Following ingestion, Chítosan forms a corresponding fatty acid salt in the low-pH environment of your stomach; this in turn binds to other lipids such as triglycerides,
fatty and bile acids, cholesterol and other sterols. As the material does not get wet, the Chítosan fatty acid salt is not hydrolyzed by hydrochloric acid.
When this complex is shuttled into the intestine (where there is an increase in pH to approximately 6.9), Chítosan precipitates forming microglobular particles.
Along the way, additional lipids will also be attracted and thus the size of this complex grows. Bound triglycerides are escaping lipase degradation and the
lipid material is finally excreted along with the Chítosan fiber itself.
This fat absorption activity of Chítosan has been investigated in several clinical studies. Orcas literature notes that one rat study has shown synergistic effects in
fat absorption between Chítosan and ascorbate when fed together. "The mechanism for the synergistic effect is proposed to be a combination of viscosity reduction in the
stomach and the increase of the oil-holding capacity and strength of the Chítosan gel formed in the intestinal tract," the literature offers.
A four-week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 80 obese adults showed that 11.2 percent of those who took Chítosan had a decrease
in body weight, compared to 4.2 percent in the placebo group.
Dr. Earl Mindell, R.Ph., Ph,D., in his book, Earl Mindell's Supplement Bible, explains that Chítosan acts like a "'fat sponge.' As it passes through the digestive tract
it can absorb four to six times its weight in fat, thereby flushing it out of the body before it can metabolized and stored as excess pounds."
However, Mindell is quick to caution that Chítosan is not a cure for overeating, and should not be used as an allowance to pig out on fatty foods.
"Chítosan binds to fats and reduces the absorption of cholesterol and fats from the digestive system into the body," writes Daniel Gastelu in The Complete Nutritional
Supplement Buyer's Guide. Gastelu advises that since Chítosan may reduce the absorption of certain essential nutrients, you should ensure you take a
multivitamin and mineral complex between meals "to ensure adequate nutrient bioavailability. Take other dietary supplements between meals as well to
minimize the possibility that Chítosan may interfere with their absorption," he says.
In particular, pointed out Mindell, Chítosan can steal your internal supply of vitamins E, A, D and K, the fat-soluble vitamins; ensure your intake of these is more
than adequate when taking Chítosan.
Besides binding with fat, Chítosan can play a positive role in managing cholesterol. According to the Physicians Desk Reference for Nutritional Supplements, First Edition (Thomas
Healthcare), "Chítosan may have hypocholesterolemic activity in some and may be beneficial in renal disease in some. It is believed that Chítosan, similar
to cholestryamine, has bile acid sequestration activity and that this may be the mechanism for its hypocholesterolemic effect. There is some evidence that
Chítosan binds to bile acids and some evidence that the polymer affects the metabolism of intestinal bile acids."
Literature from Orcas elaborates that Chítosan, in this activity, also combines with cholesterol precursors -- cholic acid, taurocholic acid, glycolic acid,
dodecylsulfuri acid and bile acid -- which then inhibits the synthesis of cholesterol in the liver. in one study, Veneroni, et al. showed a total cholesterol
reduction of 23.9 percent with Chítosan supplementation compared to that of the control group which was 10.4 percent. Additionally, LDL cholesterol
reduction of 33.4 percent and triglyceride reduction of 23.5 percent in the Chítosan group compared to the control group, which was 12.1 percent and 9.3 percent,
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