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


Chitosan the unique natural biopolymer is commercially originated from chitin. Although usually manufactured by de-acetylating chitin trough chemical procedures. Chitosan is also discovered in nature, for examples as a crucial component in fungal cell walls.

Its chemical structure can most merely 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 possesses a positive charge, triggering versatile usages based upon tis chlating, anti-microbioal, gelling and film-forming residential or commercial properties. Chitosan include a family of items, differing in polymer length, chemical series and item purities. [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 possible advantage than many other kinds of fiber, describes Health Solutions at Columbia. When traveling through the intestines, chitosan binds to a percentage of dietary fat and takes it along out of the body, preventing this fat from being soaked up. This action represent the theoretical impacts of chitosan on cholesterol levels and weight, but chitosan may not bind with enough fat to cause significant effects.

Mixed Research Study Outcomes

A review of studies published in a 2008 concern of the “Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews” assessed the efficiency of chitosan for health benefits in people with overweight and ovesity. The 15 research studies included 1,219 participants. Usually, chitosan consumption caused significant weight reduction, decreased total cholesterol and decreased high 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 individuals and longer duration, the enhancements were much smaller sized.

Factors to consider

Research study appearing in the June 1999 concern of “Techniques and Findings in Speculative and Scientific Pharmacology” found that otherwise healthy ladies with obesity taking chitosan supplements did not experience substantial reductions in cholesterol or triglyceride levels when compared to females taking a placebo. In fact, the group taking chitosan experienced somewhat increased triglycerides. Neither group dropped weight. The women taking chitosan consumed three 400mg capsules two times daily for eight weeks.


On the other hand, a research study released in the Winter 2003 issue of the “Journal of Medicinal Food” found advantages of chitosan supplements for individuals with type 2 diabetes and abnormal quantities of blood lipid levels. Participants consumed either a particular day-to-day amount of bread consisting of 2 percent chitosan or they ate routine bread. Individuals consuming the chitosan bread experienced lower levels of low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, cholesterol, the so-called bad cholesterol, and significant increases in high-density lipoprotein, or HDL, cholesterol, the excellent cholesterol. No significant weight decrease or changes in triglyceride levels occurred.


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

How Does Chitosan Work?

Chitosan operates in more than one way, which is shown in its diverse uses.

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

Its sturdiness and distinct chemical structure grant chitosan possible health advantages. Individuals mostly use it for enhancing weight reduction and decreasing cholesterol, however it can also form protective movies on harmed skin and aid its healing.

What makes chitosan so unique?

The majority of its different usages cover from its physical homes: chitosan is a “biopolymer”– it forms a network of securely bound large molecules 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 carried out of the gut and eliminated with the stool.

Simply put, chitosan might decrease the absorption of fats and contaminants in your gut by binding to them, a mechanism observed in rat studies.

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

Regrowing the Skin

When chitosan is applied to the skin, it releases active compounds that lower swelling and improve renewal.

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

Health Benefits of Chitosan

Wound Recovery & & Surgery Healing

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

In 25 clients, a gel with chitosan, 0,2% chlorhexidine, allantoin, and dexpanthenol boosted injury recovery after third molar extraction. Nevertheless, it didn’t ease postoperative pain.

In one research study, topical chitosan stimulated collagen production, increased the local immune action, encouraged tissue regeneration, and avoided scarring.


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

In 2 trials of 81 clients with prehypertension or moderate high blood pressure, taking a particular product (Symbiosal) with 3% chitosan in salt for 8 weeks reduced systolic high blood pressure, compared to salt alone.

Inadequate Proof:

No valid clinical proof supports using chitosan for any of the conditions in this section. Below is a summary of up-to-date animal studies, cell-based research study, or low-quality scientific trials which ought to spark further examination. Nevertheless, you should not analyze them as supportive of any health benefit.

Weight Loss

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

In one clinical study, chitosan supplements minimized participants’ weight by as much as ~ 7 pounds over three months. However placebo alone assisted people lose approximately 4 lbs. In turn, chitosan’s reasonable contribution was only about 3 lbs (1.36 kg), on average.

A Cochrane database review consisted of 15 clinical trials of 1,219 overall individuals. Chitosan supplementation slightly improved weight loss (1.7 kg on average). However, this review failed to validate increased fat excretion. The authors concluded that “the impact of chitosan on body weight is very little and not likely to be of clinical significance”.

Even if chitosan did bind and get rid of dietary fats, there’s a possible drawback to this impact. By attaching to and boosting the removal of excess fats, it may likewise increase the removal of essential minerals such as calcium and fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin D and vitamin A.

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

High Cholesterol

According to a review of human research studies, adding chitosan to a regular diet can decrease total blood cholesterol levels by ~ 6-40% and LDL cholesterol levels by 15– 35%.

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

On the other hand, chitosan stopped working to improve cholesterol levels in 3 research studies of 247 participants in the absence of dietary modifications.

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

Kidney Disease

Chitosan supplements might assist individuals with kidney illness or kidney failure, however the research study to-date is sparse.

In one older trial, chitosan given to 40 people with kidney failure enhanced strength, hunger, and sleep after 12 weeks. It likewise increased hemoglobin and decreased blood creatinine and urea levels, which points to its prospective to improve kidney function.

Additionally, high phosphorus levels are strongly related to a higher danger of dying in individuals with chronic kidney illness. In rats, an iron-chitosan complex minimized blood phosphorus levels. This complex can bind phosphorus stronger than many other available 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 boosting oral health. Some individuals chew chitosan gum to prevent or decrease gum inflammation, though no research studies verified their effectiveness.

In one clinical study, a chitosan mouth-rinse lowered plaque build-up and bacterial development that results in gum illness.

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

Animal and Cellular Research Study (Doing Not Have Evidence)

No scientific evidence supports using chitosan for any of the conditions noted in this section. Below is a summary of the existing animal and cell-based research studies; they ought to guide additional investigational efforts however should not be interpreted as helpful of any health benefit.


Chitosan oligosaccharides decreased 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 stress hormonal agent cortisol in tired mice and raised their levels of an essential antioxidant called superoxide dismutase (SOD).


Chitosan oligosaccharide might lower swelling, however scientific trials are still doing not have.

In rats, this oligosaccharide reduced swelling 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 toxin– LPS (by lowering IL-6). LPS can activate a strong inflammatory response and may sneak into the blood in people with leaking gut.

Crohn’s Illness and Dripping 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 may increase cell death (apoptosis) in the gut, jeopardizing the gut’s stability and potentially causing what is typically called dripping gut.

According to animal studies, chitosan oligosaccharide may enhance IBD symptoms (including Crohn’s) and decrease the death of gut cells. This effect may assist enhance the gut barrier.

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

Brain Security

Chitosan oligosaccharide might have some brain-protective properties. Supplements with the oligosaccharide type reduced brain damage in rats with Alzheimer’s and enhanced their memory and knowing.

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

Binding Toxins & & Heavy Metals

Chitosan may bind to and help get rid of toxins. Given that it eliminates germs (such as E.coli) and heavy metals from water, comparable benefits from supplements are a possibility. In spite of this, its impacts on cleaning toxic substances in human beings have yet to be checked out.

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

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

Effects on Cancer (Minimal Evidence)

The effects of chitosan on cancer are still unclear.

On the one hand, it triggers genes that assist ruin harmed cells that could become cancer.

On the other hand, chitosan activated the development of liver and colon cancer stem cells in test tubes. These results have not been observed in animals or human beings.

Finally, chitosan can likewise be utilized to provide cancer drugs. Medications latch onto its big matrix of molecules and are performed the body up until coming to the desired shipment website.

Chitosan Bandages

Chitosan is an excellent natural material for making plasters. It has all the following advantages:.

  • Stops or decreases extreme bleeding
  • Reduces the risk of infection
  • Reduces inflammation
  • Non-toxic and suitable with skin
  • Releases glucosamine to help skin repair work

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

Bandages can also be made from a mix of chitosan, honey, and gelatin. These are applied to burns to help healing and encourage skin regrowth.

Chitosan with Glucomannan

Chitosan supplements in some cases include glucomannan, a dietary fiber frequently required to promote weight loss. Because chitosan increases fat removal, it makes sense to presume that this combination may even more encourage fat loss.

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

At the same time, this research study casts doubt on the capability of chitosan and glucomannan to increase weight reduction. Scientists revealed the mix only helps eliminate cholesterol-like compounds and bile acids, but not fats in general.

Advanced Formulations

Researchers are utilizing chitosan to develop gels that might assist deliver intricate immune compounds to tissues.

In one cell-based study, chitosan gels were utilized as a provider for a protein called Changing Growth Aspect Beta 1 (TGF-β1). This protein increased the growth of stem cells in the bone marrow and encouraged them to develop into cartilage and joint cells that assist rebuild connective tissue after injury.

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

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

Chitosan For Cats and Dogs

Chitosan gels and plasters are likely safe in felines and pet dogs.

Applied to the skin, chitosan enhanced wound recovery in over 140 types of animals, consisting of cats and pets. It boosted the growth of new connective tissue and capillary, while it may likewise increase collagen production and decrease scarring.

Veterinarians need to beware when applying chitosan to big open wounds in animals. High dosages can be soaked up into the blood stream and might cause potentially fatal pneumonia in canines. [5]

Chitosan as biomaterial

Chitosan have several residential or commercial properties to be utilized in biomedical applications. It has positive 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 favorable charges on chitosan can bind to unfavorable charges on red cell (RBC) so that chitosan utilized as haemostatic representative.

Chitosan has two systems to discuss its antimicrobial activity. The first mechanism proposed that favorable charges on chitosan might bind with negative charges at the bacterial cell surface area, which alter permeability and leaks solutes outside the cells. The second one proposed that it could bind with bacterial DNA cell, which hinder RNA synthesis.

The polycationic nature of chitosan also enables explaining chitosan analgesic effects. Certainly, the amino groups of the D-glucosamine residues can protonate in the existence of proton ions that are released in the inflammatory location, resulting in an analgesic impact.

Now, to describe chitosan biodegradability, it is essential to keep in mind that chitosan is not just a polymer bearing amino groups, however likewise a polysaccharide, which subsequently consists of breakable glycosidic bonds. Chitosan is in fact deteriorated in vivo by a number of proteases, and primarily lysozyme. Till now, 8 human chitinases have been identified, 3 of them possessing enzymatic activity on chitosan. The biodegradation of chitosan causes the development of non-toxic oligosaccharides of variable length. These oligosaccharides can be included in metabolic pathways or be further excreted. The destruction rate of chitosan is mainly related to its degree of deacetylation, however likewise to the distribution of N-acetyl D-glucosamine residues and the molecular mass of chitosan.

Chitosan reveals biocompatibility in biomedical applications such as stitches and artificial skins and was especially approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for usage in wound dressings [42] Nevertheless, the compatibility of chitosan with physiological medium depends on the preparation technique (residual proteins could certainly cause allergies) and on the DD– biocompatibility increases with DD increase. Chitosan actually showed to be more cytocompatible in vitro than chitin. Undoubtedly, while the variety of positive charges increases the interaction between cells and chitosan increases also, which tends to improve biocompatibility.

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

Production process of chitosan has terrific impact on chitosan homes due to the fact that these procedures manage the degree of acetylation of chitosan, i.e. Totally free amino groups that enable it to bind with adversely charged molecules.

Chitosan has several biological residential or commercial properties that make it an attractive material for use in medical applications. These properties consist of: biodegradability, absence of toxicity, anti-fungal effects, injury healing acceleration and immune system stimulation.

Applications of chitosan and chitosan derivatives

Due to chitosan’s numerous attractive homes such as biodegradability, natural origin, abundance, reactivity, and so on, it has lots of areas of application including: medical, farming, food processing, dietary enhancement, cosmetics, and waste and water treatment.

Agricultural applications

The abundance, biodegradability, nontoxic, and natural origin of chitosan permit it to be securely utilized in agricultural applications since it can be used without issues of contamination, disposal, or harm to consumers if consumed. Seed finish, leaf finishing, fertilizer, and time released drug or fertilizer actions are some of the applications within agricultural where chitosan is utilized. Making use of chitosan in these areas has actually revealed to increase the amount of crops produced by enhancing germination, rooting, leaf development, seed yield, and soil wetness retention, while reducing the event of fungal infections and diseases.

Wastewater treatment applications

Chitosan’s practical groups and natural chelating properties make chitosan helpful in wastewater treatment by permitting the binding and removal of metal ions such as copper, lead, mercury, and uranium from wastewater [4] It can likewise be made use of to breakdown food particles that contain protein and remove dyes and other adversely charged solids from wastewater streams and processing outlets.

Food industry applications

Chitosan’s chelating homes and high functionality make it important in numerous applications within the food industry such as binding with and removing specific elements, particles, and materials such as dyes and fats from foods. The anti-bacterial and antifungal properties discovered in chitosan can likewise be used during the storage and preservation of food.

Medical applications

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

Some examples of biomedical applications of are artificial skin, surgical stitches, artificial 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 recovery accelerator, hemostatic representative, anti-bacterial representative, antifungal agent, weight loss impact. [6]

Dangers and Side Effects

Chitosan is often considered “generally acknowledged as safe,” but there’s limited research study on its security, particularly for long-term use. It might cause unfavorable negative effects in some people, possibly leading to gastrointestinal complaints like upset stomach, gas and constipation.

Chitosan might also decrease the absorption of important nutrients, including vitamins A, D, E and K and calcium, which might add to nutrition deficiencies.

People who are allergic to shellfish might not tolerate chitosan supplements. If you experience allergic reaction symptoms, like rash, throat irritation and stomach discomforts, terminate usage immediately.

Females who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take these supplements because there’s insufficient proof on their security for these groups. Chitosan needs to not be taken by people who are on blood thinners, such as warfarin, as it may increase the blood thinning impacts.

When purchasing a supplement or topical, select from a reliable, reliable brand that has clear directions and shows the dosage. Do not surpass the recommended dose.

Supplements and Dose

Chitosan supplements are readily available online and in vitamin stores. Check out the directions thoroughly for use and dosage.

Most brand names recommend taking the supplement with a meal.

There is no standard recommended dosage for chitosan, and more proof is required to make a clinically proven recommendation. Trials on weight loss have involved 3- to four-gram dosages, with unimportant outcomes.

For blood pressure, taking up to three grams of a table salt item consisting of chitosan may be effective.

When it concerns weight-loss, the biggest, healthiest and most sustainable effect comes from eating a healthy diet plan, moving your body and getting enough rest every night. Without these consider place, no supplement will get you to a healthy weight. [7]

Chitosan Chewing Gum

Chewing chitosan gum likewise ended up being a popular method for reducing high phosphate levels in people with kidney illness.

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

One 2009 study discovered that chitosan gum decreased phosphate levels after just 2 weeks of chewing. Recent research studies failed to replicate the results.

It turns out that the amount of chitosan in chitosan chewing gum is too low to have a phosphate-binding result. And according to an in-depth analysis, the 2009 research study was improperly designed, while the advantages come down to a placebo impact.

Unique Safety Measures and Warnings

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

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

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn’t sufficient trusted info to understand if chitosan is safe to utilize when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay 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 likewise dislike chitosan. [8]

What other drugs interact with chitosan?

If your doctor has actually directed you to use this medication, your physician or pharmacist may currently understand any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not begin, stop, or change the dosage of any medication before contacting your physician, healthcare supplier, or pharmacist initially.

Moderate interactions of chitosan include:.

  • Antithrombin alfa
  • Antithrombin III
  • Argatroban
  • Bemiparin
  • Bivalirudin
  • Dabigatran
  • Dalteparin
  • Enoxaparin
  • Fondaparinux
  • Heparin
  • Lepirudin
  • Phenindione
  • Protamine
  • Tinzaparin
  • Warfarin

Mild interactions of chitosan include:.

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

While studies have actually shown chitosan supplements to be normally safe in adults, the dosages studied variety widely, from 0.34– 3.4 grams of chitosan daily.

For that reason, there’s no agreement on the most efficient dose for chitosan. But remaining below that 3-gram optimum set by European safety authorities may be a great referral.

Examine the supplement label to see how much chitosan is in one serving (keep in mind that one serving might include numerous capsules) and how many servings are suggested daily. Include whatever up to see the overall everyday dose.

When searching for a supplement, always validate that it has been third-party tested. Third-party screening makes sure that the supplement satisfies specific purity and strength standards.

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

The bottom line

Chitosan is a widely offered supplement promoted for weight reduction. While some research shows that it might be rather efficient in conjunction with a calorie-restricted diet plan and exercise, more research study is needed.

Always proceed with caution when beginning a new supplement regimen, and ensure that the benefits exceed the possible threats. Where chitosan is concerned, its benefits for weight loss are inconclusive. [10]


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