Welcome to another edition of the Doctor’s Note where we talk about what’s on our minds when it comes to your health. This week we’re going to talk about HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin).
HCG is one of the best rapid weight loss tools that I’ve used in my 35 years of practice, and it’s back! We haven’t been able to use it for the last year and a half because the supply dried up. The key is getting real HCG through injection from a US source, and that’s exactly what we have now.
I’ve put thousands of people on the HCG diet, so I obviously like it a lot, but it is controversial! You have to: (a) know what you’re doing, (b) use a quality HCG, and (c) be monitored closely throughout the process. For best results you have to figure out why you’re overweight and how to keep the weight off.
Let’s dive in!
What is HCG?
HCG is a natural hormone produced in the body when a woman is pregnant. It’s actually not a weight loss drug. It’s a fertility drug. Through its use as a fertility drug they were able to discover that HCG worked for weight loss as well.
Dr. Albert T. W. Simeons (pioneering founder of the HCG diet protocol) was fascinated with hormones and obesity. He couldn’t figure out how these starving emaciated women were giving birth to healthy 8-9 pound babies. It turned out that it was because of HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin).
Weight loss is a complex metabolic problem. It’s not simply calories in and calories out and it certainly has nothing to do with laziness or willpower. Most people who are obese need help losing weight. HCG is not the total answer, but it is a great tool for this.
Note: There are so many myths about obesity. You do have to look at what you eat and your hormones.
The HCG Diet
The HCG Diet is a very specific diet that’s been successful for over 55-60 years now. It involves injections of HCG plus a 500 calorie a day diet. There are those that say you can’t survive on 500 calories per day (and you can’t forever), but for a very short period of time you can! It’s important to stick to the original diet plan. There is a reason why certain foods are on the plan and certain foods are not.
HCG injections are legal for physicians to use. It is not FDA approved for weight loss, but because it is FDA approved for fertility, doctors can use it “off label” like we do so many other medications.
The main thing about HCG is that it’s a fast way to lose weight. I like fast weight loss because it’s encouraging! If you’re able to get off your medications for metabolic syndrome and you feel great, then you’re more likely to keep it off. The HCG diet is intense. It’s not easy and it’s not for everyone, but if you’re willing to do this diet it’s a great way to start losing weight quickly.
Note: Your medications may need to be adjusted during the diet.
How The HCG Diet Works
HCG resets your hypothalamus which is kind of like your body’s temperature gauge. Your body gets accustomed to a certain weight (set point), and if you lower your calories it just lowers your metabolism. What your body needs to do is lower that set point.
There’s a beauty in how this works.
HCG gets rid of the abnormal, stored fat first. This is usually the last thing that goes but with HCG it’s the FIRST that goes! Your body uses that fat for energy so you don’t get hungry. If you’re on real HCG, you won’t get hungry. It’s different from any other weight loss thing I’ve ever seen. It helps regulate hunger through the hypothalamus.
Performance Medicine’s Process
It seems like HCG gets popular and then falls off. Then it gets popular again. The FDA is not crazy about it, but then again they aren’t crazy about a lot of things that work (and then crazy about some things that DON’T work!). I say this all the time, things like this need to be between the patient and physician. If I didn’t think HCG was safe and effective I wouldn’t be using it.
The first thing we do in our offices is evaluate your metabolism and hormones. Everyone is different. It is a 26 day protocol. The first two days are “load” days, so you are actually on 500 calories per day for 24 days. Feeling tired is the most common side effect of the HCG diet. That’s why you don’t want to exercise much while you’re on this diet.
The most important thing is what happens after you’re done with the diet. There are strategies and ways to eat that we teach you after the diet is over to keep the weight off. Some people even need maintenance medications to help.
Gaining the weight back is our most common complaint. Most likely that happens because you didn’t figure out your hormones, metabolism, and you didn’t change anything. You may need a tool to sustain the weight you’ve lost. Ozempic is great for this. It’s a good way to make your insulin work better and to delay gastric emptying. Ozempic is a new tool that we didn’t have before.
HCG is a great start for a lot of people, but you have to make lifestyle changes. I always recommend a low carb, intermittent fasting type diet. Note: Carb tolerance is different for different people. This is especially important after what we’ve been through the last few years with Covid. Who knows what is going to happen next, but the best thing to do is prepare yourself with a healthy immune system so that when viruses come you can fight them off.
Obesity is the main healthcare problem we have in this country. It’s a complex disease that is often chronic and needs to be treated for a lifetime. There are tools to do this, and HCG is just a start!