Chemical and enzymatic barriers in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract hamper the oral delivery of many labile drugs. The GI epithelium also contributes to poor permeability for numerous drugs. Drugs with poor aqueous solubility have difficulty dissolving in the GI tract, resulting in low bioavailability. Nanomedicine provides an opportunity to improve the delivery efficiency of orally administered drugs. Solid lipid nanoparticles (SLNs) are categorized as a new generation of lipid nanoparticles consisting of a complete solid lipid matrix. SLNs used for oral administration offer several benefits over conventional formulations, including increased solubility, enhanced stability, improved epithelium permeability and bioavailability, prolonged half-life, tissue targeting, and minimal side effects. The nontoxic excipients and sophisticated material engineering of SLNs tailor the controllable physicochemical properties of the nanoparticles for GI penetration via mucosal or lymphatic transport. In this review, we highlight the recent progress in the development of SLNs for disease treatment. Recent application of oral SLNs includes therapies for cancers, central nervous system-related disorders, cardiovascular-related diseases, infection, diabetes, and osteoporosis. In addition to drugs that may be active cargos in SLNs, some natural compounds with pharmacological activity are also suitable for SLN encapsulation to enhance oral bioavailability. In this article, we systematically introduce the concepts and amelioration mechanisms of the nanomedical techniques for drug- and natural compound-loaded SLNs. © 2017

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