Chitosan lowers cholesterol in women.





Related Monographs

Consumer Data: Chitosan Hyperlipidemia
Professional Data: Chitosan Hyperlipidemia


Chitosan is a form of dietary fiber that is most commonly derived, interestingly enough, from the hard outer shell of such sea creatures as shrimp, crabs, squid, and other shellfish. According to research, chitosan may have the unique ability to bind to fats in the stomach, thus preventing the fats from being absorbed into the body. Scientists think this characteristic is linked to chitosan's strong positive magnetic charge, which enables it to attract and bind to fats, which are negatively charged. Based on these findings, it's easy to see why chitosan's fat-scavenging ability may have applications in patients who want to lower their cholesterol.

In a recent issue of European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, chitosan was examined in a placebo-controlled trial. Although chitosan has been shown to reduce cholesterol in previous animal and human studies, researchers wanted to see if lower cholesterol levels could be obtained without diet therapy. Female volunteers aged 34 to 70 years with elevated cholesterol levels were assigned to either 1.2 grams of chitosan or placebo. Cholesterol levels were measured at the beginning of this study as well as 28 and 56 day into the study. The women did not change their normal diet. 84 participants completed the trial. The results showed that chitosan lowered total cholesterol when compared to the placebo group. No serious adverse events were reported. Although the effects on cholesterol were mild, the authors concluded that that chitosan is safe and effective.1


1. Bokura H, et al. Chitosan decreases total cholesterol in women: a randomized, double-blind, palcebo-controlled trail. EJCN. May 2003;57(5):721-725.