If you are trying to stay current with the world of weight loss supplements, then you have probably heard of Chitosan. Like a lot of other supplements, the name doesn’t really tell you much about it. This is why you have to do a lot of research to see whether or not it may be the right supplement for your particular health needs. Below we will go over the potential side effects of Chitosan so you can stay safe.
Is Chitosan Safe?
The truth is that Chitosan is a very safe supplement to take. It is just a fiber source that comes from chitin. Chitin is found in shellfish (you know, the good stuff – shrimp, crab, and whatnot). It works through your digestive tract without it being absorbed into your bloodstream. It also binds to fats that you eat, to help prevent those fats from being absorbed by your body.
The only problem is that the amount of Chitosan that is found in shellfish doesn’t equate to very much. That means you would have to eat a whole lot of crab legs to get enough of it to make a difference really. This is why a lot of people take Chitosan supplements so that they do not have to spend their entire grocery budget on seafood.
Potential Risks of Taking Chitosan
One of the biggest things that you will want to be aware of is Chitosan’s ability to affect absorption of important vitamins and minerals. You may find that your daily doses of vitamins (especially those that are fat soluble) may not be doing you any good if you take too much Chitosan. It can also affect absorption of phytochemicals that are commonly used to prevent certain diseases.
You should also know that taking Chitosan along with other medications can have adverse reactions. It doesn’t mean that you will have a terrible reaction to it, but it can prevent some medications from being absorbed and can also cause certain medications to work overtime.
This is especially true if you are taking birth control pills. Since contraceptives are fat soluble, the supplement can prevent them from being absorbed correctly. This can lead to an unexpected pregnancy. Chances are if you are taking Chitosan to lose weight, you don’t want to get pregnant and gain all that pregnancy weight! Just be aware of this, and don’t take them around the same time. Wait at least two hours after taking your birth control pills or other fat-soluble medications before you take your Chitosan.
Taking Chitosan with prescription blood thinners, such as Warfarin, can cause a more serious reaction. If you take these medications to help thin your blood, then you may find that Chitosan increases the effects of this medicine. It can make your blood much thinner than it needs to be. This can cause a lot of issues, especially if you are prone to bleeding. It can make you bleed and bruise more than you should, which can often be dangerous.
Other potential side effects include:
- upset stomach
Allergic Reaction Warnings
Not everyone can take Chitosan. We already talked about how it comes from shellfish, so it makes sense that people who are allergic to shellfish would not be able to take it. While not everyone that is allergic to shellfish will react the Chitosan, it is good to be on the safe side. Shellfish allergies are often related to the actual meat of the shellfish, so parts of the shell may be safe. The problem is that a shellfish allergy can be life-threatening, so it may be a good idea just to avoid it if you are allergic to shellfish.
Is Chitosan Safe for Pregnant or Breastfeeding Women?
Some supplements are fairly safe to take, even when you are pregnant or breastfeeding. You don’t want to run the risk of causing harm to your baby, so it is important to know whether or not something is safe before you start taking it. Chitosan has not been studied in pregnant or nursing mothers, so it is a good idea to avoid it during this time. You can always give it a try once you stop nursing to see if it will help you get rid of some of that post-baby weight.
The Bottom Line
We have covered just about everything there is to cover when it comes to the safety of Chitosan. The good news is that it is safe, but it is a good idea to know the potential side effects and interactions that it can cause.
If you are interested in taking a Chitosan based supplement for weight loss, we recommend Proactoal XS. Read more about it here.