Human chorionic gonadotropin or HCG, is the primary marker used in home pregnancy kits and has been referred to as the “pregnancy hormone.” Home pregnancy kits, test levels of HCG in the urine in order to verify whether the result are negative or positive. This protein-centered hormone is produced by women during pregnancy in the first trimester and then begins to decline. HCG plays a vital role in regulating the production of important hormones estrogen and progesterone, which are crucial to proper development of the fetus and embryo.
In the United States, HCG injections have also been approved for the treatment of certain medical issues for men and women including weight loss as well as fertility.
Pharmaceutical HCG formulas, are prepared from both animal and synthetic sources.
HCG for Testosterone Replacement Therapy
In men, HCG is used as treatment for hypogonadism, a condition associated with the body not being able to produce adequate amounts of the hormone testosterone. The injections can increase the body’s production of testosterone and sperm production, thereby improving fertility.
HCG is often used as a replacement to injectable testosterone in men, undergoing testosterone replacement therapy (TRT) as a result of low-t. Generally, when testosterone blood levels are lower than 300 nanograms per deciliter, the man is considered to be testosterone deficient. In addition to low blood levels of testosterone, there are accompanying symptoms which include:
Most testosterone boosting products carry certain associated side effects after they are stopped, which may include decreased size of gonads, lethargy, infertility and altered sexual function. As a result, doctors often also include HCG as part of the TRT regimen as HCG can prevent of the negative side effects associated with testosterone injections. Additionally, HCG has shown positive results in improving sexual performance in men who are taking testosterone but are not realizing improved sexual function.
It is common for bodybuilders and athletes to use anabolic and/or androgenic drugs. Many doctors agree that getting off androgenic compounds is a long a difficult process, chiefly due to the side effects.
In a recent research study, participants were evaluated on how long it would take for sperm output and pituitary function to return back to normal after stopping androgen use. The research showed that after stopping androgen use, it took 9 months for luteinizing hormone levels to return to normal. Moreover, it took 15 months for sperm output and 19 months for follicle stimulating hormone to normalize.
Today, there is no specific drug protocol has been established that could aid in accelerating recovery time for men who have ceased taking androgens. However, earlier research examined using Human Chorionic Gonadotropin for stimulating the hypothalamic pituitary axis in men who had issues with androgen in the past. As a result of the study, men began using Human Chorionic Gonadotropin as a post cycle protocol to increase their production of testosterone subsequent to androgen cycles.
In men, Human Chorionic Gonadotropin performs as a luteinizing hormone, which promotes Leydig cells located in the testicles resulting testosterone production. Luteinizing hormone also aids in the production of sperm within the seminiferous tubules of the testicles.
Men receiving HCG injections may experience common side effects which include but are not limited to:
The HCG diet is usually monitored by a doctor and includes taking HCG in addition to eating a low-calorie diet with virtually zero fat, and is limited to 500 calories per day.
The HCG diet is broken down into three stages, which include:
Some people on the HCG diet repeat the stages multiple times in order to maximize weight loss. Although you can find many HCG products marketed online and in retail stores.
Critics of the HCG diet claim that there hasn’t been a single substantiated study showing that the hormone has any effect on weight loss. Moreover, critics of the diet claim that the weight loss occurs as a result of the severe calorie restriction. The intake of only 500 calories per day, may put dieters at risk of potentially serious side effects.
Some of the side effects associated with such a calorie restrictive diet include:
The majority of these HCG diet products contain zero actual HCG. Endogenous Human Chorionic Gonadotropin is only available via a prescription from a doctor. In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration banned the sale of herbal, homeopathic and over the counter HCG diet products and classified these products as ineffective and illegal.
Currently in the United States, it is against the law to sell herbal as well as over the counter products that contain HCG. This federal law falls into two violations. The first, is the violation of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. The second, is the violation of the Federal Trade Commission Act.
The only legal form of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin in the U.S. is the injectable form, which must be prescribed by a medical doctor.
On November 27, 2019, the FDA announced that Human Chorionic Gonadotropin will be reclassified as a biologic, which is set to take place on or about March 23, 2020. All drugs that are being reclassified as biologics will require biologics license before they can be compounded. This will impact the availability of HCG throughout functional medical clinics in the United States.