Vibrating Weight Loss Pill Shows Promise in Animal Tests

Many people struggle with weight loss because they are hungry. You can be left with a growling stomach if you are on a diet. A new pill aims to solve the problem.

Engineers at MIT made a vibrating pill that tricks the stomach into thinking it’s stretched to capacity. It triggers sensors inside the stomach to feel full. It could be taken before a meal and would help control appetite.  

The researchers believe their pills could be much more cost-effective than weight loss surgery and have far fewer side effects than medication. It’s called a Vibrating Ingestible BioElectronic Stimulator (VIBES) pill and is covered in a jelly that dissolves after it’s swallowed. It vibrates at a frequency tuned to simulate the nerves of the stomach, just like it’s stretched with food.

It was tested in pigs who were given it 20 minutes before their meals. The pigs who took the pill ate 40 percent less than those who hadn’t. Their hormone levels also showed their brains weren’t in hunger mode. The pigs passed the pills through their bodies without suffering ill effects.

All of this is very promising for people. Everyone has heard the advice to drink a glass of water before a meal to help you feel fuller. This pill is like a more advanced version of that. Of course, we always stress that animal and human studies aren’t the same. Animal results don’t always carry through to humans. And, even if they do, it can take years for the products to hit the market.

The VIBES pill is roughly the size of a standard multivitamin. It wouldn’t be hard to incorporate into a person’s routine if it hit the market for a reasonable cost. The pigs were fed it 20 minutes before meals and then ate normally. For people, it would probably just mean more leftovers at lunchtime.

Interestingly, the pigs were more tired after eating. The lead author of the study, Dr. Shriya Srinivasan, described it as “something you might call a food coma in humans.” From that, it seems the pigs’ brains genuinely believed they were stuffed.

Pigs are brilliant animals. It seems probable that this pill would help humans feel full too. But, we question how much it would help us in other aspects. Some of us feel compelled to “join the clean plate club” and eat large servings to ensure nothing goes to waste. Others eat out of boredom. This study sounds promising, but we wonder how effective the pill would be for humans.

Banner image: MIT News

Related Posts

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Please check your email to confirm your subscription.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form
By clicking the "Subscribe" button you agree to our newsletter policy