosan
  • N,O-Sulfated Chitosan
  • N-Carboxybutyl Chitosan
  • N-Carboxybutyl Chitosane
  • O-Sulfated N-Acetylchitosan
  • Poliglusam
  • Sulfated N-Carboxymethylchitosan
  • Trimethyl Chitosan Chloride [3]


Chitosan has an extra possible benefit than the majority of other types of fiber, explains Health Solutions at Columbia. When traveling through the intestines, chitosan binds to a percentage of dietary fat and takes it along out of the body, avoiding this fat from being soaked up. This action represent the theoretical effects of chitosan on cholesterol levels and weight, however chitosan might not bind with adequate fat to trigger significant impacts.

Mixed Research Study Results

A review of studies published in a 2008 issue of the “Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews” assessed the efficiency of chitosan for health advantages in individuals with overweight and ovesity. The 15 research studies included 1,219 individuals. Typically, chitosan intake caused significant weight loss, lowered overall cholesterol and reduced high blood pressure as compared to placebo. The authors cautioned that when they narrowed the studies to those of higher quality with bigger varieties of individuals and longer duration, the improvements were much smaller.

Factors to consider

Research appearing in the June 1999 problem of “Techniques and Findings in Speculative and Medical Pharmacology” discovered that otherwise healthy ladies with weight problems taking chitosan supplements did not experience significant declines in cholesterol or triglyceride levels when compared to females taking a placebo. In fact, the group taking chitosan experienced slightly increased triglycerides. Neither group dropped weight. The females taking chitosan consumed 3 400mg capsules two times daily for 8 weeks.


In contrast, a study released in the Winter 2003 issue of the “Journal of Medicinal Food” discovered advantages of chitosan supplements for individuals with type 2 diabetes and unusual amounts of blood lipid levels. Individuals consumed either a particular daily amount of bread consisting of 2 percent chitosan or they consumed regular bread. Individuals consuming the chitosan bread experienced lower levels of low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, cholesterol, the so-called bad cholesterol, and substantial increases in high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, cholesterol, the excellent cholesterol. No considerable weight decrease or changes in triglyceride levels occurred.


The fat-absorption activity of chitosan likewise avoids some absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, as well as phytochemicals that help to prevent disease, warns Health Solutions at Columbia. In addition, some medications such as birth control pills are fat-soluble, and chitosan might impact their absorption. [4]

How Does Chitosan Work?

Chitosan operates in more than one way, which is reflected in its diverse usages.

For starters, it’s utilized in health care, cosmetics, dentistry, and for targeted drug delivery.

Its toughness and special chemical structure grant chitosan prospective health advantages. People mainly use it for improving weight reduction and reducing cholesterol, however it can also form protective films on damaged skin and help its recovery.

What makes chitosan so unique?

Most of its various uses cover from its physical residential or commercial properties: chitosan is a “biopolymer”– it forms a network of tightly bound big particles that provide mechanical stability.

Binding Fats

Chitosan is a non-digestible dietary fiber. When consumed, its network of large molecules binds to toxins, fats, and cholesterol in the gut. These get performed of the gut and removed with the stool.

Simply put, chitosan might lower the absorption of fats and toxic substances in your gut by binding to them, a system observed in rat research studies.

Its capability to bind excess fats is thought to underlie its weight reduction action as well.

Regenerating the Skin

When chitosan is applied to the skin, it frees active compounds that reduce swelling and enhance rejuvenation.

In cells, chitosan lowered the action of numerous inflammatory compounds (such as IL-1b); it also increased the action of anti-inflammatory ones, such as IL-10– a cytokine essential for skin regrowth and injury healing.

Health Benefits of Chitosan

Wound Recovery & Surgery Recovery

Chitosan gels can assist accelerate wound healing and aid in surgical treatment healing. In a meta-analysis of 3 clinical studies, chitosan gel dressing lowered swelling and helped stop bleeding after sinus surgical treatment. The dressing did not affect crusting or infections.

In 25 clients, a gel with chitosan, 0,2% chlorhexidine, allantoin, and dexpanthenol improved injury healing after third molar extraction. However, it didn’t relieve postoperative pain.

In one research study, topical chitosan promoted collagen production, increased the regional immune response, motivated tissue regeneration, and avoided scarring.

High Blood Pressure

Scientists have been studying chitosan as a binding representative for salt for the management of hypertension (hypertension).

In two trials of 81 patients with prehypertension or moderate hypertension, taking a specific item (Symbiosal) with 3% chitosan in table salt for 8 weeks reduced systolic high blood pressure, compared to salt alone.

Insufficient Proof:

No valid medical evidence supports using chitosan for any of the conditions in this area. Below is a summary of current animal research studies, cell-based research study, or low-quality scientific trials which need to trigger more investigation. However, you should not analyze them as encouraging of any health advantage.


Chitosan forms connective movies, connecting to bile and fats in the gut. The films then travel through your gastrointestinal system, potentially increasing the amount of fat removed in the stool.

In one clinical study, chitosan supplements minimized individuals’ weight by as much as ~ 7 pounds over three months. However placebo alone assisted individuals lose as much as 4 lbs. In turn, chitosan’s realistic contribution was just about 3 lbs (1.36 kg), on average.

A Cochrane database evaluation consisted of 15 clinical trials of 1,219 overall individuals. Chitosan supplements slightly improved weight-loss (1.7 kg usually). Nevertheless, this review failed to validate increased fat excretion. The authors concluded that “the effect of chitosan on body weight is minimal and not likely to be of medical significance”.

Even if chitosan did bind and eliminate dietary fats, there’s a prospective disadvantage to this impact. By attaching to and boosting the removal of excess fats, it may likewise increase the elimination of important minerals such as calcium and fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D and vitamin A.

More medical trials must examine long-term security and efficacy of chitosan supplements for weight loss.

High Cholesterol

According to a review of human research studies, including chitosan to a routine diet plan can reduce total blood cholesterol levels by ~ 6-40% and LDL cholesterol levels by 15– 35%.

In one trial of 84 ladies, chitosan worked to lower total cholesterol levels better than placebo. In a subgroup of ladies over 60 years of age, it likewise reduced LDL and total cholesterol.

On the other hand, chitosan stopped working to enhance cholesterol levels in three research studies of 247 individuals in the lack of dietary changes.

It may be a safe option for people with borderline-high cholesterol levels, along with proper dietary and way of life modifications. More research is required.

Kidney Illness

Chitosan supplements may assist people with kidney illness or kidney failure, however the research study to-date is sparse.

In one older trial, chitosan given to 40 individuals with kidney failure enhanced strength, hunger, and sleep after 12 weeks. It also increased hemoglobin and minimized blood creatinine and urea levels, which indicates its prospective to improve kidney function.

Additionally, high phosphorus levels are strongly linked with a greater danger of dying in individuals with persistent kidney disease. In rats, an iron-chitosan complex reduced blood phosphorus levels. This complex can bind phosphorus stronger than many other readily available phosphorus binders.

Oral Health

More recently, chitosan found its method into dentistry and oral health.

It can be formulated into products for fighting cavities and increasing oral health. Some people chew chitosan gum to prevent or decrease gum inflammation, though no research studies verified their efficiency.

In one medical research study, a chitosan mouth-rinse decreased plaque build-up and bacterial growth that leads to gum disease.

Chitosan’s microbe-fighting effects in human beings are still an active area of research.

Animal and Cellular Research (Lacking Evidence)

No clinical evidence supports the use of chitosan for any of the conditions listed in this section. Below is a summary of the existing animal and cell-based studies; they need to assist further investigational efforts but need to not be interpreted as helpful of any health benefit.


Chitosan oligosaccharides decreased fatigue in sleep-deprived rats. It also suppressed other unfavorable fatigue-triggered impacts, such as weight reduction and immobility.

In addition, chitosan lowered excess levels of the tension hormonal agent cortisol in fatigued mice and raised their levels of a crucial antioxidant called superoxide dismutase (SOD).


Chitosan oligosaccharide may decrease inflammation, however medical trials are still lacking.

In rats, this oligosaccharide decreased inflammation in the brain, suppressing the release of inflammatory cytokines (such as IL-1b and TNF-alpha).

In cells, it blocked inflammation triggered by a bacterial toxic substance– LPS (by reducing IL-6). LPS can activate a strong inflammatory response and might slip into the blood in people with dripping gut.

Crohn’s Illness and Dripping Gut

There is a strong link between inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1b and TNF-alpha and Crohn’s disease. High levels of these cytokines may increase cell death (apoptosis) in the gut, jeopardizing the gut’s stability and perhaps resulting in what is frequently called leaky gut.

According to animal research studies, chitosan oligosaccharide may improve IBD symptoms (consisting of Crohn’s) and reduce the death of gut cells. This result may assist enhance the gut barrier.

In another recent research study, piglets consuming a chitosan oligosaccharide-enhanced diet experienced decreased gut inflammation.

Brain Defense

Chitosan oligosaccharide might have some brain-protective residential or commercial properties. Supplementation with the oligosaccharide kind reduced mental retardation in rats with Alzheimer’s and enhanced their memory and learning.

Additional research is underway, exploring its possible to prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Binding Toxins & Heavy Metals

Chitosan may bind to and help remove toxic substances. Since it gets rid of bacteria (such as E.coli) and heavy metals from water, comparable gain from supplements are a possibility. In spite of this, its results on cleaning toxins in people have yet to be explored.

In rats, chitosan secured versus the buildup of a poisonous heavy metal called cadmium. It lowered cadmium levels and secured the animals versus damage.

In one cell-based research study, chitosan could bind to and filter out mold contaminants.

Results on Cancer (Minimal Proof)

The impacts of chitosan on cancer are still unclear.

On the one hand, it activates genes that assist destroy harmed cells that could become cancer.

On the other hand, chitosan activated the growth of liver and colon cancer stem cells in test tubes. These results have actually not been observed in animals or humans.

Lastly, chitosan can also be used to deliver cancer drugs. Medications acquire its large matrix of molecules and are executed the body up until reaching the designated shipment site.

Chitosan Bandages

Chitosan is an excellent natural product for making bandages. It has all the following advantages:.

  • Stops or slows down excessive bleeding
  • Minimizes the risk of infection
  • Decreases swelling
  • Non-toxic and suitable with skin
  • Releases glucosamine to assist skin repair work

Chitosan plasters are used by the military, in trauma care, and during surgery as injury dressings.

Bandages can likewise be made from a combination of chitosan, honey, and gelatin. These are applied to burns to help recovery and motivate skin regeneration.

Chitosan with Glucomannan

Chitosan supplements sometimes come with glucomannan, a dietary fiber typically required to promote weight loss. Because chitosan increases fat removal, it makes good sense to presume that this combination might further encourage weight loss.

In one clinical research study, their mix reduced cholesterol levels in overweight people.

At the same time, this study calls into question the ability of chitosan and glucomannan to enhance weight loss. Researchers exposed the combination only assists eliminate cholesterol-like compounds and bile acids, but not fats in general.

Advanced Formulations

Scientists are utilizing chitosan to create gels that may help provide complicated immune substances to tissues.

In one cell-based research study, chitosan gels were utilized as a carrier for a protein called Changing Growth Aspect Beta 1 (TGF-β1). This protein increased the growth of stem cells in the bone marrow and encouraged them to become cartilage and joint cells that help reconstruct connective tissue after injury.

As it turns out, chitosan solutions like this one may lead the way to a brand-new age of regenerative medication.

Chitosan alone, nevertheless, will not have this result.

Chitosan For Cats and Dogs

Chitosan gels and plasters are likely safe in felines and dogs.

Applied to the skin, chitosan improved wound recovery in over 140 kinds of animals, consisting of felines and dogs. It enhanced the growth of brand-new connective tissue and capillary, while it might likewise increase collagen production and reduce scarring.

Vets ought to be cautious when applying chitosan to large open injuries in animals. High dosages can be absorbed into the bloodstream and may trigger potentially lethal pneumonia in pets. [5]

Chitosan as biomaterial

Chitosan have numerous homes to be used in biomedical applications. It has positive charges in acidic medium, due to protonation of amino groups, and it can bind with unfavorable residues in the mucin, that cause improve mucoadhesive properties.

Also positive charges on chitosan can bind to unfavorable charges on red cell (RBC) so that chitosan utilized as haemostatic representative.

Chitosan has 2 mechanisms to describe its antimicrobial activity. The first system proposed that positive charges on chitosan could bind with unfavorable charges at the bacterial cell surface, which change permeability and leakages solutes outside the cells. The second one proposed that it might bind with bacterial DNA cell, which inhibit RNA synthesis.

The polycationic nature of chitosan also permits discussing chitosan analgesic results. Certainly, the amino groups of the D-glucosamine residues can protonate in the existence of proton ions that are launched in the inflammatory location, leading to an analgesic impact.

Now, to describe chitosan biodegradability, it is very important to keep in mind that chitosan is not only a polymer bearing amino groups, but also a polysaccharide, which as a result contains breakable glycosidic bonds. Chitosan is in fact broken down in vivo by a number of proteases, and mainly lysozyme. Till now, 8 human chitinases have actually been recognized, three of them possessing enzymatic activity on chitosan. The biodegradation of chitosan leads to the formation of non-toxic oligosaccharides of variable length. These oligosaccharides can be incorporated in metabolic pathways or be more excreted. The destruction rate of chitosan is primarily related to its degree of deacetylation, but likewise to the distribution of N-acetyl D-glucosamine residues and the molecular mass of chitosan.

Chitosan shows biocompatibility in biomedical applications such as stitches and synthetic skins and was significantly authorized by the Fda (FDA) for use in injury dressings [42] However, the compatibility of chitosan with physiological medium depends on the preparation method (residual proteins could indeed trigger allergic reactions) and on the DD– biocompatibility increases with DD boost. Chitosan in fact showed to be more cytocompatible in vitro than chitin. Undoubtedly, while the number of positive charges increases the interaction between cells and chitosan boosts too, which tends to enhance biocompatibility.

Besides, some chemical adjustments of chitosan structure could induce toxicity.

Production process of chitosan has excellent result on chitosan properties due to the fact that these processes manage the degree of acetylation of chitosan, i.e. Free amino groups that enable it to bind with negatively charged particles.

Chitosan has a number of biological homes that make it an attractive product for usage in medical applications. These residential or commercial properties include: biodegradability, absence of toxicity, anti-fungal effects, injury recovery velocity and immune system stimulation.

Applications of chitosan and chitosan derivatives

Due to chitosan’s numerous attractive properties such as biodegradability, natural origin, abundance, reactivity, and so on, it has numerous locations of application consisting of: medical, agricultural, food processing, nutritional enhancement, cosmetics, and waste and water treatment.

Agricultural applications

The abundance, biodegradability, nontoxic, and natural origin of chitosan enable it to be securely used in farming applications since it can be used without concerns of pollution, disposal, or damage to consumers if ingested. Seed covering, leaf finishing, fertilizer, and time released drug or fertilizer actions are some of the applications within agricultural where chitosan is utilized. Making use of chitosan in these areas has actually shown to increase the amount of crops produced by improving germination, rooting, leaf growth, seed yield, and soil wetness retention, while minimizing the occurrence of fungal infections and illness.

Wastewater treatment applications

Chitosan’s practical groups and natural chelating properties make chitosan useful in wastewater treatment by enabling the binding and elimination of metal ions such as copper, lead, mercury, and uranium from wastewater [4] It can likewise be used to breakdown food particles which contain protein and get rid of dyes and other negatively charged solids from wastewater streams and processing outlets.

Food industry applications

Chitosan’s chelating properties and high functionality make it important in a number of applications within the food industry such as binding with and eliminating particular aspects, particles, and products such as dyes and fats from foods. The anti-bacterial and antifungal residential or commercial properties discovered in chitosan can likewise be utilized throughout the storage and conservation of food.

Medical applications

Due to chitosan’s capability to operate in many forms it has lots of locations of interest within the medical industry consisting of orthopedic and Periodontal Applications. Tissue engineering, Wound Healing and Drug Shipment.

Some examples of biomedical applications of are artificial skin, surgical sutures, synthetic capillary, managed drug release, contact lens, eye humor fluid, plasters, sponges, burn dressings, blood cholesterol control, anti-inflammatory, tumor inhibition, anti-viral, oral plaque inhibition, bone healing treatment, injury healing accelerator, hemostatic representative, antibacterial agent, antifungal agent, weight-loss result. [6]

Threats and Adverse Effects

Chitosan is typically considered “normally recognized as safe,” but there’s minimal research study on its security, specifically for long-term use. It may cause adverse side effects in some individuals, perhaps causing digestive complaints like upset stomach, gas and irregularity.

Chitosan might likewise reduce the absorption of essential nutrients, consisting of vitamins A, D, E and K and calcium, which might add to nutrition deficiencies.

Individuals who dislike shellfish may not tolerate chitosan supplements. If you experience allergic reaction symptoms, like rash, throat inflammation and stomach pains, terminate usage right away.

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding must not take these supplements due to the fact that there’s insufficient proof on their safety for these groups. Chitosan ought to not be taken by people who are on blood slimmers, such as warfarin, as it may increase the blood thinning results.

When buying a supplement or topical, select from a trusted, credible brand name that has clear directions and shows the dose. Do not surpass the suggested dose.

Supplements and Dose

Chitosan supplements are offered online and in vitamin shops. Read the instructions thoroughly for use and dose.

A lot of brand names recommend taking the supplement with a meal.

There is no standard recommended dosage for chitosan, and more evidence is needed to make a scientifically tested recommendation. Trials on weight-loss have actually involved three- to four-gram dosages, with insignificant results.

For high blood pressure, taking up to three grams of a salt product including chitosan might be effective.

When it comes to weight reduction, the most significant, healthiest and most sustainable impact comes from eating a healthy diet, moving your body and getting sufficient rest every night. Without these consider place, no supplement will get you to a healthy weight. [7]

Chitosan Chewing Gum

Chewing chitosan gum likewise became a popular technique for decreasing high phosphate levels in individuals with kidney disease.

Nevertheless, chitosan gum is not as good as it sounds. In fact, it is most likely completely ineffective.

One 2009 research study discovered that chitosan gum lowered phosphate levels after simply two weeks of chewing. Current research studies stopped working to reproduce the outcomes.

It ends up that the quantity of chitosan in chitosan chewing gum is too low to have a phosphate-binding result. And according to an in-depth analysis, the 2009 research study was badly created, while the benefits come down to a placebo result.

Unique Precautions and Warnings

When taken by mouth: Chitosan is potentially safe when utilized for up to 3 months. It might cause indigestion, constipation, or gas.

When applied to the skin: Chitosan is possibly safe when utilized short-term.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn’t adequate trusted details to understand if chitosan is safe to utilize when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and prevent usage.

Shellfish allergy: Chitosan is taken from the external skeleton of shellfish. People with allergies to shellfish might likewise dislike chitosan. [8]

What other drugs communicate with chitosan?

If your physician has actually directed you to use this medication, your doctor or pharmacist might already understand any possible drug interactions and might be monitoring you for them. Do not begin, stop, or change the dose of any medicine before talking to your physician, health care company, or pharmacist initially.

Moderate interactions of chitosan consist of:.

  • Antithrombin alfa
  • Antithrombin III
  • Argatroban
  • Bemiparin
  • Bivalirudin
  • Dabigatran
  • Dalteparin
  • Enoxaparin
  • Fondaparinux
  • Heparin
  • Lepirudin
  • Phenindione
  • Protamine
  • Tinzaparin
  • Warfarin

Mild interactions of chitosan consist of:.

The European Food Security Authority’s Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition, and Allergies set the maximum recommended daily consumption of chitosan at 3 grams. There is presently no suggested optimum quantity established in the United States.

While studies have revealed chitosan supplementation to be usually safe in adults, the dosages studied variety widely, from 0.34– 3.4 grams of chitosan daily.

Therefore, there’s no agreement on the most reliable dose for chitosan. However staying listed below that 3-gram maximum set by European safety authorities may be a great recommendation.

Examine the supplement label to see just how much chitosan is in one serving (remember that one serving might include several pills) and how many servings are advised each day. Add whatever up to see the overall day-to-day dosage.

When trying to find a supplement, constantly validate that it has actually been third-party checked. Third-party screening makes sure that the supplement fulfills specific pureness and strength requirements.

Try to find a seal on the product packaging from an organization such as NSF International, USP, or consumerlab. These seals are generally great indications of supplement quality.

The bottom line

Chitosan is an extensively available supplement promoted for weight loss. While some research suggests that it may be somewhat effective in conjunction with a calorie-restricted diet plan and exercise, more research is required.

Always proceed with care when beginning a brand-new supplement program, and ensure that the advantages outweigh the potential dangers. Where chitosan is worried, its advantages for weight-loss are undetermined. [10]


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