Use of chitosan in the treatment of obesity: evaluation of interaction with vitamin B12

Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2012 Aug;63(5):548-52. doi: 10.3109/09637486.2011.640310. Epub 2011 Dec 14.


Is well known that obesity has increased significantly in recent times and therefore many dietary supplements, synthetic or natural, have been proposed in order to prevent and/or to treat obesity or overweight. Chitosan, a polysaccharide with ability to act as a carrier and to absorb fat, has been used for this purpose. However, interactions with other molecules present in the body may also occur and, therefore, the purpose of this study was to evaluate interactions of chitosan with vitamin B12. Spectroscopic properties of vitamin B12 (acid aqueous solution) were monitored in the absence and the presence of chitosan in order to evaluate possible interactions between the two. Results showed that the rigid micro-environment generated by chitosan solution modifies the photophysical properties of vitamin B12. Thus, chitosan is able to eliminate vitamin B12 and, based on this information, some care must be taken during prolonged treatment with chitosan.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Obesity Agents / adverse effects*
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / therapeutic use
  • Avitaminosis / etiology*
  • Avitaminosis / metabolism
  • Avitaminosis / prevention & control
  • Chitosan / adverse effects*
  • Chitosan / chemistry
  • Chitosan / therapeutic use
  • Dietary Supplements / adverse effects*
  • Obesity / drug therapy
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Photochemical Processes*
  • Vitamin B 12 / chemistry
  • Vitamin B 12 / metabolism*


  • Anti-Obesity Agents
  • Chitosan
  • Vitamin B 12