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


Chitosan the distinct natural biopolymer is commercially stemmed from chitin. Although generally produced by de-acetylating chitin trough chemical processes. Chitosan is also discovered in nature, for instances as a key part in fungal cell walls.

Its chemical structure can most just be referred to as a co-polymer of glucosamine and acetyl-glucosamine. As a natural cationic biopolymer in its liquified kind (ph<< 5,7), Chtitosan has a positive charge, generating flexible usages based upon tis chlating, anti-microbioal, gelling and film-forming residential or commercial properties. Chitosan include a household of products, differing in polymer length, chemical sequences and item 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 prospective benefit than the majority of other kinds of fiber, describes Health Providers at Columbia. When traveling through the intestinal tracts, chitosan binds to a percentage of dietary fat and takes it along out of the body, avoiding this fat from being taken in. This action accounts for the theoretical impacts of chitosan on cholesterol levels and weight, but chitosan might not bind with enough fat to trigger considerable impacts.

Mixed Research Study Results

An evaluation of studies published in a 2008 problem of the “Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews” assessed the effectiveness of chitosan for health advantages in people with obese and ovesity. The 15 research studies consisted of 1,219 individuals. On average, chitosan intake led to significant weight loss, minimized overall cholesterol and reduced blood pressure as compared to placebo. The authors warned that when they narrowed the research studies to those of higher quality with bigger varieties of participants and longer duration, the enhancements were much smaller sized.


Research study appearing in the June 1999 problem of “Techniques and Findings in Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology” discovered that otherwise healthy females with weight problems taking chitosan supplements did not experience considerable reductions in cholesterol or triglyceride levels when compared to females taking a placebo. In fact, the group taking chitosan experienced a little increased triglycerides. Neither group slimmed down. The ladies taking chitosan consumed 3 400mg capsules two times daily for eight weeks.


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


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 Providers at Columbia. In addition, some medications such as birth control pills are fat-soluble, and chitosan might affect their absorption. [4]

How Does Chitosan Work?

Chitosan works in more than one way, which is reflected in its diverse uses.

For starters, it’s used in healthcare, cosmetics, dentistry, and for targeted drug shipment.

Its sturdiness and unique chemical structure grant chitosan potential health advantages. People mainly utilize it for boosting weight reduction and decreasing cholesterol, however it can likewise form protective movies on damaged skin and help its healing.

What makes chitosan so special?

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

Binding Fats

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

To put it simply, chitosan might decrease the absorption of fats and toxic substances in your gut by binding to them, a system observed in rat studies.

Its ability to bind excess fats is believed to underlie its weight reduction action also.

Regenerating the Skin

When chitosan is applied to the skin, it frees active substances that decrease inflammation and improve restoration.

In cells, chitosan lowered the action of numerous inflammatory substances (such as IL-1b); it likewise increased the action of anti-inflammatory ones, such as IL-10– a cytokine vital for skin regeneration and injury recovery.

Health Benefits of Chitosan

Wound Healing & Surgery Healing

Chitosan gels can help speed up injury recovery and help in surgery recovery. In a meta-analysis of three clinical studies, chitosan gel dressing minimized swelling and assisted stop bleeding after sinus surgery. The dressing did not influence crusting or infections.

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

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

High Blood Pressure

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

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

Insufficient Evidence:

No valid scientific evidence supports the use of chitosan for any of the conditions in this section. Below is a summary of up-to-date animal research studies, cell-based research study, or low-grade medical trials which must spark more investigation. However, you shouldn’t analyze them as supportive of any health advantage.

Weight reduction

Chitosan forms connective films, attaching to bile and fats in the gut. The movies then pass through your gastrointestinal system, possibly increasing the quantity of fat gotten rid of in the stool.

In one medical study, chitosan supplements minimized individuals’ weight by up to ~ 7 lbs over three months. But placebo alone assisted people lose approximately 4 pounds. In turn, chitosan’s practical contribution was just about 3 lbs (1.36 kg), on average.

A Cochrane database evaluation included 15 scientific trials of 1,219 overall participants. Chitosan supplements slightly improved weight-loss (1.7 kg typically). However, 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 scientific significance”.

Even if chitosan did bind and get rid of dietary fats, there’s a prospective disadvantage to this effect. By attaching to and improving the elimination of excess fats, it might likewise increase the elimination of essential minerals such as calcium and fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D and vitamin A.

Additional scientific trials must investigate long-lasting security and efficacy of chitosan supplements for weight-loss.

High Cholesterol

According to a review of human studies, adding chitosan to a routine diet plan 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 total cholesterol levels much better than placebo. In a subgroup of women over 60 years of age, it likewise lowered LDL and overall 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 might be a safe choice for people with borderline-high cholesterol levels, together with proper dietary and lifestyle modifications. More research study is required.

Kidney Illness

Chitosan supplements might 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 enhanced strength, cravings, and sleep after 12 weeks. It likewise increased hemoglobin and minimized blood creatinine and urea levels, which points to its prospective to improve kidney function.

Additionally, high phosphorus levels are strongly linked with a greater threat of dying in people with persistent kidney illness. In rats, an iron-chitosan complex reduced blood phosphorus levels. This complex can bind phosphorus stronger than most other available phosphorus binders.

Oral Health

More recently, chitosan discovered its way into dentistry and oral health.

It can be formulated into items for combating cavities and improving oral health. Some individuals chew chitosan gum to prevent or reduce gum inflammation, though no research studies confirmed their efficiency.

In one clinical research study, a chitosan mouth-rinse lowered plaque accumulation and bacterial growth that results in gum disease.

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

Animal and Cellular Research (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 studies; they need to assist more investigational efforts however ought to not be interpreted as supportive of any health advantage.


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

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


Chitosan oligosaccharide may reduce inflammation, but scientific trials are still lacking.

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

In cells, it obstructed inflammation caused by a bacterial contaminant– LPS (by reducing IL-6). LPS can activate a strong inflammatory action and might sneak into the blood in individuals with dripping gut.

Crohn’s Disease and Leaky Gut

There is a strong link between inflammatory cytokines such as IL-1b and TNF-alpha and Crohn’s illness. High levels of these cytokines might increase cell death (apoptosis) in the gut, compromising the gut’s stability and perhaps leading to what is frequently called dripping gut.

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

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

Brain Protection

Chitosan oligosaccharide may have some brain-protective residential or commercial properties. Supplements with the oligosaccharide type decreased brain damage in rats with Alzheimer’s and enhanced their memory and knowing.

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

Binding Toxins & Heavy Metals

Chitosan might bind to and assist remove toxins. Considering that it gets rid of bacteria (such as E.coli) and heavy metals from water, comparable take advantage of supplements are a possibility. In spite of this, its effects on cleaning toxins in human beings have yet to be checked out.

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

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

Effects on Cancer (Minimal Proof)

The results of chitosan on cancer are still uncertain.

On the one hand, it triggers genes that help damage damaged cells that might develop into cancer.

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

Finally, chitosan can also be utilized to deliver cancer drugs. Medications acquire its large matrix of particles and are performed the body until coming to the designated delivery site.

Chitosan Bandages

Chitosan is an excellent natural product for making plasters. It has all the following benefits:.

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

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

Plasters can also be made from a mix of chitosan, honey, and gelatin. These are applied to burns to assist healing and motivate skin regeneration.

Chitosan with Glucomannan

Chitosan supplements sometimes feature glucomannan, a dietary fiber commonly taken to promote weight-loss. Given that chitosan increases fat elimination, it makes sense to assume that this combination may further encourage fat loss.

In one clinical study, their mix reduced cholesterol levels in obese individuals.

At the same time, this study calls into question the capability of chitosan and glucomannan to boost weight reduction. Scientists exposed the mix just helps eliminate cholesterol-like substances and bile acids, but not fats in general.

Advanced Formulations

Researchers are utilizing chitosan to create gels that may assist deliver intricate immune compounds to tissues.

In one cell-based research study, chitosan gels were utilized as a provider for a protein called Transforming Development Element Beta 1 (TGF-β1). This protein increased the development of stem cells in the bone marrow and motivated them to turn into cartilage and joint cells that help rebuild connective tissue after injury.

As it turns out, chitosan formulas like this one might lead the way to a new period of regenerative medication.

Chitosan alone, however, will not have this effect.

Chitosan For Cats and Dogs

Chitosan gels and plasters are most likely safe in cats and canines.

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

Vets should beware when applying chitosan to big open wounds in animals. High dosages can be soaked up into the bloodstream and might cause perhaps lethal pneumonia in canines. [5]

Chitosan as biomaterial

Chitosan have a number of residential or commercial properties to be used in biomedical applications. It has favorable charges in acidic medium, due to protonation of amino groups, and it can bind with negative residues in the mucin, that lead to improve mucoadhesive residential or commercial properties.

Likewise positive charges on chitosan can bind to negative charges on red cell (RBC) so that chitosan used as haemostatic agent.

Chitosan has two mechanisms to explain its antimicrobial activity. The very first system proposed that favorable charges on chitosan might bind with negative charges at the bacterial cell surface, which alter permeability and leakages solutes outside the cells. The 2nd one proposed that it might bind with bacterial DNA cell, which prevent RNA synthesis.

The polycationic nature of chitosan likewise enables explaining chitosan analgesic impacts. Certainly, the amino groups of the D-glucosamine residues can protonate in the presence of proton ions that are launched in the inflammatory area, resulting in an analgesic result.

Now, to explain chitosan biodegradability, it is important to remember that chitosan is not only a polymer bearing amino groups, but also a polysaccharide, which consequently contains breakable glycosidic bonds. Chitosan is actually deteriorated in vivo by a number of proteases, and generally lysozyme. Till now, 8 human chitinases have been determined, three of them having enzymatic activity on chitosan. The biodegradation of chitosan causes 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 stitches and artificial skins and was especially authorized by the Fda (FDA) for usage in injury dressings [42] Nevertheless, the compatibility of chitosan with physiological medium depends on the preparation technique (recurring proteins could undoubtedly cause allergies) and on the DD– biocompatibility increases with DD increase. Chitosan in fact showed to be more cytocompatible in vitro than chitin. Undoubtedly, while the number of positive charges increases the interaction in between cells and chitosan boosts too, which tends to improve biocompatibility.

Besides, some chemical modifications of chitosan structure could cause toxicity.

Production procedure of chitosan has terrific result on chitosan properties because these processes control the degree of acetylation of chitosan, i.e. Free amino groups that allow it to bind with negatively charged particles.

Chitosan has several biological homes that make it an appealing material for usage in medical applications. These residential or commercial properties consist of: biodegradability, absence of toxicity, anti-fungal effects, wound recovery velocity and immune system stimulation.

Applications of chitosan and chitosan derivatives

Due to chitosan’s many attractive properties such as biodegradability, natural origin, abundance, reactivity, etc, it has numerous areas of application including: medical, agricultural, food processing, dietary improvement, cosmetics, and waste and water treatment.

Agricultural applications

The abundance, biodegradability, nontoxic, and natural origin of chitosan enable it to be securely utilized in agricultural applications because it can be used without issues of contamination, disposal, or harm to consumers if ingested. Seed coating, leaf finishing, fertilizer, and time launched drug or fertilizer reactions are some of the applications within agricultural where chitosan is used. Making use of chitosan in these areas has shown to increase the quantity of crops produced by enhancing germination, rooting, leaf growth, seed yield, and soil moisture retention, while lowering the event of fungal infections and diseases.

Wastewater treatment applications

Chitosan’s functional groups and natural chelating homes make chitosan beneficial in wastewater treatment by allowing for the binding and removal of metal ions such as copper, lead, mercury, and uranium from wastewater [4] It can also be made use of to breakdown food particles that 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 performance make it important in a number of applications within the food market such as binding with and removing certain components, particles, and products such as dyes and fats from foods. The anti-bacterial and antifungal properties found in chitosan can likewise be utilized throughout the storage and conservation of food.

Medical applications

Due to chitosan’s capability to work in lots of kinds it has numerous locations of interest within the medical market consisting of orthopedic and Gum 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, bandages, sponges, burn dressings, blood cholesterol control, anti-inflammatory, tumor inhibition, anti-viral, oral plaque inhibition, bone recovery treatment, injury healing accelerator, hemostatic representative, anti-bacterial agent, antifungal agent, weight loss impact. [6]

Risks and Adverse Effects

Chitosan is typically thought about “generally recognized as safe,” however there’s minimal research on its security, specifically for long-lasting usage. It may cause negative side effects in some people, potentially causing digestive complaints like upset stomach, gas and constipation.

Chitosan may likewise minimize the absorption of necessary nutrients, consisting of vitamins A, D, E and K and calcium, which may contribute to nutrition deficiencies.

Individuals who are allergic to shellfish may not endure chitosan supplements. If you experience allergy signs, like rash, throat irritation and stomach pains, discontinue use immediately.

Ladies who are pregnant or breastfeeding must not take these supplements because there’s not enough 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 might increase the blood thinning effects.

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

Supplements and Dosage

Chitosan supplements are readily available online and in vitamin stores. Check out the instructions carefully for use and dose.

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

There is no standard recommended dose for chitosan, and more proof is required to make a clinically proven recommendation. Trials on weight-loss have actually involved three- to four-gram doses, with unimportant outcomes.

For high blood pressure, taking up to 3 grams of a salt product including chitosan might work.

When it pertains to weight-loss, the biggest, healthiest and most sustainable effect originates from eating a healthy diet plan, moving your body and getting enough 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 method for decreasing high phosphate levels in individuals with kidney disease.

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

One 2009 research study found that chitosan gum lowered phosphate levels after simply two weeks of chewing. Recent research studies failed to replicate the outcomes.

It ends up that the quantity of chitosan in chitosan chewing gum is too low to have a phosphate-binding effect. And according to an in-depth analysis, the 2009 research study was inadequately designed, while the advantages come down to a placebo impact.

Special Precautions and Warnings

When taken by mouth: Chitosan is potentially safe when used for up to 3 months. It may trigger stomach upset, irregularity, or gas.

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

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

Shellfish allergic reaction: Chitosan is taken from the outer skeleton of shellfish. People with allergies to shellfish may likewise be allergic to chitosan. [8]

What other drugs communicate with chitosan?

If your doctor has directed you to utilize this medication, your physician or pharmacist might currently be aware of any possible drug interactions and might be monitoring you for them. Do not begin, stop, or alter the dose of any medicine before checking with your physician, 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 consist of:.

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

While studies have actually shown chitosan supplements to be normally safe in adults, the doses studied range widely, from 0.34– 3.4 grams of chitosan each day.

For that reason, there’s no agreement on the most reliable dosage for chitosan. But remaining listed below that 3-gram maximum set by European security authorities may be a great referral.

Check the supplement label to see just how much chitosan remains in one serving (remember that one serving might include several pills) and the number of servings are suggested each day. Include whatever as much as see the overall everyday dosage.

When searching for a supplement, always verify that it has actually been third-party checked. Third-party screening ensures that the supplement meets specific pureness and effectiveness requirements.

Try to find a seal on the packaging from a company such as NSF International, USP, or consumerlab. These seals are typically great signs of supplement quality.

The bottom line

Chitosan is a widely offered supplement promoted for weight reduction. While some research study shows that it may be somewhat effective in conjunction with a calorie-restricted diet and workout, more research study is required.

Always proceed with care when starting a brand-new supplement program, and make sure that the benefits outweigh the possible risks. Where chitosan is worried, its benefits for weight reduction are inconclusive. [10]


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