Chitosan: The Nutrient that Binds Fat
Chitosan is a natural product derived from chitin, a polysaccharide found in the exoskeleton of shellfish like shrimp or crabs. While it has been in existence for millennia, its current form has just recently been prepared. Technically speaking, Chitosan is a naturally occurring substance that is chemically similar to cellulose which is a plant fiber. Like plant fibers, Chitosan possesses many of the some properties as fiber, however unlike plant fiber, it has the ability to significantly bind fat, acting like a "fat sponge" in the digestive tract.
Like some plant fibers, is not digestible, therefore it has no caloric value. No matter how much Chitosan you ingest, its caloric count remains at zero. This is a very important property for any weight loss product.
Absorbs and binds fat / promotes weight loss Inhibits LDL Cholesterol and boosts HDL Cholesterol Promotes healing of ulcers and lesions Antibacterial and acts as an antacid Inhibits the formation of plaque/tooth decay Helps to control blood pressure Helps to prevent constipation Calcium Enhancer/Bone Strengthener Reduces blood levels of Uric Acid Anti-Tumor Action
Chitosan has a history of about three decades of use in processes like detoxifying water. When is spread over the surface of water, it literally absorbs greases, oils, heavy metals and other potentially toxic substances. Like a "fat magnet," it attracts these bio-hazardous substances from drinking water to such an extent that a scum forms in the water, which can be easily removed. Water purification plants throughout the nation use Chitosan for this purpose. What this indicate to scientists was that Chitosan can selectively absorb fats even in a water medium.
Under optimal conditions, Chitosan can bind 4 to 5 times its weight with all the lipid aggregates tested. NOTE: This assessment was made without the addition of ascorbic acid which potentates this action even further. Studies in Helsinki have shown that individuals taking Chitosan lost an average of 8 percent of their body weight in a 4 week period. Chitosan increased its oil-holding capacity over other fibers. Chitosan has the very unique ability to lower LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) while boosting HDL cholesterol (the good kind).
Imagine a dietary substance that could dramatically reduce fat absorption in the body!
Imagine a dietary substance that could significantly reduce cholesterol and triglyceride blood plasma levels which are proven to contribute to obesity, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Imagine chitosan; the fiber which has the potential to become the safest and most effective weight loss and health promoting therapy ever discovered!
Secretly, many of us have wished for the magic pill that would wash our fat away, even though deep down we knew no such thing could possibly exist. I think perhaps we were wrong. It does exist. However, it isn't magic. It's simply a different kind of soluble fiber that acts like a powerful magnet for fat and other high calorie fat producing substances in the digestive tract.
The incredible fat fighting effects of chitosan fiber is backed by extensive scientific research. Chitosan is a proven safe and effective way to control the intake of dietary fat and other high calorie substances. It also offers other health enhancing benefits that could help untold millions of people. Perhaps, you are one of them.
Research shows that over 100 million Americans are overweight and spending an estimated 33 billion dollars annually on diets and diet related products. Yet we remain fat. Why?
One reason is that much of the processed food we eat today is sadly lacking in nutritional value because essential nutrients are lost in processing.
The average persons diet today consists of many processed foods that are high in fats and sugars and low in fiber and enzymes.
Another reason we are fat is that because of depleted soils, much of our food is already lacking in essential nutrients. Nutrient deficient food rapidly leads to nutritional deficiencies in the body.
Empty calories are readily stored as fat which cannot be efficiently burned. Fat is burned only when sufficient energy is produced and energy production requires almost every known nutrient.
Malnutrition is a major factor leading to obesity and the inability or difficulty in losing weight.
For instance, to produce energy we need the B vitamins. Vitamin B6 is essential for the conversion of stored fat and the utilization of protein. If there is a lack of pantothenic acid and protein, fat is burned at a tremendously reduced rate.
Amino acids are essential for the proper function of many energy producing systems but cannot be utilized without choline, vitamin B6 and other nutrients. Vitamin E is also necessary for fat utilization and actually doubles our ability to use fat. If we are deficient in choline and inositol, the body cannot produce lecithin which also aids cells to burn fat.
These are just a few examples of nutritional deficiencies that cause poor utilization of fat and fat storage. These deficiencies can also in turn prevent the body from producing hormones and enzymes necessary for the utilization and assimilation of nutrients available in other "good for us" foods.
It is interesting to note that fat intake is not related to the use of body fat for energy production. It is very rare for the body to burn ingested fat for energy.
When the body produces energy it first uses carbohydrates, then protein and then fat. The only fats the body uses, not burns, are essential fatty acids which are unsaturated. They cannot be made by the body and must be supplied through the diet.
These essential fats are very important because they are used to help produce hormones and enzymes and act as cofactors to other nutrients. Additionally, they help to lower cholesterol, blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart attacks and are essential for the normal development and function of the brain. Natural forms of the essential fatty acids are found in many vegetables, flax seed oil, salmon oil, cod liver oil and fish.
Saturated fats usually come from animal and dairy sources such as cheese, milk, meat, butter and eggs. The body does not use saturated fats in any way except to store them. They clog up our arteries, lead to untold health disorders, and when we look in the mirror we see them on our hips, thighs, stomach and under our chins etc.
If it is necessary to burn fat for energy reduction it is much easier for the body to use the unsaturated essential fatty acids.
There is an old saying about fat, "If it's past the lips it's on the hips."
Fortunately, we now have Chitosan fiber to fight fat which makes that saying no longer true
Scientific evidence shows that fat is the macro-nutrient associated with obesity. However, did you know that excess dietary fat is also associated with gall bladder disease, high blood pressure, stroke, coronary artery disease, heart disease, joint inflammation such as arthritis and gout, kidney disease, liver disorders, diabetes, respiratory problems, malnutrition, complications of pregnancy, psychological problems, and various forms of cancer such as breast, endometrial, colon, rectal, prostate, ovarian and cervical cancer.
Additionally, virtually all health studies agree that excess fat can significanlly shorten your life span. Too much dietary fat consumption means that millions of people acquire diseases or disorders that could be easily prevented and die before their time.
If you are not over weight that does not necessarily mean your cholesterol and triglyceride blood levels are normal. You can have dangerously high blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels that are also very high and yet be willow thin. You can eat whatever you want without gaining an ounce, and whatever you want is usually high fat, soul satisfying food. You are headed for disaster and yet unwilling to change your dietary habits. Irregardless of how fat or thin you are, if you consume too much fat, you are at risk for developing the diseases or disorders mentioned above.
A poorly functioning and toxic colon can be related to many degenerative diseases including cancer and obesity. Colon/rectal cancer is the number one cancer for men and women in the U.S. More Americans are hospitalized due to diseases of the digestive system and colon than for any other disorder.
In fact, we spend over 50 billion dollars a year in hospitals for surgical procedures and other treatments. Most of these problems could have been easily prevented by reducing dietary fat and including an adequate intake of dietary fiber.
The Merck Manual, which is the medical industry's standard text for the diagnosis and treatment of disease, reveals that Diverticulosis of the colon has increased dramatically over the last 50 years. In fact, it states that in 1950 only 10% of the population had this disorder, in 1987 it had risen to 50% and the 1994 edition stated that by old age every person would have many diverticula.
Diverticula are herniated pouch like sacs that form at weak points in the walls of the colon and are caused by sluggish or constipated bowels. There are no symptoms. However, these pockets can fill up with many pounds of old fecal matter which is very toxic, (10 to 20 pounds is not at all unusual.) Poisons from this toxic waste can be reabsorbed into the blood stream, and is thought to be by many as the underlying cause of sickness and disease. By the way, diverticula can be prevented by consuming an adequate intake of dietary fiber.
Fiber is a carbohydrate food component which contains no calories, has no nutritional value, provides us with no energy and is indigestible. Yet, it is an essential dietary factor for maintaining health.
Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and psyllium seed husks. It is not found in meat or dairy products.
Basically, the value of fiber is in what it does in our bodies. A major benefit is that it binds to bile acids and carries the bile along with excess fats out of the body.
Fiber also helps you to feel full and eat less. It acts as a bulking agent and speeds the transit time of the food we eat which prevents indigested food and metabolic waste from creating toxic by products.
Fiber helps lower cholesterol, reduces the risk of heart disease, lowers blood pressure, improves blood sugar, and promotes the growth of friendly intestinal flora. It also promotes bowel regularity, helps elimination, aids digestion and helps to keep the bowel clean.
Not only is chitosan a super fat fighting fiber, it additionally provides all of the above benefits.
Chitosan (pronounced kite-o-san) is an aminopolysaccharide, derived from "chitin". Chitin is found in plankton and the exoskeletons (shells) of crustaceans such as shrimp, lobster or crab.
Researchers have been doing clinical studies on chitosan as a natural weight loss agent and as a fiber for adding bulk to the digestive system and for colon cleansing for about 17 years.
It has also been used for 30 years by water purification plants as a process for detoxifying water. Chitosan is generally spread over the surface of water to absorb oil, grease, and other toxic substances. Chitosan soaks up these hazards and is then easily removed.
It is also used for coagulation of activated sludge in food and beverage processing plants such as breweries and vegetable canneries. This semi-solid vegetable material is a major disposal problem. However, it does have nutritive value, and scientists are looking at the utilization of dried sludge as a protein supplement in animal feeds. Chitosan not only effectively neutralizes fats; it also acts as a sponge for other elements as well.
As a weight loss product chitosan can produce dramatic results as one clinical study in Helsinki, Finland proved. The participants in the study lost an average of 8 % body fat in a four week period. This was an average of over 15 pounds per person!
Researchers reported that the participants "informed us that this chitosan was the best and most hygienic way to take a weight reducing substance." The absence of side effects was also touted by the researchers and they were surprised at the blood pressure lowering effects of chitosan.
We appear to be a society obsessed with dieting and yet few of us are successful in attaining permanent weight loss. The facts are that 68% of all Americans are overweight and 33% over the age of 20 are obese, and these figures are climbing daily.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, even a small amount of extra body weight increases our risk of disease and may affect longevity. The National Institute of Health states that, "Obesity is the leading cause of heart disease, hypertension, stroke, diabetes, and even cancer."
Chitosan offers everyone the potential of achieving permanent weight loss and other wonderful health benefits. If you have tried and failed like millions of others before you, take heart. Although chitosan is not a magic pill, it could be viewed as a miracle worker.
For the best long term results it is recommended chitosan be taken in combination with a balanced low fat diet, other nutritional supplements, moderate exercise, and plenty of water.
If you are occasionally tempted by that hot fudge sundae or juicy cheeseburger, remember to take your chitosan prior to being tempted.
Chitosan has a powerful natural magnetic attraction for lipids, fats, and bile in the digestive tract and actually binds with them preventing them from being absorbed into the blood stream.
Chitin is a structurally similar to cellulose which is a plant fiber except in chitosan, acetylamino groups are in place of hydroxy groups in its molecular composition.
Chitosan is derived from Chitin by removing and refining the acetyls through a process called deacetylation. (de-a-sit-a-lation) Removing acetyl groups results in an unstable aminopolysaccharide (chitosan) molecule with a strong positive (pH) polarity. Chitosan's positive polarity attracts negatively charged molecules, and ionically bonds them to the chitosan. (similarly as a magnet attracts steel)
Within the digestive system the chitosan dissolves and forms a positively charged gel. Negatively charged molecules of fats, lipids, and bile attach strongly to the chitosan sites where the acetyl groups were removed. This electrolytic bonding causes large polymer compounds to be formed that cannot be broken down by the digestive process.
The chitosan then acts as a coagulating agent for other activated solids, bulk wastes and Fibers, trapping them in the polymer. These solids can contain high calorie molecules such as complex sugar chains and high caloric carbohydrate micelles. These are substances that often get converted into fat which is stored in the body. As the chitosan polymer grows, it becomes too large to be absorbed through the lining of the digestive tract. Eventually the polymer is excreted as waste from the digestive system, carrying away the attached fat and other potential fat producing substances.
Bile acids are neutralized by the chitosan polymer. Bile Acids are released as fats, lipids and other high calorie fibers enter into the lower intestinal tract. The bile breaks up these high calorie substances into smaller digestible sizes called micelles. These micelles are then digested and absorbed by enzymatic activity.
Note that as in the case of unsaturated fatty micelles, they are not burned for energy but stored as fat. Chitosan prevents the absorption of these fat producing micelles. Excessive bile acids are believed to contribute to colon and prostate cancer; so their elemination may be another positive feature of chitosan.
Chitosan is also called lipophilic, meaning that it is chemically attracted to or loves fat. Generally fibers are hydrophilic, which means they repel fat and attract water. Chitosan actually captures and inactivates lipids, fats, and cholesterol by preventing absorption and subsequent storage.
Laboratory research shows that chitosan can bind significantly higher amounts of fats than other fibers can entrap. In fact, 23 different fiber substances were used in one study and it was found that chitosan worked 55% better than any other fiber in entrapping and eliminating fat in the gastro-intestinal tract. It is easy to verify how well chitosan works in eliminating fats by noticing the fat content in the stool.
When taking any fiber supplement it is recommended you drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. You should not take chitosan if you have any kind of shellfish allergy. Nor should you take it if you are pregnant or breast feeding.
Check with your physician before taking chitosan if you are taking medication of any kind. Chitosan should be taken separately from vitamins, minerals and any medications. The bioavailability of fat based vitamins or medications can be inhibited if taken with chitosan. It is best to take your other supplements in the morning or mid day when chitosan is not normally used. Chitosan works best when taken just prior to eating a high calorie meal. Use according to label directions.
Ideally, we will incorporate more fiber rich foods into our diets, decrease our fat consumption, and remember to take our vitamin and mineral supplements. Oh yes, we will also get plenty of exercise.
We will take time to meditate daily to reduce our stress levels. But, if we can't sustain that perfect lifestyle we know we can live guilt free from now on. Have that pie or cheese burger occasionally. All we have to do is remember to take chitosan.
Chitosan can bind from one half to two thirds of the high calorie foods we eat. It's as if we never ate them. Chitosan is the super fat fighting fiber of the future; destined to be a dieter's dream for purposes of weight loss. It also has the potential of reversing or preventing some of the most devastating diseases of our time.