Chitosan: Origins of Chitosan
Chitosan has long been considered as the potent substance that binds fat and stop it from accumulating in our bodies. Chitosan is effectively a fantastic fat inhibitor which work wonders for those in search of a safe way to lose that body fat.
What is chitosan made from? It is taken from chitin, a polysaccharide found in the exoskeletons of crustaceans and cell walls of fungi. It is manufactured by removing the shells from the shellfish like lobster, shrimps and crabs.
The History of Chitosan
The origin of chitosan can be traced back to 1811 when “chitin”, from which it is derived, was first discovered by Henri Braconnot, a then professor, pharmacist and Chemist in France. According to some researches, while Henri Braconnot was conducting research on mushrooms, he isolated what was later to be called chitin.
Twenty years later, there was a man M. C. Rouget in 1859 who wrote an article on insects in which he noted that similar substance was present in the structure of insects as well as the structure of plants. He then called this astounding substance as “chitin”.
Basically, the name chitin is derived from Greek, meaning “tunic” or “envelope”. The concept was further known in 1843 when Lassaigne demonstrated the presence of nitrogen in chitin.
Following the discovery of chitin, the name “chitosan” emerged in the scene. It was first discovered by Rouget while experimenting with chitin. Rouget observed that the compound of chitin could be manipulated through chemical and temperature treatments for it to become soluble. Then, it was in 1878 when Ledderhose identified chitin to be made of glucosamine and acetic acid. It was not actually until 1894 that Hoppe-Seyler named the tailored chitin, chitosan.
During the early 20th century, several researches took chitosan as their subject of study. They then involved sources of chitin, including crab shells and fungai. It was the work of Rammelberg in the 1930s that led to the confirmation on the identity of chitosan from these sources. It was also noted that by hydrolyzing chitin in several ways, it was determined by experts that chitin is a polysaccharide of glucosamine.
During the 1950s, the use of x-ray analysis had advanced the study of the incidence of chitin or chitosan in fungai. However, it is only the most advanced technologies that proved the most reliable in accepting the existence of chitin as well as cellulose in the cell walls. The first book on chitosan was published 140 years after the initial observation of Braconnot, and that was in 1951.
During the early 1960s, chitosan was examined for its ability to bind with the red blood cells. That time also, the substance was considered as a hemostatic agent. Then, for the past three decades, chitosan has been used at water purification plants for detoxifying water. It is spread over the surface where it absorbs greases, oils, and other potential toxins.
Nowadays, Chitosan it is known as a dietary supplement that is good for loss. In fact, it has been marketed for such purpose for about 20 years in Japan as well as in Europe.
What is Chitosan Used For?
Chitin has long been viewed as the nature’s second most abundant polymer. This is for the fact that it is found not only in shellfish, but also found in insect shells and fungi cell walls. Chitosan, a refined form of chitin, is prepared by removing the shells from shellfish. The shells are then ground into a pulverous powder, which is deacetylated or stripped of specific chemical groups allowing the compound to actively soak up fats. This aspect of it being able to absorb fat is the main feature which makes it effective in helping loss.
There are a number of functions or uses linked to chitosan. Because of these applications, chitosan is now marketed as a dietary supplement and is used to thicken foods, paints and makeup.
Health Benefits of Chitosan
Weight loss. It is not clear if chitosan can help with weight loss. Some research shows that combining chitosan with a low-calorie diet result in a small amount of weight loss. But taking chitosan without cutting calories, doesn’t improve weight loss. Most studies seem to show that most weight loss that may be attributed to the Chitosan is in fact only from water loss. One other function in weight loss that has been asserted to have use is the limiting fat absorption, which would make it useful for dieting, but there is still only evidence against this
Crohn’s disease and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Early research shows that taking a combination of chitosan and ascorbic acid by mouth might help people with Crohn’s disease.
Dental cavities and plaque . Chewing gum containing chitosan or using a mouthwash containing chitosan might decrease the number of cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth. Chitosan has been recognised as an antimicrobial agent
High cholesterol. Research shows that chitosan lowers cholesterol in people with or without high cholesterol. Some combination products containing chitosan also seem to lower cholesterol levels in obese people with or without high cholesterol.
Plastic surgery Scar Healing. Early research shows that applying a specific form of chitosan directly to a surgery site helps the wound to heal and reduces scar formation after plastic surgery. This is due to the antimicrobial factors as well as less inflammation in the area that the scarring would be
Chitosan is made in two main types, namely the dry and flakey product, and the liquid chitosan.
Although these forms are marketed as dietary aids, it is actually the liquid chitosan which gained a lot of interest from the people. This is mainly because the liquid chitosan is said to eliminate clumping problems or stomach pains as it causes the fat to form into hundreds of tiny calorie-free beads that are far gentler on your digestive tract.
Liquid chitosan is clear and yellow. Its protein content is less than 0.5% and often results to 0.14% if measured by Kjeldal method. Its degree of deacetylation is more than 90% with a result of 95% if measured through colloidal method.
If you will prepare the liquid by stirring 30 minutes, you can get a viscosity of about 50cps. Liquid chitosan has less than 0.5% insolubility if 20 grams of liquid chitosan is dissolved in 100 ml of distilled water. This liquid has a pH level of less than 5.5 and has no taste and smell.
Liquid chitosan is commonly used as a loss supplement these days. Many of those who have used the flakey product have turned to the liquid form noting that liquid chitosan works better in the system than the flakey form.
Based on certain reports, instead of forming large clumps, the liquid chitosan causes the fat to form into hundreds of tiny calorie-free beads that are gentler in your digestive tract. However, it is important to note that in addition to binding fats, it binds the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K, making them unavailable to the body. This is the reason that most experts recommend a supplement with high-quality multivitamin.
So, although Chitosan is taken as a ‘wonder’ pill of today, it has been around for ages and has been a subject since 1811.
I am still not convinced about the abilities of Chitosan but again I say that in the absence of any side effects this is another product that you can try for loss, maybe for a couple of months, and then decide how it made you feel and whether you had a good response to it and go from there.