A slimming pill that expands in the stomach may help boost odds for successful weight loss efforts. What makes these gel capsules more interesting is they do not have serious side effects.

Weight Loss Outcome Using Hydrogel Capsule Vs. Placebo

The hydrogel capsule Plenity, which was once called Attiva, had been trialed on 436 overweight or moderately obese people who were trying to lose weight through diet and exercise.

In the study, half of the participants took the capsules while the other half had a placebo. Those on placebo lost 4.4 percent of their body weight, while those who took the capsules lost 6.4 percent of their weight.

Plenity Is A Medical Device

The capsule, made by biotechnology company Gelesis, is technically a medical device so it does not need extensive trials. It has hydrogel made from cellulose, which is naturally found in vegetables, fruits, and citric acids.

Three pills are taken with two glasses of water 20 minutes before a meal. The capsules absorb water so they swell in the stomach. Once the particles inside the capsules are released in the stomach, they turn into a gel, which then occupies about a quarter of the volume of the stomach.

The gel is not absorbed, but rather goes through the small intestine and then to the colon where it is broken down. The water is reabsorbed by the body and what remains passes out in the feces.

"This gel - it's like chewed vegetable - mixes with the food. This makes you feel fuller when you eat so you don't eat as much. That's the main mechanism," said Harry Leider, Gelesis medical officer.

"Because there is no chemical interaction with the body, it is not absorbed, it is mostly mechanical. It has a really good safety and tolerability profile."

To Be Used With Diet And Exercise

Amid soaring cases of obesity worldwide, the hydrogel capsule offers another option for people who want to lose weight. It is nonetheless a magic bullet. Experts recommend that use of the capsule be accompanied by exercise and diet.

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