What exactly is HCG?
HCG, also known as human chorionic gonadotropin, is a hormone that is present in high concentrations during early pregnancy.
In fact, this hormone is employed as a marker in home pregnancy tests to determine whether a woman is pregnant.
It has also been shown to be effective in the treatment of male and female infertility.
Increased levels of HCG in the bloodstream, on the other hand, may be an indication of a variety of cancers, including placental, ovarian, and testicular cancer, among others.
In 1954, a British doctor by the name of Albert Simeons recommended the use of HCG as a weight-loss therapy.
His diet comprised primarily of two types of foods:
- an extremely low-calorie diet consisting of approximately 500 calories each day
- Injections of the HCG hormone
Today, human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) products are available in a variety of formats, including oral drops, pellets, and sprays. Also available are many websites as well as certain brick-and-mortar establishments.
How does it work?
Human chorionic gonadotropin, also known as hCG, is a hormone that is found in both the blood and urine of pregnant women throughout the course of the pregnancy. The hormone HCG is detected in the blood shortly after the embryo is implanted in the uterine wall (roughly three weeks into a four-week menstrual cycle). Increased levels of hCG alert your body to the fact that you are pregnant, and the womb immediately goes to work constructing a safe environment for your baby to thrive in.
What it is and why it is important
In the early stages of embryonic development, the body produces hCG, which aids in the creation of other key pregnancy hormones such as progesterone and estrogen. When this occurs, it thickens the lining of the uterus as well as increases its blood supply, allowing it to receive the embryo and feed it after implantation of the embryo. Your baby’s development and a healthy pregnancy are dependent on the proper balance of these vital hormones in your body.
The HCG hormone has a variety of applications.
This hormone is also available as a prescription medication for a variety of purposes, the majority of which are related to fertility treatments. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the use of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) for the treatment of female infertility and other medical purposes. In addition, it is being advertised for weight loss, while it has not been approved for that use yet.
Men who want to increase their sperm production can do so by taking hCG. Often used in conjunction with scheduled sexual activity or a range of fertility treatments such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization, it can be used to induce ovulation in women (IVF). Studies have shown that ingesting hCG can increase fertility, boosting the likelihood of getting pregnant as well as the success of numerous reproductive procedures.
For infertility therapy, the particular type and quantity of hCG provided, as well as the unique fertility treatment plan you (and your partner) will follow, will be customized to your (and your partner’s) individual medical needs.
In the case of female fertility treatment, pre-filled hCG syringes (or ones that you prepare yourself) may be supplied to women to inject at home before or after sexual encounters and/or fertility therapies, depending on the circumstances. If you have any questions about when and how to take these doses, please ask your doctor for clarification. It is critical that you only take hCG in the amounts given and directed by your healthcare provider.
Is the HCG diet safe?
No, not on either count. On the contrary, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recommended people avoid taking HCG supplements that are available over the counter (OTC). HCG is an abbreviation for human chorionic gonadotropin, which is a hormone that is generated during pregnancy.
HCG is a prescription drug that is mostly used to address difficulties related to infertility. HCG has not been licensed for over-the-counter usage, and it has not been proven to be effective for weight loss at this time. HCG drugs are supposed to be labeled with an FDA warning that the medication is ineffective for weight loss, as mandated by the agency. Despite the fact that certain over-the-counter HCG weight-loss medications are labeled “homeopathic” the FDA warns they are still not safe for consumption. Companies that sell HCG weight-loss products over-the-counter are in violation of the law.
So, what is it about the HCG diet that has gotten so much attention? Possibly because the diet promotes significant calorie restriction — generally only 500 to 800 calories per day — it has gotten so much attention. In the near run, people who follow diets with low-calorie intake are more likely to lose weight than those who do not. Some study has linked the use of HCG weight-loss products to an increased risk of developing cancer. During pregnancy, HCG may stimulate the formation of androgen cells, which may result in the development of some types of malignancies.
Diets that significantly restrict calorie consumption, on the other hand, carry hazards such as gallstone formation, irregular heartbeat, inadequate intake of vitamins and minerals, and an imbalance of electrolytes in the body.
In addition to these side effects, the HCG diet has also been linked to weariness, irritability, restlessness, depression, fluid buildup (edema), and enlargement of the breasts in both boys and men, among other things (gynecomastia). Another major source of concern is the possibility of blood clots developing and obstructing blood vessel flow (thromboembolism).
If you want to lose weight, there are more effective and less dangerous methods to do it. Seek advice from your doctor or other healthcare providers on how to make healthy changes that will result in long-term weight loss, such as eating a well-balanced diet and engaging in regular physical activity.
Stay away from HCG weight-loss products.
HCG has not been approved by the FDA for weight loss or any other over-the-counter applications. Many false and misleading claims about the effectiveness of hCG for weight loss are made, and numerous hCG supplements are promoted utilizing these false and misleading claims. Do not purchase them because there is no credible proof to support the claims made in them. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labels these goods as “dangerous” and “unhealthy.”
HCG is not approved for use without a prescription, and it is not approved for use in weight loss
During pregnancy, the placenta secretes a hormone called HCG, which is known as the pregnancy hormone.
Dietary supplements containing HCG that are advertised for weight loss are frequently sold in conjunction with an extremely low-calorie diet, typically one that restricts calories to 500 per day or less. In just 30 to 40 days, many of these popular HCG solutions promise to be able to “reset your metabolism,” change “abnormal eating patterns,” and lose between 20 and 30 pounds.
Carolyn Becker, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research’s Office of Unapproved Drugs and Labeling Compliance, said, “These products are marketed with incredible claims, and people believe that if they are losing weight, HCG must be working.” “These products are marketed with incredible claims,” Becker said. This is just not supported by the evidence, and any weight loss is the result of extreme calorie restriction.” “Not as a result of the HCG.”
The Food and Medicine Administration has approved HCG as a prescription drug for the treatment of female infertility as well as for the treatment of several other medical disorders. Using HCG without a prescription for any purpose is not permitted under FDA regulations. It is not recommended for use in weight loss programs.
As the prescription drug label points out, “there is no substantial evidence that it increases weight loss beyond that achieved through caloric restriction, that it causes a more attractive or “normal” distribution of fat, or that it reduces the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restricted diets.”
Diets with very low-calorie intake are harmful
Living on 500 calories a day is not only unhealthy, but it is also potentially hazardous to one’s health. The creation of gallstones, an imbalance in the electrolytes that are necessary for the healthy functioning of the body’s muscles and nerves, and an irregular heartbeat are all risks associated with such restricted eating plans. This type of restrictive eating can be harmful, and in some cases, even fatal.
Medical practitioners may recommend very-low-calorie diets for patients who are moderate to excessively obese as part of medical treatment to help them manage health concerns caused by obesity, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. However, even in this case, intensive and continual medical supervision is required to guarantee that adverse effects do not become life-threatening.
People on extremely low-calorie diets may not be obtaining enough vitamins, minerals, and — most importantly — protein if they are not under medical supervision. If you want to lose weight, do so gradually and by reducing the number of calories you consume on a daily basis.
If you are taking HCG products for weight loss, you should stop using them, throw them away, and cease following the diet recommendations immediately. Consult with your healthcare expert about a safe and healthy weight-loss plan that is right for your lifestyle.
Reasons why the HCG diet may be dangerous or produce just limited results
Organizations such as the American Society of Bariatric Physicians caution against following the diet, and nutritionists concur that it is harmful. They point out that the diet can be unhealthy for a variety of reasons, including:
- There is little medical assistance. “It is not at all beneficial to your health,” Gans asserts. The author goes on to say that finding “an accredited physician or registered dietitian — the two professionals you should seek out if you need help with weight loss — who would endorse the HCG diet would be nearly impossible to find.”
- Injections That Are Exorbitant Gans warns that the daily HCG injections or pills could be prohibitively expensive. The majority of people purchase hormone tablets on the internet or visit clinics that advertise HCG injections in order to achieve their desired results. Furthermore, according to Weinandy, you must consider whether the injection is indeed what it claims to be and whether it may be damaging in the long run.
- Likely Regaining Your Pre-Pregnancy Weight, once people stop following a diet, they are more likely to gain the weight back again. The following are the most common reasons why people gain weight after they stop drastically restricting their food and calories: The authors of a review published in 2013 in ISRN Obesity discovered that a variety of mechanisms in the body — including changes in metabolism, changes in the body’s hormones, and changes in appetite — work together to counteract calorie restriction, which they believe may explain why many people gain weight after a period of calorie restriction.
- There are only a few food options. Gans explains that because the HCG diet is so calorie-restricted, there are not many fascinating HCG diet recipes available. Typically, your options include a variety of flavor options for staple foods like fish, chicken, turkey, or lean ground beef. Seasonings can enhance flavor and variety while providing zero calories. A large number of the HCG diet recipes are for single servings.
- Long-Term Health Consequences. if you stick to the diet for the required six to eight weeks, you put yourself at risk for a variety of nutritional deficiencies. You could also experience electrolyte imbalances, an irregular heartbeat, gallstones, and other complications, not to mention the additional health hazards associated with hormone manipulation.
The HCG diet has the potential to have both short- and long-term effects
HCG dieters will experience nausea and vomiting in the short term. “Your energy levels will be low. You will feel exhausted after a while. “You are going to be cranky and irritable,” she predicts. Moreover, you will not be able to exercise since you will not be able to consume adequate nutrients, which will prevent you from losing weight and maintaining it over the long run.”
People who follow the HCG diet for an extended period of time may become malnourished. You will not be able to achieve your dietary requirements on 500 calories per day.
The HCG diet promises rapid weight loss, and it may be effective initially because you are consuming significantly fewer calories than you are expelling through exercise. Important to keep in mind is that healthy weight loss takes time and is not always possible through fad diets or quick fixes.
Methods of Taking Human Chorionic Gonadotropin
HCG is normally administered in the form of drops, however, some patients are also prescribed tablets or injections. In reality, only one of these ways is a realistic method of administering HCG, but the advantages are unsubstantiated, and the adverse effects are potentially deadly.
HCG is available in the form of drops that are absorbed “under the tongue” or “sublingually.” A “ceiling” has been established for molecule sizes that can be absorbed orally, and that size is roughly 1500 daltons in circumference (a measure for molecular weight). The molecular weight of HCG is around 30,000 daltons, which is approximately six times greater than the molecular weight of insulin, which is 6,000 daltons.
What is the significance of insulin in this discussion? Insulin cannot be taken orally; it must be administered intravenously. As a result, because HCG’s molecular weight is six times greater than that of insulin, which cannot be taken orally, HCG cannot be absorbed orally as well.
Although it is possible that HCG is present in drop formulations, the protein molecule would pass into the stomach where it would be broken down into little peptides and amino acids by gastric acid—just like your dinner portion of chicken—with no potential for biological action!
HCG can be administered via injection by a licensed physician under the terms of an “off-label” prescription. However, there are risks associated with doing so. This medication has been shown to enhance the likelihood of having multiple pregnancies. Some women who have taken this medication have suffered a disease known as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), which appears to have occurred more frequently after the first treatment cycle. If you have hormone-related cancer, such as a tumor of the breast, ovarian, uterus, prostate, hypothalamus, or pituitary gland, you should avoid using this medication until you have been diagnosed.
In regards to HCG, what do the experts have to say?
Dietary supplements such as HCG, according to the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Trade Commission, and the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery, do not cause weight reduction. Take a look at each of their respective statements below.
What is the FDA’s position on human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG)?
Since 1975, the Food and Drug Administration has regarded the use of HCG for weight loss as fraudulent, and labeling for HCG must indicate as follows: “This product contains HCG.”
HCG is not known to have any effect on fat mobilization, appetite, the perception of being a hunter, or the distribution of fat in the body. HCG has not been shown to be an effective supplementary medication in the treatment of obesity in clinical trials. There is no convincing evidence that it enhances weight reduction above and above that achieved with calorie restriction, that it causes a more attractive or “normal” distribution of fat, or that it reduces the hunger and pain associated with calorie-restricted diets are beneficial.
Has the Federal Trade Commission taken any action?
According to the Federal Trade Commission, the Simeon Management Corporation, Simeon Weight Clinics Foundation, Bariatrics Management Corporation, C.M. Norcal, Inc., and HCG Weight Clinics Foundation, along with their officers, were prohibited from claiming that their HCG-based programs were safe, effective, and/or approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the purpose of weight control. Although the ruling did not prohibit clinics from employing HCG, it did require that patients who signed up for the therapy be advised in writing that they would be informed of the following:
HCG injections are among the weight-loss therapies available. However, the Food and Drug Administration has not authorized HCG for use in the treatment of obesity or weight management since it is not safe and effective. However, there is no strong evidence to support the claims that HCG promotes more weight reduction than that achieved with calorie restriction, that it creates a more attractive or “normal” distribution of fat, or that it reduces the hunger and pain associated with calorie-restricted diets.
What is the view of physicians who have received specialized training in obesity management?
An official policy statement from the American Society of Bariatric Physicians was released in 2009, and it said that:
A large number of clinical investigations have demonstrated that HCG is ineffective at causing weight reduction. In androgen-deficient males, HCG injections can result in a modest increase in muscle mass, according to some studies. According to current understanding and practice, the diet employed in the Simeons approach has a lower protein consumption than would be recommended in most cases. In the medical literature, there are just a few findings that are positive to the Simeons approach; the overwhelming majority of medical publications are unfavorable of the Simeons method. Physicians who use the HCG or the diet prescribed by Simeons may come under fire from other physicians, insurance companies, and government agencies if they do not follow the guidelines.
What have the findings of the HCG research revealed?
There is no advantage to using HCG in the treatment of obesity, according to a meta-analysis of eight randomized controlled studies and sixteen unrandomized controlled trials that examined the efficacy of HCG in the treatment of obesity. As a result, it was determined that there is no scientific proof that HCG is useful in the treatment of obesity; it does not cause weight reduction or fat redistribution, nor does it lower appetite or generate a sense of well-being.
A criteria-based meta-analysis of the impact of human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) in the treatment of obesity using the Simeons therapy was conducted by GK Lijesen et al. The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology published a paper on this topic in 1995: 49:237–243.
Should You Try the HCG Diet for Weight Loss?
The bottom line:
Because of the tremendous dangers involved, no one should attempt it. The diet’s proponents argue that not only is there insufficient scientific evidence to support its claims, but that short-term hunger may put a person at risk for a variety of detrimental health consequences.
Regardless of the method you use to lose weight, you must maintain your efforts or risk regaining the weight you lost. This diet is not sustainable or healthful, and as a result, it is not the ideal option for achieving your weight loss objectives.
Will I regain my weight after participating in the HCG diet?
After completing the HCG diet, you will notice that your hunger has changed, your eating habits have altered, and your physical appearance has changed as a result of the diet. This is an excellent time to begin living a healthy lifestyle in order to continue your weight loss efforts. You will discover that any form of exercise will suffice to keep your body in excellent condition, whether it be yoga, 15 minutes of cardio a day, or anything else that gets your heart pumping. Your metabolism will be altered as a result of your hypothalamus being reset, and you will be able to consume in moderation without feeling the urge to overindulge.
Will I feel hungry if I eat 500 calories per day?
During the first few days, it is usual to experience moderate hunger; however, this will pass, and by the second week, you will find that even very little quantities of food will be totally sufficient. This is due in part to your hypothalamus altering your metabolic rate, but it is also due in significant part to the number of calories circulating in your system as a result of the fat being released from storage. A typical complaint among dieters on the HCG diet is the sensation that they are stuffing themselves in order to achieve the 500-calorie restriction.