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Chitosan: A more environmentally friendly food packaging materialthan plastic
April 12, 2019 04:08 PM
Itsaso Leceta, an academic researcher from the University of Basque Country has developed a biodegradable polymer, hoping to change packaging standards. Chitosan, made from crustacean chitins, prevents fungi and bacteria from infecting whole foods. It does not, however, block gas, water, or vapor. On the plus side, this new environmentally conscious food packaging is completely biodegradable, even edible. Everyone can make a difference, and consumers can start by choosing alternative means in their lives, like Chitosan.
"It is a biodegradable, biocompatible (not harmful to living tissue) polymer that can be used to wrap vegetables and fruits. Its purpose is to prevent bacteria and fungi from infecting whole foods, and prolonging their shelf life."
Read more: https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-02-17-chitosan-environmentally-friendly-food-packaging.html
GLUCOSAMINE: Origin and Action of Mechanism
February 06, 2012 01:08 PM
Glucosamine is an amino sugar made from glucose and amino acid glutamine. It is a monosaccharide that is found naturally in healthy joints, cartilages, ligaments, muscles and tendons. It helps in the formation and repair of cartilage and other body tissues. Glucosamine is available in the form of dietary supplements, cosmetics and sports drinks. Let us find out about the history of glucosamine and its role in repair and treatment of joint disorders.
HISTORY of GLUCOSAMINE:
Glucosamine was first discovered in 1876 by Dr. Georg Ledderhose. It was prepared by hydrolysis of chitin with Hydrochloric acid. Later on it was developed in sulphate blend. Since then, it has been studied multiple times and in multiple ways to find out its potent health benefits. It has been used clinically in Europe since 1960s. In 1971, researcher K. Karzel glucosamine HCl stimulated the production of glycosaminoglycan layer, which helps in protecting cartilages, ligaments and tendons from normal wear and tear. It became popular in United States in the mid 1990s with the publication of popular bestsellers such as 'The Arthritis Cure' by Jason Theodosakis. Now it has become the most popular selling dietary supplement with sales of $200 million per year.
Glucosamine is naturally found in the body and can be synthetically made from the natural sources of chitin that is found in sea creatures such as shells of shell fish, bones and bone marrow.
How does Glucosamine Works in reducing Joint pain?
Our body's ability to produce glucosamine decreases as we age. Hence after any kind of injury cartilage, spinal discs and joints, the body may not be able to heal optimally. Aging and glucosamine depletion in the body leads to joint degradation. However, glucosamine supplementation can support cartilage and CT-integrity limiting degeneration.
Glucosamine supplements do not work like NSAIDS, which are known to have anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects on the body. The exact mechanism of significant analgesic effect of glucosamine supplements is unknown but according to various studies, glucosamine has no effect on cyclooxygenase system. Studies have shown that glucosamine stimulates synthesis of proteoglycan in a dose dependent manner. It helps in stimulating the production of cartilaginous matrix, hence counteracting the degrading loss of cartilage in case of arthritis or injury.
Several important studies demonstrate the role of glucosamine in stabilizing cell membranes, inhibit lysosomal enzymes and reduce the generation of oxygen free radicals by macrophages. It may inhibit interleukin 1 induced nitric oxide activity that leads to chondriotic cell death. Hence it increases aggrecanase activity that helps in preservation of proteoglycan.
Glucosamine along with Chondroitin sulphate stimulates synthesis of cartilage precursors as well as synovial fluid. They also limit the degradation of existing cartilage in any loss of joint integrity.
This non rapid acting drug has many beneficial effects in reducing the symptoms of osteoarthritis. It is a powerful joint repairing supplement that rebuilds joint cartilage. Glucosamine supplements have been thoroughly evaluated to find out any potential side-effects. However, it has been proved that it does not have any of the side-effects of NSAIDS, surgery or opiods.
June 19, 2008 04:06 PM
Many natural health practitioners are looking at chitin as a possible weight-loss tool in a diet program. While still under study, proponents of it have helped this natural product and formulations made from it popular. Those seeking to lose weight efficiently are buying this product in droves. Manufacturers and marketers of chitin have seen great sales growth in Japan and the United States in recent years.
Chitin is a positively charged polysaccharide that comes from an animal source. This source is shellfish in the form of shrimp, crab and lobster. A polysaccharide is a string of sugar molecules found in the outer shell of these crustaceans. Chitin is also found in marine coral and the outer shells of certain insects, such as beetles and ants. Chitin shares chemical similarities with cellulose and starch, which are plant fibers.
The weight-loss benefits of chitin are in its binding properties. Some researchers believe that the positively charged polysaccharides attract negatively charged bile acids and free fatty acids. These acids are now bound by the positively charged chitin and therefore are not absorbed into a person's system. The result is the prevention of an increase in dietary fat, which puts the pounds on a person's frame.
Some evidence from studies does suggest that chitin breaks down in the stomach and changes to a gel. Some researchers believe this is where the binding takes place as this gel traps fats and cholesterols. This process is believed to occur in the intestine, where chitin prevents the fat from becoming absorbed and digested.
All types of fiber are beneficial for preventing the absorption of fat into the body, at least to some degree. Studies show that chitin, as an amino polysaccharide fiber may do this to a greater degree. Some proponents believe chitin has the capacity to expel up to four times its weight in fat. Some claim it binds 10 times its weight in fat and does this better than any other kind of fiber.
Some believe chitin works best when used in conjunction with a high-fat meal. If it's going to be one of those high-fat intake days, they say taking chitin can help you counter the fat. Taking chitin may help bind the fat molecules and take them through your system until they're eliminated. However, chitin does not bind carbohydrates, protein, or alcohol. Over-indulgence in them, even with chitin added to your diet, may mean you will still put on weight.
Because chitin is a non-digestible, non-absorbable fiber, it acts as a carrier. It doesn't absorb into your body as other foods can. It helps carry harmful fats away through its binding capabilities before they have a chance to settle in. Studies suggest chitin may do this and help improve blood cholesterol levels as it goes about its work.
Chitin is a calorie-free fiber supplement. A product that is abundantly available, it is even used in food manufacturing as an edible film to protect foods from spoiling. It is often found at a reasonable cost and is a product known for having few side effects. One caveat with chitin is that those allergic to shellfish should not consume chitin. In addition, pregnant women should not take chitin products because of a possible reduction in calcium and vitamin D absorption. Of course, any weight-loss program needs to rely on healthy foods and exercise in addition to any weight-loss supplements. It's all part of an overall healthy approach to losing weight.
Along with its possible benefits as a weight-loss tool chitin has other benefits. It is used in the manufacture of surgical thread. Being biodegradable, it dissolves over time as a wound heals. It also has properties that allow for its use as a wound-healing agent.
Studies continue in the uses of chitin as a weight-loss product. As a natural product, readily available, diet supplement manufacturers strive to make innovative products from it. Their focus is to further research chitin so they can use it to help those striving to take control of their weight.
Loose Weight By Cutting Dietary Fat Absorption
December 08, 2007 06:24 PM
You can lose weight by cutting dietary fat absorption, although in order to understand the need for this you have to appreciate the effect that fat has on your weight. Not only fat, but any form of calories.
The word ‘calorie’ appears to have a bad press, and there have been a lot of ill informed comments made about calories and whether calorie controlled diets are effective or not. Quite frankly, it is all said in ignorance. Whether you agree or not, the calorie is a measurement of energy and the calorie content of foods is what is calculated to be the energy value of these foods.
Once inside your body, that energy is either used up or converted to body mass. It is not necessarily converted to fat, since that extra weight could be in the form of muscle tissue. However, it is converted to body mass and so you can put on weight. The basic equation is that if you take in more energy than you use, then you add weight, and if you use more energy than you take in, then you lose weight. It is slightly more complex than that, but it is basically true.
That does not mean that if you eat a pound of dripping (the fat that drips off cooking meat) you will add a pound of weight. It is the calorific value of the dripping in terms of energy, whether measured in calories or in joules, that is the relevant factor, and if that is 4000 calories, which is about average for various types of dripping, then if you use up 4001 calories in exercise, you can safely spread your pound of lard on toast and eat it without putting on weight (you will have also to use up the calories in the toast).
It is the calorie equation that is important, and if this is negative then you will lose weight. You have to: it is a law of science! Whether your calories are in the form of cookies, candies, avocados (loads of them) or dripping, it is all the same. A meat calorie is the same as a vegetarian or vegan calorie. If you eat more than you use you put on weight.
Different foods contain different quantities of energy, or calories. If you buy a Big Mac you eat 570 calories, and 5 from your Super Pepsi. If the guy next to you has an English Muffin, he will have 140 calories. However, if he then goes home and slouches on the sofa watching TV and you go to the gym for a serious workout, he is liable to put on weight and you lose it. It’s all in the equation!
However, you don’t just use calories in exercise. Your metabolism is also important. In fact 65% - 75% of the calories you use in a day are used up by the body at rest: the metabolism that takes place 24/7 to keep you alive. The heartbeat, breathing and brain activity for example, all use up energy. So not all is doom and gloom, and you can burn up these calories even while you are sleeping.
However, there is another way to prevent the fat you eat from turning into weight. (Incidentally, if you exercise a lot, that weight will likely be in muscle mass, but if not then it will certainly be fat). You have a clue to the way that can be done in the first sentence of this article: ‘dietary fat absorption’.
If the fat is not absorbed into the body, then it is not available to be metabolized into body fat. It will pass through the body unchanged. It is not the fat you consume that makes you gain weight, but the amount of that fat absorbed through your intestines. But how is it possible to selectively prevent the fat in your diet from being emulsified by the bile and absorbed through the intestinal wall?
By means of chitosan. This is a fiber that absorbs part of the fat from the food you have eaten and hides it away from your digestive system. It cannot be broken down into sugars and then into fat to add to your unwanted weight. However, because it works after your meal, you get to eat what you want – that ‘finger lickin’ good’ stuff you love, but don’t suffer the consequences of failing to exercise to work it off. It’s like you just ate lettuce without the fried chicken with the crispy fatty skin.
So what is this miracle substance, chitosan? Biologists would recognize the name as being associated with chitin, the acetyl-glucosamine polymer that forms the carapaces, or shells, of crabs, lobsters and other marine shellfish. Chitosan is formed by deacetylating the chitin and is mainly used to enhance the growth of plants, and also as a filtration aid. So what does it do to help to remove some of the fat from your diet after you have eaten it?
The mechanism by which it does this is not fully understood, and in fact is still disputed in some quarters. However, the proof of the pudding is in the eating and it appears to act according to the claims. There are two possible mechanisms, one of which is connected with the deacetylation of the chitin molecule. Because of this, the resultant chitosan molecule has cationic groups on the polymer chain. Cations are positively charged, and can react with acids, not the least of which are the bile acids that break down lipids (fats) to render them into a form suitable for absorption.
It is possible for the chitosan to react with the bile acids and prevent them from breaking down the fats into a condition that enables them to be passed through the intestinal wall. However, it has also been proposed that dietary fibers work by increasing the thickness of the boundary layer of the intestine through which the fats would have to pass. This would have the effect of reducing the lipid uptake.
It is also possible that since chitosan is a fibrous substance, it attracts the fats through its charge and absorbs them into a swelling ball of fats and fiber that is not only impermeable by the bile acids, but also passes through the intestinal tract unchanged and eventually excreted. In fact, there is not proof for any of these projected mechanisms, and all are theoretically possible. The fact is that it appears to work, but must be taken for several weeks for the effects to be noticeable.
It is possible to lose weight by dietary fat absorption, and whatever mechanism is used by chitosan, it is well worth trying if you like your fatty foods but also want to lose weight. Combine chitosan with a good exercise regime and you might find that you can control your weight whatever you eat. Chitosan is available over the counter at any health food store.
June 25, 2005 08:13 PM
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CHITOSAN: The Fiber that Binds Fat
June 25, 2005 07:55 PM
Chitosan is a natural product that inhibits fat absorption. It has the potential to revolutionize the process of losing weight and by so doing, reduce the incidence of some of the most devastating Western diseases we face today. Chitosan is indigestable and non-absorbable. Fats bound to chitosan become nonabsorbable thereby negating their caloric value. Chitosan-bound fat leaves the intestinal tract having never entered the bloodstream. Chitosan is remarkable in that it has the abilty to absorb an average of 4 to 5 times its weight in fat.60
The same features that allow chitosan to bind fats endow it with many other valuable properties that work to promote health and prevent disease. Chitosan is a remarkable substance whose time has come.
Chitin, the precursor to Chitosan, was first discovered in mushrooms by the French professor Henri Braconnot in 1811.61 In the 1820’s chitin was also isolated from insects.62 Chitin is an extremely long chain of N-acetyl-D-glucoseamine
glucoseamine units. Chitin is the most abundant natural fiber next to cellulose and is similar to cellulose in many respects. The most abundant source of chitin is in the shells of shellfish such as crab and shrimp. The worldwide shellfish harvest is estimated to be able to supply 50,000 tons of chitin annually.63 The harvest in the United States alone could produce over 15,000 tons of chitin each year.64
Chitin has a wide range of uses but that is the subject of another book. Chitosan was discovered in 1859 by Professor C. Rouget.65 It is made by cooking chitin in alkali, much like the process for making natural soaps. After it
is cooked the links of the chitosan chain are made up of glucosamine units. Each glucosamine unit contains a free amino group. These groups can take on a positive charge which gives chitosan its amazing properties. The stucture of chitosan is represented schematically in Figure 2. Research on the uses of chitin and Chitosan flourished in the 1930s and early 1940s but the rise of synthetic fibers, like the rise of synthetic medicines, overshadowed the interest in natural products. Interest in natural products, including chitin and chitosan, gained a resurgence in the 1970s and has continued to expand ever since. Uses of Chit osan Some of Chitosan's major uses—both Industrial and Health and Nutritional—are listed in Tables 5 and 6.
Chitosan has been used for about three decades in water purification processes. 67 When chitosan is spread over oil spills it holds the oil mass together making it easier to clean up the spill. Water purification plants throughout the world use chitosan to remove oils, grease, heavy metals, and fine particulate matter that cause turbidity in waste water streams.
Fat Binding/ Weight Loss
Like some plant fibers, chitosan is not digestible; therefore it has no caloric value. No matter how much chitosan you ingest, its calorie count remains at
fibers, chitosan’s unique properties give it the ability to significantly bind fat, acting like a “fat sponge” in the digestive tract. Table 7 shows a comparison of chitosan and other natural fibers and their ability to inhibit fat absorption. Under optimal conditions, Chitosan can bind an average of 4 to 5 times its weight with all the lipid aggregates tested.60 (NOTE: This assessment was made without the addition of ascorbic acid which potentiates this action even further.77 Studies in Helsinki have shown that individuals taking chitosan lost an average of 8 percent of their body weight in a 4-week period.76 Chitosan has increased oil-holding capacity over other fibers.108 Among the abundant natural fibers, chitosan is unique. This uniqueness is a result of chitosan’s amino groups which make it an acid absorbing (basic) fiber. Most natural fibers are neutral or acidic. Table 7 summarizes the in vivo effects in animals of various fibers on fecal lipid excretion. As can be seen from the results listed, ingestion of chitosan resulted in 5-10 times more fat excretion than any other fiber tested. D-Glucosamine, the building block of chitosan, is not able to increase fecal fat excretion. This is due to the fact that glucosamine is about 97 percent absorbed while chitosan is nonabsorbable. Fats bound to glucosamine would likely be readily absorbed along with the glucosamine. Chitosan, on the other hand, is not absorbed and therefore fats bound to chitosan can not be absorbed.
Chitosan has the very unique ability to lower LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) while boosting HDL cholesterol (the good kind).78 Laboratory tests performed on rats showed that “chitosan depresses serum and liver cholesterol levels in cholesterol- fed rats without affecting performance, organ weight or the nature of the feces.”79 Japanese researchers have concluded that Chitosan “appears to be an effective hypocholesterolemic agent.”80 In other words, it can effectively lower blood serum cholesterol levels with no apparent side effects. A study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that Chitosan is as effective in mammals as cholestryramine (a cholesterol lowering drug) in controlling blood serum cholesterol without the deleterious side effects typical of cholestryramine. 81 Chitosan decreased blood cholesterol levels by 66.2 percent.82 It effectively lowered cholesterol absorption more than guar gum or cellulose.83 Laboratory test results indicated that a 7.5% chitosan formula maintained adequate cholesterol levels in rats, despite a dramatic increase in the intake of cholesterol. 84