2265 North Clybourn Avenue    Chicago, IL 60614    P: 773.296.6700     F: 773.296.1131

Chitosan

What Is It?

The shells of crabs, lobsters, and other crustaceans contain a nondigestible fiber called chitosan. Extracted and taken in supplement form with meals, chitosan reportedly encourages weight loss by binding to fat molecules in the digestive tract, preventing the body from absorbing the fat.

Whether chitosan is safe and effective as a diet aid remains controversial, however. Some small studies have found that taking the supplement may result in weight loss. In one trial, people who used chitosan for a month in conjunction with a calorie-controlled diet lost, on average, 8% of their body weight. This translates into 16 pounds for a 200-pound person. How much this was due to the chitosan and how much to the calorie restriction is unknown.

Other studies, however, have not reported such positive findings. A carefully designed 1999 trial in England involving 34 overweight individuals, for instance, found that chitosan supplements were no better than a placebo in reducing body weight.

Some advertisements encourage taking chitosan so that you can “indulge” in a fatty meal. This is definitely not the case. While chitosan does work to bind to some of the fats in your digestive tract, it certainly doesn’t cover them all. The bottom line is that anyone wishing to try chitosan for weight loss will have to watch their total calorie intake, reduce the fat in their diet, and exercise.

Researchers are still examining whether chitosan may lower cholesterol (another effect of its fat-binding qualities) or even have a role to play in controlling ulcers, high blood pressure, and arthritis.

General Interaction

Although chitosan is quite safe, it’s possible that, in theory at least, it could block the absorption of the fat-soluble vitamins (vitamins A, D, E and K) as well as the essential fatty acids (the “good” fats, like omega-3 and omega-6). So be sure to take a vitamin supplement at least an hour or so before the chitosan.

Cautions

Don’t take chitosan if you have an allergy to shellfish.

Chitosan doesn’t get absorbed into the bloodstream, which means it’s largely free of the side effects that so many people experience with numerous prescription (and nonprescription) weight-loss medications and supplements.

Because no extensive safety studies have been done, women who are pregnant or breast-feeding and children under age 14 should avoid chitosan. Ailments Dosage Weight Loss 1,500 mg once a day with a high-fat meal


Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, delicious and time-saving recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

BIRTHDAY

Health Tips

Dr. Edelberg’s Health Tips contain concise bits of advice, medical news, nutritional supplement and pharmaceutical updates, and stress relief ideas. With every Health Tip, you’ll also receive an easy, delicious, and healthful recipe.

When you sign up to receive Health Tips, you can look forward to Dr. Edelberg’s smart and very current observations arriving in your in-box weekly. They’re packed with helpful information and are often slightly irreverent. One of the most common responses to the tips is “I wish my doctor talked to me like this!”

Quick Connect

Get One Click Access to our

patient-portal

The Knowledge Base

Patient education is an integral part of our practice. Here you will find a comprehensive collection of staff articles, descriptions of therapies and nutritional supplements, information addressing your health concerns, and the latest research on nutritional supplements and alternative therapies.

Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

Upcoming Workshops


**Winter Solstice Celebration: An evening of Acupuncture and Shamanic Healing
Tuesday, December 17, 5:45–7:30pm
Hosted by Katie Oberlin, HTCP and Mari Stecker, LAc

Course Fee: $75.00

Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season to enter the stillpoint of the Winter Solstice, reflect on the lessons of 2019, and set intentions for the new year. This will be an evening of individual and group healing, ceremony, and celebration. More →

Recent Health Tips

  • Infertility Issues? Start With The Guy

    I’ve lost track of the number of couples we treat at WholeHealth Chicago who are involved in one of the hormone injection/surgical procedure stops on the conveyor belt of infertility centers. Currently, it’s estimated that 15 to 20 percent of couples are struggling with infertility, half of them due to male factors. The infertility docs are nice enough and certainly well-meaning, but I note a Read More

  • Issues with Endocrinologists: Thyroid Approaches and Big Pharma

    My beefs with endocrinologists pretty much center on how they manage thyroid gland concerns, though they rarely win prizes for managing adrenal issues either. I don’t know any endocrinologists personally and rarely refer my patients to them. Occasionally, a patient with newly diagnosed hypothyroidism (low thyroid) will want to confirm the diagnosis with an endocrinologist. I suggest she prepare for a scolding if she’s taking Read More

  • Six Beefs With Rheumatologists

    If you find yourself in the waiting room of a rheumatologist, you’re likely there because your joints hurt and have been hurting, often for years. You’ve been getting by on aspirin or Advil for the pain, but with things worsening your primary care doctor suggests you should see a joint specialist, a rheumatologist. And because there’s a shortage of physicians in this specialty, your appointment Read More

Join our Discount Program!

Member benefits include 10% off all your purchases. Low, one-time membership fee of $25 ($35 for family).

MORE INFORMATION