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Pill tracks body temperature while exercising

SFU’s Laboratory for Exercise and Environmental Physiology currently testing pill

Image Credits: Brittany Barrell

The introduction of technology into the world of fitness and exercise through devices such as the Apple Watch and the Fitbit, has revolutionized the way that we monitor our progress when we work out. But what if you could obtain that same information without having to wear anything on your wrist?

That is what SFU’s Laboratory for Exercise and Environmental Physiology are trying to find out. The lab, of which biomedical physiology and kinesiology professor Dr. Matthew White is the head professor, is currently testing the effects of this pill. Specifically, understanding the human physiological response in extreme temperatures and climates.

Having been an alpine ski racer for more than 20 years, White is no stranger to the extreme climates that some athletes have to face. With SFU taking part in this research, White says that it will allow us to monitor the core temperatures of athletes and gain a better understanding of how people perform in the outdoors. To date, the pill has been tested on many different types of athletes, from mountain ultra marathon runners to women exercising in cold conditions.

The pill, which was created by the French company BodyCap, is taken just like a normal medicine tablet, but enables researchers to learn much more about what goes on inside. After the pill is ingested by the user, it makes its way through the gastrointestinal tract. It is able to monitor the internal body temperature every 30 seconds, and then send this information wirelessly to the user’s monitor. This becomes particularly useful when a person’s temperature deviates away from normal range, where the pill will send an alert out.

Though it sounds quite futuristic, the reality is that the patent for such a pill actually existed before the company BodyCap (the patent holders for the e-Celsius pill) was created in 2011. Since then, a lot of research and development has gone into the pill to test its effectiveness.

The entire BodyCap monitoring system with the pill rounds out to cost €50, which is about $70 with today’s exchange (as of January 27, 2017). This comes as a shock and relief to many of those who are serious athletes and those that would like to break into the athletic world, considering that the newest Fitbit Charge 2 starts at $199.95, while some Apple watches start at $489.

Beyond price, White says that the core temperature pill and something like the Fitbit are entirely different things, though both are useful in their own right. “The core temperature pill is a relatively easy way to measure body temperature, whereas the Fitbit serves as an accelerometer,” White told The Peak. “This [accelerometer] function is likely to come afterwards.”

With technology like the e-Celsius pill becoming readily available for sale, its tracking abilities to monitor progress and body functions can definitely play a key role not only in athletes’ training, but also for future research into the state of the body in extreme conditions. This can help to create new preventative measures for these athletes to avoid any harm or injury.

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