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What it isChitosan is a soluble fiber composed of chitin, which is derived from the shells of shellfish. This fiber has a very high affinity for fats and cholesterol in the digestive tract. What that means is that chitosan chemically binds to fats and cholesterol so that your body cannot absorb them.
Fibers such as chitosan can adsorb many times their weight of fat and cholesterol. Since normally cholesterol is secreted with the bile and reabsorbed in the intestine, fibers like chitosan can help remove cholesterol from inside of the body.
What it doesChitosan is a remarkable dietary fiber that promotes the elimination of unwanted fat in the body. It acts like a fat magnet and attaches itself to fats and cholesterol so that the body cannot absorb them. Chitosan does this so well that it can bind up to six times its weight in fat and cholesterol. This complex of chitosan and fat or chitosan and cholesterol passes harmlessly out of the body in the feces.
Chitosan is also a dietary fiber. That means that there is the side advantage of taking chitosan in that it improves bowel function.
How it can help youCurrently, chitosan is being promoted as a miracle weight loss supplement. Do not be fooled by this. Although, initially chitosan held a lot of promise, the existing studies indicate that it does not promote weight loss when used on a regular basis.
Does this mean you canít use it to help you? Not at all. As I said before, chitosan can bind up to six times its weight in fat. That means when you take three grams of chitosan your body will excrete up to eighteen grams of fat. Thatís over 160 calories!
How can you use this? Letís say the holidays are coming up. What that means for a most people is a lot of extra eating. How would you like to have that extra piece of cake and not have to wear it on your hips the next morning? Chitosan can help you. If you take three grams of chitosan, you will knock of about 160 calories from your dietary intake. That means the price of overeating wonít be so high. Again, chitosan is not helpful at all for losing weight. That is what the studies show. But for that occasional time you over do it, chitosan can come to the rescue.
How to use itI recommend you take chitosan five minutes before you begin the meal to get the maximum benefit. Since it is a fiber, if you do not have enough fiber in your diet, chitosan can cause some stomach upset. If that is a problem, just cut back the dose and build up gradually.
Studies show that ascorbic acid (vitamin C) helps activate chitosan in the stomach and intestine into a fat-absorbing gel. It is important to take pure ascorbic acid to enhance the fat-absorbing effects of chitosan. Buffered or mineral ascorbates will not work as well. I recommend 1 gram of vitamin C with each dose of chitosan. This dosage of vitamin C on rare occasions may also cause stomach upset. If that happens, take 500 mg next time.
The manufacturers warn that you should not take chitosan if you are pregnant or nursing. This is because chitosan is nonselective and will attach itself to essential vitamins and essential fatty acids, both of which are vital for the health of your child. However, if you take chitosan as I have recommended, on an occasional basis when you over eat, it should be safe.
However, before using this product, please see my disclaimer.
Anthony Kane, MD
ADD ADHD Advances
ďIf your child's medication concerns you, I have a unique, proven way to solve your problems foreverĒ
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