Chitosan is a very simple substance, which has been around for ages. It is derived from chitin, a polysaccharide found in the exoskeletons of crustaceans and processed by removing the shells from shellfish such as shrimp, lobster, and crabs. Chitosan is also used in water purification by spreading the powder over the surface where it immediately absorbs any toxic substances such as greases, oils, or dangerous heavy metals. The scum that forms on the water surface is than easily removed. Chitosan is an antibacterial and very effective at preventing the growth of bacteria and eumycetes. Chitosan is also used as a food preservative to prolong the freshness of the product and make it taste better.
Products such as chitosan used for medicinal purposes that have contact with the skin under go a very strict inspection process and chitosan (chitin), has just about passed every one. Chitosan has a high affinity with the body, promotes healing on wounds, chelates heavy metals, dissolves and become absorbed inside the body. Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) is the bacteria responsible for most in-hospital infections. Chitosan is so effective at controlling MRSA that a new fiber has been developed called chitopoly and is now being used in the manufacture of hospital apparel.
Recently chitosan, being 100% natural and a super fiber is being tested as a weight loss supplement. Chitosan reportedly encourages weight loss by binding to fat molecules in the digestive tract, preventing the body from absorbing the fat. People with shellfish allergies should not take Chitosan internally and exercise caution when using products containing chitosan like the Takara body detoxification foot patches externally.