JAN 14, 2020 11:23 AM PST

Can Silica Treat Obesity and Diabetes?

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Silica particles, specifically ‘mesoporous silica particles (MSPs)’ are engineered molecular traps that may provide a breakthrough treatment options for diabetes and obesity when introduced to the gut microbiome. These particles have an intensive effect on food efficiency and metabolic risk factors as demonstrated on mice studies that were fed a high-fat diet.

The study examined the potential of MSPs to reduce energy uptake into the body and lead to new therapeutics for obesity and diabetes.

“We chose an innovative alternative approach. Mesoporous silica particles (MSP) are a type of ingestible synthetic silica particles that can be produced with a large surface area and a range of pore sizes," says professor Tore Bengtsson at the Department of Molecular Biosciences, The Wenner-Gren Institute, Stockholm University and the one heading the research team behind the study.

Learn more about obesity and diabetes:

Findings were published in the journal Nanomedicine and was based on hypothesis that the MSPs work as ‘molecular sieves’ in the intestines by inhibiting the activity of certain enzymes and reducing food efficiency. Results indicated that MSPs did indeed reduce food efficiency by 33 percent resulting to a ‘reduced weight gain’, ‘positive effect on the metabolic profile’, ‘significantly lower levels of adipose tissue formation and leptin’ and finally, ‘low levels of circulating insulin’.

There are currently no therapeutics that are both safe and effective and that target obesity and slow weight gain/promote weight loss. Many current drugs utilize small compounds that can produce variable side-effects that are often discouraged for use by healthcare providers.

"The data presented in this study suggest that tailored MSPs could be used to treat obesity and diabetes in humans, especially when taking into account their excellent safety profiles. Since we completed this work, clinical trials have been devised and are now underway," says professor Tore Bengtsson.

Source: Science Daily

About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
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