Recently HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) has come into vogue as a fertility and fat-loss treatment for women. the peptide has long been in use for bodybuilding and has a particular role in restoring endocrine function after a steroid cycle.
The peptide hormone HCG was discovered in 1920 and commercially available 1931. At that time it was derived from the pituitary gland of animals and sold by the pharmaceutical company Organon.
At the beginning of the 1840s, scientists discovered that HCG could be extracted from the urine of pregnant women, and that is how most products are derived today.
HCG is mainly used to induce ovulation in women who want to get pregnant, and in men to stimulate testosterone production.
HCG functions similarly to LH (luteinizing hormone), which triggers the testes to release testosterone in men, and is responsible for the implantation of the fertilized uterine uterus and the release of progesterone during the first few months of female pregnancy.
HCG is considered a performance enhancing substance and banned by most drug testing agencies.
Most of the serious side effects of HCG use are side effects of the excess testosterone it releases. In bodybuilding, HCG is used during prolonged use of anabolic steroids and after discontinuation of anabolic steroids, to re-stimulate testosterone production after the desensitization caused by the negative feedback of excess testosterone.
Recently, HCG has been marketed as a weight loss drug. On a low-calorie diet, HCG was intended to both suppress hunger and eliminate of stubborn fat deposits.
However, despite it’s popularity, the science behind HCG as a weight loss drug is still far from conclusive. Most fertility products (Pregnyl and Novarel) containing the drug also carry disclaimers like:
“HCG HAS NOT BEEN DEMONSTRATED TO BE EFFECTIVE ADJUNCTIVE THERAPY IN THE TREATMENT OF OBESITY. THERE IS NO SUBSTANTIAL EVIDENCE THAT IT INCREASES WEIGHT LOSS BEYOND THAT RESULTING FROM CALORIC RESTRICTION, THAT IT CAUSES A MORE ATTRACTIVE OR ‘NORMAL’ DISTRIBUTION OF FAT, OR THAT IT DECREASES THE HUNGER AND DISCOMFORT ASSOCIATED WITH CALORIE-RESTRICTED DIETS.”