Biomaterials to the Rescue: Using Materials Science to Assist in Weight Loss Efforts
According to recent statistics from the National Institutes of Health, more than two-thirds (68.8 percent) of American adults are overweight or obese.1 Unfortunately for many, there are associated health risks with being overweight or obese including coronary heart disease, high blood pressure (also known as the “silent killer”), stroke, Type 2 diabetes and sleep apnea, among many other concerns.2 For years, physicians have considered being overweight or obese an issue of energy imbalance (people take in too much and don’t burn enough); however, scientists also realize that there are a host of other factors3 that might make weight gain occur more easily in some people and alternatively, to be lost more easily in others. Regardless, people interested in losing weight want to see results, and although long hours of exercise and restrictive dieting works, is there no other way to speed the process?
Using Biomaterials and Materials Science to Jumpstart Weight Loss
Biomaterials are defined as “a substance that has been engineered to take a form which, alone or as part of a complex system, is used to direct, by control of interactions with components of living systems, the course of any therapeutic or diagnostic procedure.”4 The successful production of biomaterials involves advances in a number of materials science subfields, including polymer synthesis and drug delivery design. Importantly, these advancements and innovations in biomaterials could be applied toward uncovering new ways to assist people in achieving their weight loss goals. How? Let’s explore.
BIOVIA Materials Studio to the Rescue
In order to uncover new ways of promoting weight loss, researchers in biomaterials should consider how to modify garments in order to promote weight loss. These innovations might involve adding specific catalysts or polymers to compression garments that might augment fat loss by interacting with the skin and sweat glands in unique ways to improve metabolism. However, in considering which materials or polymers to use, researchers should utilize software that is capable of predicting how atomic and molecular modifications can in turn alter how biomaterials interact with various surfaces. In order to do this (among many other tasks required for specifying the characteristics of biomaterials), researchers should consider using such software as BIOVIA Materials Studio.
Used in conjunction with electronic laboratory notebooks, BIOVIA Materials Studio can assist researchers in modifying existing textiles and testing how these modifications affect weight loss. For example, some researchers argue that compression garments increase the amount of sweat produced during exercise, which in turn promotes weight loss.5 Determining how textiles can be modified with biomaterials to better interact with the skin (and potentially even target fat) would be an important innovation. Furthermore, understanding how certain electronic additions to garments could stimulate cells in the body that can promote weight loss is another avenue to pursue in the search for weight-loss inducing clothing. BIOVIA Materials Studio is especially important for supporting these efforts because, like all of our products, it aims to improve worker efficiency by promoting collaboration and the collection of data in an easily searchable database, thus ensuring that information is not lost over time or because of employee turnover.
If your firm is involved with or interested in the research and development of biomaterials for weight loss or other purposes, please contact us today to learn how BIOVIA Materials Studio could assist in your efforts.
- “Overweight and Obesity Statistics,” October 2012, http://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/health-statistics/Pages/overweight-obesity-statistics.aspx ↩
- “What Are the Health Risks of Overweight and Obesity?” September 7, 2012, http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/obe/risks ↩
- “Genetic factors of overweight and obesity,” http://obesity.ulaval.ca/obesity/generalities/genetic.php ↩
- “Biomaterials,” http://www.journals.elsevier.com/biomaterials/ ↩
- “Compression Garments for Weight Loss,” April 27, 2015, http://www.livestrong.com/article/281203-compression-garments-for-weight-loss/ ↩