Chitosan is a form of chitin that is derived from the shells of shrimp, lobster and crab. It is sold as a dietary supplement to help overweight people lose weight. It is believed to work by blocking the absorption of dietary fat. However, there is not enough reliable research evidence to rate the effectiveness of chitosan for weight loss (according to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database).
A Answers (2)
Stacy Wiegman, PharmD, Pharmacy, answered
Chitosan comes from chitin, which is part of the outer shell-like structure of insects, spiders, and crustaceans.
Chitosan is sold in the United States and other countries as a form of dietary fiber that reduces fat absorption. However, scientific evidence suggests only a small effect of chitosan on fat absorption.
Chitosan may be effective for lowering levels of blood cholesterol or lipids. Whether the use of chitosan is equal to or better than other treatments for high cholesterol is not yet known. Study results suggest that chitosan may help improve cholesterol levels when combined with a low-calorie diet.
Some evidence indicates that chitosan may be useful for patients undergoing hemodialysis for kidney failure and in the management of dental plaque. More evidence is needed to confirm these results.
You should read product labels, and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider. Natural Standard information does not constitute medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
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