CHITOSAN

OTHER NAME(S):

Ascorbate de Chitosane, Chitosan Ascorbate, Chitosane, Chitosane Déacétylé, Chitosane Mono-Carboxyméthylé, Deacetylated Chitin, Deacetylated Chitosan, Enzymatic Polychitosamine Hydrolisat, HEP-30, Hydrolisat Enzymatique de Polychitosamine, Mono-Carboxymethylated Chitosan, N-Carboxybutyl Chitosan, N-Carboxybutyl Chitosane, N,O-Sulfated Chitosan, O-Sulfated N-Acetylchitosan, Quitosano, Sulfated N-Carboxymethylchitosan, Sulfated O-Carboxymethylchitosan, Trimethyl Chitosan Chloride.<br/><br/>

Overview

Overview Information

Chitosan is a sugar that is obtained from the hard outer skeleton of shellfish, including crab, lobster, and shrimp. It is used for medicine.

Chitosan is used to treat obesity, high cholesterol, and Crohn's disease. It is also used to treat caused by dialysis in patients with kidney failure, including high cholesterol, "tired blood" (anemia), loss of strength and appetite, high phosphorous levels (hyperphosphatemia), and trouble sleeping (insomnia).

Some people apply chitosan directly to their gums to treat inflammation that can lead to tooth loss (periodontitis), or chew gum that contains chitosan to prevent "cavities" (dental caries).

In an effort to help "donor tissue" rebuild itself, plastic surgeons sometimes apply chitosan directly to places from which they have taken tissue to be used elsewhere.

In pharmaceutical manufacturing, chitosan is used as a filler in tablets; as a carrier in controlled-release drugs; to improve the way certain drugs dissolve; and to mask bitter tastes.

How does it work?

Chitosan is extracted from the shells of shrimp, lobster, and crabs. It is a fibrous substance that might block absorption of dietary fat and cholesterol.

Uses

Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Crohn's disease (an intestinal disorder). Early research shows that taking a combination of chitosan and ascorbic acid by mouth might help people with Crohn's disease.
  • Dental cavities. Chewing gum containing chitosan or using a mouthwash containing chitosan might decrease the number of cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth. However, there is no reliable data that these products actually prevent cavities.
  • Dental plaque. Early research shows that rinsing with a chitosan mouth wash for 2 weeks helps to stop plaque from forming on the teeth.
  • Gum disease (periodontitis). Some early research shows that applying chitosan ascorbate directly to the gums might help treat gum disease.
  • High cholesterol. It is not clear if chitosan can help to lower cholesterol levels. Some research shows that taking chitosan does not lower total cholesterol or "bad" low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in people with high cholesterol. But other research shows that chitosan lowers cholesterol in people with or without high cholesterol. Some combination products containing chitosan also seem to lower cholesterol levels in obese people with or without high cholesterol.
  • High phosphorous levels (hyperphosphatemia). It's unclear if chewing gum containing chitosan can help lower phosphorus levels in people on hemodialysis. Research results are conflicting. More research is needed.
  • Kidney failure. Early research shows that taking chitosan by mouth may reduce high cholesterol, help to correct anemia, and improve physical strength, appetite, and sleep in people with kidney failure that are on hemodialysis.
  • Plastic surgery. Early research shows that applying a specific form of chitosan directly to a surgery site helps the wound to heal and reduces scar formation after plastic surgery.
  • Weight loss. It is not clear if chitosan can help with weight loss. Some research shows that combining chitosan with a low-calorie diet result in a small amount of weight loss. But taking chitosan without cutting calories, doesn't improve weight loss.
  • Wound healing. Early research shows that applying chitosan to skin grafts might improve wound healing and help nerves to grow back.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of chitosan for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

Chitosan is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth for up to 6 months or when applied to the skin for a short time. When taken by mouth, chitosan might cause mild stomach upset, constipation, or gas.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking chitosan by mouth if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Shellfish allergy: Chitosan is taken from the outer skeleton of shellfish. There is a concern that people with allergies to shellfish might also be allergic to chitosan. However, people who are allergic to shellfish are allergic to the meat, not the shell. So some experts believe that chitosan may not be a problem for people with shellfish allergy.

Interactions

Interactions?

Moderate Interaction

Be cautious with this combination

!
  • Warfarin (Coumadin) interacts with CHITOSAN

    Warfarin is a blood thinner. There is some concern that taking chitosan might increase the blood thinning effects of warfarin (Coumadin). Taking chitosan with warfarin (Coumadin) could increase the chance of bruising or bleeding. If you take warfarin, avoid taking chitosan.

Dosing

Dosing

The appropriate dose of chitosan depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for chitosan. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

View References

REFERENCES:

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  • Kubbinga M, Nguyen MA, Staubach P, et al. The influence of chitosan on the oral bioavailability of acyclovir-a comparative bioavailability study in humans. Pharm Res 2015;32(7):2241-9. View abstract.
  • Macchi G. A new approach to the treatment of obesity: Chitosan's effects on body weight reduction and plasma cholesterol levels. Acta Toxicol Ther 1996;17:303-20.
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  • Savica V, Calo LA, Mondardo P, et al. Salivary phosphate-binding chewing gum reduces hyperphosphatemia in dialysis patients. J Am Soc Nephrol 2009;20(3):639-44. View abstract.
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  • Tai TS, Sheu WH, Lee WJ, et al. Effect of chitosan on plasma lipoprotein concentrations in type 2 diabetic subjects with hypercholesterolemia. Diabetes Care 2000;23:1703-4. View abstract.
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  • Ylitalo R, Lehtinen S, Wuolijoki E, et al. Cholesterol-lowering properties and safety of chitosan. Arzneimittelforschung 2002;52:1-7.. View abstract.

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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version.
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