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Pulmonary Fibrosis

Chitosan Cured Pulmonary Fibrosis

03/15/2011

Question:

A 70 year old man with Pulmonary Fibrosis was cured by taking Chitosan supplement for several months three years ago in China. Does this make sense? He is still alive living normally. I am a patient with IPF.

Answer:

Chitosan is an extract from shellfish that is often used in winemaking. It is also used in medicine to control bleeding in trauma patients. It has not been tested in patients with pulmonary fibrosis. It is commercially available as a nutritional supplement. As with all such substances, it is advisable to await medical studies before purchasing it for treatment of disease. As with all chemicals that have not been tested, it is possible that a given chemical could help the disease but it is also possible (and usually considerably more likely) that it could either have no effect or make the disease worse. Please be wary of reports such as the one that you mention. Sometimes these are fostered by the makers or sellers of these supplements in order to profit from patients with incurable diseases who are desperate for anything that could help.

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Response by:

James N Allen, Jr, MD James N Allen, Jr, MD
Clinical Professor of Pulmonary, Allergy, Critical Care & Sleep Medicine
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University