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Chitosan is a modified carbohydrate polymer derived from chitin component from the shells of crustacean, such as shrimp, crab and cuttlefish. Chitosan is available as a dietary supplement supposed to help people lose weight and lower cholesterol levels.

Benefits of taking it

  • Chitosan is used to treat obesity and helps in weight loss as it absorbs all the fat from the food we eat, from our bodies
  • It also helps in lowering cholesterol levels of the body
  • Chitosan dressings are often used in emergency rooms to control bleeding. Because it can clot the blood, it is also used in bandages
  • It is also known to decrease high blood pressure
  • Some research indicates that applying Chitosan to the gums seems to help in the treatment of periodontitis
  • Some research points that taking Chitosan may help to correct anemia and improve physical strength, hunger, and sleep in people with kidney failure who are receiving long-term hemodialysis

Natural sources of Chitosan
The natural sources of Chitosan are from the marine environment. It is obtained by removing the shells from shellfish such as shrimp, lobster, and crabs.

When should you take Chitosan?
Chitosan can only be taken by consulting a professional doctor. Chitosan has been administered at different levels of dosage in clinical studies. In studies assessing weight loss, 2.4 g/day is normally used.

When should you avoid Chitosan?
If you are on warfarin, you must avoid taking Chitosan Warfarin is a blood thinner. There is some apprehension that consuming Chitosan might raise the blood thinning effects of warfarin (Coumadin). Taking Chitosan with warfarin could increase the probability of bruising or bleeding.

Quantity to be taken
For lowering high cholesterol and improving physical strength, anemia, sleep and appetite in people with renal failure 1.35 grams of Chitosan three times daily. A professional doctor however needs to be consulted before you start taking it.

Expert Tips/Precautions
Chitosan is probably for the majority people when taken by mouth or when used on the skin. When consumed by mouth, Chitosan may cause constipation, mild stomach upset, or gas.

  • Shellfish allergy: Chitosan comes from the skeleton of the shellfish. There are apprehensions that people who are allergic to shellfish might also be allergic to Chitosan. However, people who have shellfish allergies are allergic to the meat, not the shell. So there are experts who suggest that Chitosan may not be a problem for people with shellfish allergy
  • Pregnancy and breastfeeding: There is not sufficient reliable data about the safety of taking Chitosan by mouth, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. So better avoid using it