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


    Chitosan the special natural biopolymer is commercially originated from chitin. Although generally produced by de-acetylating chitin trough chemical processes. Chitosan is also discovered in nature, for instances as a crucial 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 dissolved type (ph<< 5,7), Chtitosan possesses a positive charge, giving rise to flexible uses based on tis chlating, anti-microbioal, gelling and film-forming homes. Chitosan include a household of items, differing in polymer length, chemical series and item pureness. [2]

    What are other common 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 potential benefit than a lot of other types of fiber, explains Health Services at Columbia. When traveling through the intestinal tracts, chitosan binds to a percentage of dietary fat and takes it along out of the body, preventing this fat from being taken in. This action represent the theoretical impacts of chitosan on cholesterol levels and weight, however chitosan may not bind with adequate fat to cause considerable results.

    Mixed Research Study Outcomes

    A review of studies published in a 2008 issue of the “Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews” evaluated the efficiency of chitosan for health benefits in individuals with obese and ovesity. The 15 research studies consisted of 1,219 individuals. Usually, chitosan consumption led to significant weight loss, minimized total cholesterol and decreased blood pressure as compared with placebo. The authors warned that when they narrowed the studies to those of higher quality with larger varieties of individuals and longer duration, the enhancements were much smaller sized.

    Factors to consider

    Research appearing in the June 1999 concern of “Approaches and Findings in Speculative and Clinical Pharmacology” found that otherwise healthy females with weight problems taking chitosan supplements did not experience significant declines in cholesterol or triglyceride levels when compared to women taking a placebo. In fact, the group taking chitosan experienced slightly increased triglycerides. Neither group slimmed down. The females taking chitosan consumed 3 400mg pills twice each day for eight weeks.


    On the other hand, a study published in the Winter 2003 concern of the “Journal of Medicinal Food” discovered advantages of chitosan supplements for individuals with type 2 diabetes and irregular quantities of blood lipid levels. Participants consumed either a specific everyday amount of bread containing 2 percent chitosan or they ate regular bread. Participants 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 good cholesterol. No considerable weight decrease or modifications in triglyceride levels took place.


    The fat-absorption activity of chitosan also prevents some absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, in addition to phytochemicals that assist to prevent illness, cautions Health Solutions at Columbia. In addition, some medications such as contraceptive pill are fat-soluble, and chitosan might impact their absorption. [4]

    How Does Chitosan Work?

    Chitosan operates in more than one method, which is shown in its varied uses.

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

    Its resilience and unique chemical structure grant chitosan prospective health benefits. Individuals mostly use it for improving weight loss and reducing cholesterol, however it can also form protective films on harmed skin and help its healing.

    What makes chitosan so unique?

    Most of its various usages cover from its physical properties: chitosan is a “biopolymer”– it forms a network of tightly bound large particles that offer mechanical integrity.

    Binding Fats

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

    In other words, chitosan may reduce the absorption of fats and toxic substances in your gut by binding to them, a mechanism observed in rat studies.

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

    Regrowing the Skin

    When chitosan is applied to the skin, it frees active compounds that minimize swelling and improve restoration.

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

    Health Advantages of Chitosan

    Wound Healing & & Surgical Treatment Healing

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

    In 25 patients, a gel with chitosan, 0,2% chlorhexidine, allantoin, and dexpanthenol enhanced wound healing after 3rd molar extraction. However, it didn’t eliminate postoperative pain.

    In one study, topical chitosan stimulated collagen production, increased the regional immune response, motivated tissue regrowth, and prevented scarring.

    High Blood Pressure

    Researchers have been studying chitosan as a binding agent for salt for the management of high blood pressure (high blood pressure).

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

    Inadequate Evidence:

    No valid clinical proof supports making use of chitosan for any of the conditions in this section. Below is a summary of current animal studies, cell-based research, or low-grade medical trials which ought to spark additional investigation. However, you should not interpret them as supportive of any health advantage.

    Weight reduction

    Chitosan forms connective movies, connecting to bile and fatty acids in the gut. The movies then pass through your digestion system, possibly increasing the amount of fat eliminated in the stool.

    In one medical research study, chitosan supplements reduced individuals’ weight by approximately ~ 7 lbs over 3 months. But placebo alone helped individuals lose approximately 4 pounds. In turn, chitosan’s realistic contribution was only about 3 lbs (1.36 kg), on average.

    A Cochrane database evaluation included 15 medical trials of 1,219 total participants. Chitosan supplementation slightly enhanced weight-loss (1.7 kg typically). However, this review stopped working to confirm increased fat excretion. The authors concluded that “the impact of chitosan on body weight is minimal and not likely to be of medical significance”.

    Even if chitosan did bind and remove dietary fats, there’s a potential disadvantage to this result. 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.

    Further scientific trials ought to examine long-lasting safety and effectiveness of chitosan supplements for weight-loss.

    High Cholesterol

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

    In one trial of 84 ladies, chitosan worked to lower overall cholesterol levels much better than placebo. In a subgroup of females over 60 years of age, it also lowered LDL and overall cholesterol.

    On the other hand, chitosan failed to enhance cholesterol levels in 3 studies of 247 participants in the lack of dietary changes.

    It may be a safe choice for people with borderline-high cholesterol levels, together with proper dietary and way of life changes. More research study is required.

    Kidney Illness

    Chitosan supplements may assist individuals with kidney illness or kidney failure, but the research to-date is sporadic.

    In one older trial, chitosan offered to 40 people with kidney failure improved strength, cravings, and sleep after 12 weeks. It likewise increased hemoglobin and lowered blood creatinine and urea levels, which indicates its possible to enhance kidney function.

    In addition, high phosphorus levels are strongly related to a greater danger of dying in people with persistent kidney disease. In rats, an iron-chitosan complex reduced blood phosphorus levels. This complex can bind phosphorus stronger than a lot of other offered phosphorus binders.

    Oral Health

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

    It can be developed into items for combating cavities and increasing oral health. Some individuals chew chitosan gum to prevent or lower gum inflammation, though no research studies verified their efficiency.

    In one scientific study, a chitosan mouth-rinse decreased plaque accumulation and bacterial development that causes gum disease.

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

    Animal and Cellular Research Study (Lacking Evidence)

    No medical evidence supports making use of chitosan for any of the conditions listed in this area. Below is a summary of the existing animal and cell-based research studies; they should assist additional investigational efforts but need to not be interpreted as supportive of any health benefit.


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

    Additionally, chitosan decreased excess levels of the tension hormone cortisol in tired mice and raised their levels of an important antioxidant called superoxide dismutase (SOD).


    Chitosan oligosaccharide may decrease swelling, however medical trials are still doing not have.

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

    In cells, it blocked inflammation brought on by a bacterial toxic substance– LPS (by decreasing IL-6). LPS can trigger a strong inflammatory response and may slip into the blood in people with dripping gut.

    Crohn’s Disease and Leaking Gut

    There is a strong link in 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 causing what is commonly called leaky gut.

    According to animal research studies, chitosan oligosaccharide might enhance IBD signs (including Crohn’s) and decrease the death of gut cells. This result might help enhance the gut barrier.

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

    Brain Defense

    Chitosan oligosaccharide may have some brain-protective residential or commercial properties. Supplementation with the oligosaccharide type lowered mental retardation in rats with Alzheimer’s and improved their memory and knowing.

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

    Binding Toxins & & Heavy Metals

    Chitosan may bind to and assist get rid of toxic substances. Because it gets rid of bacteria (such as E.coli) and heavy metals from water, similar gain from supplements are a possibility. In spite of this, its results on cleaning contaminants in humans have yet to be checked out.

    In rats, chitosan protected versus the buildup of a harmful heavy metal called cadmium. It decreased cadmium levels and protected the animals versus damage.

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

    Results on Cancer (Limited Proof)

    The impacts of chitosan on cancer are still uncertain.

    On the one hand, it activates genes that assist destroy damaged cells that might turn into 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 likewise be used to deliver cancer drugs. Medications latch onto its large matrix of molecules and are performed the body up until coming to the designated delivery site.

    Chitosan Bandages

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

    • Stops or slows down extreme bleeding
    • Lowers the risk of infection
    • Reduces swelling
    • Non-toxic and suitable with skin
    • Releases glucosamine to aid skin repair

    Chitosan plasters are used by the military, in trauma care, and throughout surgical treatment as wound dressings.

    Plasters can also be made from a combination of chitosan, honey, and gelatin. These are applied to burns to help healing and motivate skin regrowth.

    Chitosan with Glucomannan

    Chitosan supplements sometimes include glucomannan, a dietary fiber commonly taken to promote weight loss. Because chitosan increases fat removal, it makes good sense to presume that this combo might further encourage weight loss.

    In one clinical research study, their combination lowered cholesterol levels in overweight individuals.

    At the same time, this research study calls into question the capability of chitosan and glucomannan to boost weight loss. Scientists exposed the mix only assists remove cholesterol-like compounds and bile acids, but not fats in general.

    Advanced Formulations

    Researchers are utilizing chitosan to create gels that might help deliver complex immune compounds to tissues.

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

    As it ends up, chitosan solutions like this one might lead the way to a new era of regenerative medicine.

    Chitosan alone, however, won’t have this effect.

    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 types of animals, consisting of cats and dogs. It boosted the development of new connective tissue and blood vessels, while it might likewise increase collagen production and minimize scarring.

    Vets ought to beware when using chitosan to large open injuries in animals. High dosages can be absorbed into the blood stream and might cause potentially fatal pneumonia in pet dogs. [5]

    Chitosan as biomaterial

    Chitosan have numerous residential or commercial properties 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 enhance mucoadhesive properties.

    Also positive charges on chitosan can bind to unfavorable charges on red blood cells (RBC) so that chitosan used as haemostatic representative.

    Chitosan has two systems to discuss its antimicrobial activity. The first mechanism proposed that positive charges on chitosan might bind with negative charges at the bacterial cell surface area, which change permeability and leakages solutes outside the cells. The 2nd one proposed that it could bind with bacterial DNA cell, which inhibit RNA synthesis.

    The polycationic nature of chitosan also permits describing chitosan analgesic results. Certainly, the amino groups of the D-glucosamine residues can protonate in the presence of proton ions that are released in the inflammatory area, resulting in an analgesic result.

    Now, to explain chitosan biodegradability, it is necessary to remember that chitosan is not just a polymer bearing amino groups, however likewise a polysaccharide, which as a result consists of breakable glycosidic bonds. Chitosan is in fact deteriorated in vivo by several proteases, and mainly lysozyme. Till now, 8 human chitinases have been determined, three of them having enzymatic activity on chitosan. The biodegradation of chitosan results in the formation of non-toxic oligosaccharides of variable length. These oligosaccharides can be included in metabolic pathways or be additional excreted. The deterioration rate of chitosan is generally related to its degree of deacetylation, however also to the distribution of N-acetyl D-glucosamine residues and the molecular mass of chitosan.

    Chitosan shows biocompatibility in biomedical applications such as sutures and artificial skins and was especially approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in injury dressings [42] However, the compatibility of chitosan with physiological medium depends upon the preparation method (recurring proteins could certainly trigger allergies) and on the DD– biocompatibility increases with DD increase. Chitosan in fact proved 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 modifications of chitosan structure might cause toxicity.

    Production procedure of chitosan has fantastic impact on chitosan properties since these procedures control the degree of acetylation of chitosan, i.e. Free amino groups that allow it to bind with negatively charged molecules.

    Chitosan has a number of biological homes that make it an appealing product for usage in medical applications. These properties include: biodegradability, absence of toxicity, anti-fungal impacts, wound recovery acceleration and body immune system stimulation.

    Applications of chitosan and chitosan derivatives

    Due to chitosan’s numerous appealing properties such as biodegradability, natural origin, abundance, reactivity, and so on, it has lots of locations of application including: medical, agricultural, food processing, nutritional improvement, 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 due to the fact that it can be utilized without issues of contamination, 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 used. Making use of chitosan in these areas has actually revealed to increase the quantity of crops produced by improving germination, rooting, leaf growth, seed yield, and soil moisture retention, while lowering the event of fungal infections and illness.

    Wastewater treatment applications

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

    Food market applications

    Chitosan’s chelating residential or commercial properties and high functionality make it valuable in numerous applications within the food market such as binding with and getting rid of specific elements, particles, and materials such as dyes and fats from foods. The anti-bacterial and antifungal residential or commercial properties discovered in chitosan can likewise be utilized during the storage and preservation of food.

    Medical applications

    Due to chitosan’s ability to function in many forms it has numerous locations of interest within the medical industry including orthopedic and Gum Applications. Tissue engineering, Injury Healing and Drug Shipment.

    Some examples of biomedical applications of are artificial skin, surgical stitches, synthetic blood vessels, managed drug release, contact lens, eye humor fluid, plasters, sponges, burn dressings, blood cholesterol control, anti-inflammatory, tumor inhibition, anti-viral, dental plaque inhibition, bone healing treatment, injury healing accelerator, hemostatic representative, anti-bacterial representative, antifungal agent, weight reduction impact. [6]

    Risks and Adverse Effects

    Chitosan is frequently thought about “typically acknowledged as safe,” but there’s limited research on its safety, especially for long-lasting usage. It may cause negative side effects in some individuals, possibly leading to digestion complaints like upset stomach, gas and constipation.

    Chitosan might also decrease the absorption of essential nutrients, consisting of vitamins A, D, E and K and calcium, which might add to nutrient deficiencies.

    Individuals who dislike shellfish may not endure chitosan supplements. If you experience allergic reaction symptoms, like rash, throat irritation and stomach discomforts, terminate usage immediately.

    Ladies who are pregnant or breastfeeding ought to not take these supplements because there’s not enough proof on their safety for these groups. Chitosan should not be taken by people who are on blood thinners, such as warfarin, as it might increase the blood thinning impacts.

    When purchasing a supplement or topical, choose from a trustworthy, reliable brand that has clear instructions and suggests the dosage. Do not surpass the recommended dosage.

    Supplements and Dosage

    Chitosan supplements are readily available online and in vitamin shops. Read the directions carefully for use and dosage.

    The majority of brand names suggest taking the supplement with a meal.

    There is no standard advised dose for chitosan, and more proof is required to make a clinically tested suggestion. Trials on weight-loss have included three- to four-gram dosages, with unimportant results.

    For blood pressure, taking up to 3 grams of a table salt item including chitosan may work.

    When it pertains to weight reduction, the greatest, healthiest and most sustainable effect originates from consuming a healthy diet, moving your body and getting adequate rest every night. Without these factors in place, no supplement will get you to a healthy weight. [7]

    Chitosan Chewing Gum

    Chewing chitosan gum also ended up being a popular technique for reducing high phosphate levels in people with kidney disease.

    However, chitosan gum is not as good as it sounds. In fact, it is most likely totally inefficient.

    One 2009 study found that chitosan gum decreased phosphate levels after just 2 weeks of chewing. Recent studies stopped working to reproduce the outcomes.

    It turns out that the amount of chitosan in chitosan chewing gum is too low to have a phosphate-binding impact. And according to a detailed analysis, the 2009 study was inadequately designed, while the benefits come down to a placebo impact.

    Special Precautions and Cautions

    When taken by mouth: Chitosan is perhaps safe when utilized for up to 3 months. It may trigger indigestion, constipation, or gas.

    When applied to the skin: Chitosan is potentially safe when used short-term.

    Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn’t adequate reliable info to understand if chitosan is safe to utilize when pregnant or breast-feeding. Remain on the safe side and prevent use.

    Shellfish allergic reaction: Chitosan is drawn from the external skeleton of shellfish. Individuals with allergies to shellfish might also be allergic to chitosan. [8]

    What other drugs connect with chitosan?

    If your medical professional has directed you to utilize this medication, your physician or pharmacist may already know any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not begin, stop, or alter the dosage of any medication prior to checking with your doctor, healthcare 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

    Moderate interactions of chitosan include:.

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

    While studies have actually revealed chitosan supplementation to be usually safe in grownups, the doses studied range commonly, from 0.34– 3.4 grams of chitosan each day.

    For that reason, there’s no consensus on the most reliable dosage for chitosan. However staying below that 3-gram optimum set by European safety authorities might be a great referral.

    Check the supplement label to see how much chitosan remains in one serving (remember that one serving may include several pills) and the number of portions are suggested per day. Include whatever up to see the overall day-to-day dose.

    When trying to find a supplement, always verify that it has been third-party checked. Third-party screening guarantees that the supplement fulfills specific purity and potency requirements.

    Try to find a seal on the packaging from an organization such as NSF International, USP, or consumerlab. These seals are usually excellent indicators of supplement quality.

    The bottom line

    Chitosan is a commonly offered supplement promoted for weight-loss. While some research study shows that it may be somewhat efficient in conjunction with a calorie-restricted diet plan and exercise, more research is required.

    Constantly proceed with care when starting a brand-new supplement regimen, and make sure that the advantages surpass the potential dangers. Where chitosan is worried, its advantages for weight reduction are inconclusive. [10]


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