The Grapevine

Scientists Develop ‘Self-Inflating Weight Loss Capsule’ To Make You Feel Full

The fight against obesity across the world continues and the scientific community may get a new weapon against the growing epidemic. A team of scientists from Singapore has created a new capsule that self-inflates when ingested to help individuals feel full and reduce cravings. 

The team from Nanyang Technological University Singapore (NTU Singapore) and the National University Health System (NUHS) introduced the non-invasive, weight management capsule, called the EndoPil. 

The device contains a balloon that can be controlled with an external handheld magnet once in the stomach. The scientists noted that the self-inflating capsule uses a harmless acid and salt combination, which produces carbon dioxide to fill up the balloon. 

EndoPil has the potential to replace currently available procedure to treat obese patients that require the intragastric balloon inserted into the stomach via endoscopy. However, some patients previously reported some side effects after having the intragastric balloon including nausea, vomiting and intolerance.

Developers of the EndoPil said the capsule can be taken without any pain as it only requires a glass of water to be ingested. In a preclinical study with an animal subject, the device was safely ingested and taken out of the body, and it helped reduce 1.5 kg of weight a week after the treatment. 

In 2018, EndoPil was tested with a healthy patient volunteer in Singapore. During the test, the capsule successfully inflated within her stomach and the patient did not report any discomfort or injury associated to the inflation.

The scientists will present the findings in May during the Digestive Disease Week 2019 in San Diego. 

"EndoPil's compact size and simple activation using an external hand-held magnet could pave the way for an alternative that could be administered by doctors even within the outpatient, and primary care setting,” Lawrence Ho, from the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, said in a statement. “This could translate to no hospital stay, and cost saving to the patients and health system."

The capsule is currently in its prototype stage and Ho’s team plans to enhance its capabilities. The scientists want to create a natural decompression mechanism and to reduce its size.