Chitosan is a polysaccharide found in the shells of crustaceans.
Where is it found?
Chitosan is extracted from the shells of crustaceans, such as shrimp and crab.
Chitosan has been used in
connection with the following conditions (refer to the individual
health concern for complete information):
Who is likely to be deficient?
Chitosan is not an essential nutrient, so deficiencies do not occur.
How much is usually taken?
Most human research has used 3–6 grams per day with meals.
Are there any side effects or interactions?
While no long-term studies of the effects of chitosan on human health have been done,
animal studies suggest that this compound could inhibit the absorption of minerals and fat-soluble vitamins. Adverse effects on the growth of children
and on the outcome of pregnancy are also
possible.1 In addition, although chitosan-included alterations in intestinal flora
are believed to be beneficial, the possibility that these changes may have negative long-term
consequences has not been ruled out. People with
intestinal malabsorption syndromes should not use chitosan.
At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions
1. Koide SS. Chitin-chitosan: properties, benefits and risks. Nutr
Res 1998;18:1091–101 [review].