Uni of Adelaide research named among the top ten for 2014

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Research at the University of Adelaide into fatty acids to combat obesity has been named among the Ten of the Best Research Projects 2014 by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

The work is led by Professor Christine Feinle-Bisset, Chief Investigator in the NHMRC-funded Centre of Research Excellence in Translating Nutritional Science to Good Health in the University of Adelaide’s School of Medicine.

She and her team have discovered a fatty acid (lauric acid) that can trigger the body’s natural physiological mechanisms to suppress appetite and help reduce energy intake.

The team administered lauric acid directly into the small intestine where fatty acid-sensing receptors are located. In doing so, they were able to evaluate the effects of lauric acid on the gastrointestinal tract and learn how they could enhance the release of gut hormones to control appetite.

With this established, the team then set about determining whether the observed effects could be replicated when lauric acid was ingested orally.

Working with Professor Thomas Rades from the University of Copenhagen, they developed novel delivery solutions that managed to replicate their earlier results. Critically, they found that oral ingestion of lauric acid suppressed appetite and reduced energy intake by up to 18% compared with placebo.

Having made these findings, Professor Feinle-Bisset is now collaborating with industry partners in Australia and overseas to develop their discoveries into novel, nutrient-based options for the management and treatment of obesity.

The spotlighted National Health and Medical Research Committee research was chosen for its innovativeness and potential to make a difference to the lives of Australians and people worldwide. The researchers are from universities and institutions across the country, reflecting the breadth of talent throughout the nation.


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