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Chitosan supplements may help detoxify your system

By David Liu,PHD

Sunday July 15, 2012 (foodconsumer.org) -- Taking chitosan as a dietary supplement may help get rid of toxins like dioxins, bisphenol A and phthalates from your system, according to new research published in Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry.

One study released in the journal in April 2012 showed that rats fed a chitosan diet for 10 days increased fecal excretion of bisphenol A (BPA) and di(2-ethyl)phthalate (DEHP), which was administered to them at day 4.

Both bisphenol A and phthalates are two types of endocrine-disrupting chemicals that have been found in most people in the United States. Bisphenol A is commonly used to make transparent hard plastic intended for food packaging and phthalates are used to make soft plastics that find applications in toys and many other personal care products.

The chitosan diet not only increased but also accelerated bisphenol A excretion into the feces, the study found.  The diet was also found to promote the excretion of fat, suggesting that it may also help weight loss.

In June, Kohda N of Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd in Japan and colleagues also published another study in the same journal saying that supplementation of chitosan in a dose of 3 grams per day helped get rid of dioxins and plychlorinated biphenyls from  healthy men. Both types of chemicals are highly toxic, were used in pesticides and are persistent in the environment.  

Chitosan supplementation was found to promote excretion of fat as well.

The researchers suggested chitosan might be useful for reducing the adverse effects of lipophilic endocrine-disrupting chemicals.

Chitosan can be produced commercially by deacetylation of chitin, which is the structural element in the exoskeleton of crustaceans (such as crabs and shrimp) and cell walls of fungi, wikipedia states.