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Clay Formulation Enhances Weight Loss

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The accidental discovery that specific clay materials can soak up fat droplets in the gut could potentially be used to treat obesity.

“I was investigating the capacity of specifically clay materials to improve the oral delivery and absorption of antipsychotic drugs, when I noticed that the clay particles weren’t behaving as I’d expected,” explains PhD candidate Tahnee Dening of the University of South Australia. “Instead of breaking down to release drugs, the clay materials were attracting fat droplets and literally soaking them up.”

Using rats fed a high-fat diet, Dening’s research compared the effects of montmorillonite (a natural clay material purified from dirt), laponite (a synthetic clay), the weight loss drug orlistat and a placebo. Over a 2-week period she found that while both of the clay formulations and orlistat delivered weight loss effects, the clay material outperformed the drug.

“Our processed clay has an unusually high surface area, which means it has a huge capacity to interact with and soak up digested fats and oils present in the foods we eat,” Dening says. “Orlistat, on the other hand, is an enzyme inhibitor that blocks up to 30% of dietary fat digestion and absorption, which leads to weight loss but has unpleasant side-effects such as stomach aches, bloating, flatulence and diarrhoea, which limits its use in weight loss as people...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.