Serving Washington State since 2010

The HCG Phenomenon

The popularity of the hCG weight loss program started when author Kevin Trudeau first wrote about it in 2007. People started trying it and were getting amazing results. Before that, hCG was being used by Hollywood actors and socialites who had access to unconventional medical weight loss techniques that work fast. As a result, more and more people have become aware of the hCG diet program because of the success of the diet for tens of thousands of people. It spread rapidly via blogs on the internet and was ranked as the #1 most searched health topic of 2010 according to Google Zeitgeist. There are many people who believe the use of hCG as part of a weight loss program is controversial. This is simply because they do not have a full understanding of how it works with weight loss and how it protects the metabolism. Also they are relying on research for hCG used medically in megadoses as a fertility agent not in the minute doses used for weight loss.

Read following comment from Dr Mercola on HCG weight loss  article from Dr Mercola’s website:

For several years, many have asked me about the HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) diet. It’s time to present you with some information on HCG, but keep in mind that it’s not something I would recommend as a “first-line approach” to achieving your ideal weight.

My first reaction to the HCG diet was one of skepticism, but when one of my primary nutritional mentors and Harvard medical school graduate and natural medicine pioneer Dr. Jonathan Wright found it to be useful in his clinic, it deserved more careful attention so I decided to write a report on it.
You Need to Address the Basics First, Well Before and During ANY Weight Loss Program
The foundation of your nutritional plan should be eating for your Nutritional Type—beginning with taking my Free Nutritional Typing test —then modifying your diet appropriately. I have seen tens of thousands of people successfully lose weight simply by applying these principles. It seems to work for the vast majority of people who try it.

Regardless of your type, you should also be working toward eliminating processed foods,sugar and starches, soda,chemicals and preservatives, etc., and restricting all radically reducing your grains and fruits as their sugars will contribute to the insulin resistance that makes it difficult to metabolize fat properly..  You can also drink plenty of fresh, pure water, which I have covered extensively previously.
Proper Exercise is KEY to Weight Loss
Additionally, you need to incorporate exercise  into your weekly routine if you want to achieve or maintain your ideal body weight. This is every bit as important as what you eat—NO exceptions. Exercise is a critical piece, and not just for fitness and weight but for countless other aspects of your health.

The vast majority of you who are diligent about making the above lifestyle changes will not need the HCG diet—or any other diet, for that matter. But a small percentage of people still struggle to make progress, in spite of having made those changes.

I really can’t stress this enough. The vast majority of you really, truly will not need to resort to any kind of special diet like HCG to lose weight and optimize your health if you’re diligent about making the changes I just mentioned. So please, don’t gloss over them. Really evaluate your current lifestyle and diet to see where you may still be lagging BEFORE you embark on a diet like HCG, or any other.

For example, something as simple as cutting out all soda and sweetened beverages (including diet soda and fruit juices) could easily make excess pounds suddenly fall off you—and that’s just ONE beneficial lifestyle modification.
What if You’re NOT Making Progress—Despite Doing Everything Right?
That said, there are a very small number of you—for whom losing weight will still be a frustration, even after you’ve incorporated all the lifestyle changes I recommend.

This can occur for a variety of reasons, such as:

  • Extreme insulin resistance
  • Endocrine dysfunction (thyroid, adrenal, etc.) and hormonal imbalances
  • Brain/pituitary/glandular disorders or lesions
  • Prescription drugs
  • Toxicity
  • Emotional blockages/trauma

You might never discover the exact reason for your particular difficulty—there could even be a genetic component. If you are among the unlucky few who are losing hope instead of losing fat, don’t give up. HCG may be an option.

Of course, there is one caveat.

As successful as many have been using the HCG protocol as a tool to lose that excess body fat, there are also many who have gained it back.

As with ANY weight loss plan, you must be willing to make permanent lifestyle changes if you hope to keep it off. Otherwise, you will not only put the fat back on in a hurry, but you will stress your metabolism in such a way that it will be even MORE difficult to drop the weight in the future.

The HCG protocol can be a helpful tool. But just realize, there is no magic bullet—it should be used only as a means of accelerating attainment of your goal, and then you must continue making wise nutritional choices on the other end, for the rest of your life.

Additionally, since we are talking about taking hormones here, I strongly urge you to only embark on this diet under the guidance and monitoring of a trusted professional.

With that said, let’s take a look at what HCG is and the theory behind it.
HCG—The “Pregnancy Hormone”
HCG stands for “human chorionic gonadotropin,” which is a large glycoprotein, consisting of 244 amino acids, produced in huge amounts by the placenta during pregnancy.

It’s not technically a hormone, although you will often hear it called one.

HCG’s role is to maintain the integrity of the corpus luteum of a pregnant woman’s ovary in order for her to produce the hormone progesterone, which is essential to her growing fetus. In fact, HCG is actually what is being measured when you do a pregnancy test.

Just to be clear, HCG is not the same thing as HGH—it’s important to not confuse the two.

HGH is human growth hormone, which also lays a major role in your metabolism. However, HGH is produced by your pituitary gland, particularly at night while you sleep, and in response to high-intensity, burst-type exercises that engage your super-fast muscle fibers.

Increasing your natural HGH production is one of the reasons I am such a strong advocate for the incorporation of Peak 8 exercises in your total health plan and especially effective for optimizing weight loss.
It All Began With Dr. Simeons
British endocrinologist A.T.W. Simeons spent 30 years of his life seeking a “cure” for obesity. His research led him to investigating the links between endocrinology, obesity and psychosomatic disorders, eventually concluding that the key to the obesity problem lies within the part of your brain called the diencephalon, which includes your thalamus and hypothalamus.

For a detailed history of Dr. Simeons’ work, you can read his best-known book called Pounds & Inches: A New Approach to Obesity, which is available for free online.

Dr. Simeons’ mission was to find a way to CORRECT the diencephalic deficiency that he believed leads to the accumulation of excess body fat. In an excellent article, Sherrill Sellman, ND, explains that Dr. Simeon’s “Eureka moment” came when he noticed very thin pregnant Indian women delivered healthy full-weight babies, despite their low calorie diets and demanding physical activities.

These pregnant women readily dropped weight with shockingly low dietary intake—but without hunger or any damage to their unborn babies. After much research, he attributed this phenomenon to the abundance of HCG in their bodies.

Simeons hypothesized that HCG was acting on the hypothalamus of these pregnant women, telling it to mobilize maternal fat stores to protect and nourish the developing fetus.

Dr. Simeons’ then observed that obese young Indian boys with a rare medical condition (Frohlich’s Syndrome, or adiposogenital dystrophy) were cured of their obesity with daily injections of small doses of HCG. They miraculously lost their ravenous appetites and their bodies “reshaped” to normal.

These unexpected findings led Dr. Simeons to wonder if HCG could be used to stimulate the breakdown of abnormal fat reserves in non-pregnant women and men, thereby reducing obesity.

So he began experimenting with his patients.

Simeons discovered that daily HCG injections, when combined with a very specific low fat and low calorie diet (500 calories a day), resulted in astonishing weight loss—and in particular, fat loss. In fact, he reported that almost 100 percent of his thousands of test patients lost between one-half pound and one pound of body fat per day, on his protocol.

Could it be that HCG was resetting the hypothalamus?
How Your Hypothalamus Controls Your Weight
Your hypothalamus is a collection of specialized cells located in the central part of your brain, facilitating communication between your endocrine system and your central nervous system. Your hypothalamus is integrally involved in your cardiovascular function, water balance, body temperature, sleep, metabolic processes—and fat storage. Your hypothalamus works in conjunction with your pituitary gland to control ALL of your hormones, so it’s an enormously important part of your body’s overall functioning.

Your appetite and thirst are also controlled by signals sent from your hypothalamus.

If this part of your brain falls out of balance—which happens in response to stress, trauma, toxins, electromagnetic fields, yoyo dieting, etc.—you can experience excessive hunger, impaired metabolism, and accumulation of abnormal fat in various parts of your body such as your abdomen, hips, thighs, upper arms, and waist.

According to Sellman: “The plain, simple fact is that this gland [hypothalamus] does not operate normally in overweight people and probably is compromised to some degree in most people.” When your hypothalamus is misbehaving, you will put on fat regardless of whether you eat excessively, normally or minimally, and no amount of dieting will cause your abnormal fat stores to budge.
Getting Those Buldges to Budge
According to Dr. Simeons, body fat is classified into three categories:

  1. Structural fat: This “good fat” protects your major organs and joints; it is ordinarily NOT burned for energy.
  2. Normal fat reserves: Also “good fat,” this type of fat is spread throughout your body to, ideally, be burned when your body needs immediate fuel. It’s your regular gas tank.
  3. Abnormal stored fat: Also called adipose fat, this type of fat is not needed and is what accumulates when a person becomes obese. It is stored underneath your skin and around your organs as a spare fuel supply, causing those unsightly bumps and buldges. Your body makes this as a final survival strategy should you become malnourished.

(Note: There is no evidence of #2 and #3 in the modern medical literature, which states there are just two types of fat: visceral fat and subcutaneous fat.)

According to Dr. Simeons, during normal dieting, your body will release the good fat—the structural and normal fat reserves—leaving your abnormal fat reserves untouched.

Loss of structural and normal fat leaves the dieter looking and feeling gaunt, saggy and weak from loss of the good fats, along with muscle and water—with no reduction in the “excess baggage.”

And this FURTHER upsets your hypothalamus, which was whacked out in the first place.

So how do you get around this problem?
Getting Your Calories from Your Own Extra Fat Stores
Dr. Simeons theorized that HCG directs your body to hang on to the good fat (the structural and normal fat reserves), while using your abnormal fat for fuel.

This process is kicked into operation with caloric restriction, as your body is sent into an energy deficit by the very low calorie diet. Your body is forced to use your fat reserves for fuel. With HCG, your body transforms your abnormal fat into 1,500-3,000 calories a day of energy and nutrition. The more stored fat you have, the greater the daily fat loss.

According to HCG proponents, people are generally not hungry when they are using HCG because of the calories provided by the burning of these fat reserves. They also claim that the protocol “resculpts” the body into its optimal shape because the bulgy areas are the ones that are reduced.

So, you lose pounds AND inches.

Dr. Simeons also claims HCG recalibrates the hypothalamus—kind of like hitting the “reset” button—so that it’s easier to maintain a healthy body weight once you have achieved it. Of course, this assumes you make permanent lifestyle changes and avoid resuming bad habits.
Other Benefits, Besides a Smaller Waistline
Dr. Simeons reported a number of additional benefits of HCG, besides weight loss and fat redistribution:

  • Reduction in fasting blood sugar for type 2 diabetics
  • Reduction in blood pressure in those whose blood pressure was elevated
  • Reduced triglyceride and cholesterol levels
  • Reduced sugar and carbohydrate cravings
  • Reduction in aches and pains of various origin, including arthritis, and joint improvement
  • Elimination of psoriasis and varicose ulcers
  • Reduced levels of inflammation

Side effects from the HCG injections are rare but there is the rare possibility of temporary water retention, breast swelling and tenderness. The HCG Diet of 500 calories can cause fatigue, constipation, muscle cramps, hunger and low blood sugars but most people report little to no side effects..

The amount of HCG injected (125 IU) is a VERY small fraction of the amount a pregnant woman produces (as high as 200,000 IU).

Because you use HCG in conjunction with a severely calorie-restricted diet, the active phase is limited to either 23 or 40 days, depending on the amount of weight you need to lose. And there are preparatory steps prior to the very low calorie diet, as well as a protocol to follow afterward, as you transition back into a normal eating routine.

It appears that the HCG protocol is relatively safe, provided you follow the established parameters.
What the Research Actually Shows
There remains a fair amount of controversy surrounding the weight loss actions of HCG. Although the preponderance of research studies show no advantage of HCG over placebo, anecdotal stories from people who’ve tried it are quite impressive, ranging from moderate to wildly successful weight loss.

Most clinical trials in which patients received either HCG injections or placebo and followed identical very low calorie diets showed no difference in amount of weight lost, type of weight lost, hunger level, or mood. There are exceptions, but they are few. This may mean that your BELIEF in success is the main operating factor.

That said, I would never discount the power of placebo in achieving your goals!

And giving yourself daily injections would definitely feel like you are doing something pretty extraordinary, not to mention making it quite undesirable to “cheat” on the diet when you’re putting up with jabbing yourself daily with a needle.

Whether the HCG works as theorized or not, I don’t think the protocol is harmful, and there are some very well respected physicians who are prescribing it, with good results.

For the sake of completeness, the following are a few studies I ran across in my research, so that you can decide for yourself if it’s worth a try. On the positive side:

  • W Asher and H Harper. “Effect of human chorionic gonadotrophin on weight loss, hunger, and feeling of well-being.” Am J Clin Nutr. 1973;26(2):211-8This study found more weight was lost in the HCG group than the placebo group; also found hunger was decreased and feelings of well being were greater.
  • Harry A Gusman MD. “Chorionic Gonadotropin in Obesity” Am J Clin Nutr.  1969;22(2):686-695. Dr Gusman had been trying new approaches to weight loss for over 40 years and believe this new approach presented by Dr Simeons is worth pursuing as long as you follow the program meticulously.
  • AT Simeons. “The action of chorionic gonadotrophin in the obese.” Lancet. 1954 Nov 6;267(6845):946-7Not even an abstract was available online, but Dr. Simeons has several studies published back in the 1950s and 1960s that can be ordered in hard copy.

On the negative side:

  • S Lijesen, et al. “The effect of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in the treatment of obesity by means of the Simeons therapy: a criteria-based meta-analysis.” Br J Clin Pharmacol 1995;40:237-243This was a meta-analysis of 8 uncontrolled and 16 controlled trials concluding that there is no scientific evidence that HCG is effective in the treatment of obesity, in terms of fat redistribution, weight loss, suppression of hunger, or increased feelings of well being.
  • FL Greenway and GA Bray. “Human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) in the treatment of obesity: a critical assessment of the Simeons method.” West J Med. 1977;127(6);461-3Researchers concluded, “Placebo injections appear to be as effective as HCG in the treatment of obesity.”
  • RL Young, et al. “Chorionic gonadotrophin in weight control. A double-blind crossover study.” JAMA. 1976;236(22):2495Found no statistically significant difference between subjects receiving HCG and those receiving placebo.

There are numerous other studies, which Naturopathic Doctor Kathryn Retzier has done a good job of outlining here, in her online article.
Oral Versus Injectable HCG
Interestingly, there is a study about oral HCG that showed statistically positive results over placebo.

Dr. Daniel Belluscio, MD, Director of the Oral HCG Research Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, has used oral HCG on 6,540 patients to date. He has conducted and published the results of a double blind, placebo controlled study, comparing a very low calorie diet with and without HCG.

He found patients given oral HCG plus a very low calorie diet had equal weight loss to patients using only the very low calorie diet, without HCG. However, the HCG group showed more reduction in waist circumference, which suggests greater loss of abnormal fat stores. The HCG group also reported better moods.

Beluscio concluded that oral HCG is a viable alternative to HCG injections.

There are a number of homeopathic HCG products that you can take orally, and many practitioners report great success with these as well, with the advantage of not having to give yourself daily injections.  One of my book co-authors, Dr. Pearsall, actually has a site that specializes in homeopathic HCG injections.
The Protocol, in a Nutshell
There are two basic HCG programs, based on how much weight you need to lose:

  1. If you need to lose 15 pounds or less, Dr. Simeons recommended a 23-day series of HCG injections, along with the 500 calorie diet.
  2. If you have more than 15 pounds to shed, there is a 40-day course, along with the same diet.

If you are seriously overweight, you can several rounds of 23 or 40 days, with breaks in between to give your body a rest.

There is also a three-day high-protein, high-calorie “lead-in” to each course of HCG injections, as well as three days of the 500-calorie diet after the last injection of the series. The daily foods consist of carefully weighed lean meats, a choice of several vegetables, and a choice of a fruit (apple, tomato, or grapefruit), in specified quantities.

Final Thoughts and Recommendations
It is important to recognize that there is no “magic bullet” for weight loss .If you are one of the 2/3 of the population that is overweight I would strongly recommend a diet that severely limits grain carbohydrates and all sugars as they tend to increase insulin resistance which will make it virtually impossible to lose weight.

If you are not getting the results you need you might want to consider products that I have found useful like Biothin  and conjugated linolenic acid (CLA), both of which contain safe ingredients and have established science behind them.

Additionally I would be certain to work up to a high intensity exercise program like Peak 8.  Using these two tools should work for the majority seeking to optimize their weight loss. However if these approaches fail, you could continue Peak 8 exercises and consider the HCG protocol.

Clearly, the science behind HCG is not definitive. But that doesn’t take away the fact that it is a tool that seems to have helped quite a few people. When it comes to weight loss, it never hurts to add tools to your tool bag, as everyone is unique and responds differently to various approaches. Remember that it is always a good idea to check in with your health care provider before staring ANY weight loss program.

Whether or not you embark on the HCG diet, here are some important reminders that will be very helpful in the process:

  • Drink plenty of pure water every day.Increased water intake has been shown to accelerate weight loss.
  • Incorporate plenty of exercise, of the right type.
  • Get adequate restorative sleep.
  • Only do the HCG program under the guidance of an experienced professional.
  • Manage your stress. Adopt a technique like (Emotional Freedom Technique), which can help you nip cravings in the bud.
  • Whenever you are reducing weight and breaking down body fat, it’s important to incorporate some sort of detoxification program. Your body fat stores many toxins inside fat cells, and when you break those down, toxins naturally enter your bloodstream and can actually make you feel sick if you don’t take steps to “mop them up.” One of my favorite detox aids is chlorella.
  • In order to maintain your weight once you’ve achieved your goal, eat a diet that’s right for your nutritional type, as discussed earlier.

 

Thousands of people have had great success on the HCG Program!

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