HCG, or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, has recently gained a resurgence of popularity among the millions of consumers searching for assistance with weight loss. Most people familiar with the molecule know that the hormone HCG is present in significant amounts during pregnancy. In fact, HCG is the marker that turns a pregnancy test positive. Beyond the hormonal fluctuations of pregnancy, HCG levels fluctuate considerably and are related to metabolism and body composition. In tandem with other hormones, HCG helps one feel satiated, or satisfied, and helps burn fat and preserve lean body mass by re-establishing efficient metabolism that contributes to optimal body composition — in short, less body fat.
HCG does not work as a stimulant or energy enhancer. Rather, it appears to support the body’s regulation of caloric consumption. Simply stated, HCG allows patients to reduce calorie consumption by approximately 30-50 percent, burn fat, reduce hunger, and re-establish “a younger, more efficient metabolism.” The restored metabolism is thought to be maintained even after HCG is discontinued. Like insulin or growth hormone, HCG is a protein hormone (large molecule) administered by injection every day until weight loss goals are achieved. In our practice, we use very tiny needles that are easily self-administered. While the “idea” of shots can be intimidating, I have not had one patient who decided they could not do the injection after simple, easy-to-understand, in-office instructions.
Another potential consideration is cost. Since weight loss medications are rarely covered by health insurance plans, the expense is often out-of-pocket. For those with medical spending accounts, they could be reimbursed with pre-tax dollars on their respective accounts. Cost of HCG injections depends on individual doses, but fees generally run about $150 per month. Don’t forget that HCG is accompanied by a significant reduction in consumption, so most patients using HCG are saving money simply because they are eating less.
HCG is no stand-alone magic cure. While often a successful therapy even when other options fail, HCG is best utilized in the context of a carefully engineered plan that includes optimal diet and a regular exercise regimen, (yes, the “E” word is always part of the health and weight loss equation!). The overall strategy also includes a nutritional supplement treatment plan designed to represent individual biochemistry.