Chitosan is a natural ingredient that can be found in many weight management supplements, but is especially popular in fat binding products and is usually deemed to be powerful enough to use as a standalone ingredient. But do Chitosan supplements work?
How Does Chitosan Help Weight Loss
While many people assume that chitosan is a miracle ingredient, the truth is that it’s not a miracle. This article will explore how and why chitosan supplements workcso you can make an informed decision about whether or not they are right for you!
Chitosan is a Fat Binder
Chitosan is a marine extract that comes from the shells of crabs. Chitosans are usually used as an ingredient in many weight management products, which might be because they work by binding to dietary fat and preventing it from being absorbed into your body during digestion. This mean that you will poop out the fat rather than absorbing it.
However, while Chitosan is often deemed to be powerful enough as a standalone ingredient, they do not work for everyone and might require usage over an extended period of time (typically at least six months) before results can be seen.
This is because only about 40% of dietary fats end up being absorbed by your body in one sitting so that means you need to take more than one dose per day to increase absorption rates accordingly. In addition, if chitosan doesn’t bind with all the fat from your food then there’s nothing stopping it from binding with other nutrients such as vitamins A & D!
The Fat Binding Process Explained
Fat is a high calorie food. In fact, just one gram of fat provides the body with nine calories. That may not sound like a lot, but one gram of carbohydrate contains only four calories, as does a gram of protein.
So with each gram of fat put into the body providing over twice as many calories as carbs and protein it is easy to see why eating too much greasy or fatty food can cause people to pile on the pounds.
The average man only requires around 2,500 calories per day to maintain normal weight and most women only require 2,000 calories per day.
Most people can meet that requirement very easily and once it is met the body converts any excess calories into fatty acids which are then stored in the adipose tissues and become what is commonly referred to as body fat.
Fat binding supplements are designed to help people control their weight by limiting the amount of fat calories that are stored in the adipose tissue.
They achieve this by hijacking large amount of consumed fat and preventing it from releasing its calories, the fat binder then makes its way through the intestines, carrying the “bound” fat with it and is eventually passed with the stool.
What is Chitosan?
Putting it in technical terms, chitosan is a naturally derived long-chain; linear polysaccharide that consists of glucosamine and N-acetyl glucosamine molecules, but such jargon will mean nothing to most people.
So, in simple terms, it is a form of soluble fibre that is extracted from the exoskeletons of certain species of deep-sea crustacean, including crabs and shrimps.
It can also be sourced from some forms of fungi, and fungal-based chitosan offers the advantage of being suitable for people who are allergic to seafood and therefore cannot tolerate the more traditional form.
Although the mind boggles at how such an ingredient ever came into use, it has several uses that range from agricultural seed treatment to winemaking. It is also one of the most popular fat binding ingredients in use at the present time.
A Quick Guide to Chitosan Dosage:
Most studies have used a single (1– 1.5g) dose prior to food consumption and 3-6g per day is often considered to be a standard dose, but the amount of pre-meal chitosan provided can vary from one product to the next so it is important to always read the usage instruction supplied by the manufacturer and use each product in the recommended way.
How Chitosan Works
Fat binding products that contain chitosan are usually consumed around half an hour before eating any meal that contains dietary fats. This can include obvious choices like sausage and chips or less apparent foods such as cheeses or products that contain whipped cream.
However, it must be remembered that chitosan is a fat blocker and will offer little or no benefit to anyone who is about to eat a healthy low fat meal such as a salad or beans on toast.
The body cannot digest chitosan. It has no nutritional value whatsoever, but it does have the ability to attract dietary fats and once the fat and chitosan merge the fat becomes as impossible to digest as the compound that has bound it.
Chitosan Health Considerations
Although the use of chitosan should not be problematic for most people, the marine sourced variety is unlikely to be suitable for anyone who is allergic to seafood.
Potential users also need to be aware the use of fat binding products can result in looser, greasier stools.
This is not that surprising bearing in mind the way the ingredient works.
People who are intent on eating large amount of fatty food and then using chitosan as a form of damage control may have additional problems because when usually large amounts of fat-laden faecal matter begin to get moving they can move quite fast and could, conceivably, lead to a nasty surprise.
However, when used in the way intended – as a weight management option, rather than a cheat-pill, chitosan can be an invaluable dietary aid.
Chitosan Supplements Do They Really Work
Chitosans are natural ingredients that can be found in many weight management supplements, but is especially popular in fat binding products and is usually deemed to be powerful enough to use as a standalone ingredient. But do chitosan supplements work?
An increasing number of studies have shown the potential benefits of taking either low doses or high doses (between 90-180 mg) of chitosan per day for up to six months. This might lead some people to believe that it’s not necessary o take more than one dose per day, although this has yet to be proven by any research study so far.