(Known as Chitosan, Chitin, Absorbitol)

tickAids definition & fat loss
tickControls appetite
tickControls carbohydrate
How does it work?
Absorbitol® is a form of soluble fiber also called Chitosan (pronounced kite-o-san) designed to reduce the number of fat calories your body absorbs. Derived from shellfish, Absorbitol® is typically found in dietary supplements for reducing cholesterol levels and promoting weight loss.
Who is it used for?
Absorbitol® is designed for anyone who wants to lose weight while still enjoying the rare luxury of a "cheat" meal several times each week. Most other diet supplements work by increasing the rate at which you lose stored fat. Absorbitol® actually stops fat from being stored in the first place, by converting it into a form that your body does not absorb [2]. There are no calories in Absorbitol® since it is not digestible. The fat binds to the Absorbitol® and becomes a large mass, which is then eliminated from the body.

How does it work?
Because Absorbitol® is a positively charged compound, it is able to attract and bind to fatty acids (which carry a negative charge). As such, Absorbitol® can absorb many times its weight in fat (including cholesterol) and prevent that fat from being absorbed into the body. Absorbitol® literally wraps itself around fat molecules, a little like a fat magnet. Instead of being absorbed by the digestive enzymes in your small intestine, the fat is allowed to pass naturally through the body.

Dr. Ivan Furda, a senior research scientist at General Mills, was granted a patent (US patent # 4,223,023) after discovering Chitosan's fat binding properties in the late 1970's. The majority of research on chitosan has been done in animals - where it has been shown to effectively bind to fats in the digestive tract and prevent their absorption. In one study, high doses of chitosan reduced fat absorption by almost half.

Human studies also report some impressive results. One Italian study shows that a combination of chitosan supplements and a 30-day low-calorie diet was highly effective at promoting weight loss (16 pounds) compared to a placebo (7 pounds). Scientists at the American Institute for Biosocial and Medical Research have also shown that subjects using Chitosan (which is not quite as powerful as Absorbitol®) lost weight without restricting their calorie intake. The group who didn't use the supplement put on nearly four pounds of weight in the same period [5].

In a recent independent study comparing the fat binding efficiency of 6 raw chitosans and 10 leading retail chitosan products, Absorbitol® significantly out-performed its peers. Scientists from Oregon State University found that one gram of chitosan was able to bind 3.9 grams of fat. In contrast, Absorbitol® bound 10.8 grams of fat - making it three times more effective.

How do I use it?
Absorbitol® should be taken at the same time as a high-fat meal. Although there is no evidence to show that it has any adverse side effects, those who have severe allergic reactions to shellfish should not use this product. Because Absorbitol is a fibre found in shellfish (such as crab or lobster), there are no side effects, apart from the fact it suppresses your appetite slightly. Some people consider this to be a benefit, as it stops them from eating too much food in one sitting.

What results can I expect?
Absorbitol® will allow you to lose weight while still enjoying the occasional "cheat" meal. You will, however, still need to eat correctly most of the time. Absorbitol® should be used no more than 3-4 times each week - not every day - as it is essential to get some fat in your diet.

What can it be combined with?
Absorbitol® can be combined with any other diet supplement. However, at high intakes, Absorbitol® may interfere with the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K) and the carotenoids (such as beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin). To avoid a vitamin deficiency, Absorbitol® should not be used all the time. Some of the more advanced "calorie-blocking" products now combine with Absorbitol® with a product called Phaseolamin (pronounced faze-E-olamin). This offers the additional benefit of reducing the absorption of starch calories by more than 50%. If you decide to use a product containing Absorbitol® and/or Phaseolamin (known also as Phase 2®), look for one that contains added vitamin C. Vitamin C makes Absorbitol® more effective at preventing fat calories being absorbed [3].

1. Schiller, R.N., Barrager, E., Schauss, A.G., & Nichols, E.J. (2001). A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study examining the effects of a rapidly soluble chitosan dietary supplement on weight loss and body composition in overweight and mildly obese individuals. Journal of the American Neutraceutical Association, 4, 34-49
2. Nauss, J. L. (1983). Chitosan absorbs 4-6 times its own weight in fat. Lipids, 18, 714-719
3. Kanauchi O, Deuchi K, Imasato Y, Shizukuishi M, Kobayashi E. (1995). Mechanism for the inhibition of fat digestion by chitosan and for the synergistic effect of ascorbate. Bioscience, Biotechnology & Biochemistry, 59, 786-790
4. Han LK, Kimura Y, Okuda H. (1999). Reduction in fat storage during chitin-chitosan treatment in mice fed a high-fat diet. International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders, 23, 174-179
5. Schiller, R.N., Barrager, E., Schauss, A.G., & Nichols, E.J. (2001). A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study examining the effects of a rapidly soluble chitosan dietary supplement on weight loss and body composition in overweight and mildly obese individuals. Journal of the American Neutraceutical Association, 4, 34-49

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