Evaluating efficacy of a chitosan product using a double-blinded, placebo-controlled protocol

J Am Coll Nutr. 2006 Oct;25(5):389-94. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2006.10719550.


Objective: To examine the safety and efficacy of a chitosan dietary supplement on body composition under free-living conditions.

Design: In a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled dietary intervention protocol, subjects were assigned to a treatment group (TRT), a placebo group (PLA) and a control group (CTL).

Subjects: A total of 150 overweight adults enrolled; 134 (89.3%) completed the study; 111 (82.8%) were women who were similarly distributed in the three groups.

Intervention: The TRT group took six 500 mg chitosan capsules per day and both TRT and PLA groups wore pedometers during their waking hours and recorded daily step totals. The CTL group followed weight loss programs of their choice, and took the same baseline and ending tests.

Measures of outcome: Outcome measures were Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry tests, fasting blood chemistries, and self-reported daily activity levels and caloric intakes.

Results: Compared to CTL, the TRT group lost more weight (-2.8 lbs vs. +0.8 lbs, p < 0.001) and fat mass (-2.6 lbs vs. +0.1 lbs, p = 0.006). Compared to PLA, the TRT group lost more weight (-2.8 lbs. vs. -0.6 lbs, p = 0.03), % fat (-0.8% vs. +0.4%, p = 0.003), fat mass (-2.6 lbs vs. +0.6 lbs, p = 0.001) and had a greater body composition improvement index (BCI) (+2.4 lbs vs. -1.9 lbs, p = 0.002).

Conclusions: These data provide evidence for the efficacy of a chitosan compound to facilitate the depletion of excess body fat under free-living conditions with minimal loss of fat-free or lean body mass.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adult
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Blood Chemical Analysis
  • Body Composition / drug effects*
  • Chitosan / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Energy Intake / physiology
  • Exercise / physiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / drug therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Weight Loss / drug effects*


  • Anti-Obesity Agents
  • Chitosan