Benefits of chitosan may include scar reduction after surgery, reduction of periodontitis and the reduction of high cholesterol and help with anemia in patients with kidney failure. However, there is insufficient evidence supporting its use for other conditions, such as dental issues, high cholesterol and weight loss, states WebMD.
Chitosan is a sugar extracted from the exoskeleton of shellfish, such as shrimp, crabs and lobster. It has several medicinal uses, such as acting as a filler and preventing medication dissolving and eliminating bitter taste, wound healing and preventing scar tissue development, preventing cavities and tooth loss from periodontitis, and reducing the absorption of dietary fat and cholesterol, says WebMD.
When taken for a period of about one to six months, chitosan is possibly safe. Taken either orally or through the skin, chitosan has side effects, such as gas, upset stomach and constipation, when taken by mouth. However, patients with shellfish allergies or who are pregnant should use caution. Avoid taking chitosan orally if pregnant due to insufficient evident supporting the safety of the product for pregnant women. Also, the origin of the product poses a danger to patients with shellfish allergies, according to WebMD.
Use caution when using chitosan while also taking warfarin. Chitosan possibly increases the blood thinning capabilities of warfarin, increasing the risk of bleeding and bruising, says WebMD.