Balloon Weight-Loss Pills: It's Really a Thing - Dr. Axe

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Balloon Weight-Loss Pills: It’s Really a Thing


Balloon Weight-Loss Pills - Dr. Axe

What if you could take a pill that helped you eat less so that you would lose more weight? That’s a reality that might soon become mainstream. The Obalon 6-Month Balloon System was approved in September by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. And according to research presented at ObesityWeek 2016, the largest international event focused on obesity, these balloon weight-loss pills are effective.

Here’s how it works. Obese patients who have been unsuccessful in losing weight through diet and exercise are given a capsule. Inside, it contains a deflated intra-gastric balloon. Once the capsule is swallowed, the balloon is filled with gas through a micro-catheter. When in place, this balloon works similarly to more invasive bariatric surgery, making patients feeling full faster, so less food is eaten. Though up to three balloons can be swallowed in the first three months, the entire Obalon treatment lasts just six months.

The Science Behind Balloon Weight-Loss Pills

The research conducted was definitely compelling. A study of 387 patients saw half of them receive the Obalon capsules, while the other half was given a sugar-filled faux capsule. Neither group knew which capsule they’d been given. The patients swallowed one every three weeks along with receiving lifestyle therapy from a registered dietitian.

At the end of the study period, the Obalon patients had lost an average of 6.8 percent of their bodyweight; those in the sugar capsule group shed an average of 3.59 percent. Six months after the balloons were removed endoscopically, 89.5 of the weight loss by the Obalon patients stayed off. For a 200-pound person, a 6.8 percent drop in weight amounts to a little more than 13 pounds. While 90 percent of the Obalon participants suffered side effects like abdominal cramps and nausea, nearly everyone rated them mild or moderate.

These balloon weight loss capsules can help obese patients who have struggled with losing weight the “old-fashioned way” an alternative option and do deserve attention. For some people, this might be the aid they need to reduce their weight and live a healthier life. These capsules are also a much easier idea to swallow than bariatric surgery, which can have severe side effects. But therein lies the problem as well.


Obesity is not an easy problem to tackle. It can take many setbacks, a lot of experimenting with what works best for you and working with professionals. Unfortunately, these weight loss capsules don’t get address all of the other issues surrounding obesity; it’s not just about eating less but about  making healthier choices, making fitness a priority and learning to have a healthy relationship with food. We also don’t know if these capsules will eventually have long-term consequences or if weight is kept off after a year, or two years, or five years. Or how they may impact your microbiome.

As an advocate of natural health and food as medicine, I would urge you to consider other options.

Low-carb diets used to be the standard prescription for losing weight and reversing diabetes before insulin become available. It boasts an impressive success rate of reducing weight and reversing the effects of obesity. If low-carb isn’t for you, there are other diet plans to lose weight that might suit better.

Examining other factors, like eating the wrong foods, synthetic hormones from things like birth control or doing the wrong types of exercises are some of the reasons women struggle to lose weight as well, though men might have similar issues.

Adding certain essential oils, like grapefruit, cinnamon and ginger oils, to your routine can support your body through the weight loss process.

And if you’re committed to losing weight and need inspiration on how to best do that, I’ve compiled 49 weight-loss hacks that can help.

Final Thoughts on Balloon Weight-Loss Pills

  • Balloon weight-loss capsules can be helpful for those struggling with obesity when a last-ditch effort is needed.
  • Although it’s a simpler, easier option than bariatric surgery, it shouldn’t be taken lightly.
  • We still don’t know the long-term impact this has on human health.

Read Next: How Much Exercise Is Needed to Lose Weight? (The Answer May Shock You)

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