Chitosan, a dietary supplement used in treating obesity and people who are overweight, may not be very effective against weight loss. The researcher that had systematically reviewed the current evidence for the supplement had published the findings in the latest issue of The Cochrane Library.
The review assessed results of 14 randomized controlled trials that included 1,131 overweight or obese adults. Those who received chitosan had an average weight loss of almost 4 pounds more than those on placebo in the short term, and their cholesterol and blood pressure levels also decreased more than those in the placebo group. There were no side effects noted in the group taking chitosan.
The average age of participants in the chitosan study was 44 years. Eleven of the studies included both men and women; three included women only. The study subjects were given either chitosan (doses ranged from less than a quarter of a gram to 15 grams a day) or a placebo for a short-term period of four weeks, medium-term period of less than six months or a long-term period of at least six months.
Adding medication to diet and lifestyle changes has been shown to improve long-term weight loss, but not all patients are willing to take prescription medication to lose weight.
For weight loss specifically, it is likely that people take supplements instead of medications because prescription medications are reserved for people who are severely overweight. People tend to want to find a quick fix for weight loss, but the best way to lose weight is to eat fewer calories and increase physical activity.