Chitosan FAQs

March 28, 2016

What is Chitosan?

Chitosan is a unique fat-absorbing dietary fiber that inhibits the absorption of dietary fat during digestion. While various fibers perform this function, Chitosan seems to be the most effective. After months of reviewing different suppliers of Chitosan, NOW chose Liposan Ultra Chitosan. This brand of Chitosan dissolves rapidly in stomach acid and almost immediately begins binding to ingested dietary fat, greatly reducing the amount that is absorbed during digestion.

In fact, studies show that Liposan Ultra® binds several times more dietary fat than other leading national brands, which means you get more value. Once dietary fat is bound by Chitosan, it is excreted through normal digestive processes.

Chitosan is derived from the chitin of shellfish. Chitin is a polysaccharide found in the exoskeletons of shellfish and crustaceans. It is a unique dietary fiber that is indigestible, so it does not contribute to the amount of ingested carbohydrates.

How many grams of fat will be absorbed by two capsules of Chitosan?

As with many dietary supplements, different people will experience different results depending on a number of factors, including body type, metabolism, and diet. NOW uses the Liposan Ultra brand of Chitosan because studies show that Liposan Ultra binds several times more dietary fat than other leading national brands. In vitro, Liposan Ultra was shown to absorb up to 88 grams of fat, but this doesn't mean it will necessarily have the same effect when ingested by humans. Studies are ongoing.

We often get questions concerning an erroneous claim that there is an easy experiment that can be done at home to show how Chitosan absorbs fat. The experiment involves melting ¼ teaspoon of butter in two cups of hot water, then sprinkling ¼ gram of Chitosan on top of the water/butter mixture. In a short time, you're supposed to be able to see Chitosan binding the butter, forming lumps on the surface and leaving the water fat-free. This is not an accurate experiment because Chitosan must be broken down by stomach acids before actively binding to dietary fat. Water will not activate Chitosan, and water-soluble forms of this nutrient are ineffective because they do not protect bound fat from being broken down by pancreatic enzymes.

Can I take Chitosan with prescription medications or other supplements, and are there any side effects?

Since Chitosan binds to fat in the stomach, it is advisable to take it 3-4 hours prior to the ingestion of fat soluble medications or nutrients. If Chitosan is used simultaneously with certain medications, it may block the desired effects of that medication.

Check with your doctor before mixing Chitosan with prescription medications. If you have questions about taking Chitosan with dietary supplements, check with a certified nutritionist or your local health food store. There are no known side effects associated with Chitosan supplementation.