What is chitosan?
Chitosan is a chemically processed type of chitin. Chitin, a cellulose-like biopolymer, comes from crustaceans, like crabs, lobsters and shrimps, it can also be obtained from yeasts and mushrooms. Normally used in water purification systems to remove various toxic metals, greases, oils and poisonous substances chitosan is also used in the cosmetic industry.
Chitosan for weight loss
Chitosan is now marketed as a way to loose weight. Taken in the form of a dietary supplement with meals it is believed to work by binding to fat molecules, thus preventing the body from absorbing fat.
How safe is chitosan?
Some studies have reported that it works well as a weight loss aid, other studies say not. What is important is that if you decide to take chitosan in order to loose weight you should be aware of the negative effects of it.
Fat soluble vitamins
There is a possibility in theory that it could block the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins, such as Vitamins D, E, A and K. Also, chitosan may block the absorption of the essential fatty acids, like omega 3 and 6. If you are taking any of the above vitamins as a supplement then it is important to take the chitosan at least four hours either before or after the vitamin supplements. If you have three meals a day then take your supplements with one meal and the chitosan with the other two.
Saturated fat is good for you. You cannot live without it. Saturated fat is used in the construction of every cell in your body. If you persist in eating a low fat diet, or taking a fat inhibitor like chitosan, there will come a time when your body has insufficient saturated fat to make new cells and your health will deteriorate.
The lifestyle of 18,555 women between the ages of 24 and 42 were studied. None of whom had a history of infertility. Over the eight years of the study – published in the journal “Human Reproduction” – four hundred and thirty-eight women developed anovulatory infertility. The researchers concluded that the women who became infertile did so because they ate a low fat diet.
The capsules usually contain 500 mg of chitosan with the usual dosage being 2.5 grams per day. Though some manufacturers recommend up to 4.5 grams per day. There is some disagreement between manufacturers as whether to take the chitosan with meals or a half hour before meals. Whatever you decide it is recommended that you take the capsules with a large glass of water.
Water and more water
Drinking water a half hour before eating is a very good thing to do as its helps your stomach to digest your food. Drinking water just before eating helps you to loose weight as the water in your stomach means there is less room for food. Also, if you suffer from acid reflux, drinking water a half hour before food will often relieve the symptoms of the condition. You must decide for yourself what is best for you.
It is obvious but if you have an allergy to shellfish then do NOT take chitosan.
Chitosan side effects
As chitosan does not get into the bloodstream. It means there are fewer of the side effects that so many people experience with a number of prescription and non-prescription weight loss supplements and medication. The documented side effects are; flatulence, general intestinal discomfort and constipation. Drinking eight large glasses of water per day will usually prevent these side effects. If the water does not help then it is best to discontinue taking the chitosan capsules.
Chitosan must NOT be taken by pregnant women because fat is vital for the health of the growing foetus. Neither should it be taken while breast feeding. Anyway breast feeding is a very good way to loose weight after pregnancy.
If you are taking any medication, consult your health care professional first before taking any product that contains chitosan.