Prebiotic Potential of Chitosans Prebiotic Essay

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This treatment, albeit, does not produce 100% chitosan, but basically produces a mixture of 10-15% chitin plus 85-90% pure chitosan, called "pure CC." In the U.S., chitosan constitutes a mixture of approximately7% chitin plus approximately 93% chitosan. Outside of cost-effectiveness, the biological effects of chitin produced from each source appears identical. "Chitosan oligosaccharides (CO) takes chitosan a big step further," Matsunaga (2007 explains. "When CC is ingested, a small amount of it is broken down into very small molecular particles by the enzymes of the body, thus producing CO. CO can also be manufactured by using an enzymatic process" (Matsunaga, as cited in Levine, p. 1). The body more readily absorbs CO, although CO contains less fiber than regular CC.

In Case History 1: Low Pulmonary (Lung) Function, Matsunaga (Levine, 2007) treats his first patient, also his father, with the administration of CC. Previous treatments had yielded no results for Matsunaga's father who suffered from diminished lung function, which resulted from lung surgery to treat tuberculosis 30 years previously. Dependent on an oxygen tank, Matsunnaga's father could only walk a few steps each day. "After taking only two capsules of chitosan twice per day (a total of 120 mg) for one week, Matsunaga's father was able to walk around the house without his oxygen tank" (Levine,, p. 1). By the tenth day, Matsunaga's father could leave the house. He quit taking medications, yet he did not experience any adverse effects; living three years of additional improved health and life quality before he died at age 81.

Matsunaga (Levine, 2007) describes Case History 2, relating details of a patient with skin cancer. Other doctors had recommended that the ear lobe of the 75-year-old man, with skin cancer on his ear, had to be removed. Once more, following a myriad of ineffective treatments, Matsunaga prescribed the identical dosage he had given to his father; 2 caps of chitosan 2x per day. The cancer reportedly started to shrink within one week. Following four more days of treatment with chitosan, the cancer completely disappeared. As a result of the impressive results, Matsunaga began to implemtn the use of chitosan on a wider scale in his clinical practice; carefully documenting detail. Typically, "he found that weak patients became stronger, and healthy patients became healthier; that often symptoms resistant to medications were alleviated; common daily complaints such as constipation, shoulder stiffness, low back pain, etc., disappeared" (Levine, p. 1). Patients generally were able to reduce their medication dosages by an average of 30%; lessening side effects experienced from medication. The quality of life for those terminally ill patients treated with chitosan also significantly improved, Matsunaga reports.

From his studies, Matsunaga (Levine, 2007) found that chitosan proved effective in treating a wide variety of health conditions. These conditions included: "Circulatory and heart diseases, dermatoligical diseases (atopic dermatitis, etc.), opthamological (eye) conditions, ENT (ear, nose & throat) conditions, hemorrhoids, and a multitude of problems affecting all organs of the body" (p.1). In 1982, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Fishery, in response to the as massive piles of unused crab shells accumulating at numerous crab meat processing plants, the Japanese government initiated a ten-year project to develop ways to utilize unused biomass. Following the funding of a six billion dollar grant by the Ministry of Education for "A New Extension of Basic and Clinical Researchers on Chitin-Chitosan and Their Enzymes," 13 universities began research relating to chitosan. Findings from some the research during this time included:

Animal Studies

Cholesterol & Liver Health: Findings revealed that "CC lowered cholesterol and neutral fats, and prevented liver dysfunction." The livers of the group not treated with CC appeared inflamed and fatty livers. The livers of the chitosan group, albeit, appeared completely normal. Findings from a number of animal studies revealed that CC absorbs LDLcholesterol and transports it out of the body through the intestines. It also raises HDL cholesterol (Levine,, 2007, p. 2).

Cancer

CC reportedly possess anticancer action, and prevents metastases of cancer cells; studies reported that macrophage and natural killer cells were strengthened. (Levine, 2007, p. 2).

Blood Pressure

As chitosan inhibits ACE activity, it removes chlorine, and in turn, no hypertension results (Levine,, 2007, p. 2).

Table 1 depicts a summary of several abstracts reflecting extensive research on chitosan-oligosaccharide, along with numerous potential benefits for health:

Table 1: Comparison of Chiosan-oligosaccharide Studies (adapted from Levine,, 2007, p. 2).

Author(s), Date

Title of Study

Purpose/Method

Results of Study

H.W. Lee, Y.S. Park, J.S. Jung & W.S. Shin;

Chitosan oligosaccharides, dp 2-8, have prebiotic effect on the Bifidobacterium bifidium and Lacto-bacillus sp.

To investigate the prebiotic potential of chitosan oligosaccharide (COS), the effect of COS on bacterial growth was studied... The effects of COS on the growth of bifidobacteria and lactic acid bacteria were compared with those of fructooligosaccharide (FOS).

Chitosan oligosaccharide can promote the growth of friendly bifidobacteria and lactobacillus. Unlike fructooligo saccharides (FOS), which promote the growth of only three probiotic strains, chitosan oligosaccharide supports almost all bifido- and lacto-bacillus species.

Y. Yan, L. Wanshun, H. Baoqin, L. Bing, & F. Chenwei; May 2006.

Protective effects of chitosan oligosaccharide and its derivatives against carbon tetrachloride-induced liver damage in mice.

To examine the protective effects of chitosan oligosaccharide (COS), dglucosamine (GlcNH (2)) and N-acetyl-d-glucosamine (GlcNAc) on carbon tetrachloride (CCl (4))-induced hepatotoxicity and the possible mechanisms that involved were investigated in male ICR mice.

Chitosan oligosaccharide has been shown to protect the liver from damage by carbon tetrachloride in mice.

H.J. Yoon, H.S. Park, H.S. Bom, Y.B. Roh, J.S. Kim & Y.H. Kim; September 2005.

Chitosan oligosaccharide inhibits 203HgCl2-induced genotoxicity in mice: micronuclei occurrence and chromosomal aberration.

To investigate the effect of chitosan oligosaccharide on mercury- induced chromosome aberration; mice in each condition were supplied with 203HgCl2 and chitosan oligosaccharide ad libitum.

Chitosan oligosaccharide has been shown to protect against mercury toxicity in mice.

H.W. Lee, Y.S. Park, J.W. Choi, S.Y. Yi & W.S. Shin; August 2003.

Antidiabetic effects of chitosan oligosaccharides in neonatal streptozotocin-induced noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus in rats.

To examine the antidiabetic effect of chitosan oligosaccharide (COS) in neonatal streptozotocin (STZ)-induced noninsulin- dependent diabetes mellitus rats.

In non-insulin-dependent diabetic rats, chitosan oligosaccharide had an anti-diabetic effect.

The fasting glucose level was reduced by about 19% in diabetic rats after treatment with 0.3% COS. Glucose tolerance was lower in the diabetic group compared with the normal group

J.S. Moon, H.K Kim, H.C. Koo, Y.S. Joo, H.M. Nam, Y.H. Park & M.I. Kang; March 2007.

The antibacterial and immunostimulative effect of chitosan-oligosaccharides against infection by Staphylococcus aureus isolated from bovine mastitis.

Based on previous study, this study evaluates the in vivo cure efficacy of chitosan on bovine mastitis, a more water-soluble chitosanoligosaccharide (OCHT) with a high degree of deacetylation and low molecular weight was prepared to obtain high antibiotic efficacy. The growth of Staphylococcus aureus isolated from bovine mastitis was inhibited within 10 min of treatment with OCHT in concentrations ranging from 0.0001 to 0.5% in the mice for this study.

Chitosan oligosaccharide has been shown to have antibacterial and immunostimulative effects against infection by Staphylococcus aureus.

As chitosan's molecular weight consists of several hundred thousands to several millions, Matsunaga explains, chitosan binds well to heavy metals and efficiently excretes the metal particles from the body. When chitosan binds to them, the heavy metals cannot remain ionized. They become enclosed within the chitosan molecules. Originally, pure chitosan is white or off-white, however, when excreted bound to a heavy metal, chitosan converts to the color of that metal. Copper in chitosan, for example, "comes out as dark blue, nickel comes out as light blue, cobalt -- pink, iron -- light yellowish brown, chrome -- brown, etc. (Levine, 2007, p. 3).

Matsunaga suggests the ability of chitosan to bond to metal could prove particularly helpful to individuals who consume a diet high in fish diet, such as the Japanese, as they may be ingesting high amounts of mercury. Chitosans' heavy metal binding benefits, however, extend beyond the human body. As chitosan, a natural material is not toxic, and massive amounts of it do not negatively affect the environment, it may also be utilized to treat heavy metals that waste product, produced by industry, contain (Levine, 2007).

Even though chitin is a safe, natural substance and not manufactured with any synthetic chemicals, Matsunaga (Levine, 2007) stresses that it proves critical to note that CC and/or CO may be contraindicated for individuals with shellfish allergies. Results have been repeatedly consistent with reports from other international sources that chitin is not toxic; with the Japan Precision Chemical Corporation conducting toxicity tests on CC; consequently confirming that it is safe. A number of studies completed on CC include, albeit, but are not limited to the following:

Heat source reflection, intracutaneous injection, skin sensitivity testing, systemic anaphylaxis test, eye conjunctiva and corneal test, hemolysis test, test of depressor substance, subcutaneous and endosteal implant test, mutagenic test, dominant lethal test, etc. (Levine, 2007,…[continue]

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