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Where to Buy HCG Drops Online 2018

Where to Buy HCG Drops Online

Human chorionic gonadotropin, more commonly called HCG, is a naturally-occurring hormone in the bodies of males and females. It exists at very low levels throughout most of life. In pregnant women, however, it spikes significantly, rising to 50-60,000 times the normal rate of non-pregnant individuals, usually in the first trimester, then decreases back to normal by the end of pregnancy. HCG has several roles to play in the body of both pregnant and non-pregnant individuals. One role is using HCG drops for weight loss. If you're interested in finding out where to buy HCG drops online for weight loss click on the link below:

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One of the secondary roles of HCG seems to be in regulating fat metabolism, and ensuring fat is burned for energy, when caloric intake from diet is otherwise very low. In normal circumstances, the body would then use muscle tissue for energy. However, in pregnant women, it has been observed that their muscle mass stays intact, and instead, fat is burned preferentially for energy. By mimicking these conditions, it is believed that a low-dose course of HCG, combined with a strenuous low-calorie diet and exercise, can help supercharge fat burning and weight loss in non-pregnant individuals. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of this topic, with information about HCG, its role in the body, the various therapeutic uses of HCG supplements, and more. The various preparations (injections and drops) will be discussed. Then, we’ll look at the critical diet plan that complements HCG therapy for fat burning and weight loss, as well as the potential side effects. Last but certainly not least, we’ll highlight some of the key manufacturers of HCG products, looking at where to buy HCG drops – and more specifically, where to buy HCG drops online.

Background Briefing on HCG

where to buy hcg drops onlineAs we briefly touched on above, HCG is a hormone common to humans. It is present at low, low levels in healthy men and women for the majority of their lives. The levels spike in pregnant women during the first trimester of pregnancy, as it is starts being produced by the placenta of the developing embryo shortly after it implants, or attaches, to the uterine wall. The levels peak around 12 weeks after the last menstrual period before becoming pregnant, and it is often used as one of the markers to detect pregnancy via home pregnancy kits. HCG plays multiple roles in the body, both in pregnant and non-pregnant women. The primary role and function in pregnancy are in regulating and triggering other hormones and systems, to ensure proper support and development of the fetus in the uterus. This is specifically accomplished by binding to the LHCG receptors in the ovaries. This binding helps to keep the corpus luteum active during the first months of pregnancy. Without getting too technical, the corpus luteum is a structure that develops following ovulation, from the remains of a follicle that has previously released an egg, inside the ovary. When an egg goes unfertilized, the corpus luteum breaks down after about 10 days. The uterine lining breaks down and thins, resulting in a menstrual period, and one of the triggers that allow this is the cessation of progesterone production.

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HCG basically short-circuits this process, keeping the corpus luteum active and the uterine lining thick and supportive for the developing embryo. In the case of egg fertilization, it is imperative to keep the corpus luteum active, and thus ensure the uterine lining is being stimulated with progesterone so that it thickens and presents a large number of blood vessels to nourish the placenta and fetus. Many miscarriages in early pregnancy, especially in those with fertility issues, happen because of malfunctions in this system, with the uterine lining shedding due to progesterone production being shut down, leaving the embryo with no chance to implant or develop. When things work correctly, the luteum does not break down until later on in pregnancy. 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 and “hand off” that role to the placenta. For non-pregnant individuals, the levels of HCG are orders of magnitude lower. They mostly interact with the sex organs and reproductive system. In women, HCG acts as a signal to trigger ovulation. In men, HCG is responsible for triggering testosterone production in the testes, which in turn is responsible for controlling sperm production. It is clear, to this point, though, that none of this has anything to do with weight loss or burning fat. For that, we have to look at the other roles of HCG in the body, both in pregnant and non-pregnant people. Some of these other roles include:
  • HCG plays a role in protecting the fetus from the mother’s immune system, which would otherwise attack it as an invader.
  • Additionally, HCG has a key role in cell differentiation, both in pregnancy and adults, helping stem cells differentiate into more specialized types of cells in the body.
  • The fat burning, weight loss aspect of HCG is thought to be an evolutionary development. It helps ensure that, regardless of the caloric intake of the mother, the fetus is still getting sufficient energy. The burning of fat instead of muscle is not what would typically happen in the case of low caloric intake, so this is thought to be a protection mechanism for the unborn child.

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Therapeutic Uses of HCG

There are three main categories of therapeutic uses for HCG supplementation. These are:
  1. Fertility treatment. HCG triggers ovulation in 30-40 hours in women, and thickens the uterine lining. This can be used to optimize the chances of fertilization and/or implantation, including in the cases of IVF and artificial insemination. It can also be used to increase fertility in men, by increasing testosterone and sperm production.
  2. Complement to anabolic steroid use. Steroid use tends to diminish testosterone production, shrinking the testicles in men and damaging or even eliminating their fertility. Taking HCG during or after a course of anabolic steroids can help reverse this effect. However, taking HCG for too long will lead to more serious effects, as the body gets used to the artificial testosterone stimulation and stops triggering its own HCG-based production.
  3. Weight loss aid. That topic is the focus of our next section of this article.

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HCG for Weight Loss

As we’ve touched on in previous sections, the role of HCG in weight loss – specifically fat burning – was first noted in pregnant mothers with low caloric intake. A British endocrinologist, Dr. Albert Simeons, first put forth this idea in the 1950s. He believed that the clear role in fat burning (instead of muscle wasting) in expectant mothers with low calorie intake could be mimicked in non-pregnant individuals. Using low doses of HCG and a seriously low-calorie diet, he believed, could help non-pregnant individuals, men or women, to burn fat and lose weight, while preserving muscle mass.

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It would be unfair to characterize this method of action as universally accepted, however. The science has been heavily debated – while the safety of HCG has never been in question, the efficacy in weight loss has. Some argue that the weight and fat loss that is seen in patients is merely the result of the low calorie diet, focus on good sources of calories, and exercise, which is part of the HCG diet plan. Others argue that they have tried virtually identical diets and exercise routines without HCG, and did not attain the results of weight loss (and then maintained the weight loss) until using HCG. Regardless, millions of people around the world swear by HCG as a fat burning and weight loss aid. It can be provided in the form of injections (by prescription), or in non-HCG precursor or analogues in oral liquid drop form, which does not require a prescription. We’ll briefly discuss the injections, but the main focus of our article, and advice on where to buy HCG drops online, naturally focuses on HCG drops, not injections.

HCG Injections

The original therapy that Simeons developed was based around HCG injections. Today, these are only available by prescription, and usually off-label – the primary use is for fertility enhancement, as we’ve previously discussed. HCG injections typically deliver 100 to 200 IUs of HCG into the body, via subcutaneous (under the skin) injection once daily. These are usually self-administered at home. However, there are a number of issues with these injections for weight loss use. For one, it’s an off-label use, and not every doctor will necessarily prescribe them for weight loss purposes. For another, injections aren’t for everyone – many people don’t like needles, the hassle of storing vials of medication, syringes, and similar. The injection process itself presents further risks, such as infection, needle breakage, etc. Therefore, oral drops, which are sold over the counter without a prescription, are typically seen as much safer and much more desirable for most people.

HCG Drops

HCG drops do not contain actual HCG (that’s illegal in almost all countries). Rather, they contain chemical precursors and analogues that trigger increased production of HCG in the body. The dosage amount and frequency vary from formula to formula, so always follow the dosing instructions from the label and your doctor or healthcare provider.

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It is sometimes argued that drops are less effective than injections, as in the case of injections, the medication is delivered right into the body, then absorbed into the bloodstream and circulated. This is in opposition to oral drops, which can be broken down in the digestive process, and may not deliver the same level of medication into the bloodstream. While this may be empirically true, most manufacturers of HCG drops have tailored their formulas to ensure maximum absorption via their stated dosing method – whether digestion, into a glass of water or sublingually (under the tongue). If label instructions and doctor’s advice are followed, there is no reason why HCG drops should be seen as inferior to injections – especially given all the drawbacks of injections that we’ve discussed above.

HCG Diet Plan

hcg dropsA key aspect of the efficacy of HCG, whether in injection or drop form, stems from the associated diet plan. You see, you don’t just start taking HCG drops for an indefinite amount of time, or without proper diet preparation. The effect requires mimicking the conditions of low caloric intake pregnant women, as we’ve previously discussed. This means a strict diet plan needs to be followed. Most diet plans are similar in this regard, though may vary in the exact details and duration by manufacturer or formulation. Additionally, some of the variables may be set by a doctor or healthcare professional, to best suit your needs. In all cases, the below information is merely a broad sketch of what the typical HCG diet plan looks like, and patients should defer to both their own doctors and the label advice from the manufacturer of their particular HCG drops for the details.

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The phases of the HCG diet plan are as follows:

Phase 1:

Sometimes called the “loading phase,” this portion of the diet plan typically lasts for a week or two at most. It is characterized by eating generous amounts of whatever foods you normally eat, with the goal of topping off your fat stores and getting your metabolism used to large caloric intake. This maximizes the effect of Phase 2, when caloric intake is drastically reduced. There is no HCG drop or injection administration in this phase.

Phase 2:

In Phase 2, the HCG injections or HCG drops are used. Caloric intake is cut to 500-800 calories a day, from good calorie sources. This phase typically lasts from 3 to 6 weeks, depending on the program, dosage, doctor’s advice, etc. Importantly, in this phase, you reboot your metabolism, while the HCG helps consume fat for energy. As with most diet plans, HCG is not a miracle cure for weight loss. Proper diet and exercise are essential as well. The calorie count matters, but so does the sources of calories. These should include lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes, eaten in small portions, several times a 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.

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Phase 3:

In Phase 3, which usually lasts 1-2 weeks, the HCG is stopped, and calories are slightly increased – though still well below the levels of Phase 1 or prior to starting the routine. Typically, calorie amounts in this phase are 1,000 to 1,200, from the same sources as before. The goal of this phase is to stabilize weight loss and metabolism again, at a more effective rate, so that you can sustain weight loss and maintain the weight you’ve lost.

Phase 4:

Phase 4 is essentially ongoing maintenance for the rest of your life. You can return to eating a reasonable number of calories from good sources, staying at or below the daily recommended caloric intake. Exercise is critical as well. If results don’t seem to last, additional rounds of the diet program can be conducted – again, assuming your doctor approves. The goal is to maintain your healthy habits, and eat a much more reasonable 1,500-2,000 calorie normal intake, but from good, low-fat, healthy sources.

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Benefits and Results

There are many benefits to the HCG therapy, that diet and exercise alone cannot provide. For one thing, starvation-level calorie intakes would normally be physically painful and debilitating. HCG helps ensure you are still getting sufficient energy, through a breakdown of fat tissue. Another important benefit is that the HCG and low-calorie diet works to reset your metabolism – many people see increased rates of metabolism for months or years after their HCG diet plan (Phases 1-3) is over, and they’re in Phase 4. In addition, there are many other reported benefits. These may or may not be linked to the weight loss itself, or the effects of the better diet, exercise, and HCG, but have been widely reported by patients on the HCG diet plan. These include:
  • Increased and more consistent energy levels.
  • An effect of general happiness, positivity, and well-being.
  • Increased testosterone levels in men, leading to easier muscle mass gains, along with increased sex drive.
  • Both men and women gain further benefits to muscle toning and sculpting, as the body naturally works to refill the space vacated by the fat deposits, and new muscle mass can grow into replace it.
  • Skin benefits, including diminishing wrinkles/other age-related appearance issues, reduction in blemishes, pimples, etc., and generally more youthful-looking skin have all been reported.
  • Fertility and libido improvements are noted in both men and women.

HCG Side Effects

HCG is a naturally-occurring hormone, and therefore is generally considered safe. The levels used for HCG weight loss therapy are between 3,000 and 6,000 times lower than the peak concentrations in a pregnant woman’s body. Therefore, HCG is usually well-tolerated, and many people experience NO side effects whatsoever from their HCG weight loss therapy program. However, all medications have a risk of side effects. The most common (though still rare) side effects from HCG drops include:
  • Stomach bloating or pain
  • Nausea or upset stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
Rarer still are more severe or noticeable side effects, which have happened in a very small number of cases. These tend to be more common with injections than with drops. These effects include:
  • Menstrual cycle irregularities
  • Acne breakouts
  • Pain in the ovaries
  • Tenderness in the breasts in men and women
The most common effects people notice when doing the HCG diet plan, which may be caused by the HCG, the low calorie intake, or both, are:
  • Irritability or mood swings
  • Dizziness or light-headed sensations
  • Headaches
  • Bloating or stomach pain/discomfort
Patients are once again reminded to check with their doctor prior to starting any kind of supplement regimen. It is possible that a health condition, existing medication, or other supplements you are taking could interact negatively with the HCG, and your doctor or healthcare professional is in the best position to recognize and know that, and advise you accordingly.

Where to Buy HCG Drops Online

Naturally, from all of the above information, many people will want to try an HCG drops regimen for weight loss, and are curious as to where to buy HCG drops. Like many things these days, they are readily available on the internet. But where to buy HCG drops online? Many sites seem sketchy and appear untrustworthy. Fortunately, some of the most popular manufacturers of HCG drops sell directly on their own sites. Here, we’ll highlight 4 key manufacturers, and provide some basic information on buying HCG drops online from these manufacturers, including pricing and options.

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As always, it’s worth noting that this information is subject to change. Many e-commerce sites change prices or availability on a regular basis, as well as offer discounts and promotions. The information contained below is current and accurate as of this writing, but may no longer be so when you are reading this. For the most accurate and up-to-date pricing in your quest to buy HCG drops, the best bet is to check the various manufacturer sites yourself and jot down the prices that are current at that time, before making a purchase decision. It is also worth pointing out, when considering where to buy HCG drops online, that the lowest price is not always, necessarily, the best option. Each of these companies has different formulations and approaches to their programs, and we’ll try to highlight some of the key facts and notable information that distinguishes one from another in our list below.

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Other Supplements

HCG Drops for Weight Loss

HCG Drops for Weight Loss

HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, is a hormone that is found in the body at low levels for the majority of life, and at very high levels in the first trimester of pregnancy in women. Its main role in pregnancy has to do with hormonal support to various parts of the reproductive system, to ensure the fetus develops in a healthy way. It is also believed to play a role in the fat metabolism of the mother, ensuring she burns fat for energy to supply her and the fetus. In this article, we’ll provide some of the background on what HCG is and what it does in the body, talk about HCG drops (one of the forms of HCG available for consumers as a supplement). HCG drops for weight loss, and answer some burning questions about HCG drops and the associated HCG drops diet plan, including “What do HCG drops do for you?”, “Are HCG drops safe for weight loss?”, and, “How much weight can you lose on the HCG diet?”, Real HCG drops vs "fake" HCG drops, among other topics.

HCG Hormone Background

HCG is an abbreviation of the name of a hormone, human chorionic gonadotropin. This hormone normally exists in very small amounts in males and females. It increases significantly in pregnant females, as it begins being produced by the placenta once a fertilized egg implants in the uterine wall. The levels increase to 50-60,000 time the normal level during the first trimester of pregnancy, then decreases as the pregnancy continues and afterwards, back to normal levels. The role of HCG in pregnancy and fetal development has to do with regulating other hormones and systems in the body – the fat burning mechanism is secondary, and we’ll get to that a bit later. First, in pregnant women, HCG is bound to the LHCG receptors in the ovaries, allowing continued production and release of progesterone through the first months of pregnancy. Progesterone (and a few related hormones that are also released) is essential for thickening and developing the uterine lining, which is necessary to supply blood and nutrients to the developing fetus. When an egg is released, and no fertilization occurs, this process shuts down, as the uterine lining is shed in the menstrual cycle. When one implants, and HCG production begins, the process continues for several months. Eventually, the placenta itself takes over production of progesterone and other hormones, and then the process in the ovaries shuts down, around the time the HCG levels start to drop – typically around the end of the first trimester. Aside from pregnancy, men and women have HCG circulating at low levels all the time, and their role relates to the sex organs. They serve as chemical triggers for ovulation in women and producing testosterone in men, thus governing sperm production in the testicles. 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.

Roles of HCG in the Body

In addition to the progesterone production trigger role discussed above, HCG has several other roles in the body, both of pregnant women and non-pregnant women and men. These include:
  • HCG is thought to protect the developing fetus, by repelling the immune cells of the mother during early pregnancy. These cells would otherwise see the fetus as a potential invader and activate the immune system against it. HCG chemically helps to prevent them from attacking the fetus.
  • A similar complementary function is believed to exist as well. Studies conducted with HCG have shown that it helps foster immunotolerance between fetus and mother – that is, it helps to acclimatize the mother’s immune system T cells to recognize the fetus is not a foreign invader, and to trigger the T-cells in the uterus to dissolve or breakdown rather an attack the fetus.
  • In both developing fetuses and normal human tissues, it is widely understood that HCG plays a role in differentiation, the process by which stem cells in the body evolve into more specialized types of cells.
  • The role of real HCG drops for weight loss comes from how HCG is thought to help protect the developing fetus in a pregnant mother. It has been observed and studied (as we’ll touch on later) that pregnant mothers with near-starvation levels of calorie intake tend to lose body fat for energy, rather than muscle mass. Normally, muscles break down first, preferentially, over fat, as the body attempts to hold on to fat deposits as a last resort. But HCG in pregnant women seems to target fat for energy, thus protecting the mother’s muscle mass, and still providing needed energy for the developing fetus (and mother) from fat stores. So are HCG drops safe for weight loss? When a woman is pregnant her HCG are much higher than someone on the HCG Diet and they seem fine.

What are the Uses of HCG Supplements?

There are several uses for real HCG drops in therapies and treatments for various problems, which includes the use of real HCG drops for weight loss. These uses include:
  • Fertility Treatment
  • This is the most common use of HCG supplementation.
  • HCG triggers ovulation in healthy, fertile females, as well as the development and thickening of the uterine lining.
  • HCG has well known effects in causing ovulation to occur within 40 hours of administration of a fertility supplement dose, and can, therefore, be used to maximize the changes for fertilization or embryo implantation in IVF or other fertility treatments.
  • It can also be used in males, as it triggers the production of testosterone in the testicles, which governs sperm production. Therefore, men who suffer from low sperm counts, poor sperm quality, or absent sperm production due to abnormalities or disease pathologies can often have their fertility restored or improved with HCG supplementation.
  • Anabolic Steroid Supplement/Recovery
  • Real HCG drops and injections have also been used by athletes who have taken performance-enhancing anabolic steroids, to combat some of the effects of the steroids.
  • In particular, male athletes on steroids tend to have their testosterone production decreased and shut down, which leads to the characteristic testicular shrinking and impacts fertility.
  • HCG use is common to offset this, preserving or restoring testicle function and size.
  • Long-term use in this way is a bad thing, however, as the body gets used to the higher levels of testosterone, and stops triggering its own natural production.
  • HCG use by athletes only has this particular function, and is therefore used as a marker as to whether or not an athlete has been illegally using steroids, many of which are long out of their system before they would be tested.
  • HCG Drops for Weight Loss. So are HCG drops safe for weight loss? If they use it for all these reasons, what are your thoughts?
The key role of supplemental real HCG drops and injection therapy for our purposes is weight loss. This mechanism was first observed, as mentioned above, in pregnant women, by a British endocrinologist in the 1950s, known as Dr. Albert Simeons. He hypothesized the role in preserving muscle mass, and preferentially burning fat in pregnant women, could easily be applied to non-pregnant women and men, with a low dose course of treatment with HCG, as well as a low-calorie diet program. This program was designed to mimic the low calorie intake situations he observed in the pregnant women in India that were his inspiration for this research. Many of whom were near the starvation level in terms of calorie intake, yet their muscles tissues weren’t wasting – their fat was being consumed, which is most unusual in the normal metabolism of the body. Though the science has been contested over the years, literally millions of people the world over have used this technique with the HCG diet and HCG drops for weight loss – fat loss, most importantly – while preserving their muscle tissue. While some say HCG plays no role, and it is merely the low calorie diet that has the effect, others disagree. Normally, a low-calorie starvation diet has the opposite effect – the body seeks to hold on to fat stores, and starts burning muscle tissue first for energy. This doesn’t happen when using HCG drops for weight loss, and the body goes straight for fat tissue instead. Thus, using HCG drops for weight loss has become a viable therapy option for many who are seeking to lose weight, especially fat. It doesn’t work miracles, and only is meant to be used with the corresponding diet in order to achieve metabolism reset and fat burning effects, along with setting up patients for good long-term eating habits and health. For these purposes, both HCG injections and HCG drops have been developed. We’ll briefly cover injections, but the main focus of the balance of this article is about HCG drops for weight loss. Questions answered will include: Are HCG drops safe for weight loss? How much weight can I lose on the HCG Diet? What do HCG Drops do for you?

HCG Injections

HCG injections were the initially-developed treatment method by Simeons for weight loss. In most cases today, these injections are only available by prescription in most places. They contain 100 to 200 IUs, typically, of HCG, taken once daily for a period of time corresponding with the HCG diet, as we’ll talk about in more detail below. They are usually self-administered into muscle tissue or just under the skin. These aren’t ideal though for many people. Between the aversion to needles many have, as well as the complex injection method, having to store vials and syringes in the home, then dispose of them safely, etc., it can be far too much for many people to deal with. Plus, there are always risks with any injection (even of saline), such as having the needle break, accidentally puncturing a vein or artery, etc. Therefore, oral drops were developed, and have become the therapy option of choice for many people looking to burn fat and lose weight.

How Do HCG Drops Work?

How do HCG drops work? What do HCG drops do for you? Are HCG drops safe for weight loss? Unlike an injection, real HCG drops are administered orally. Usually, they are designed for sublingual administration – this means they are dropped under the tongue and held there for a brief period, rather than being directly swallowed. However, there are some that are designed to be swallowed, added to water, etc. The main reason for sublingual administration is that it is believed to get more of the HCG into the bloodstream. Digestion can have quite variable absorption of any compounds, including HCG. The sublingual area is well-known for the high concentration of shallow blood vessels, and is used as a route for fast-acting medication uptake, such as nitroglycerine tablets for heart patients. The principle is the same with real HCG drops for sublingual administration. Of course, this is only the means of getting the HCG into the body. What it actually does for you, and how that works with the diet plan, are the keys to weight loss and fat burning.

Real HCG Drops vs "Fake" HCG Drops

Before we dive into those topics, however, we should discuss the importance of understanding the difference between "fake" HCG drops and real HCG drops. The FDA has banned the use of real HCG drops for weight loss. So if the FDA has banned them then are HCG drops safe for weight loss? Despite proven weight loss for thousands of people no study large enough has been completed for the FDA to review and approve. Pharmaceutical companies have very deep pockets and can afford to pay for large studies like this but unfortunately there is not the same kind of money backing HCG drops for weight loss. For this reason providers that offer HCG drops for weight loss have formulated nutraceutical alternatives that have the same effective characteristics of real HCG drops. Those that offer real HCG drops for weight loss are either being dishonest and using a nutraceutical alternative or are risking themselves to serious legal and even criminal actions. We have been in the industry for many years offering both HCG shots as well as HCG drops in a nutraceutical format and we have seen the FDA make examples of people selling real HCG drops online. As crazy as it sounds the FDA takes the same actions on them for selling HCG drops as the do with others selling illegal drugs. So you must ask yourself the question, do I want to buy real HCG drops knowing that the person behind the website is conducting illegal business transactions? Are HCG drops safe for weight loss from their source? We'll let you decide.

HCG Diet Plan

Whether you’re using HCG injections or real HCG drops, both therapies are only designed to work with an HCG diet. Absent the diet plan, HCG is unlikely to have much effect on weight loss or fat burning potential. The diet plan is a necessary part of the program, to convince the body of the need to burn fat for calories, which allows the HCG to then mediate that process, while protecting muscle mass. At the most basic level, the HCG diet plan is a super low-calorie diet, ranging from 500-800 calories during the most restrictive phase. Normally, this would result in starvation, muscle wasting, and preservation of fat in the body. The HCG prevents this, burning fat stores instead. It is also believed to have appetite-suppressing effects, meaning with HCG diets, patients don’t feel nearly as hungry as they would with a comparable diet alone. The diet plan is 3 phases, with a 4th, ongoing maintenance, coming at the end, being the default state after completing the diet plan and HCG treatment. Dosage rates vary, and you should always follow your doctor’s recommendation and the label information on how much real HCG drops should be taken, in what method, and how frequently. The phases of the HCG diet plan are as follows:

Phase 1:

Sometimes called the loading phase, this is the most enjoyable part of the diet plan. For a short period, usually a week or so, patients are advised to eat whatever they want. The goal is to top off fat stores in the body, and get the metabolism used to having lots of extra calorie intake, which sets the stage for the changes and effects of HCG that are to come in the subsequent phases.

Phase 2:

This is where things start to get tough. The second phase is when the HCG drops for weight loss are used. This is also where the calorie restriction comes into play. The duration of this phase will vary, usually 3 to 6 weeks as recommended by a doctor. While you may be tempted to cheat, it is highly advised you don’t – it will mess with your metabolism and can erase the whole purposes of following this diet plan and using the HCG drops for weight loss! Also, much like any diet, exercise is part of losing weight, burning fat, and keeping it off. Think of diet and exercise as the bases of a pyramid, with HCG being the point at the top – bringing the whole thing together. Even after this part of the diet plan is over, it is important to stick with good diet and exercise, including good sources of calories, like lean protein, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes, eaten regularly, in several small meals throughout the day.

Phase 3:

In the third phase, you stop taking the HCG drops for weight loss, but continue on a restricted diet. It may not be as low as in the second phase, but is still below the level of a “normal” daily caloric intake. Specifics should be worked out between you and your doctor or nutritionist, but in general Phase 3 usually features a similar diet to Phase 2, just with a calorie limit of 1,000-1,200 calories rather than 500-800. The goal of this phase is to stabilize weight loss and metabolism again, balancing the reboot of your metabolism from the diet plan with a more sustainable, non-starvation intake of calories. Duration is variable depending on a doctor or healthcare professional’s advice, though usually is at least a few weeks in length.

Phase 4/Ongoing Maintenance:

Phase 4, which is sometimes not called a phase at all but merely maintenance, is everything that comes after the HCG diet. Basically, your metabolism has now been reset, and you’ve become accustomed to eating good sources of calories and exercising regularly. These habits need to persist indefinitely, in order to continue losing weight, burning fat, and keeping it off. Eat well, stay hydrated, and get your nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and supplements so you can stay healthy, energized, and looking great!

So What Do HCG Drops Do For You?

The role of the HCG drops (or injections) and what do HCG drops do fro you in the diet plan is to essentially force the body from starvation mode into fat-burning mode. As discussed previously, the body normally holds on to fat stores with a vengeance when being deprived of sufficient calories from food. This is a survival mechanism. It instead starts to burn muscle tissue and break that down for energy. Without HCG drops, that’s what would happen. With the real HCG drops or nutraceutical HCG drops, the fat burning can be triggered, burning unwanted fat deposits in the body, while protecting your muscle mass from wasting or consumption for calories. There are also several additional answers to the question of, “What do HCG drops do for you?” These may not be the primary effects of HCG, but are nice added benefits that can be realized with HCG treatment, and have been reported by a number of patients in the past. Some argue that many of these effects are the result of losing weight and eating better, and that HCG plays no role. Others who have tried similar diets without HCG, and then later one with HCG, argue the opposite – that HCG is essential. Regardless, these additional effects include:
  • Increased energy level, as the metabolism becomes reset and is more efficient at using calories and fat for energy.
  • Improved mood, decreased irritability, general happiness and a greater sense of well-being.
  • Increased testosterone levels in men, leading to greater sexual stamina and libido, as well as an ability to gain lean muscle more easily.
  • Improved ability to tone and sculpt muscles in both sexes.
  • Positive effects on protein-based tissues and systems like the skin, with a reduction in blemishes, pimples, wrinkles, and other aging effects, for a more healthy, youthful appearance.
  • Boosts to fertility and libido in both sexes.

Are HCG Drops Safe for Weight Loss?

Of course, some of this sounds too good to be true to many people, and they naturally assume there must be terrible side effects or risks with real HCG drops. Nothing could be further from the truth. The answer to the question, “Are HCG drops safe for weight loss?” is a resounding yes! Yes HCG drops for weight loss are safe. As discussed earlier, there has been some controversy on their effectiveness in burning fat and realizing weight loss goals over the years, but never has this controversy had anything to do with the safety of the hormone. HCG is naturally present in the body, and pregnant women have up to 60,000 times more than the normal level of non-pregnant people (and 3-6,000 times more than the average daily dose regimen for weight loss or fertility purposes). Of course, after answering the question about, Are HCG drops safe for weight loss, there are some potential side effects, as with any medication or supplement. These are generally mild and rare, as many who use HCG drops for weight loss, or even HCG injections, do not experience any side effects. In general, HCG drops for weight loss tend to have fewer potential side effects than injections, as the added potential problems and side effects from injections (such as skin reactions, pain, needle breakage, etc.) are eliminated.

HCG drops side effects include:

  • Stomach bloating or pain
  • Nausea or upset stomach
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Shortness of breath
Rarer still are more serious or noticeable side effects, including:
  • Menstrual cycle irregularities
  • Acne breakouts (due to increased testosterone levels)
  • Ovarian pain, especially in those with a history of polycystic ovaries
  • Tenderness in the breasts in men and women
Side effects that are not conclusively linked to HCG drops vs. the low-calorie diet alone include:
  • Irritability or mood swings
  • Dizziness or light-headedness
  • Headaches
  • Bloating or stomach pain/discomfort
Patients are reminded to always check with their doctor or healthcare professional if they experience any serious symptoms while on an HCG supplement regimen. You should also review all supplements, medications, health conditions, and health history with your doctor or healthcare professional prior to beginning a supplement program or a starvation-type diet, as there may be contraindications that make it unsuitable for you.

The Big Question – How Much Weight Can I Lose on the HCG Diet?

If you’ve read this far, you must be dying to know, just how much weight can you lose with HCG drops? Like any diet or supplement program, individual results will vary. However, many people have seen between 7 to 10 pounds of fat loss a week during Phase 2 of the program, and continued weight loss afterward. Total loss over a period of 3-4 months (the typical longest duration from Phase 1 to Phase 4) often runs from 30 to as much as 80 pounds. What’s more, the changes to the metabolism and forced better eating habits from the program live on far after the HCG drops are discontinued, meaning additional, steady weight loss at more sustainable levels, and maintenance of a lower weight, are quite common for many years after an HCG drops regimen and diet program.

What is Beta-Alanine?

Beta-Alanine Food

Beta-alanine is what is known as a beta amino acid, which is simply an amino acid with a slightly different layout as to the location of the amino group. Amino acids are essential for constructing and activating protein molecules in the body. Beta-alanine is a constituent of Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), as well as other compounds. It is synthesized naturally in the body and is a regulator of carnosine (another amino acid). Carnosine is very useful in preventing muscle fatigue and allowing for muscle work, which gives a hint as to the uses and benefits of beta-alanine supplementation, as discussed in more detail in the next section.

What are the Uses or Benefits of Beta-Alanine Supplements?

Beta-alanine is primarily taken as an athletic of fitness supplement. It is a regulator of carnosine in the body, and greater levels of beta-alanine allow for the greater synthesis of carnosine. Carnosine has been shown to have a significant impact on the ability of muscles to do work, both delaying the onset of fatigue and in terms of overall total work done. This translates to greater performance, training duration, and slower fatigue when working out. Carnosine itself is not an ideal supplement, as the digestion process breaks it down into its constituent parts, of which only around 40% is beta-alanine. Thus, supplementation with beta-alanine is the preferable method to increase carnosine levels in the body, as it does not break down in digestion, leaving the full volume to be used by the body in carnosine synthesis.

Additionally, there is some preliminary data to suggest that these same effects may help older people avoid falls or other typical injuries, which in the elderly are often the proximate cause of hospitalization or death. These uses have not yet been firmly established, whereas the muscle fatigue uses described above are fairly well-understood by comparison.

What is the Typical Dosage?

Most studies have suggested that the ideal dosage for beta-alanine supplementation for athletes, physical training, or muscle performance is 3.2 to 6.4 grams daily, maximum. It is usually provided in capsule or tablet form, with recommendations to take shortly before beginning a high-intensity workout. Tablets are typically 800 mg or so in strength, meaning they may be taken a few times a day at most. Beta-alanine may also be provided in powder form, for mixing it with water or other powder-based supplements. Those using a powder form are advised to be extremely careful that the dosage is accurate, as there is some evidence that excessive beta-alanine can be harmful (see Side Effects section below).

What are the Side Effects of Beta-Alanine?

Beta-alanine is naturally synthesized in the body. At relatively low supplementation levels, side effects tend to be minimal, since it is naturally present in the body, and in varying levels over time depending upon activity, age, etc. The most prominent negative side effect (which is dose-dependent, meaning more likely the higher the dose) is paraesthesia or a tingling feeling in the limbs. With normal therapeutic dosages, on the lower to middle end of the aforementioned dosage range, very few, if any side effects have been noted in studies. As usual, it is best to start at a lower dosage and work upwards if results are not to your expectation.

It is important not to overdose on beta-alanine, however. It has an LD50 (lethal in 50% of the population) in rats of 1 g/kg body weight (which would be around 62 g for an average adult). If tingling (paraesthesia) occurs, dose rate should be reduced, and a doctor of healthcare provider consulted. Like anything in life, taken in the proper dosage, in moderation, it can have a useful impact. Too much of a good thing, however, is often not a good thing. However, when used in the correct dosage, following instructions provided with the supplement, there are very few side effects reported at all in most studies.

As with any supplement, patients should consult with their doctor or healthcare provider, reviewing all their current medications, supplements, and health conditions, prior to beginning a supplement regimen.

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What is L-Glutamine?

Glutamine BeetsGlutamine is a naturally-occurring amino acid. It is considered as conditionally essential – the body can normally synthesize it in sufficient quantities for its needs but may need supplementation or ingestion from dietary sources in the cases of deficiency, illness, or for specific purposes. It is mostly made in the muscles (around 90%) in the body. It is consumed for several purposes, including protein synthesis (like most amino acids). It is particularly used in the intestines, kidneys, and immune cells, and has many other uses in the body as well, which we will highlight in more detail in the Uses and Benefits section below.

What are the Dietary Sources of Glutamine?

In addition to natural synthesis in the body (from glutamine synthetase and ammonia), it can be found in a large number of foods that are typical to the human diet throughout the world. Like many amino acids, protein-rich foods are the most abundant sources of glutamine. Examples of sources of glutamine include:

  • Meats like beef, chicken, and fish
  • Dairy products such as eggs, cheese, and milk
  • Vegetables like beets, beans, cabbage, brussel sprouts, carrots, spinach, parsley, celery, kale, and similar
  • Whole grains like wheat
  • Fruits such as papaya
  • Fermented products such as miso

What are the Uses or Benefits of Glutamine Supplements?

Some of the main roles of glutamine in the body include protein synthesis, regulation of the pH (acid-base balance) in the kidneys, energy in the cells (particularly the muscles), a source of nitrogen for anabolic processes (also important in the muscles), transportation of ammonia, and as a precursor to the neurotransmitter glutamate. In supplement form, it is most often used for exercise performance enhancement and energy level regulation. It is also used for more medical-type purposes, as a means of dealing with side effects from chemotherapy, nerve pain, protecting the digestive system and immune system, and fighting infections and wound healing, among other uses. It is also thought to play a role in helping with mood and mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression, though the results of studies in these areas are less conclusive than its other roles in the body.

Principally, glutamine helps with muscle mass and energy, by working to combat muscle wasting. When more glutamine is consumed, such as during exercise or periods of illness, than the body consumes or synthesizes, muscles can be consumed for energy. It helps to ensure that fat cells are more desirable for energy production and protects muscles from being wasted or consumed. Through its nitrogen donation, it helps with wound healing and immune function as well.

What is the Typical Dosage of Glutamine Supplements?

Depending on the intend use or desired effects, the dosage can vary widely. For the most common purposes, supplementation for fitness, energy, and muscle mass protection/growth, it is typically supplied as a tablet or capsule, in 500 mg to 1500 mg doses. As with most supplements and medications, patients are advised to follow label instructions and those of their doctor or healthcare provider. That said, it is difficult to overdose with glutamine, and in some extreme cases (such as for chemotherapy offsets), much higher doses may be used.

What are the Side Effects?

As a naturally-occurring amino acid, it generally does not have negative side effects when taken in the common dosages as a supplement. Side effects are rare and generally mild. These include nausea, stomach pain, gas, swelling in the hands or feet, muscle or joint pain, headache, dizziness, or fatigue, mild rash or itching, dry mouth, runny nose, or increased levels of sweating. If vomiting occurs, discontinue use and consult your doctor.

The most common interactions or contraindications are in those with the severe liver disease, cirrhosis, mania, or seizures. If you have a known sensitivity to the seasoning MSG, you should not use it (as glutamate, the “G” in MSG, is one of the byproducts of glutamine metabolism in the body).

As with any supplement, patients should consult with their doctor or healthcare provider, reviewing all their current medications, supplements, and health conditions, prior to beginning a supplement regimen.

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What is Astragalus?

Astragalus Flowering PlantAstragalus, as a general term, refers to a genus of some 3,000 species of herbs, plants, and shrubs, which are native to the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. These are fairly varied, with some being flowering plants, some more herb-like leafy plants, and others being more akin to decorative or ornamental shrubs. However, members of this species have been used for hundreds or thousands of years in Chinese traditional medicine, as well as the traditional medicine practices of several regions of the Middle East – both places where members of the genus can be found in abundance.

In terms of modern supplements, the shorthand Astragalus most often refers to Astragalus propinquus, a specific species within the genus. It is a flowering plant with small, short leaves. While several species in the genus are known to have toxic components, none of these have ever been found in Astragalus propinquus, and as it has been used for many centuries in traditional Chinese medicine without ill effect, it is generally considered to be safe.

What Parts of Astragalus are Used for Supplements and Medicine?

In traditional Chinese medicine, the leaves (and sometimes flowers) of the herb are primarily used. The root may also be used, usually in powdered or extract form, for similar purposes. Again, it is important that the correct species be used, as several species contain toxins that are harmful to humans and animals. The Astragalus propinquus, also known as Astragalus membranaceus, has not been shown in any formal testing to contain toxins or harmful components. Most supplements use the root of the plant, as it contains larger concentrations of the compounds that are thought to be active and convey the positive health effects, discussed in more detail below.

What are the Uses or Benefits of Astragalus Supplements?

Astragalus, especially astragalus roots, have been shown to contain many chemicals that may be effective for anti-aging and other health purposes. In fact, astragalus has been marketed, in various forms, and studied for the treatment of some 30+ conditions or diseases. Most often, however, supplementation is focused on the life-prolonging, anti-aging effects of the compounds in the plant root. It has been shown in several studies to boost the immune system, and have a positive effect on telomerase, which in turn acts on telomeres. Telomeres are the ends of chromosomes, and their shortening (often caused by age, stress, and disease factors) has been shown to be linked to cancer development. Telomerase, which tends to be more prevalent with astragalus supplementation, works to lengthen the telomeres, which form a protective barrier at the end of chromosomes. This is believed to have an anti-malignancy effect and may protect against cancer development.

What is the Typical Dosage?

This supplement is typically supplied as capsules or tablets for oral ingestion. Generally, the dosage range is 400 mg to 1200 mg, though individual effectiveness may vary considerably (i.e., someone might get full effect at 400 mg while others need much more). As in many cases, the dosage should be started on the low end, and increased gradually. As with most supplements, discussion of a supplement plan and dosage with a doctor or healthcare professional is recommended, as they will know best if there are any contraindications with your health conditions or medications, which might be exacerbated or advise against the use of astragalus or other supplement products.

What are the Side Effects of Astragalus?

It is generally well-tolerated with few well-documented side effects. The most common (though still rare) side effects are diarrhea or upset stomach. It may also have an impact on blood sugar levels and blood pressure, so those with diabetes or blood pressure problems should definitely consult a doctor prior to taking it for the first time or changing dosages.

Those suffering from auto-immune conditions may or may not wish to take it. It is thought to increase immune system activity, which can be a negative factor for those with auto-immune disorders, exacerbating their conditions. However, there is some limited evidence that it may help to resolve or increase remission of auto-immune conditions in the long run, so, as ever, individual results may vary, and should be discussed with a doctor.

Medications such as cyclophosphamide, lithium, and immunosuppressant’s may have interactions with astragalus and may contraindicate use.

As with any supplement, patients should consult with their doctor or healthcare provider, reviewing all their current medications, supplements, and health conditions, prior to beginning a supplement regimen.

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Niacin | Anti-Aging and Heart Helping

What is Niacin?

Niacin Food SourcesNiacin is an organic compound that makes up one of the three forms of vitamin B3, the other two being niacinamide (aka nicotinamide) and nicotinamide riboside, which was only discovered in 2004. All three forms are broken down in the body into NAD, or nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, which is what the body uses for various purposes. As an essential nutrient, it must be ingested in one of these forms, as it can only be made into NAD in the body from one of these three base forms, or tryptophan. Niacin is so important, it is often added to cereals and grains, in a process known as fortification, to ensure sufficient intake. It plays a number of important roles in the body, in NAD and NADP form, working with fat, carbohydrate, protein, and alcohol catabolism, and anabolic reactions with a fatty acid or cholesterol synthesis. It is also important for cell signaling and DNA repair.

What are the Sources of Niacin?

Niacin is ingested in the diet from a number of sources, in addition to being present in almost every multivitamin and supplement as vitamin B3. Some of the top dietary sources that offer the most niacin, include:

  • Artificially-fortified products such as cereals and bread grains
  • Tuna
  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Peanuts
  • Mushrooms
  • Liver
  • Peas
  • Beef
  • Sunflower Seeds
  • Avocado

This list is most definitely not exclusive, as many meats, vegetables, whole and processed foods contain varying amounts of niacin. Nevertheless, as sufficient quantities are so important, it is added (as in the first item on the list) to many processed foods in a process known as fortification, to ensure people are receiving enough. It is considered so important, that it is one of only 5 nutrients (along with vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin D, and thiamin) that are considered indicators of susceptibility to a pandemic nutrient deficiency in the developing world or places of poverty.

What are the Uses or Benefits of Niacin Supplements?

Niacin supplements, therefore, are useful for a number of different reasons. First and foremost, they are used as a treatment for those suffering from pellagra, or vitamin B3 deficiency, which can be a life-threatening condition. More widespread use of supplements, however, is generally focused on anti-aging effects, specifically with regard to prevention or reduction of risk of heart disease, bad cholesterol, and reduction in atherosclerosis. It has also been shown to have some effect on treating skin conditions and may help with type I diabetes, as well as various mental conditions such as schizophrenia. There are many additional reported uses, from the treatment of acne to arthritis, improving digestion to preventing cataracts. However, many of these treatments are not well studied or established. The main focus, however, is on the overall heart and cardiovascular health, and these links have been well-established.

What is the Typical Dosage of Niacin Supplements?

Niacin supplements generally are supplied as tablets or capsules, on the order of 50 mg to 800 mg in strength. The recommended daily allowance of B3 for adults is around 15 mg, with a maximum daily intake that should not exceed 35 mg. This number may seem hard to reconcile with a larger dose capsule, but much of the niacin is not absorbed in the digestion process. Nevertheless, individual dosage should be approved by a doctor before beginning a supplement regimen, and should always err on the side of caution and start on the low end. Too much niacin can have negative side effects, especially on the liver, so the right dosage for your purposes should be decided between you and your doctor or health processional.

It is also recommended that you may wish to take niacin with a dose of aspirin (200-300 mg), as it has been shown to diminish the flushing effects. As with anything else, though, check with your doctor before exploring this option further.

What are the Side Effects of Niacin?

It is an essential compound in the body, but like many things, too much of a good thing can be problematic. Normal supplemental levels of niacin ingestion typically have minimal side effects, with the most common being flushing. This tends to happen more commonly at the start of a supplement regimen and usually goes away with time. There are also many versions of niacin (mixed with other compounds) on the market that specifically advertise themselves as no-flushing preparations. The other most common side effects include upset stomach and/or diarrhea, which, again tend to be most extreme at first and fade over time as a supplement regimen continues.

Additional effects may include gas, dizziness, or other minor flushing-related symptoms like tingling, itching, or redness of the face, arms, and chest. Headaches may also result. Most of these effects are mild, however, and decrease over time.

Higher doses of niacin can have serious effects on the liver and may cause permanent damage, so it is important not to overdose. It may be contraindicated in people with allergies, heart disease, diabetes, gallbladder problems, gout, low blood pressure, liver or kidney disease, stomach ulcers, or before, during, or after surgery.

As with any supplement, patients should consult with their doctor or healthcare provider, reviewing all their current medications, supplements, and health conditions, prior to beginning a supplement regimen.

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Pygeum Africanum | Promotes Health

What is Pygeum Africanum?

Pygeum AfricanumPygeum as a term may mean one of two things. First, it is the genus of around 150 species of trees and shrubs native to Africa, Asia, Australia, and similar tropical and sub-tropical climates. By contrast, in health supplement terms, pygeum is a medication or supplement derived from the bark of the African cherry (sometimes called the African plum, or many other names). This tree is the Prunus africana, which is not a tree that is in the Pygeum genus. The overall family of trees, however, known as Rosaceae, are the same for both plants, and it was perhaps a misidentification many centuries ago that resulted in this misnaming.

For our purposes, we are focusing on pygeum the health/medicinal treatment, from Prunus africana, which is known as pygeum africanum. The bark of this tree has been used for many generations as a natural medicinal treatment for a host of various ailments, which we’ll touch on in more detail below. It is believed that the oils and other substances in the bark contain compounds for promoting prostate health, and shrinking the prostate when enlarged from non-cancer reasons, such as benign prostate hyperplasia, or BPH.

What are the Uses or Benefits of Pygeum Africanum Supplements?

The modern use of pygeum is mostly concerned with the prostate health effects of the supplement. There has been strong evidence to indicate that pygeum supplements provide compounds that can promote overall prostate health, including reducing enlarged prostates and working to prevent prostates from becoming enlarged in the first place. The chemicals in the bark help to shrink the prostate (though not when the cause is cancer), which can also help alleviate the symptoms of enlarged prostates, such as frequent nighttime urination and poor urine flow that become more typical as men age.

In the past, and still in some developing regions, it has been used as a traditional, herbal or alternative medicine treatment for a wide range of maladies, including fevers, malaria, kidney disease, swelling and inflammation, upset stomach, sexual enhancement, appetite stimulant, and even to treat insanity. There is little science to support the vast majority of these uses, however, whereas the role in prostate health is widely understood and accepted.

What is the Typical Dosage of Pygeum Africanum Supplements?

Pygeum supplements are most often available in capsule or tablet form for oral consumption. The dosage ranges from 25 mg to 500 mg in many cases and may be combined and sold with other natural compounds included (saw palmetto is a typical pairing). For BPH and similar symptoms, it is usually recommended as 75 to 200 mg taken once daily, for a period of a few weeks to a few months. A lower dosage is best for long-term promotion of prostate health, such as the 25 mg or 50 mg daily dose.

It may also be available as a powder or liquid extract, though these preparations are less common. In all cases, the dosage amount and frequency as per the bottle recommendation, and a doctor’s recommendation, should be followed as the basis for treatment.

What are the Side Effects of Pygeum Africanum?

It is generally considered safe in the recommended dosage range. The most common side effects that people experience are abdominal pain and nausea. Constipation and diarrhea may also result, although these tend to be less common.

Contraindications include any medication that also works to shrink or control prostate growth, as an additive effect may occur. Be sure to check with your doctor if you are on any of these types of medications, before starting a pygeum regimen. Typical prostate medications in this category include finasteride and dutasteride.

As with any supplement, patients should consult with their doctor or healthcare provider, reviewing all their current medications, supplements, and health conditions, prior to beginning a supplement regimen.

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What is Rhodiola?

Rhodiola PlantRhodiola is the shortened name of the formal plant species, rhodiola rosea, from which rhodiola (sometimes known as golden root) comes from. The plant flowers with yellow or yellowish-green flowers (and in rare cases, a reddish-yellow), and grows to about a foot in height when it is fully mature. The Rhodiola itself comes from the root, usually as an extract – through the root, leaves, and chutes can be eaten, and have all been used in traditional medicine to varying degrees. The plant grows in arctic-like regions of northern hemisphere countries, so it is unsurprising that it is most popular in traditional medicine in Russia and Scandinavian countries. It is important to note that rhodiola is also sometimes known as arctic root (again, not surprising based on where it grows), but the term arctic root is actually a trademarked name of a specific commercial extract of rhodiola, and not a generic term like golden root, or, more properly, rhodiola.

What is Rhodiola Used For?

As mentioned above, the modern supplemental use is mostly focused on fighting fatigue, helping with endurance, energy levels, stamina, and athletic performance. There are also many other purported positive effects. It has been known to work to help fight the symptoms of altitude sickness or other environmental adaptation issues, and is sometimes given the term of being an “adaptogen.” These adaptogen effects are not limited to altitude sickness, and a wealth of uses in fighting physical, chemical, and environmental stresses on the body have been proposed. There is some dispute as to whether or not this can be scientifically validated, but anecdotal and individual evidence strongly supports it's benefit in this regard. There is much stronger substantiation for the main use, supplementing for energy and fatigue.

What is the Typical Dosage?

It is typically supplied in oral tablet or capsule form. The most common dosage rates range from 250 mg to 1000 mg. It is recommended by most practitioners to start at the lowest possible dosage, as everyone can respond differently to it in terms of effect and side effects. Combo packs are available in some locales, with rhodiola added to a number of other herbs and natural remedies, including ginseng, maca, suma, astragalus, and many others.

What are the Side Effects of Rhodiola?

Despite being a natural root, has some potential side effects. It is important to remember that it has been used in traditional medicine for hundreds, if not thousands, of years in many cases, by different cultures around the planet, and are often eaten raw in some places. While modern Western medicine has not validated many of the effects, as an alternative treatment or nutritional supplement, many people swear by the positive benefits.

Nevertheless, the most common side effects include:
  • Dizziness or a feeling of light-headedness or vertigo
  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive saliva production (kind of the opposite of dry mouth)
  • May worsen autoimmune conditions in some people
  • May reduce blood sugar levels
  • May lower blood pressure
As with any supplement, patients should consult with their doctor or healthcare provider, reviewing all their current medications, supplements, and health conditions, prior to beginning a supplement regimen.

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What is Maca?

Maca SupplementMaca comes from a plant – in this case, Lepidium meyenii. This plant is native to high altitude areas of South America, near the Andes, most notably in Peru. This is one of the reasons it is sometimes known as Peruvian ginseng. It appears similar to ginseng, carrots, or radishes as well, a root-like vegetable that’s a ginseng-like color. It also has a butterscotch-like odor. Maca is most often ground into a powder, and used in traditional medicine in the Andes region, where the plant has been cultivated for over 3,000 years. In modern times, it is used as a supplement for a wide variety of purposes, including fighting fatigue, boosting energy and endurance, stamina, athletic performance, and much more, as we’ll elaborate on in the next section.

What is Maca Used For?

As mentioned above, it (especially when combined with Rhodiola) is mostly centered on fighting fatigue, enhancing exercise or athletic performance, balancing and improving energy levels, and similar energy-based improvements. There are also many other purported positive effects, such as enhancing memory, balancing sex hormone levels, improving fertility, enhancing sexual performance and desire, and boosting the immune system. It is important to note, however, that many of these effects have been unsubstantiated, and the main supplemental use is for energy and fatigue. Still, many natives swear by these other effects, and it is hard to believe that they are all merely placebos.

What is the Typical Dosage of Maca?

Maca is supplied in capsule or tablet form most often, with dosages from 500 mg to 1000 mg in strength. As with most supplements, caution is advised, and doctors and health professionals instruct those beginning a supplement regimen to start on the lower end of the dosage range, and work their way up slowly as needed, since everyone can respond to these natural products slightly differently. Combo packs may also be available, with maca mixed with other herbs and plant-based compounds, such as regular ginseng, suma, astragalus, rhodiola, and others.

What are the Side Effects of Maca?

Like all supplements and medications, no matter how natural they may be, maca has the potential for some side effects. It is important to remember that it has been used in traditional medicine for hundreds, if not thousands, of years in many cases. While modern Western medicine has not validated many of the effects, as an alternative treatment or nutritional supplement, many people swear by the positive benefits of this root.

Nevertheless, the most common side effects are listed below, including:
  • May increase hunger or food cravings in individuals for a period of time following use
  • May mimic MAOI-like substances, which have many known interactions and contraindications with a host of other substances, medicines, and supplements, so use caution
  • May be contraindicated for those with estrogen-specific conditions like uterine, breast, or ovarian cancer, as maca may act like an estrogen in the female body (though conclusive evidence on this matter is still uncertain)

As with any supplement, patients should consult with their doctor or healthcare provider, reviewing all their current medications, supplements, and health conditions, prior to beginning a supplement regimen.

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What is L-Arginine?

L-Arginine FoodsL-Arginine is an amino acid that is produced in the body naturally, as well as available through the ingestion of food and supplements. From food sources, it primarily comes from all forms of protein, animal or plant. It plays several important roles in body systems.

Features of L-Arginine

In addition to supporting basic cell division functions – a common feature of most of the 21 amino acids needed by humans – it also works with several other systems. These include being active in the immune system, wound healing, ammonia removal (the urea cycle), hormone release, and regulating blood pressure. Some of the most important members of this list deserve further attention, including:

  • Removal of ammonia through the urea cycle.
  • Ammonia is a byproduct of the digestion of proteins. Arginine is a building block of several of the enzymes used in the urea cycle.
  • When ingesting large amounts of protein (such as when on a protein-rich diet, physical training, or similar), arginine levels may dip as the body copes with the increased urea cycle activities.
  • Supplementation helps to correct those dips, and ensure adequate levels of this important nutrient are present in the body.
  • Stimulating the release of growth hormones.
  • Arginine triggers and stimulates the natural production of human growth hormones in the pituitary gland.
  • Growth hormones help the body maintain and build lean muscle, shed fat, contributes to bone health, other hormone levels, immune system function, energy levels, and much more.
  • Regulating blood pressure through nitric oxide.
  • L-Arginine is the precursor molecule to nitric oxide in the body.
  • Nitric oxide is a natural vasodilator, which relaxes and opens blood vessels to allow for optimal blood flow, as well as blood pressure control.
  • It is also well-known for its effects on improved erectile function and libido in men and, to a lesser extent, women.

What are the Benefits of Arginine Supplements?

Supplemental ingestion of arginine has many benefits, focused primarily on the areas of action discussed in the previous section above. The three key benefits, as highlighted by numerous studies and health organizations, are:

  1. Aid in detoxification of the body through the urea cycle. The removal of ammonia is an important part of the body’s natural waste disposal, and extra-important when on a high-protein diet or doing a lot of intensive physical training that can break down muscle tissue.
  2. Boost human growth hormone levels in the body, through the stimulation of natural growth hormone release. Growth hormone helps build lean muscle, protect existing muscle mass, helps with fat metabolism, has positive immune system effects, and helps maintain energy levels, among other positive effects.
  3. Control and reduce blood pressure, through nitric oxide synthesis. Since arginine is a precursor to nitric oxide, it has the effect of increasing nitric oxide levels in the blood. These, in turn, improve blood flow through natural vasodilation effects. This reduces blood pressure and improves oxygenation and nutrient delivery to tissues and organs around the body.

What is the Typical Dosage of Arginine?

Arginine for supplement purposes is typically sold in 500 mg doses, often in combination with 250 mg of ornithine, though it can be obtained separately, too. These are usually in oral tablet form, and recommended for use two times per day, with liquid, on an empty stomach. Many people believe taking them shortly before exercise is the most beneficial time or schedule for dosing, in order to maximize their positive effects.

What are the Side Effects of Arginine Supplements?

As arginine is a natural amino acid, these supplements are generally regarded as fairly safe, with few side effects. Doses several orders of magnitude above the normal daily dose from these capsules have been tested and shown to be non-toxic – arginine has been tested as safe in quantities up to 20 times as high as a 2-capsule-a-day rate would provide.

Nevertheless, there are some contraindications, and those suffering from herpes, coronary artery disease, or with a past history of heart attack should avoid the product unless specifically allowed by a doctor. Additionally, those with already low blood pressure or kidney disease should seek out a doctor’s advice as to whether or not an arginine supplement is right for them.

The most common, mild side effects include bloating, abdominal pain or cramps, diarrhea, worsening of asthma, and low blood pressure.

As with any supplement, patients should consult with their doctor or healthcare provider, reviewing all their current medications, supplements, and health conditions, prior to beginning a supplement regimen.

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