Research: Clay could be a novel treatment for obesity

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Dried smectite clay may help treat obesity

Clay Pot

Clay Pot

Obesity and related illness cost the United States billions of dollars every year and could cost the world trillions if we cannot find an effective means to counter the illness.  This modern-day epidemic could cost more the world more lives and dollars than any prior illness to include influenza and the plague.  Investigators worldwide are looking for potential drug and treatments to help people who are overweight and obese to avoid the lifelong weight gain that causes their health to circle the toilet.  

The good news is that a cure may be no farther away than the soil under your feet.  Researchers in Australia have found positive results from dried clay particles from montmorillonite and laponite of smectite clays[1].  The researchers found the effects of clay to absorb other items by accident, so the study was born.  The study was performed to look at the feasibility of dried smectite clay particles to adsorbing dietary fats or lipids in rodents and reducing weight gain.  The rodents were fed high-fat diets with the addition of these clay particles for two weeks.  The results of two clay particle types were compared to a control group given orlistat.  The study found that montmorillonite and laponite were both as effective or more effective at reducing weight gain when compared to orlistat but with fewer side-effective.  

The bottom line: These clay particles appear to help prevent weight gain from fats.  These particles may lead to the development of new anti-obesity treatments.  Before you go out and buy some clay to add to your diet, remember that this was done on rodents and human trial are needed to confirm this works with a human.  The side would seem to border on pica, but who knows, it might just be an effective treatment if added correctly.  More research is needed.  


T. J. Dening, P. Joyce, M. Kovalainen, H. Gustafsson, and C. A. Prestidge, “Spray Dried Smectite Clay Particles as a Novel Treatment against Obesity,” Pharm Res, vol. 36, no. 1, Dec. 2018 [Online]. Available: 10.1007/s11095-018-2552-9″ target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>
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About the Author

I am a family physician who has served in the US Army. In 2016, I found myself overweight, out of shape, and unhealthy, so I made a change to improve my health. This blog is the chronology of my path to better health and what I have learned along the way.

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