The increasing prevalence of obesity requires new and effective prevention and treatment strategies. One approach to reduce energy intake is by developing foods with increased satiating properties. This may be accomplished by slowing down lipolysis to deliver unabsorbed lipids into the ileum, thereby enhancing natural gut-brain signalling pathways of satiety that are normally induced by meal intake.
The aim of my PhD project is to explore this novel concept to induce satiety, called ‘the ileal brake’. Several types of microcapsules have been developed based on emulsion systems with specially designed interfaces, e.g., multilayered biopolymer films. On top of interfacial design, we developed lipid (micro)capsules that control lipolysis on a larger length scale through the use of emulsion-filled gel particles.
My project specifically probes this multi-scale approach, including physical characterisation of (micro)capsules, and in-vitro tests of their breakdown in digestive conditions all aimed at delivering unabsorbed lipids into the ileum. The ultimate goal is to also test these capsules in vivo as part of a weight-control strategy. Various partners are involved in different parts of the project, such as INRA (BIA-ISD, Nantes, France) and Maastricht University Medical Centre (Internal Medicine-Gastroenterology-Hepatology, Maastricht, The Netherlands).