Chitosan is a chitin byproduct derived from the exoskeleton of crustaceans such as shrimp, crab, lobster, and clams, as well as the cell wall of Reishi mushrooms.
Chitosan is an excipient used in pharmaceutical preparations as well as biomedical applications such as wound dressings. It is used to treat high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, and other ailments, although there is no scientific evidence to back up several of its applications.
It is also developed into an edible coating to prevent food from spoiling. Chitosan is promoted as an all-natural marine fibre that can aid with weight loss and cholesterol management.
Chitosan is often used in the pharmaceutical industry as a filler in tablets, to alter the way certain medications dissolve, and also to conceal bitter flavors.
Mechanism of action
Chitosan is derived from shrimp, lobster, and crab shells. It is a fibrous material that may inhibit dietary fat and cholesterol accumulation. Chitosan aids in the clotting of blood when applied to wounds.
Chitin, an extract from the shells of sea organisms like shrimp, lobster, and clams, is the major component of chitosan. It can also be derived from Reishi mushroom cell walls. Chitosan is marketed as a weight-loss supplement, with marketers stating that it adheres to fat and cholesterol, preventing their absorption. However, human investigations indicated that chitosan did not raise fat excretion levels.
Chitosan displayed antioxidant properties in an in vitro investigation by decreasing albumin carobonyls and hydroperoxides in a time-dependent way. The activation of granulation tissue by topical application of chitosan improves wound healing. The development of a gel-like fibronectin mesh that aids inward epithelial cell migration and the development of heparin-chitosan complexes that stimulate growth factors that attach to stabilised heparin are two possible mechanisms of action.
1.) Weight loss.
There is insufficient data to prove the use of chitosan solely for weight loss without diet modifications or exercise. \
There is conflicting evidence regarding the efficacy of chitosan for weight loss. According to certain studies, combining chitosan with a calorie-restricted diet may result in a minor amount of weight loss.
Overall, evidence indicates that consuming chitosan promotes weight reduction by a very little amount. When consumed for up to a year, it may only result in a weight loss of roughly 1 kilogram.
2.) High blood pressure.
People with mildly elevated blood pressure are frequently advised to limit their consumption of table salt. Early study indicates that switching table salt with a table salt product containing trace levels of chitosan can lower blood pressure more effectively than simply reducing table salt usage.
3.) High cholesterol.
It is unclear whether chitosan can assist in lowering cholesterol levels. Although certain clinical investigations support its use, the long-term efficacy is unknown.
According to some studies, consuming chitosan did not reduce total cholesterol or “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in those who have high cholesterol. Other research, however, indicates that chitosan decreases cholesterol in those with and without high cholesterol. Some chitosan-containing combination products appear to decrease cholesterol levels in obese adults both with or without high cholesterol. These combo products include a supplement comprising chitosan, garcinia, and chromium, as well as another with chitosan, guar meal, ascorbic acid, and some other micronutrients.
4.) Gum disease(periodontitis).
According to certain studies, administering chitosan ascorbate directly to the gums may aid in the treatment of periodontitis.
5.) Wound healing.
Clinical investigations and laboratory findings support the use of chitosan topically for better wound healing.
According to preliminary studies, adding chitosan to skin grafts may promote wound healing and help nerves regenerate. Additionally, applying a gel containing chitosan and other substances may promote recovery after having teeth extracted.
6.) Kidney failure.
According to certain studies, ingesting chitosan orally may lower cholesterol, help to cure anemia, and enhance physical strength, appetite, and sleep in patients with renal failure who are on long-term hemodialysis.
When administered orally: When taken orally for up to 6 months, chitosan is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people. However, in some cases, it may induce:
- Mild stomach discomfort.
- Abdominal cramping.
When used on the skin: When applied externally on the skin for a short period of time, chitosan is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people. However, it can irritate the skin in some cases.
Precautions and warnings
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is insufficient credible information to determine whether chitosan is safe to use while pregnant or breast-feeding. To be on the safe side, avoid using it.
Shellfish or mushroom allergy: Chitosan is extracted from the outer skeleton of mushrooms or shellfish. It is possible that individuals who are allergic to shellfish or mushroom will also be allergic to chitosan. People who are allergic to shellfish, on the other hand, are allergic to the meat, not the shell. As a result, some specialists feel that chitosan may not be a problem for those who are allergic to shellfish.
Warfarin medication: According to a case report, chitosan could increase the blood-thinning actions of this medication. Warfarin is a medication that thins the blood. There is genuine controversy that ingesting chitosan may exacerbate warfarin’s blood-thinning effects (Coumadin). Consuming chitosan alongside warfarin (Coumadin) may raise the risk of bruising or bleeding. Therefore, people on warfarin medication should avoid using it.
In scientific studies, the following doses have been investigated:
- For high blood pressure: In place of ordinary table salt, up to 3 grams of a chitosan-containing table salt product (Symbiosal) can be used daily.
- For reducing high cholesterol and improving anemia, physical strength, appetite, and sleep in people with renal failure who are undergoing hemodialysis: 1.35 grams of chitosan three times per day.
Chitosan is a sugar derived from the tough outer skeletons of shellfish such as crab, lobster, and shrimp, as well as from Reishi mushrooms.
It is used in healthcare to treat hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity, wound healing, and other ailments, however there is insufficient scientific evidence to back up much of its claims.