Last updated: 16/10/2022

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Hoy vamos a hablar de una fibra dietética llena de beneficios para tu salud: el quitosano. Suplemento que ayuda a eliminar los kilos de más en la báscula, el quitosano es una sustancia natural derivada de la cáscara de los crustáceos.

Al estar lleno de fibra, es capaz de inhibir la absorción de grasa por el cuerpo. En medio de tantas opciones de suplementos, te mostraremos en este artículo lo que debes tener en cuenta antes de comprar el mejor quitosano.




Resumen

  • El quitosano mejora el tránsito intestinal, previene la absorción de grasas, ayuda a la curación, tiene acción antimicrobiana y también es bueno para la piel, los huesos y el cabello.
  • Sin embargo, su uso incorrecto puede causar desde efectos secundarios hasta deficiencia grave de vitaminas en el cuerpo.
  • Te mostraremos cuáles son las características que diferencian un suplemento de otro y cómo elegir el quitosano ideal.

El mejor quitosano: nuestras selecciones

Guía de compra

No es tan sencillo elegir el quitosano ideal como parece. Es necesario que evalúes, además de las características de cada producto, también tu necesidad y contraindicaciones. Por ello, hemos creado esta Guía de Compra con toda la información que necesitarás para tomar la mejor decisión a la hora de invertir en quitosano.

Mulher tomando comprimido.

El quitosano es un suplemento rico en fibra. (Fuente: dolgachov / 123rf)

¿Qué es el quitosano?

El quitosano se deriva de la quitina, que es un polisacárido. Los polisacáridos son carbohidratos compuestos por un gran número de moléculas de monosacáridos (azúcares simples). En el cuerpo humano, por lo tanto, son una fuente de reservas de energía. Los principales tipos de polisacáridos son la celulosa, el almidón, la quitina y el glucógeno.

Y es que la quitina es el segundo polisacárido más abundante en la naturaleza, obtenido del esqueleto externo de crustáceos como cangrejos, cangrejos de río, camarones y calamares. Compuesto por grandes cantidades de moléculas de glucosa y grupos amina, la quitina es el precursor directo del quitosano, que ahora se usa en suplementos.

Prato de lagostin e camarão.

Chitosan is a fibre obtained from the skeleton of crustaceans. (Source: NadineDoerle / Pixabay)

The fact is that, because of its properties, chitosan is rich in fiber and is not absorbed by the human body. With this, chitosan has the power to connect with fat in the digestive tract, preventing it from being absorbed by the body. In other words, chitosan “pulls” the fat present in our body and together they are expelled directly by the feces.

Did you know that as a result of this process, chitosan becomes a powerful ally in weight loss and fat elimination

It is no wonder that chitosan has become one of the most used supplements worldwide because those who want to lose weight and keep their health levels up.

What is the use of chitosan in our body?

Because it is rich in fibre and is expelled from the body taking fats with it, chitosan has a wide range in the health of any person. Far beyond helping in the process of weight loss, this fiber can act, including, combat and prevent serious diseases such as obesity. In order to understand in depth the qualities of chitosan, here is an overview of its main functions:

  • Intestinal transit: Chitosan contributes to a better intestinal work, since it increases the fecal cake, providing more evacuations, and stimulates the beneficial bacteria present in the intestine.
  • Antimicrobial action: Chitosan also causes the inhibition of the growth of some micro-organisms that can harm the health such as, for example, those that cause urinary infection (cystitis).
  • Healing: the use of chitosan can also make blood clotting more efficient. Therefore, the healing of wounds occurs more efficiently and quickly.
  • Satiety: As it is a fiber, chitosan slows the digestive processing. For this factor, it increases the feeling of satiety after you have your meals.
  • Obesity: The fact is that chitosan also absorbs cholesterol from our body and eliminates it with the feces. Therefore, in many cases, this fiber is recommended for the treatment of people who have high cholesterol levels. And all this, together with the fact that chitosan reduces appetite, has been used as a complementary tool for the treatment and prevention of obesity.
  • Diseases: Chitosan also serves to treat health problems such as Crohn’s disease, complications from kidney failure, as well as anemia, loss of strength and difficulty sleeping.
  • Skin, nails and hair: Chitosan is also important in the area of beauty, being beneficial for skin, nails and hair. This supplement influences the formation of collagen, a substance that acts to strengthen brittle nails and hair, in addition to ensuring more tone and reducing sagging skin.
  • Ally of the bones: Chitosan, which also has calcium in its composition, is still effective in the formation and maintenance of bone health.

Mulher mostrando as unhas.

The chitosan also acts in the strengthening of the skin and nails.
(Source: impression60 / Pixabay)

Does chitosan really lose weight?

As we have seen, chitosan can be an ally for those who want to lose weight. By being effective in the elimination of fat and lowering cholesterol, chitosan has been recommended by nutritionists to assist in the process of weight loss.

However, this supplement alone will not work miracles.

This is because, to ensure effective weight loss, it is necessary to adopt a set of actions such as dietary re-education and constant practice of physical activities, such as running on a treadmill and weight-training, for example. Besides, it is worth mentioning that the weight loss process also depends on other factors such as, for example, hormonal and genetic conditions.

Balança, fita métrica e maçã.

Chitosan is an ally in weight loss. (Source: TeroVesalainen / Pixabay)

But, like any dietary fiber with powerful satiety potential, chitosan can also act, as we saw, in reducing hunger and food portions on the plate. In addition, because it is beneficial to intestinal transit, chitosan also promotes greater release of toxins and ensures a lower feeling of bloating. Anyway, experts recommend that before you start taking the chitosan supplement, it is highly recommended the monitoring of a doctor or nutritionist.

How and how much chitosan should you use?

According to the specialists, although the chitosan supplement does not need a doctor’s prescription, the amount of fibre to be ingested should be determined by a nutritionist or nutrologist doctor.

Did you know that in general, however, the guideline is to consume between 1 and 3 grams of chitosan per day

Besides, it is recommended to take the chitosan capsules 30 minutes before lunch or dinner, accompanied by three or four glasses of water.

What are the side effects of chitosan?

As chitosan is a soluble fibre, which expands and absorbs water, it is essential that you keep hydrated. But more than that, the correct intake of water can prevent even more serious problems. The fact is that if there is not enough liquid in your body, the chitosan will not be diluted and, with this, problems will occur in your intestine and in the functioning of your metabolism. In general, the insufficient intake of liquids, together with the consumption of chitosan, can cause constipation, irritability and even weight gain.

Copo de água.

Without the correct intake of water, chitosan can cause problems in the intestine. (Source: Baudolino / Pixabay)

Another problem that must be taken into account is that, by reducing the absorption of fats by the body, chitosan acts even in those considered good fats. That is, chitosan does not differentiate good fat from bad. And, with this, there may also be a reduction of good cholesterol (HDL), which is essential for the proper functioning of your health. In addition, the use of chitosan can cause other unwanted effects as you can see below:

  • Gastrointestinal problems: nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and constipation.
  • Headaches and swelling of the heels and wrists.
  • Allergic reactions: difficulty breathing, swelling of the lips and tongue, chest pain, hives or rash.

As such, if you experience any of these side effects or symptoms while using chitosan, we recommend that you discontinue consumption immediately and seek your doctor.

What are the consequences of prolonged and excessive use of chitosan?

As we have seen, even if consumed in adequate doses, chitosan can still cause side effects. But, besides that, it is important that you know that the prolonged use and/or in high doses can cause even more serious problems. Among them is the vitamin deficiency in the organism. Vitamins are substances that the body needs to function in a correct and healthy way. They are acquired through food or supplements.

Imagem de cápsulas de vitaminas.

Too much chitosan causes vitamin deficiency in the body.
(Source: Aleksandra Gigowska / 123rf)

The fact is that incorrect or prolonged use of chitosan can reduce the presence of some vitamins in the body. Fat-soluble vitamins, such as A, D, E and K, which are stored in the liver and adipose tissue, can bind to chitosan and be eliminated along with it without the correct absorption by the body.

In addition, chitosan is also capable of eliminating vitamin B12. The fact is that the absence of these vitamins in the body can cause, besides a drop in immunity, diseases such as anemia, heart attack, stroke, vision problems, osteoporosis, neurological disorders and bleeding.

What are the contraindications of chitosan?

As we have seen, despite its great benefits, chitosan can generate side effects and nutritional deficiencies. And, in addition, according to the experts, this fiber should not be consumed by all people.

People with allergies to any type of shellfish and seafood should not consume chitosan

Because it is obtained from chitin, which is part of the exoskeleton of crustaceans, people with a history of allergy to any type of crustacean and seafood should not consume chitosan. Otherwise, severe allergic reactions may occur. In addition, as there are still no more comprehensive studies on all the effects and interactions of fiber in the body, experts contraindicate the use of chitosan if you are:

  • Under 18s
  • Pregnant and lactating
  • Elderly
  • Persons who regularly use medication

What are the advantages and disadvantages of chitosan?

If you have come this far, you already know that chitosan has numerous advantages as a supplement.

By having a high concentration of fibers, it is able to promote satiety and reduce the rate of fat and cholesterol in the body.

Another advantage is that, by absorbing the water present in the body, chitosan helps to make the stools less solid, which facilitates the functioning of the intestine and intestinal microflora. In addition, chitosan can inhibit the development of various parasites and germs, improve blood clotting and help wound healing. By having antimicrobial action, this supplement also helps prevent infections.

Mulher com mão na barriga e uma flor.

The chitosan improves the functioning of the intestine and eliminates fats from the body.
(Source: silviarita / Pixabay)

Another advantage is that chitosan is also beneficial for the skin, nails and hair, influencing the formation of collagen. In addition, this supplement is an ally for bone health, since it contains calcium in its composition. However, chitosan also has disadvantages. It is possible, for example, that undesirable side effects occur.

Another disadvantage is that the consumption of high doses and prolonged use can cause vitamin deficiencies in the body and a reduction in good cholesterol. Not to mention that this supplement is not indicated for those with shellfish allergies, pregnant women, the elderly and people under 18 years of age. Below you can see the main advantages and disadvantages of chitosan:

Advantages
  • Improves bowel function
  • Reduces fat and cholesterol absorption
  • Promotes satiety
  • Ally of weight loss
  • It is antimicrobial
  • Helps in healing
  • Good for skin, nails and hair
  • Good for bone health
Disadvantages
  • May cause side effects
  • May reduce absorption of good cholesterol
  • High doses and prolonged use cause vitamin deficiency
  • Not suitable for all people

Purchase Criteria

When you go to buy chitosan, you will come across a plethora of options. For you to choose the supplement that will actually meet your needs and goals you need to understand what differentiates one product from another. Therefore, we have selected for you the main factors that should be taken into account before buying chitosan:

  • Formula
  • Form
  • Dosage
  • Portion
  • Amount

Below, we will explain each of these factors for you to make the best decision and invest in the best chitosan.

Formula

The first factor that you should take into account before buying chitosan is the composition of the formula. In general, you will find two options: the formula that contains only the chitosan; and the formula that has the fiber combined with other substances. If you opt for the supplement that only contains chitosan, make sure that there are really no other elements included in the formula.

Comprimidos fora do frasco.

Chitosan can come pure or combined with other nutrients.
(Source: Oksana Mironova / 123rf)

In the case of the combined supplement, you can choose the one that will best meet your needs. For example, it is very common to find chitosan combined with psyllium, which is a natural fibre that also helps in the good intestinal function, eliminating toxins and impurities.

Or you can choose chitosan that comes with collagen, which further reinforces its benefits for the skin, for example.

Another very popular combination of this supplement is chitosan with spirulina, which is an algae rich in protein, vitamins and minerals.

Form

Like most supplements, chitosan can also be consumed in different ways. You can opt for the fibre in capsule or powder form. Here the choice is quite personal.

Comprimidos.

Chitosan is available in capsule or powder form.
(Source: phoenixwil / Pixabay)

In general, chitosan in capsules is more practical because you can use it anywhere, anytime and without the need to measure the dose. Still, for some people, the powder form can make it easier to digest and swallow.

Dosage

Another factor we recommend you take into consideration is the dosage of chitosan offered by the supplement. In general, you can opt for daily doses ranging from 3mg to 3.5mg. Remembering that, as we have already seen in this article, doses above 3mg consumed for long periods can be highly harmful to your health.

Portion

Also note what the serving size is for each brand. The portion refers to the amount of pills that you will have to ingest daily.

The daily serving of chitosan can vary between two and seven tablets.

To give you an idea, the daily serving of chitosan can vary between two and seven tablets, which should be consumed at different times of the day. If you have any swallowing or digestion difficulties, we recommend that you opt for a smaller portion or for chitosan powder.

Quantity

Another factor you should check before choosing chitosan is the total quantity of the product. This will certainly influence the final value of the product. If you prefer chitosan in tablets, you will find packages that contain between 30 and 200 capsules. In the powder version, the quantity on sale varies between 200g and 1kg.

Image source: ulleo / Pixabay

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