HCG Drops Diet Plan and Introduction to the HCG Hormone
The HCG hormone, or human chorionic gonadotropin, is a hormone that is naturally found in the body of pregnant women, especially in early pregnancy. It plays an important role in growth and development of the fetus, as well as regulating energy metabolism in the mother – even in the absence of sufficient calorie intake, as a protective measure to ensure the fetus receives enough energy, by using up fat stores in the mother’s body. This is in contrast to what the body naturally does with low caloric intake in the absence of the HCG hormone – goes into starvation mode and attempts to build fat stores and hold on to as many calories as possible. This unique characteristic of the HCG hormone is where the HCG drops diet plan originated.
Since the 50s, the HCG hormone has been proposed as a supplemental treatment for weight loss. Combined with a low-calorie diet, a 6 to 8 week course of HCG can aid in dramatic weight loss results in many patients. There are several forms of HCG supplements, including injections and drops, the latter being the main focus of this article.
In this article, we’ll talk about HCG and the HCG drops diet plan in greater detail, look at the normal role is plays in the body, the technical aspects of why it is appealing for weight loss, the use of oral HCG drops, the associated HCG drops diet plan, and similar topics. We’ll also look at other uses of HCG, the HCG drops side effects, contraindications, and other information surrounding this topic, to provide a better understanding of HCG and its potential benefits for individual weight loss programs.
What is HCG?
HCG is a hormone, known as human chorionic gonadotropin. It first starts being produced in the placenta of a fertilized embryo. Levels are highest in the first few months of pregnancy, then steadily decline for the duration of the pregnancy. Typically, they peak around 9-12 weeks following the last menstrual period prior to embryo fertilization and implantation in the uterine lining.
HCG is a protein, like most hormones, made up of amino acids. It plays several roles in regulating various other hormones and related systems in pregnant women. First and foremost, it interacts with the LHCG receptors in the ovaries, and helps to keep the corpus luteum active during the first months of pregnancy. The corpus luteum is a structure that develops following ovulation, from the remains of a follicle that has previously released an egg. Normally, if an egg goes unfertilized, the corpus luteum breaks down after about 10 days, consistent with the normal ovulation and menstrual cycle. When an egg is unfertilized, the uterine lining breaks down and thins, resulting in a menstrual period, consistent with the cease in progesterone production from the corpus luteum. HCG basically short-circuits this process, keeping the corpus luteum active and the uterine lining thick and supportive for the developing embryo.
If an egg is fertilized and implants, the corpus luteum ramps up production of hormones, most especially progesterone, which is responsible for enhancing and thickening the uterine lining, among other purposes, to ensure a rich supply of blood vessels for the developing embryo. The LHCG receptors, triggered by the HCG in the placenta, ensure this progesterone production continues, and the luteum does not break down. Over time, the placenta begins to produce its own progesterone, and by the third month of pregnancy, the corpus luteum tends to no longer be needed and can safely break down.
In non-pregnant women, as well as men, low levels of HCG are present in the sex organs throughout the majority of life, and play a role in regulating reproductive cell production. These levels are several orders of magnitude below what is present in pregnant women. Nevertheless, these low levels are important, and provide a window into how HCG plays other roles in the body, aside from supporting the developing fetus in pregnant women. There are several additional roles of the HCG hormone, which is where the use for weight loss supplementation comes into play, as we’ll explore in more detail in the next section.
Other Roles of HCG Hormone
HCG plays several additional roles during pregnancy, and some of these roles form the basis for the potential uses of HCG in non-pregnant women and men as a supplement – for weight loss and other purposes. Some of these other roles include:
- It is believed that HCG plays a role in repelling the immune cells of the pregnant mother from the fetus during early development. This is in order to protect the fetus, which the immune system could recognize as a foreign invader and activate against, as it is designed to do.
- Additionally, it is thought that HCG helps to generate immunotolerance, at least within the uterus and reproductive system, between the mother and the fetus, as it tends to cause a significant increase in controlled studies in the dissolution or destruction of immune system T cells in the area of the uterine lining, acclimating the mother’s immune system to the presence of the placenta and fetus.
- HCG is believed to play a role in cellular differentiation, from stem cells into more specialized cells.
- The mechanism of HCG hormone in the body with regards to weight loss and nutrition is still not well understood. It has been hypothesized that the weight loss effects from HCG (which tends to preferentially use up fat stores for energy, even when the body is getting few calories and would normally go into starvation mode, hoarding fat) is designed to ensure that the developing fetus receives sufficient energy for the intensive process of cell division and maturation, despite the caloric intake of the mother. Evolutionarily, this makes sense, as the pregnant female’s body takes several steps that are focused on the survival of the fetus, even as it may harm the mother.
- There are many other uses of HCG that have been developed, as discussed in the next section. These uses are artificial, in the sense that they are not part of the normal processes in the body that are directly caused or mediated by HCG, but they may indicate that low levels of HCG hormone are responsible for some triggering of related systems in the body (or, in theory, these alternative uses of HCG would not work).
- Uses of HCG Hormone
Aside from the natural organic roles in the body of HCG hormone, which are almost all focused on pregnancy or cell division/generation, there are many therapeutic uses for HCG.
The most common is as a fertility treatment. Administration of HCG has been shown to cause ovulation in otherwise-fertile females, and therefore it plays an important role in fertilization and implantation of embryos in fertility treatments. In addition to the timing effects (causing ovulation within 30-40 hours of administration), which allow for optimal fertilization, the HCG also immediately triggers the corpus luteum, as in a pregnant woman, to begin thickening the uterine lining. In a very real way, this primes the uterine lining to accept a fertilized embryo, increasing the changes of implantation above “normal,” which is essential for those with difficulty conceiving, undergoing IVF treatment, and similar.
In males, HCG hormone administration can also be used for fertility purposes. HCG triggers testosterone production in the testicles, which in turn triggers sperm production. Men with poor or no sperm counts, due to abnormality or pathologies affecting the testes, can be given HCG to increase their sperm production, and therefore their fertility levels.
Another of the more controversial uses of HCG is recovery and co-administration with anabolic steroids for muscle building and performance enhancement. Normally, steroids have the effect of reducing and shutting down testosterone production, leading to infertility and shrinkage of the testicles in men. HCG administration can be used to offset these effects and preserve testicle function and size. However, long-term use tends to lead to infertility when getting off the HCG, as the body becomes accustomed to the artificial levels of HCG triggering testosterone production, and the normal endocrine production of testosterone-releasing triggers decreases and becomes dormant. Since HCG in this context is almost always associated with steroid use, it is often tested for and banned in professional athletics.
The other, and most relevant use of HCG hormone in terms of our article, is as a weight loss/weight control supplement, as detailed in the next section.
Use of HCG Drops Diet Plan for Weight Loss
The role of HCG as a weight loss supplement was first postulated in the 1950s by a British endocrinologist, Albert Simeons. Through his studies, he found that both pregnant women with low-calorie diets, along with overweight boys suffering from a particular pituitary problem who were being treated with low-dose HCG hormone, were losing fat rather than muscle mass, which is atypical. The body typically uses calorie intake first, then muscle tissue, then fat (when calorie intake is low) – fat is preserved preferentially by the body. The opposite was happening in these cases.
Through his research, he determined that low-dose HCG treatment, coupled with an ultra-low calorie diet, would allow people to lose weight, through a reduction in body fat mass without negative impact to lean tissues such as muscles. This would be ideal for those suffering from excess weight or obesity, for whom diet and exercise alone are not producing sufficient results, as the targeted loss of fat deposits, a desired result, was the main postulated means of action.
The science on these matters has since been disputed, with opinions going back and forth over the years. Some argue that the low calorie diet alone is responsible for weight loss. Others counter that, in normal function, a low calorie diet produces a high amount of muscle wasting for energy, as the body clings to fat stores as a life preserver, and uses them up as a last resort only – which is why starvation diets don’t generally work. HCG seems to overcome this problem. Despite some controversy, many people have sworn by HCG treatment for weight loss, and been able to lose significant amounts of body fat, and keep it off. Nevertheless, there has still been a great deal of dispute, and there are some regulations in some jurisdictions on the sale of HCG in oral or injectable form for weight loss. If considering this option, be sure to check if it’s legal where you live (over-the-counter sale in the United States, for example, is prohibited, and HCG is only available by prescription).
HCG Hormone Injections
One way of using HCG for therapy purposes is through HCG injections. These preparations are only available by prescription in most countries. The dosage is relatively low, as that is what is recommended for weight loss and other positive supplement purposes (typically ranging from 100 to 200 IUs per day for a fixed period of time). They usually contain synthetic HCG that is manufactured with recombinant DNA techniques. They are most often prescribed for fertility issues, but can be used for weight loss purposes as well. Injections are usually self-administered, delivered under the skin in muscle tissue to be absorbed into the body.
However, injections aren’t for everyone – many people don’t like needles, the hassle of storing vials of medication, syringes, and similar. Additionally, as with any injection, there are risks from the injection process alone. For these reasons and others, oral drops, usually administered under the tongue (sublingually), have been developed, usually available over-the-counter in many countries, without a prescription, for the same purposes as HCG injections.
HCG drops for weight loss, and other benefits (as we’ll discuss in more detail in the Benefits and Effects of HCG Therapy section later in this article) are readily available on the market today as an alternative to injections. These are usually administered sublingually, under the tongue, using an eye-dropper-like dosing device, usually included. The amount per day and overall strength varies depending on the vendors interpretation of the HCG drops diet plan, so it is best to check with your doctor or healthcare professional, and heed the information on the bottle in terms of dosing frequency and amount.
HCG drops are generally seen as less effective than injections, as the body naturally has a more difficult time absorbing compounds through digestion than injection. This is one reason why most drops are sublingual, allowing for transfer and absorption (without digestion) of most of the active HCG through the blood-vessel-rich sublingual area. This fast-acting absorption pathway is well-understood, and is used for fast-acting medications such as nitroglycerine tablets for heart patients, anti-anxiety drugs for those with panic disorder or phobias, and similar. Any remaining HCG is either absorbed via digestion or passed out of the body with other bodily waste.
HCG Drops Diet Plan
Both HCG drops and HCG injections for weight loss are designed to work in tandem with an HCG diet plan. For our purposes, as we are focusing on drops, we’ll refer to this as the HCG drops diet plan. The HCG drops diet plan is designed to mimic the most effective observed natural state of HCG hormone concentration in the body – that of low-calorie intake pregnant mothers, where the fat loss was observed in such a dramatic fashion by Simeons in the 1950s. In simple terms, the HCG drops diet plan focuses on an ultra-low calorie diet, at levels that would normally be considered starvation, in order to maximize the fat loss effect. This low calorie intake would normally result in the conversion of muscle mass for energy, rather than fat mass. However, with HCG, muscle mass is maintained and fat loss is accelerated – all the while feeling less hungry than without HCG, according to many proponents of the therapy. It is believed there is an anti-hunger effect (among other positive effects) of HCG, which we’ll discuss in greater detail in the next section.
Typically, the HCG drops diet plan is broken into 3 or 4 phases, roughly as described below. This includes a calorie restriction of 500-800 calories per day (well below the 1,000-1,200 that doctors recommend in extreme cases of obesity and weight loss need). The calories consumed are also important, both from a nutrient standpoint and health standpoint, to achieve maximum effect. This generally includes small portions of lean protein, fruit, and vegetables, in multiple small meals throughout the day. Though individual results will of course vary, some have been able to lose as much as 7 pounds of fat or more per week on this diet plan, augmented with exercise and HCG drops.
The phases of the HCG drops diet plan are as follows:
HCG Drops Diet Plan Phase 1:
Known as the loading phase, this phase allows you to eat whatever you want (though within reason), the goal being to boost fat stores in the short term, and get the metabolism accustomed to large calorie intakes. It serves to prime the body for the reduced calorie intake to come, to optimize the difference between intake before HCG and after. If you already are a big eater and intake large calories, there’s no need to go overboard here – simply enjoy a brief period of continuing your current caloric intake before beginning a serious program of weight loss with HCG.
HCG Drops Diet Plan Phase 2:
The second phase is the main portion of any HCG drops weight loss program. Typically, it runs for 3-6 weeks, depending on the recommendation of your doctor or healthcare professional. Phase 2 sees you reduce your calorie intake while beginning the HCG regimen. Calories are reduced to 500-800 per day. While HCG is thought to help suppress appetite and hunger, it can still be quite challenging for many to get through this period, though discipline will be rewarded. Avoiding stress eating or social situations where you’ll be encouraged to “cheat” is essential, as cheating your calorie limits may very well break the cycle and undo the progress you seek to realize.
And like any diet plan, exercise is essential during this period, and beyond. Diet, exercise, and HCG working together, result in the optimal outcomes. For the duration of the diet plan, and beyond, food sources of calorie energy are recommended to follow healthy principles, as mentioned above – lean protein, fruits, vegetables, eaten frequently in small meals throughout the day.
HCG Drops Diet Plan Phase 3:
The hard work and discipline isn’t over yet! After Phase 2, you stop taking the HCG drops, but continue a reduced-calorie diet. It is generally less extreme than Phase 2, but still needs to be relatively low calorie and made up of healthy foods. Usually, a doctor, weight loss counselor, or other healthcare providers will help, and provide lists of foods for both Phase 2 and Phase 3 of the plan, for optimum results. The goal of this phase is to stabilize weight loss and metabolism again, at a more effective rate, even absent the HCG, transitioning the body from largely burning fat while on the HCG drops, to still burning fat but getting more energy from ingested calories (as the extremely low-level calorie plan during Phase 2 is not sustainable – and quite dangerous – long-term).
HCG Drops Diet Plan Phase 4/Ongoing Maintenance:
Congratulations, you’ve gotten through the toughest parts of the HCG drops diet plan! Phase 4, which is sometimes not referred to as a phase at all, is essentially ongoing maintenance. You need to maintain positive eating habits, at a lower calorie level than before you began the diet plan. Healthier lifestyles, including regular exercise, smart eating, staying hydrated, and getting solid vitamin and mineral nutrients from your food and supplements are the key aspects of this ongoing phase.
Taken as a whole program, the HCG drops diet plan kicks the fat loss process into high gear, provides a meaningful reset to the metabolism, and sets you up for continued weight maintenance or loss on an ongoing basis, without starving yourself as you did in Phase 2, while not gorging on anything and everything as before beginning the treatment.
Uses of HCG with Therapy
HCG therapy for weight loss has many benefits. First, the suppression of hunger, and burning of fat for energy, via HCG, is what enables this plan to work. Otherwise, the low calorie intake would result in a large quantity of muscle wasting and insufficient nutrition or energy to get through your day, let alone exercise. This is key – and it is definitely not recommended to undertake this kind of diet plan WITHOUT using HCG as described, or you very well may be tired, weak, undernourished, and unhealthy.
In addition, there are multiple other reported benefits for HCG supplementation, which are not necessarily directly linked to weight loss, but can be realized during and following the body “reset” of the HCG hormone therapy program. While not all of these benefits have solid scientific studies to back them up, several builds on the natural roles and mechanisms of action of HCG in the body that we’ve discussed in earlier sections of this article. These include:
- Improved energy level in Phase 4, due to the metabolic reset. The body learns to use energy more efficiently during the process, and the better nutrition and calorie intake following this reset helps the body have greater stability in energy levels. This, coupled with weight loss, has also been known to produce an effect of general happiness, better overall mood, and well-being.
- Increased testosterone levels in men, which leads to greater ability to build and tone lean muscle mass, as well as improved libido.
- Muscle toning and sculpting are possible for both sexes, as with HCG, muscles don’t waste and get consumed for energy during the low calorie intake period of Phase 2. Without HCG, muscles would waste considerably, leading to a loss in muscle mass and tone.
- Benefits to other protein-based tissues have also been reported, with improvements to skin elasticity and tone, reduction of wrinkles and other effects of aging, clearing or reduction in skin blemishes, pimples, and similar, and generally appearing healthier.
- Fertility and libido benefits in both men and women from the increased levels of circulating HCG in the body.
- HCG Drops Side Effects, Contraindications, and Warnings
With all these wonderful claims, many people wonder whether or not HCG is safe. The good news is HCG is a natural substance that is found in the body already, and not some foreign chemical concoction. It is already used, in much higher levels, for fertility treatment in both men and women, without any ill effects. Therefore, the HCG drops diet plan can generally be considered as safe. The debates about whether or not it works for weight loss are about the function, and not the safety of the HCG hormone, as it is generally regarded as safe. More than 50 years of history for weight loss at low dose rates has been established the world over with few adverse reactions and no noted long-term effects (when taken at the right dosages and as per the regiments described).
Despite this, like any medications, there are side effects. These are usually mild, and many people do not experience any appreciable side effects from the treatment. However, HCG drops side effects include:
- Stomach bloating or pain
- Nausea or upset stomach
- Shortness of breath
Other side effects have largely been seen in extremely rare cases, and are far more common with injectable versions of HCG than the oral drop form. More severe or noticeable HCG drops side effects, though extremely unlikely, include:
- Menstrual cycle abnormalities – longer or shorter periods, more variable or irregular periods, heavier or lighter periods than normal, etc.
- An increase in acne (though skin-clearing effects are present with HCG, the increased levels of testosterone and progesterone can trigger acne in some people, similar to why it appears at puberty)
- Pain in the ovaries (especially for those with a history of polycystic ovaries or other ovarian conditions)
- Tenderness in the breasts in men and women
More common effects, which are undifferentiated from the HCG vs. the low-calorie diet (especially in Phase 2) include:
- Irritability or mood swings
- Dizziness or light-headed sensations
- Bloating or stomach pain/discomfort
As with all medications and supplements, you should check with your doctor or healthcare professional prior to beginning a treatment regimen. They will review all of your supplements, medications, and health history, to determine if you have any medications or underlying health problems that would contraindicate the use of HCG drops, for weight loss or any other purpose. Always follow your doctor or healthcare provider’s advice to avoid any sort of high-risk or long-term side effects or negative outcomes from the use of supplement programs.
Conclusions About What is HCG
In conclusion, it should be clear that HCG hormone is an important chemical in the body. The pioneering work of linking HCG to low-calorie diets for weight loss is a breakthrough that many people have sworn by over the last 50+ years of widespread use. HCG drops, coupled with the HCG drops diet plan, can effectively help people of all weights lose substantial fat, without losing muscle mass, and set them up for continue, ongoing weight loss, and maintenance, through a healthy diet, long after the HCG drop regimen is discontinued. While there are some noted HCG drops side effects, they are mostly mild, and many people don’t experience any at all. Just be sure to check with your doctor prior to starting any supplement program. With some hard work, and help from HCG, you’ll be on your way to less body fat, and a healthier version of your best self!