Skip to main content

Chitosan for Weight Control

Why Use


Why Do Dieters Use It?*

Some dieters say that chitosan helps decrease appetite.

What Do the Advocates Say?*

Chitosan has been shown to inhibit fat absorption in animals, although in studies in humans chitosan did not inhibit fat absorption. Some research has found that taking chitosan during a weight loss program increases the amount of weight loss. In other studies, however, chitosan was ineffective.

It is important to note that supplementing with chitosan will also cause the body to excrete the important fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K, too.

*Dieters and weight-management advocates may claim benefits for this supplement based on their personal or professional experience. These are individual opinions and testimonials that may or may not be supported by controlled clinical studies or published scientific articles.

Dosage & Side Effects


How Much Is Usually Taken by Dieters?

A double-blind Polish study found that people taking 1,500 mg of chitosan three times daily during a weight loss program lost significantly more weight than people taking a placebo with the same program.1 Other studies using smaller amounts of chitosan have reported no effects on weight loss.2, 3, 4

Side Effects

Adverse effects on the growth of children and on the outcome of pregnancy are possible.5 In addition, although chitosan-included alterations in intestinal flora are believed to be beneficial, the possibility that these changes may have negative long-term consequences has not been ruled out. People with intestinal malabsorption syndromes should not use chitosan.

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

While no long-term studies of the effects of chitosan on human health have been done, animal studies suggest that this compound could inhibit the absorption of minerals and fat-soluble vitamins.

Interactions with Medicines

As of the last update, we found no reported interactions between this supplement and medicines. It is possible that unknown interactions exist. If you take medication, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a new supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

More Resources


Where to Find It

Chitosan is extracted from the shells of crustaceans, such as shrimp and crab.


See a list of books, periodicals, and other resources for this and related topics.

PeaceHealth endeavors to provide comprehensive health care information, however some topics in this database describe services and procedures not offered by our providers or within our facilities because they do not comply with, nor are they condoned by, the ethics policies of our organization.