CHITOSAN

OTHER NAME(S):

Ascorbate de Chitosane, Chitosan Ascorbate, Chitosane, Chitosane Déacétylé, Chitosane Mono-Carboxyméthylé, 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 complications that kidney failure patients on dialysis often face, including high cholesterol, “tired blood” (anemia), loss of strength and appetite, 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 in solutions taken by mouth.

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?

Possibly Effective for

  • Gum disease (periodontitis). Some research suggests that applying chitosan ascorbate directly to the gums seems to help in the treatment of periodontitis.
  • Plastic surgery. Some research suggests that applying N-carboxybutyl chitosan directly to the affected area seems to help wound healing and reduce scar formation after plastic surgery.
  • Kidney failure. Some research suggests 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 who are receiving long-term hemodialysis.

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. There is some evidence that a chewing gum containing chitosan or using a mouthwash containing chitosan can decrease the number of cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth. However, there is no reliable evidence that these products actually prevent cavities.
  • Dental plaque. Early research suggests that rinsing with a chitosan mouth wash for 2 weeks reduces formation of plaque.
  • High cholesterol. There is conflicting evidence about the effectiveness of chitosan for lowering cholesterol. Some research shows that taking chitosan does not seem to significantly decrease total cholesterol or “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) in people with high cholesterol. However, other research shows that chitosan seems to lower cholesterol in people with or without high cholesterol. Also, some combination products containing chitosan also seem to reduce cholesterol levels in obese people with or without high cholesterol. Those combination products include: a supplement containing chitosan, garcinia, and chromium and another supplement containing chitosan, guar meal, ascorbic acid, and other micronutrients.
  • Weight loss. There is conflicting evidence about the effectiveness of chitosan for weight loss. Some research suggests that combining chitosan with a calorie-restricted diet might result in a small amount of weight loss. But taking chitosan, without cutting calories, doesn’t seem to cause weight loss.
    Many studies on chitosan have design flaws that make their results questionable. When only the higher quality studies are analyzed, the effect of chitosan on weight loss is minimal, only about 0.5 kg (about 1.1 pounds) when taken for 1-6 months. This may not make much difference to health.
  • Wound healing. Early research suggests that applying chitosan to skin grafts might improve wound healing and help nerves regrow.
  • 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 six months or when applied to the skin. 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 following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:

  • For reducing high cholesterol and improving anemia, physical strength, appetite, and sleep in people with renal failure who are undergoing hemodialysis: 1.35 grams of chitosan three times daily.

View References

REFERENCES:

  • Aiedeh, K., Gianasi, E., Orienti, I., and Zecchi, V. Chitosan microcapsules as controlled release systems for insulin. J Microencapsul. 1997;14(5):567-576. View abstract.
  • Aspden, T. J., Mason, J. D., Jones, N. S., Lowe, J., Skaugrud, O., and Illum, L. Chitosan as a nasal delivery system: the effect of chitosan solutions on in vitro and in vivo mucociliary transport rates in human turbinates and volunteers. J Pharm Sci 1997;86(4):509-513. View abstract.
  • Brandenberg, G., Leibrock, L. G., Shuman, R., Malette, W. G., and Quigley, H. Chitosan: a new topical hemostatic agent for diffuse capillary bleeding in brain tissue. Neurosurgery 1984;15(1):9-13. View abstract.
  • Chandy, T. and Sharma, C. P. Chitosan beads and granules for oral sustained delivery of nifedipine: in vitro studies. Biomaterials 1992;13(13):949-952. View abstract.
  • Chandy, T. and Sharma, C. P. Chitosan matrix for oral sustained delivery of ampicillin. Biomaterials 1993;14(12):939-944. View abstract.
  • Deuchi K, Kanauchi O, Imasato Y, and et al. Decreasing effect of chitosan on the apparent fat digestibility by rats fed on a high-fat diet. Biosci Biotech Biochem 1994;58:1613-1616.
  • Deuchi, K., Kanauchi, O., Imasato, Y., and Kobayashi, E. Effect of the viscosity or deacetylation degree of chitosan on fecal fat excreted from rats fed on a high-fat diet. Biosci Biotechnol.Biochem 1995;59(5):781-785. View abstract.
  • Deuchi, K., Kanauchi, O., Shizukuishi, M., and Kobayashi, E. Continuous and massive intake of chitosan affects mineral and fat- soluble vitamin status in rats fed on a high-fat diet. Biosci Biotechnol.Biochem 1995;59(7):1211-1216. View abstract.
  • Ernst E and Pitter MH. Chitosan as a treatment for body weight reduction? A meta-analysis. Perfusion 1998;11(11):461-465.
  • Girola M, De Bernardi M, and Contos S, et al. Dose effect in lipid-lowering activity of a new dietary integrator (chitosan, Garcinia cambogia extract, and chrome). Acta Toxicol Ther 1996;17:25-40.
  • Hou, W. M., Miyazaki, S., Takada, M., and Komai, T. Sustained release of indomethacin from chitosan granules. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo) 1985;33(9):3986-3992. View abstract.
  • Illum, L., Jabbal-Gill, I., Hinchcliffe, M., Fisher, A. N., and Davis, S. S. Chitosan as a novel nasal delivery system for vaccines. Adv Drug Deliv.Rev 9-23-2001;51(1-3):81-96. View abstract.
  • Kanauchi O, Deuchi K, Imasato Y, and et al. Increasing effect of a chitosan and ascorbic acid mixture on fecal dietary fat excretion. Biosci Biotech Biochem 1994;58:1617-1620.
  • Kanauchi, O., Deuchi, K., Imasato, Y., Shizukuishi, M., and Kobayashi, E. Mechanism for the inhibition of fat digestion by chitosan and for the synergistic effect of ascorbate. Biosci.Biotechnol.Biochem 1995;59(5):786-790. View abstract.
  • Kind, G. M., Bines, S. D., Staren, E. D., Templeton, A. J., and Economou, S. G. Chitosan: evaluation of a new hemostatic agent. Curr Surg. 1990;47(1):37-39. View abstract.
  • Koide, S. S. Chitin-chitosan: properties, benefits and risks. Nutrition Research 1998;8(6):1091-1101.
  • Kondo, Y., Nakatani, A., Hayashi, K., and Ito, M. Low molecular weight chitosan prevents the progression of low dose streptozotocin-induced slowly progressive diabetes mellitus in mice. Biol Pharm Bull 2000;23(12):1458-1464. View abstract.
  • Kratz, G., Back, M., Arnander, C., and Larm, O. Immobilised heparin accelerates the healing of human wounds in vivo. Scand J Plast.Reconstr.Surg Hand Surg 1998;32(4):381-385. View abstract.
  • LeHoux, J. G. and Grondin, F. Some effects of chitosan on liver function in the rat. Endocrinology 1993;132(3):1078-1084. 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;17:303-320.
  • Maezaki Y, Tsuji K, Nakawa, and et al. Hypocholesterolaemic effect of chitosan in adult males. Biosc Biochem Biotech 1993;57:1439-1444.
  • Malette, W. G., Quigley, H. J., Gaines, R. D., Johnson, N. D., and Rainer, W. G. Chitosan: a new hemostatic. Ann Thorac.Surg. 1983;36(1):55-58. View abstract.
  • Miura, T., Usami, M., Tsuura, Y., Ishida, H., and Seino, Y. Hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effect of chitosan in normal and neonatal streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice. Biol Pharm Bull 1995;18(11):1623-1625. View abstract.
  • Nelson, J. L., Alexander, J. W., Gianotti, L., Chalk, C. L., and Pyles, T. Influence of dietary fiber on microbial growth in vitro and bacterial translocation after burn injury in mice. Nutrition 1994;10(1):32-36. View abstract.
  • Petronio, M. G., Mansi, A., Gallinelli, C., Pisani, S., Seganti, L., and Chiarini, F. In vitro effect of natural and semi-synthetic carbohydrate polymers on Chlamydia trachomatis infection. Chemotherapy 1997;43(3):211-217. View abstract.
  • Risbud, M. V. and Bhonde, R. R. Polyacrylamide-chitosan hydrogels: in vitro biocompatibility and sustained antibiotic release studies. Drug Deliv. 2000;7(2):69-75. View abstract.
  • Ruel-Gariepy, E., Chenite, A., Chaput, C., Guirguis, S., and Leroux, J. Characterization of thermosensitive chitosan gels for the sustained delivery of drugs. Int J Pharm 8-10-2000;203(1-2):89-98. View abstract.
  • Sano H, Shibasaki K Kaneko K and et al. Inhibitory effect of chitosan rinsing on plaque formation. J-Dent-Res 1998;77(March Special Issue A: Abstracts of papers):138 (Abs No 260).
  • Sano, H., Shibasaki, K., Matsukubo, T., and Takaesu, Y. Effect of chitosan rinsing on reduction of dental plaque formation. Bull.Tokyo Dent.Coll. 2003;44(1):9-16. View abstract.
  • Sawayanagi, Y., Nambu, N., and Nagai, T. Use of chitosan for sustained-release preparations of water-soluble drugs. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo) 1982;30(11):4213-4215. View abstract.
  • Schiller RN, Barrager E, Schauss EA, and et al. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study examining the effects of a rapidly soluble chitosan dietary supplement on weight loss and body composition in overweight and mildly obese individuals. J Am Nutraceutical Assoc 2001;4(1):42-49.
  • Sciutto AM and Colombo P. Lipid-lowering effect of chitosan dietary integrator and hypocaloric diet in obese patients. Acta Toxicol Ther 1995;16:215-230.
  • Senel, S., Kremer, M. J., Kas, S., Wertz, P. W., Hincal, A. A., and Squier, C. A. Enhancing effect of chitosan on peptide drug delivery across buccal mucosa. Biomaterials 2000;21(20):2067-2071. View abstract.
  • Shibasaki, K., Sano, H., Matsukubo, T., and Takaesu, Y. pH response of human dental plaque to chewing gum supplemented with low molecular chitosan. Bull Tokyo Dent Coll 1994;35(2):61-66. View abstract.
  • Stone, C. A., Wright, H., Clarke, T., Powell, R., and Devaraj, V. S. Healing at skin graft donor sites dressed with chitosan. Br J Plast.Surg. 2000;53(7):601-606. View abstract.
  • Tanaka, Y., Tanioka, S., Tanaka, M., Tanigawa, T., Kitamura, Y., Minami, S., Okamoto, Y., Miyashita, M., and Nanno, M. Effects of chitin and chitosan particles on BALB/c mice by oral and parenteral administration. Biomaterials 1997;18(8):591-595. View abstract.
  • Tarsi, R., Muzzarelli, R. A., Guzman, C. A., and Pruzzo, C. Inhibition of Streptococcus mutans adsorption to hydroxyapatite by low-molecular-weight chitosans. J Dent Res 1997;76(2):665-672. View abstract.
  • Tsai, G. J. and Su, W. H. Antibacterial activity of shrimp chitosan against Escherichia coli. J Food Prot. 1999;62(3):239-243. View abstract.
  • Uchegbu, I. F., Schatzlein, A. G., Tetley, L., Gray, A. I., Sludden, J., Siddique, S., and Mosha, E. Polymeric chitosan-based vesicles for drug delivery. J Pharm Pharmacol 1998;50(5):453-458. View abstract.
  • Valenta, C., Christen, B., and Bernkop-Schnurch, A. Chitosan-EDTA conjugate: a novel polymer for topical gels. J Pharm Pharmacol 1998;50(5):445-452. View abstract.
  • Veneroni G, Veneroni F, Contos S, and et al. Effect of new chitosan dietary integrator and hypocaloric diet on hyperlipidemia and overweight in obese patients. Acta Toxicol Ther 1996;17:53-70.
  • Wuolijoki, E., Hirvela, T., and Ylitalo, P. Decrease in serum LDL cholesterol with microcrystalline chitosan. Methods Find.Exp Clin Pharmacol. 1999;21(5):357-361. View abstract.
  • Yamada, T., Onishi, H., and Machida, Y. In vitro and in vivo evaluation of sustained release chitosan-coated ketoprofen microparticles. Yakugaku Zasshi 2001;121(3):239-245. View abstract.
  • Biagini G, Bertani A, Muzzarelli R, et al. Wound management with N-carboxybutyl chitosan. Biomaterials 1991;12:281-6. View abstract.
  • Bokura H, Kobayashi S. Chitosan decreases total cholesterol in women: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Eur J Clin Nutr 2003;57:721-5. View abstract.
  • Colombo P, Sciutto AM. Nutritional aspects of chitosan employment in hypocaloric diet. Acta Toxicol Therap 1996;17:287-302.
  • Gades MD, Stern JS. Chitosan supplementation and fat absorption in men and women. J Am Diet Assoc 2005;105:72-7. View abstract.
  • Gades MD, Stern JS. Chitosan supplementation does not affect fat absorption in healthy males fed a high-fat diet, a pilot study. Int J Obes 2002;26:119-22.. View abstract.
  • Gallaher DD, Gallaher CM, Mahrt GJ, et al. A glucomannan and chitosan fiber supplement decreases plasma cholesterol and increases cholesterol excretion in overweight normocholesterolemic humans. J Am Coll Nutr 2002;21:428-33. View abstract.
  • Giustina A, Ventura P. Weight-reducing regimens in obese subjects: effects of a new dietary fiber integrator. Acta Toxicol Ther 1995;16:199-214.
  • Guerciolini R, Radu-Radulescu L, Boldrin M, et al. Comparative evaluation of fecal fat excretion induced by orlistat and chitosan. Obes Res 2001;9:364-7.. View abstract.
  • Hayashi Y, Ohara N, Ganno T, et al. Chewing chitosan-containing gum effectively inhibits the growth of cariogenic bacteria. Arch Oral Biol 2007;52:290-4. View abstract.
  • Ho SC, Tai ES, Eng PH, et al. In the absence of dietary surveillance, chitosan does not reduce plasma lipids or obesity in hypercholesterolaemic obese Asian subjects. Singapore Med J 2001;42:6-10. View abstract.
  • Huang SS, Sung SH, Chiang CE. Chitosan potentiation of warfarin effect. Ann Pharmacother 2007;41:1912-4. View abstract.
  • Jing SB, Li L, Ji D, et al. Effect of chitosan on renal function in patients with chronic renal failure. J Pharm Pharmacol 1997;49:721-3. 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.
  • Metso S, Ylitalo R, Nikkila M, Wuolijoki E, et al. The effect of long-term microcrystalline chitosan therapy on plasma lipids and glucose concentrations in subjects with increased plasma total cholesterol: a randomised placebo-controlled double-blind crossover trial in healthy men and women. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 2003;59:741-6. View abstract.
  • Mhurchu CN, Poppitt SD, McGill AT, et al. The effect of the dietary supplement, Chitosan, on body weight: a randomised controlled trial in 250 overweight and obese adults. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 2004;28:1149-56. View abstract.
  • Muzzarelli R, Biagini G, Pugnaloni A, et al. Reconstruction of parodontal tissue with chitosan. Biomaterials 1989;10:598-603. View abstract.
  • Muzzarelli R, Tarsi R, Fillippini O, et al. Antimicrobial properties of N-carboxybutyl chitosan. Antimicrob Agents Chemother 1990;34:2019-23. View abstract.
  • Muzzarelli RA, Biagini G, Bellardini, et al. Osteoconduction exerted by methylpyrrolidinone chitosan used in dental surgery. Biomaterials 1993;14:39-43. View abstract.
  • Ni Mhurchu C, Dunshea-Mooij C, Bennett D, Rodgers A. Chitosan for overweight or obesity. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2005;(3):CD003892. View abstract.
  • Pittler MH, Abbot NC, Harkness EF, Ernst E. Randomized, double-blind trial of chitosan for body weight reduction. Eur J Clin Nutr 1999;53:379-81. View abstract.
  • Rao SB, Sharma CP. Use of chitosan as a biomaterial: studies on its safety and hemostatic potential. J Biomed Mater Res 1997;34:21-28. View abstract.
  • Sciutto AM, Colombo P. Lipid-lowering effect of Chitosan dietary integrator and hypocaloric diet in obese subjects. Acta Toxicol Ther 1995;16:215-29.
  • Shields KM, Smock N, McQueen CE, Bryant PJ. Chitosan for weight loss and cholesterol management. Am J Health Syst Pharm 2003;60:1310-2, 1315-6. View abstract.
  • 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.
  • Thanou M, Verhoef JC, Junginger HE. Oral drug absorption enhancement by chitosan and its derivatives. Adv Drug Deliv Rev 2001;52:117-26.. View abstract.
  • Tsujikawa T, Kanauchi O, Andoh A, et al. Supplement of a Chitosan and ascorbic acid mixture for Crohn's disease. A pilot study. Nutrition 2003;19:137-9.. View abstract.
  • Ueno H, Mori T, Fujinaga T. Topical formulations and wound healing applications of chitosan. Adv Drug Deliv Rev 2001;52:105-15.. View abstract.
  • Veneroni G, Veneroni F, Contos S, et al. Effect of a new chitosan dietary integrator and hypocaloric diet on hyperlipidemia and overweight in obese patients. Acta Toxicol Ther 1996;17:53-70.
  • Wuolijoki E, Hirvela T, Ylitalo P. Decrease in serum LDL cholesterol with microcrystalline chitosan. Methods Find Exp Clin Pharmacol 1999;21:357-61.
  • Ylitalo R, Lehtinen S, Wuolijoki E, et al. Cholesterol-lowering properties and safety of chitosan. Arzneimittelforschung 2002;52:1-7.. View abstract.

More Resources for CHITOSAN

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.
© Therapeutic Research Faculty 2018.