Chitosan is a dietary supplement known as a ‘fat absorber’, which has exploded in popularity over the last few years.
Derived from the polysaccharide chitin, which is what comprises the exoskeletons of shellfish and other crustaceans, chitosan is a deacetylated version of these polysaccharides, which essentially allows it to bind to fat molecules.
Chitosan: As a toxic remover
Before it was used as a diet supplement, chitosan was employed in removing toxic substances from water using much the same mechanism.
The grease and oil in the water would bind to this supplement, making it easier to identify and remove.
When taken as a supplement, chitosan binds to fat molecules that are a part of your food, and prevents them from being digested properly.
The resulting effect is that they pass straight through your system, and the fat content of your meal is slashed by up to one third in one stroke.
This supplement is a fibrous substance, which makes it ideal for both catching and trapping molecules. The chemical makeup of it is quite similar to that of cellulose, which is the primary fiber in plants.
The chitosan fibers are positively charged, which means that they are drawn to fats and lipids, which are negatively charged. Once bound, the two substances form what might best be described as a ball of grease.
The chitosan fibers prevent this ball of grease from being digested, the human body simply does not want anything to do with it, and it passes through untouched.
Eat unlimited but don’t forget to have chitosan
Additionally, it is believed that because this supplement allows a person to eat more fat in their diet than they ordinarily would if their goal was to lose weight, it prevents them from experiencing cravings, both physical and psychological, because they are still eating and enjoying all the same foods, they are just not digesting some of the fat content.
It is also possible that that the brain may accept that the same foods are still being eaten, while the digestive system simultaneously notices the lack of fat being absorbed, and dips into the body’s fat stores to compensate.
One study in particular showed that dieters who took chitosan daily lost eight percent of their body-weight in one month, which is a remarkable achievement, and suffered no detrimental side-effects as a result.
The participants in the study noted that they experienced far fewer cravings than with a traditional dieting approach, and that the process was made infinitely easier by this supplement – they could still eat all their favorite foods and lose weight at the same time.
What are its benefits?
The manufacturers of chitosan claim that, as with many vitamin and mineral supplements, the benefits of it can be improved by combining it with various different substances.
For example, one study found that taking vitamin C with this supplement increased the amount of fat that was absorbed by this supplement as a percentage of each meal.
Consequently, many chitosan-containing diet supplements also contain vitamin C.
This supplement may also be useful in controlling levels of LDL cholesterol, also known as ‘bad’ cholesterol, in the bloodstream, while simultaneously boosting levels of HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol.
Part of the result of which is that chitosan may be used to help regulate a healthy blood pressure.
It has been variously found to help reduce the healing time of ulcers and prevent constipation, as well as relieve symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, and is an effective antacid, helping to reduce and prevent the unpleasant burning caused by acid reflex.
The fibrous content of this supplement makes it an excellent supplement choice for those wishing to preserve healthy bowel function.
Studies are currently underway into possible additional effects of chitosan, including its potential role in strengthening bones and preventing the onset of osteoporosis, its ability to combat plaque and protect healthy teeth, and more interestingly of all a possible anti-cancer action.
Though much more research is needed into all of these areas, and currently chitosan is still primarily marketed as a fat absorber.
Chitosan is sometimes referred to as a ‘super fiber’. It is one hundred percent natural and used by many thousands of people worldwide as an effective weight loss supplement.
Effective for overweight
There are currently no recorded side-effects of this supplement, though people who are allergic to seafood may be advised to take caution when embarking on a course of the super fiber, and it is not recommended for pregnant women.
It should be noted that overweight and obese individuals are at increased risk of developing a number of health problems, some of which cannot be rectified by dieting alone.
While chitosan can be an enormous help in losing weight and helping to control cravings so that you stick to your diet, it cannot be a complete replacement for eating healthily and exercising regularly.
Indeed, the beneficial effects of this supplement is likely to become even more pronounced when combined with a sensible diet and exercise program.
Studies indicate that combining light aerobic exercise daily with a course of chitosan showed greatly improved results over taking the chitosan alone.
The recommended daily dose of chitosan is one or two capsules to be taken around ten minutes before mealtimes for optimum results.
Due to the addition of this supplement´s super fibers into the diet, it is advised to drink at least eight glasses of water a day and to stay well hydrated, which will help to support the digestive process.
If you experience any negative symptoms after taking chitosan you should cease the course immediately and seek medical assistance.