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Is hCG Safe for Weight Loss?

Chandramita Bora Feb 14, 2020
Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a type of glycoprotein hormone that is produced during pregnancy. This hormone is sometimes used to reduce weight. Find out some interesting facts about this hormone, and whether it is safe to use this hormone for weight reduction.
If you are trying to lose weight, you might have come across a number of weight loss products and fad diets. hCG is one such product which claims to reduce weight significantly by stimulating the body to burn stored fats. Let's find out more about this hormone, and how it can help reduce weight.

What is hCG?

It stands for human chorionic gonadotropin, which is a type of glycoprotein hormone that is produced during pregnancy. In fact, the pregnancy urine test tries to detect the presence of this hormone in the urine of a woman, in order to find out whether she is pregnant.
This hormone plays some really important functions for maintaining pregnancy. It prevents the disintegration of the corpus luteum of the ovary, so as to maintain the level of progesterone in the body.
This glycoprotein ensures that the developing fetus receives enough nutrients in the early developmental days, even when the total calorie intake of the mother is very low. It performs this function by signaling the hypothalamus to release the stored fats of the body for energy production. This maintain the supply of nutrients, energy to the growing fetus.
The ability to facilitate the release of stored fats in the body has made hCG a popular weight loss product. The usual hCG weight loss protocol includes, injections or diet drops, and a low calorie diet. The typical hCG diet is very restrictive, for which critics raise questions regarding its safety.

Safety of hCG

A restrictive diet like hCG diet can cause several side effects in some individuals. One of the main reasons why this protocol is criticized is that it allows an individual to take only 500 to 800 calories in a day.
Such a low calorie diet is believed to be incapable of providing adequate nutrients and energy for carrying out the basic metabolic processes of the body. Such a low calorie diet can also fail to maintain the brain functions.
As a result, the hCG diet can cause a number of serious side effects. Some of the possible dangers associated with this diet are, headaches, lightheadedness or dizziness, mood swings, depression, water retention, irritation or crankiness, nausea, and vomiting. Some people can also develop food cravings due to calorie restrictions.
In rare cases, the diet can cause hyperstimulation of the ovaries in women, which is known as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. The symptoms of this condition include, abdominal fullness and bloating, nausea, vomiting, weight gain, swelling of the hands and feet, diarrhea, dark urine, enlarged abdomen, and shortness of breath.
Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome can be quite mild in some women, and can resolve within a week or so. But certain women can experience the severe form of the condition. Therefore, be sure to inform your physician on observing any of the aforementioned symptoms of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.
Human chorionic gonadotropin is a natural hormone, which is primarily used in fertility programs to facilitate ovulation. The hCG injections have not been approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) of the United States to be used for weight loss programs. Moreover, there is no scientific evidence to support that this hormone promotes weight loss.
So, it is better to consult a physician to evaluate the various pros and cons of using this hormone for losing weight. It is advisable to not go for any weight loss diet and supplements without consulting a dietitian and a certified health care provider.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only, and should not be replaced for the advice of a medical professional.