Chitosan is a supplement extracted from crustacean animals (that is, their exoskeleton), especially shrimp, crabs, crayfish and a great number of other similar species. On the market, Chitosan is known to facilitate the weight loss process and reduce cholesterol effectively. Chitosan extract is abundant in chitin molecules, the molecules of which are tightly intertwined. This supplement has been proven to work entirely as plant fiber, meaning that our body cannot digest it. The way chitosan affects the fat in our organism is that it binds together the fat molecules and does not allow the body to absorb them. One more way in which chitosan operates is that it reduces the level of harmful cholesterol and lipoproteins of low-density present in the blood circulation.
Allergy Reactions to Chitosan
People who have developed allergic reactions to shellfish should be particularly careful while consuming chitosan. For them, consulting a professional is more than obligatory. However, even those who are not allergic to shellfish can develop some sort of reaction to chitosan. For the sake of precaution measures, it is helpful to be familiar with some of the allergy symptoms, such as: heavy breathing, swelling of the tongue or lips, hives, skin rash and chest pain. The moment you notice some of these symptoms, stop consuming chitosan and remove it completely from your diet. Secondly, pay a visit to your doctor and seek advice for allergy treatment.
Gastrointestinal Side Effects
Gastrointestinal problems most commonly affect chitosan users and are the most typical side effect of this supplement. Pain in the abdominal region, occasional vomiting, nausea and constipation are usually associated with chitosan as a weight loss supplement. However, the mentioned side effects may be avoided if the dosage of the supplement is right. The best way, then, to use chitosan is to consult a doctor and learn about the appropriate doses for your individual organism before you introduce it to your diet.
If you decide to use chitosan without a doctor’s approval and you experience some of the gastrointestinal side effects, see a physician as soon as possible. Notifying a professional about your condition is crucial as he/she may be able to provide you with rapid treatment and prevention from further development of the condition. The doctor will either advise you to stop using chitosan entirely, or at least decrease the dosage. It all depends on the symptoms that occur and the stage of the symptom development.
Other Side Effects
Apart from gastrointestinal and allergy-related side effects, there are also a few minor ones that are good to keep in mind. First of all, chitosan users may expect frequent headaches, lighter or heavier, depending on the amount of chitosan in use. Secondly, swelling of the heels or wrists is rather possible to occur. If either headaches or swellings become persistent and refuse to go away, you should notify your physician and seek help.
The Effects of Chitosan on Pregnant Women
Although chitosan can help during the weight loss process, pregnant women should definitely stay away from it. The reason for this is that chitosan disallows the body to store fat, but it also prevents the healthy nutrients such as vitamins A, D, E and K to accumulate and feed our body. The same goes for calcium and other important minerals. Therefore, chitosan supplementation should not be taken during the nine months of pregnancy, as it can cease the baby’s absorption of crucial nutrients. Without the vitamins and minerals, the baby’s development and growth in the mother’s womb can be impaired, which is a reason for mothers to avoid using chitosan, even if they wish to lose weight as soon as possible.