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How Shellfish Can Help You Lose Weight

Fitday Editor

Chitosan is a supplement derived from the skeletal system of crayfish, crabs, shrimp and other crustaceans. There are some benefits to chitosan, specifically weight loss.

The supplement works as a fat blocker and can block the absorption of fat from the digestive system through its high fiber content. It helps cleanse the digestive tract of waste that can cause bloating and extra pounds.

How It Works

However, many people have found chitosan to be effective for weight loss as well as beneficial for lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and preventing osteoporosis and ulcers. Chitosan binds with fats that are ingested and stop the pancreatic enzymes and bile from breaking fats down, preventing them from being absorbed by the body. It has become a popular choice for helping with weight loss due to its ability to bind to fats or lipids in the gastrointestinal tract, decreasing the absorption of these fats or lipids. The result is a lower body weight.

Chitosan works by actually helping fat pass through the body instead of storing it in the fat cells. Unfortunately, it will not make you feel less hungry like some other weight loss supplements that suppress appetite.

An added bonus is the lowering of cholesterol. Supplementing with chitosan can help you achieve quick and safe weight loss results with your daily exercise program and healthy meal choices.

Where You Can Find It

Chitosan can be found in your local health food and nutrition stores and of course online at many weight loss, nutrition and natural health websites. If you choose to try chitosan, make sure you are not allergic to shellfish and always follow label directions as manufacturers offer different potencies and dosages. In a nutshell, it is a natural product that absorbs fat in the digestive system allowing it to pass with little or no side effects.

Is It Effective?

There is some controversy to these claims. According to the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, chitosan may be used as a supplement to lower cholesterol levels in the blood, specifically the LDL (bad) cholesterol. This cholesterol is the type that can accumulate in the body and lead to heart disease however they did not come up with an optimal dose or long-term value or effectiveness for using chitosan to lower cholesterol levels. This is quite common in natural supplements that are not a drug or medication.

The Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center also found no increase in the excretion of fat from the body or in weight loss compared to a placebo in their clinical trials.

Should You Take It?

If you're allergic to shellfish, you should not use chitosan. It can also interact with medication and affect any medical conditions you may be dealing with. The other side effects include nausea, abdominal cramping, gastrointestinal disturbances and constipation.

If you are not allergic to shellfish and would like to try it as part of your weight-loss program, make sure you find a good quality supplement and follow the instructions on the label. If you notice any side effects, discontinue the product and continue with healthy meal choices and regular exercise. As much as we would all like to find weight loss in a bottle, we still have to make good food choices and find a way to exercise each day.

Sherry L. Granader is a Sports Nutritionist, National Speaker and Spokesperson, Author of 2 healthy cookbooks, Writer, Ghost Writer, Nationally Certified Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer. She has shared the stage with such celebrities as Whoopi Goldberg, Suze Orman and the late Governor Ann Richards and served as the On-Air Nutritionist for QVC television in the United States and the UK. She has cooked for her favorite bodybuilder, Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk) and his family, shared her nutrition expertise with Chuck Norris on the set of his movie "Sidekicks" and appeared on 8-time Mr. Olympia, Lee Haney's Championship Workouts on ESPN. Sherry hosted her own "Healthy Living" show on PBS for several years. For more information on Sherry, visit or write to Sherry at [email protected].

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