(Human Chorionic Gonadotropin)
Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) is a polypeptide hormone that was first discovered in the 1920’s. Found in pregnant women, Organon first released the hormonal extract under the name Pregynl, which is still the most recognizable name on the market today. When it first hit the market, HCG was touted as holding numerous therapeutic benefits; however, while an undeniably beneficial hormone, many of the claims would prove to be false. In fact, some of the purported uses would prove to be absolute failures.
For more than 40 years, HCG extract was used to treat Froehlich’s syndrome, cryptorchidism, obesity, depression, female infertility, uterine bleeding and amenorrhea. During the mid to late 1960’s, the use of this hormone became limited to cryptorchidism, infertility, hypogonadism (low testosterone) and weight loss. However, by this time extract was no longer used as cleaner, purified versions were now available due to scientific innovation. Specifically, HCG is available by filtering and purifying the urine of pregnant women.
Functions & Traits:
Found during the early stages of pregnancy, HCG is made in the placenta and is primarily responsible for the production of progesterone, an essential hormone, but even more so during pregnancy. HCG represents the hormone by which pregnancy is indicated in a pregnancy test. After conception, HCG levels begin to increase until they reach their peak 8-12 weeks after conception. From the 12 week mark, they begin to fall steadily until birth.
On its functional basis, HCG is for all intense purposes exogenous LH. LH or Luteinizing Hormone is one of two primary gonadotropins responsible for the production of testosterone, the other being Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). For a female, this increase in LH increases the odds of conception. For the male, this increases his testosterone production. When LH is released, this tells the testicles to make more testosterone. In the case of HCG, the body now has more active LH, and as a result, the testicles make more testosterone.
We cannot call HCG LH directly, but rather it mimics LH; the body knows no difference. This is beneficial for the low testosterone patient for a few reasons. First and foremost, his total testosterone is now increased due to the increase in production by the testicles. However, while this increase is significant, it’s rarely enough to remedy a true low level condition. HCG alone can give a man an approximate 20-25% boost in testosterone production, which is often not quite enough.
Where HCG will be most beneficial to the low testosterone patient is in conjunction with direct exogenous testosterone therapy. When we supplement with exogenous testosterone, our natural testosterone production stops. The body no longer has a need to make any as it is receiving all it needs from outside sources. As a result, the testicles atrophy or shrink, but by including HCG this keeps natural production online and the atrophy never occurs. This boost in natural testosterone will also be beneficial during treatment as it will help maintain stable blood levels in-between testosterone injections. Many men on testosterone will inject the hormone once per week, and by weeks end their levels are back towards baseline. By adding HCG to the protocol, they can keep their levels stable by introducing the small influx of naturally produced testosterone. Even if the individual is prescribed two injections of testosterone per week, HCG is still beneficial as the testicles will remain full, they will still get a boost and most importantly, HCG will protect to even enhance fertility while on treatment. For any man that still wishes to have children, this is a huge advantage.
Important note – The effects of HCG do not work as well in men who suffer from primary hypogonadism. If you suffer from primary hypogonadism, this means your testicles no longer have the ability to produce testosterone. More often than not, a primary man will have an abundance of LH being produced; dumping a lot more LH into the body won’t have much of an effect. HCG in this capacity works best in men who suffer from secondary hypogonadism. Men who are secondary, their testicles are still functioning fine, but in this case, their pituitary is no longer releasing adequate amounts of LH.
HCG is an extremely side effect friendly hormone for most men. The primary side effects of HCG will surround an estrogenic nature due to the promotion of higher testosterone levels. However, issues associated with other medications such as headaches, rashes, gastrointestinal issues, etc. are impossible with HCG.
The primary side effects of HCG will be gynecomastia and excess water retention. This is due to the excess testosterone now being produced being subject to possible aromatization just as testosterone that is administered exogenously is subject to possible aromatization. The same can be said of naturally produced testosterone. However, on testosterone therapy, proper therapy, both testosterone and estradiol levels are measured and kept under control, and proper treatment will not allow estradiol levels to get out of hand. If estradiol levels begin to increase, this can easily be remedied by the use of an anti-estrogen from the Aromatase Inhibitor family such as Anastrozole.
Doses & Administration:
For the purpose of low testosterone treatment in conjunction with exogenous testosterone use, HCG is normally administered at 250iu to 500iu 2-3 times per week. This process is normally begun at the same time testosterone use begins and continues indefinitely along with testosterone use. For most men, 250-350iu two times per week is more than efficient and will greatly benefit their treatment plan. However, some men will find 500iu two times a week to be warranted and a very safe and effective dose. Regardless of the total weekly dose, normally anything over 500iu per injection is not advised as the body will have a difficult time using more HCG than this at once.
HCG may also be used alone in a testosterone treatment plan. In some cases (minority) it may be all the boost the individual needs. More commonly, HCG can be used alone in an effort to reset the Hypothalamic Pituitary Testicular Axis (HPTA). For young men who suffer from low testosterone (below 30 years of age) it is possible to reset their natural production if they suffer from secondary hypogonadism. If they suffer from primary hypogonadism, this reset will not work. If they fall under the secondary category, a large and regular influx of HCG, synthetic LH, may be just what the body needs to prime it for natural production. The odds of this working are not in the individual’s favor; a good estimate, this may work approximately 30% of the time in young men who suffer from secondary hypogonadism. Normally such therapy will call for 500iu 3-5 times per week for approximately 6 weeks. From there a blood test is implemented and the results are measured. If it doesn’t work, traditional testosterone therapy may be needed.
Regardless of the purpose of use, HCG can be injected intramuscularly (IM) or subcutaneously (SubQ). SubQ (in the fat) is the most common and by far the most comfortable. Using a small insulin needle 29-31g, simply inject the hormone approximately 2-3 inches to the left or right of the naval.
When you receive your bottle of HCG, it may already be mixed or it may require you to reconstitute it. If it comes reconstituted, simply draw the solution out as prescribed, inject and place it in the refrigerator until your next scheduled dosing. If it is not reconstituted, it will come in a dry powder form along with bacteriostatic water for you to mix it with. Once mixed, place it in the refrigerator until your next scheduled dosing. HCG in this fashion will almost always come in 1000iu measurements, most commonly in 2000, 5000 and 10000iu vials. When this is the case, for every milliliter of water you put into the vial, this will give you 1000 unit if HCG. For example:
- 10,000iu Dry HCG Powder: Mix in 10ml of bacteriostatic water – This will yield a concentration of 1,000iu per ML
- 5,000iu Dry HCG Powder: Mix in 5ml of bacteriostatic water – This will yield a concentration of 1,000iu per ML
- 2,000iu Dry HCG Powder: Mix in 2ml of bacteriostatic water – This will yield a concentration of 1,000iu per ML
Over the course of recent years, the HCG diet has become wildly popular; however, the effectiveness of HCG in a diet is highly debatable. The HCG diet, in terms of the actual HCG use does not appear to create any physical risk, but the biggest question is does it actually help promote fat loss? HCG is not a thermongenic, it’s not a beta-2 stimulant, it is not a thyroid hormone, and it does not have the ability to suppress one’s appetite. HCG holds none of the properties commonly associated with medications that promote fat loss. The American Society of Bariatric Physicians and The American Medical Association have been particularly harsh on the HCG diet stating the only reason weight loss occurs is because of the starvation diet that’s implemented with the HCG use. Many physicians and nutritional experts believe the same weight loss could easily be achieved without HCG use; however, the conjoined use of HCG does appear to give people a mental advantage when trying to cope with such low levels of calories. HCG diets can contain as little as 500-800 calories per day. That’s enough to make anyone lose weight as well as lose their mind, and many will need the false sense of security HCG can provide.