Shellfish can be a great addition to a weight loss diet — when they’re not smothered in melted butter. Shellfish are high in healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids and nutrients such as vitamin B12 and zinc.

Is it true that shellfish contain nothing but harmful toxins? Chitosan is a dietary supplement derived from a substance found in the outer shells of crustaceans; however, the shells themselves are not edible. Possible weight loss benefits have been attributed to it.

The worldwide chitosan market was estimated at $6.8 billion in 2019, with further expansion of nearly 25% predicted by 2027. Chitosan, according to some supplement manufacturers, can aid in shedding pounds and bringing cholesterol levels down.

But does this claim have any basis in fact? Learn everything you need to know about chitosan supplements by reading this article.

A definition of chitosan would be helpful.

The fibrous compound chitin, which is abundant in the exoskeletons of crustaceans and the cellular walls of certain fungi, is the source of chitosan. Chitosan, a supplement-friendly form produced by an enzymatic reaction,

Developing antimicrobial films for food packaging has made use of chitosan’s biodegradability. Because it can be formed into a gel, it is also suitable for use in wound dressings. The potential of chitosan in pharmaceuticals and tissue engineering is currently the subject of research.

Crustaceans like crabs and other shellfish are the primary sources of chitosan used in commercial products.


The fibrous compound chitosan is extracted from the exoskeletons of crustaceans like shrimp, lobsters, and crabs. It is used in the food industry as a preservative, in medical applications as a wound dressing, and as a dietary supplement.

How do chitosan pills function, exactly?

The fat-blocking properties of chitosan supplements are widely advertised.

According to its proponents, chitosan achieves its beneficial effects by transforming into a gel in the digestive tract. They claim that the gel binds to fat and cholesterol as it travels from the stomach to the intestines.

The theory behind chitosan’s potential to aid in weight loss and reduce cholesterol is that it prevents the body from absorbing fat and cholesterol, thus preventing the accumulation of these unhealthy substances.

That’s why it’s recommended that you take your chitosan supplement 30 minutes before a meal. If not, it would have nothing to attach to in the gastrointestinal tract.

However, there is no evidence to back up these claims at the present time.

Researchers in the early 2000s found that chitosan did not significantly improve faeces fat excretion. There is no evidence that chitosan actually traps fat ( despite the fact that it is a fibre and may form a gel in the body). Verified 6Reliable Reference


Chitosan supplements, according to some advertisements, work by absorbing fat and then dumping it out in the toilet. Although chitosan has been touted as a fat-burning supplement, no such evidence exists.

Useful effects of chitosan supplements

Many of the studies indicating that chitosan supplementation aids in weight loss and cholesterol reduction are considered to be of low quality. There is scant evidence that chitosan aids in weight loss.

Slimming down

Research from 14 studies involving 1,101 people who were overweight or obese was summarised in a review published in 2018. Results from people taking chitosan supplements for weight loss were compared to those of people taking a placebo.

When combined with a calorie-restricted diet and regular exercise, chitosan supplementation was associated with a modest reduction in body weight and body mass index (BMI).

These findings corroborate those of an earlier review that found chitosan supplements might be more effective than a placebo in the short-term treatment of overweight and obesity.

Lowerings in cholesterol and blood pressure were reported in both studies.

Researchers noted substantial heterogeneity in findings and stated that many chitosan supplement studies were of low quality. Chitosan’s effect on weight was found to be small in the studies that met quality standards.

Supplementing with 3 grammes of chitosan per day may be more effective for weight loss when combined with 2 grammes of L-ascorbic acid, a type of vitamin C, according to a small clinical trial published in 2014.


Chitosan’s use for weight loss is not backed by consistent scientific evidence. The impact of chitosan supplements on weight gain or loss is probably not significant from a medical standpoint.

Cholesterol levels have decreased

Although chitosan can help with both weight loss and cholesterol, it may be more effective at the former. Supplementing with chitosan reduced both total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol, according to a review that combined data on more than 1,000 people’s cholesterol levels in 2018.

Chitosan supplementation may still be useful as part of a cholesterol management plan, despite having no effect on HDL (good) cholesterol.

Chitosan may be effective at lowering cholesterol, but there are other natural remedies with stronger scientific backing.