Dig in: Sand serves up a possible cure for obesity

Engineered particles of purified sand could be the next anti-obesity therapy as new research from the University of South Australia shows that porous silica can prevent fats and carbohydrates from being adsorbed in the body.

The engineered silica particles are made from purified sand and are optimally designed with a high surface area that enables them to soak up large amounts of digestive enzymes, fats, and sugars within the gastrointestinal tract.

Funded by the Channel 7 Children’s Research Foundation, the study is the first to validate how porous silica particles can impede digestive processes and stop fat and sugar adsorption.

Developed in partnership with Glantreo Limited, the new silica-based therapy will be gentler on the stomach with fewer of the unpleasant side effects associated with the mainstream anti-obesity drug, Orlistat.

Lead researcher, UniSA’s Dr Paul Joyce says this breakthrough finding could change the health outcomes for billions of people struggling with obesity.

“Obesity is a global issue that affects more than 1.9 billion people worldwide,” Dr Joyce says.

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