This vibrating weight-loss pill actually worked in early animal trials

This vibrating weight-loss pill actually worked in early animal trials

Good vibes can get you far, and now, they may even help you lose weight. That’s because a group of researchers and engineers have created a vibrating weight-loss pill that allows you to feel full without having to eat as much. The pill, which is called the Vibratory Ingestible BioElectronic Stimulator (VIBES), has only been tested in pigs, but it is showing very promising results.

It’s kind of funny when you think about it. Of all the weight-loss options that we’ve seen being tested or marketed over the years, a vibrating pill is probably the least likely to catch your attention because it just sounds so outlandish. And yet, the VIBES pill could very well be the foundation of a new generation of weight-loss supplements.

The vibrating weight-loss pill works by stimulating the nerve endings that sense when the stomach expands, allowing your body to register your stomach as full even though it isn’t. As I noted before, testing so far has only been showcased in a few young Yorkshire pigs. However, the results published in Science Advances are very promising and show that the six pigs that were given the pill ate 40% less than the ones that received a placebo.

Weight loss supplements on a scale
Weight loss supplements on a scale. Image source: terovesalainen/Adobe

The biomedical engineers involved with the study say that these results are roughly what they expected, but that they were also supposed by the consistency of the effect. It’s also important to note that the big taking the VIBES pill did not lose any weight. However, they didn’t gain as much as the control group.

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One of the main inspirations behind the vibrating weight-loss pill was to offer better ways to manage your weight. Currently, weight-loss medications like Wegovy and Zepbound are expensive and may require the person to continue to get the injections to keep the weight off. But with the VIBES pill, you’d be able to decide when and when not to use it, giving you more control over how the stimulus is given.

Of course, there is a huge caveat here. You can’t just dupe the brain until the end of time. And the researchers say they don’t know how long the trick that VIBES relies on will actually work. If the brain decides that the stretch signals given by the stomach are a reliable cue for how much food was consumed, then it will rely on other measures that the pill doesn’t address.

Still, it’s a notably intriguing weight-loss option that will be interesting to keep an eye on going into the new year, as the researchers no doubt look deeper into the possibilities that it unlocks.

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