Botox Might Freeze Your Face But is it the Future of Weight Loss?

An off-label use of botox could be the latest weight loss fad

Updated27 Nov 2017, 12:22 PM IST
Lose It
3 min read

You know botox works wonders on the pesky face wrinkles but can a shot in your gut make you feel fuller for longer and help you lose weight for good?

The concept is intriguing. Botulin or botox isn’t just about zapping wrinkles anymore -currently it is effective in treating migraines, calming over-sweaty armpits and curbing excessive peeing. Scientists in Norway are now confident that botox will be the next big thing to tackle obesity too!

Are we really going to inject muscle-freezing toxins into our gut?

*Raises unfrozen eyebrows*

How Does Botox Stop Hunger?

Botox injections in your gut will help you curb appetite but the effects are temporary (Photo courtesy: Tumblr/@Cheezburger)
Botox injections in your gut will help you curb appetite but the effects are temporary (Photo courtesy: Tumblr/@Cheezburger)

Scientists in Norway injected botox in the stomach lining of 20 overweight volunteers between the ages of 35 and 44 years. The idea was that just like facial muscles, botox will curb hunger giving a sense of fullness.

The role of the stomach is to absorb the nutrients and calories from food and push it down the intestines through contractions. The faster the contractions, the faster the food is shoved down your gut. Once it is empty, you feel hungry again.

What this off-the-label use of botox did was to almost immediately slow down the stomach muscle contractions to HALF- so food stayed there longer, as a result hunger was curbed, leaving you feeling satiated.

The study group got a second jab after six months, but 70% people had lost an average of 17% of their body weight. So a person weighing 70 kgs lost 12 kilos in six months without making any lifestyle change or undergoing a risky surgery. In about a year-and-a-half, 75% of patients lost an average of 30% body weight.

The research was published in this week’s edition of Digestive Disease Week.

Who Is The Best Candidate For It?

The results of the Norway study are promising. Scientists in the Johns Hopkins Institute in the US are studying it further, but the long-term side-effects are not known at this stage.

Even when the treatment is readily available, it should not be seen as a replacement of bariatric surgery. This will not help the morbidly obese. The best results will show only if you are overweight by a maximum of 10 to 12 kilos.

So if you look like this, don’t waste your time and energy thinking about getting botox-ed in the tummy:

Botox in the gut is not for obese or overweight people (Photo courtesy: Tumblr/<a href="http://pokemon.tumblr.com/post/134748294911/welcome-to-the-official-pok%C3%A9mon-tumblr-follow-us">pokemon</a>)
Botox in the gut is not for obese or overweight people (Photo courtesy: Tumblr/pokemon)

However, if you have some nagging pockets of fat, like the gentleman below; diet and exercise seems too conventional to you, this technique could be less invasive and more effective than liposuction.

(Photo courtesy: Tumblr/MRW)
(Photo courtesy: Tumblr/MRW)

Be very clear that the effects of botox are temporary, whether on the face or tummy. They will wear off in four to six months. So this can be taken as a radical way to kickstart your weight loss journey but without an overhaul of lifestyle, long-term changes will not be seen.

Here’s Why You Should Be Skeptical About the Procedure

1. Overall, scientists have given a thumbs-up to these non-invasive jabs, but the effects were studied only on a small group of 20 people. So a large-scale study is required to prove anything conclusively.

2. Researchers say it has fewer side-effects than any form of weight loss surgery because there are no major cuts or hospital admission required.

3. The treatment is temporary, painless and quick. But what if people were to get addicted to it and start getting gut jabs as a lunch-time procedure? What happens if the stomach contractions are permanently frozen?

4. According to Allergan, the makers of Botox, in rare cases the drug can spill from the injection site and affect other areas of the body. Imagine walking into a clinic for a weight-loss fix and walking out with a dysfunctional liver. Horrid!

Final Word

Be weary of any cutting-edge method of quick weight loss till you can weigh the long-term side-effects. Banish the belly fat with a good, old fashioned diet plan. Seriously, whatever happened to that people?

Also Read: Zap It or Freeze It: The Truth Behind the Bizarre Weight Loss Ads

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Published: 02 Jun 2016, 12:54 PM IST

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