What is hCG?
Natural, yet effective.
hCG is the acronym for Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, a substance produced by the placenta during pregnancy in huge amounts. It was discovered by Ascheim and Zondek in the urine of pregnant women, back as 1927.
After its discovery, scientists tried to find a name for this substance, and when they observed that the administration of hCG helped to provoke ovulation in experimentation animals, they named their discovery Gonadotropin, that means it has an action on gonads (testicles or ovaries) and Chorionic because later it was found was produced by the Chorium of the placenta.
hCG is one of the few drugs of natural origin that still remain in the current Pharmacopoeia. Secreted by the placenta, the presence of hCG in the urine of pregnant women was first reported by Ascheim and Zondek in 1927. Since then, thousands of scientific articles have been published about the effect of hCG on gonads (testicles or ovaries), but comparatively a small number of these have investigated its vast therapeutic potential on diseases ranging from Kaposi sarcoma, to asthma, psychoses, artheriopaties, thalassemia, osteopenia, glaucoma, and cancer.
Large quantities of hCG are secreted by the placenta during pregnancy, invalidating claims of cancer or hirsutism (disproportionate hair growth) as side effects of HCG, as no clinical records exist of pregnant women being more susceptible to these diseases.
Research done by Dr. Daniel Belluscio at the Oral hCG Research Center has determined that the use of hCG for obesity treatment meets patients' expectations for a safe and effective weight loss program that is easy to follow and can improve their quality of life, without negative side effects or contraindications.
- See ‘The hCG (Human Choriogonadotropin) method for the treatment of obesity: Overcoming the "test of time"’ for a complete description of the pharmacological nature of hCG.
Use of hCG for treatment of obesity and overweight.
The first report on the use of hCG for the management of obesity was published in 1954 by the late Dr. ATW Simeons, a German-born physician practicing at the Ospedale Salvatori Mundii in Rome.
Working in India, he noticed that the so-called "fat boys," who shoved Adiposogenital dystrophy improved their undescended testis when they were treated with hCG. But he also observed that body fat distribution was modified during the treatment course. Therefore he hypothesized that if those children were concomitantly submitted to a very low calorie diet they could reduce their body weight, consuming the "fat on the move".
Later on, he extended his investigations to patients showing different degrees of obesity, and concluded that hCG might be useful for the treatment of obesity because:
• Patients tolerated a Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) without suffering headaches, irritability and weakness, so common to this approach for weight reduction.
• Maintenance period after treatment was more effective when compared with simple dietetic procedures.
• Weight reductions were more satisfactory than those obtained with Standard VLCD.
• Patients lost more body fat (measured in centimeters) from those regions where adipose tissue accumulations were more conspicuous.
He hypothesized that hCG acted at diencephalic level, modulating hypothalamic regulatory centers, which were in turn responsible for the excessive fat accumulation as seen in obesity.
For many years the hCG program for weight loss enjoyed worldwide popularity due to the excellent obtained results. Daily administration of 125 IU of hCG plus a Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) rapidly decreased body weight without any side effects. Hundreds of thousands of patients benefited from this safe and effective weight reduction program.
Obesity has now reached worldwide proportions, and society faces a problem that will cause more suffering, disease and death than any other plague over the last three hundred years. The use hCG may well be a safe and effective alternative for treating those millions of individuals suffering obesity.
How does hCG help you lose weight in all the right places?
It’s not only about pounds; it’s also about the inches.
The original hCG protocol consists of a combination of a Very Low Calorie Diet and the use of hCG via injections. However, the amount of weight lost during treatment does not differ significantly from other treatments involving low calorie diets.
What makes treatment with hCG so effective is that patients lose significantly more body fat than patients that only diet. The impact is seen in a changed body contour, with particular impact on those hard to reduce areas such as thighs and buttocks.
Eliminating the Rebound effect.
Fat gains weight faster than muscle, this is a known fact. So when you change the proportion of body fat to muscle in your body during treatment with the hCG you are actually diminishing your chances of rebounding back to your original weight.
Once the treatment with low calorie diet ends (approximately four week, depending on the weight loss objective) patients go through a “maintenance” period where the level of calories is restored to the usual rate according to body type, but all ingredients that could be stored by the body as fat are restricted. In this way, the body realigns itself to a normal eating routine, but does not increment the fat storage, which greatly diminishes the risk of rebounding back to the original weight.
During treatment you will quickly lose weight, but maintain your muscle mass, and the weight loss will be concentrated in those areas that are most complicated to reduce.
The hCG Method for the treatment of obesity:
Overcoming the "test of time"
Author: Daniel Oscar Belluscio, MD
"A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it."
Max Planck 1858-1947. German Theoretical Physicist
- The pharmacological nature of hCG
B. A word of caution for those interested in the hCG method for obesity treatment.
- Proposed mechanisms of action
- An interesting combined procedure: hCG protocol plus selective local adrenergic modulation of adipose tissue metabolism
- Oral hCG (Human Choriogonadotropin) for the management of obesity: a Double-Blind study
Note: The number in bold and between brackets refer to the bibliographical references included in the double-blind study.
- The pharmacological nature of hCG
hCG is a glycoproteic hormone, normally secreted by trophoblastic cells of the placenta. It consists of two dissimilar, separately but coordinately translated chains called the Alfa and beta subunits (46-93-160-231-369-415-483-484).
The three pituitary hormones LH (Luteinising Hormone) are closely related to hCG in that all four are glycosilated and have a dimeric structure comprising an Alpha and Beta chain as well.
The aminoacid sequences of the Alfa chain of all four human glycoproteic hormones are nearly identical.
Aminoacid sequences of the beta subunits differ because of the unique immunological and biological activities of each glycoproteic hormone. Beta -hCG contains a carboxylic residue of 30 aminoacids characteristic to hCG (44-45-216-395).
When it was discovered by Ascheim and Zondek by 1927 they found out that hCG matured the infantile sex glands of experimental animals, and it was secreted by the human placenta. From there its denomination: Chorionic Gonadotrophin (25-519).
However, recent data suggest that both terms can be quite misleading: normal human tissues (231-464) plasma from non pregnant subjects (62-353-516), trophoblastic and non-trophoblastic tumors (83 -106- 110- 226-345- 400-401-444), bacteria (3- 4- 28- 301- 312-436) and plants (138-168) express hCG or a hCG- like material.
After the first report on hCG use for obesity treatment, an innumerable amount Physicians all over the world visited Dr. Simeons in Italy, to learn from first hand the hCG original protocol.
Many of them attempted to recreate the standard procedure without success, or obtaining undesirable results.
B. A word of caution to those interested in performing the method.
After many years of experience on the use of hCG for the management of obesity, we would like to stress the following
• hCG is not a magic wand
It does not cure or eradicate obesity, but weight losses are rapid, comfortable, and the maintenance period after treatment runs a smoother course.
• There is no difference regarding weight loss between hCG-treated and
Obesity might not be only a matter of overweight. Dieting per se is not a treatment for obesity. Rather, it is an ancillary procedure.
Unless we try to act upon the basic diencephalic disturbance, any dietetic procedure will be condemned to failure.
We cannot improve diabetes just by dieting, and obesity cannot be effectively treated without some sort of medical intervention in the diencephalon.
Anorectics point in that direction, and were for many years an unsuccessful approach to obesity because their side-effects.
Dr. Simeons never sustained that weight loss under hCG was more important than without hCG-treated cases. What he suggested was that hCG, acting at hypothalamic level, might correct the basic hypothalamic disorder, and consequently adipose tissue metabolism.
If this turns out to be the case, hCG could be an excellent adjuvant procedure in the management of the disease.
The vast majority of publications concluded hCG has no action on weight loss, rendering no better results than a current Hypocaloric diet, except for classical Asher and Harper report concluding that weight losses under hCG were superior to placebo. TOP
- Proposed mechanisms of action
• hCG displays a metabolic action on adipose tissue metabolism
Throughout these years, hCG has been reported to exert its actions on several tissues other than gonadal: Kaposi sarcoma, asthma, psychoses, artheriopaties, thalassemia, osteopenia and glaucoma. Therefore, we are not dealing with a "pure" sex hormone
Available data would indicate that hCG might also improve lypolisis in human adipose tissue, via an inhibitory effect on lipogenesis.
• hCG actions on adipose tissue metabolism (161-382)
Fleigelman concluded that the administration of hCG in rats decreased the activity of alfa-glycerophosphate dehydrogenase and glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase from the liver and adipose tissue, suggesting a decreased lipogenic activity in both tissues under hCG (161) .
Yanagihara reported that hCG accelerates "not only the mobilization of fat from fat deposits, but also its utilization in peripheral tissues. hCG increased the metabolism of injected fat emulsions, suggesting the acceleration not only of fat oxidation, but also increased ketone production in the liver and its utilization in peripheral tissues" (514).
Romer reported that hCG intensifies the metabolism of rat brown adipose tissue (391).
Administration of hCG to humans appears to increase the release of fatty acids that varies with the age of the subject. Melichar demonstrated that hCG causes a marked FFA release in newborn infants (317).
In adults, a single dose of hCG caused a marked FFA release by p > 0.05 when compared to placebo-treated subjects.
Consequently we hypothesize, that hCG might act upon adipose tissue metabolism through some mediators secreted at hypothalamic level.
• The diencephalic region and hCG
One of the most valuable hypotheses on the genesis of obesity sustains that the basic metabolic disorder lies in the hypothalamic region: like in any other clinical disorder, we have to find out who is the villain in this story. For example: the pancreas in diabetes, the thyroid in hypothyroidism. the adrenal glands in Addison disease.
The organ more frequently incriminated in the genesis of fat accumulation seems to be the hypothalamus. A considerable body of evidences points in that direction. Interestingly, exogenous administered hCG accumulates in hypothalamic region, particularly in Ventromedial and Lateral Hypothalamus. It is not therefore unreasonable to suppose that the target organ for hCG metabolic actions might be the diencephalon. (178-513). hCG may act at diencephalic level, probably modifying some neuropeptide metabolic pathways, which in turn act whether on Ventromedial or Lateral hypothalamic Nucleus, or via Hypothalamus hypophisis (30-209). Summary: There are no age or sex limits, and hardly any contraindications (211) to use the hCG method for the treatment of obesity. Tolerance to the treatment is excellent, and many patients willingly submit to a second treatment.
Weight loss is safe and comfortable for patients, provided that they meticulously follow the prescribed diet. Any deviation from the protocol is apt to yield poor results. Even minor deviations may cause unwanted setbacks.
The hCG protocol is an appropriate approach to the treatment of obesity that also includes a behavior modification program as well as pharmacological and dietetic aspects. When properly managed, the result is rapid weight loss and improved body shape after treatment. Clinical complications and unfavorable results are related to unsafe modifications of the protocol.
Evidence suggest that hCG promotes lipolytic activity. Since hCG does not mobilize in vitro lipids from the fat cell, it was hypothesized that the hypothalamic region might be the intermediate organ in hCG lipolytic action.
The hCG method includes patients' follow-up (daily visits to the doctor to be weighed and injected), helping patients with their behavior modification program. There are some similarities between the behavioral program included in the hCG protocol and a current behavior modification program for obesity treatment.
The 500 Kcal-diet as prescribed in the original treatment proved to be safe and effective. Results are not surpassed by any other modality of obesity therapy. Reshaping of body contour is more noticeable in those patients displaying the so-called gynoid types (fat located in buttocks and hips area).
- An interesting combined procedure: hCG protocol plus selective local adrenergic modulation of adipose tissue metabolism
The subject of adipose tissue membrane receptors has been a subject of great interest in recent years.
Human fat cells possess both Alpha and Beta membrane adrenoreceptors, acting differently on adipose tissue metabolism (500).
The major function of adrenoreceptors in white fat cells is to regulate the breakdown of triglycerides to free fatty acids and glycerol through lipolysis. Functions and mechanisms of action of adrenoreceptors in white fat cells are as follows:(16-17-18-19-20-21-22).
1. Beta l.2.3. receptors increase lipolysis rate.
2. Alpha 2 decrease lipolysis rate.
Human adipose tissue is an extremely metabolic active organ: Depending on where it is localized, it shows a different response to drug intervention. Visceral fat cells are more responsive than abdominal subcutaneous fat cells (gluteal or femoral) to the lipolytic actions of catecholamines.
There are also sex differences: A higher Alpha2-receptor affinity has been reported in peripheral male subcutaneous fat cells than in the abdominal, which may explain why the regional variation in catecholamines-induced lipolysis within the subcutaneous adipose tissue is more pronounced in men than in women.
Fasting also modifies the regional sensitivity of adipose tissue: It is associated with a decrease in catecholamines-induced lipolysis rate in peripheral, but not abdominal, subcutaneous adipose tissue. This may further promote the development of gynoid obesity.
During fasting, Alpha activity (antilipolytic) increases and Beta action (lipolytic) decreases in female thighs region (351-352).
An increase of Alpha activity is related to a decreased lipolysis, whereas a diminution of beta adrenergic activity provokes the same effect (366).
Therefore, it has been suggested that the combination of both activities might explain why the female thigh region is more resistant to dietetic procedures.
Abdominal adipocytes are more responsive to the lipolytic action of Beta-1 adrenergic agonists, while gluteal adipocytes are more responsive to the antilipolytic action of Alpha-2-adrenergic agonists.
In lean and obese adults, gluteal subcutaneous adipose tissue was strikingly more responsive to antilipolytic alpha-adrenergic stimulation, and less responsive to lipolytic beta-adrenergic stimulation compared to abdominal tissue (394).
This would explain why gluteal and femoral fat pads are more resistant to dietary interventions.
Taken together, these results seem to suggest that it should be possible to locally modulate the activity of Alpha and Beta adrenoreceptors through the administration of Beta-adrenergic or Alfa-Blockers agents. Beta Stimulation and/or Alpha blocking of adipocytes membrane receptors might increase lipolysis in those areas.
Thus, a reasonable combination would be the prescription of a Very Low Calorie Diet (such as indicated in the hCG Protocol) plus the local administration of Alpha Blockers or Beta stimulating agents.
We have found the association of both procedures extremely useful, both from the Clinic as well as from the Aesthetic viewpoint. Copyright © Dr. Daniel Belluscio 1992-2007. All rights reserved. The controversy over hCG. Why is hCG not approved for Obesity treatment by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration)?
After Dr. Simeons first published reports of his protocol for use of hCG in the treatment of obesity, this preliminary communication was followed by a myriad of reports, some of them favoring the use of hCG, and others criticizing the procedure. Finally, and after a serial of Double-Blind Tests, the FDA concluded the method bears no utility for Obesity therapy.
This Administration forced Pharmaceutical Firms to include in their hCG leaflets of information a paragraph stating that hCG was of no use in the management of obesity. FDA parameters for approving drugs for obesity treatment specify that more weight should be lost with use of drug vs. placebo. And as we have stated, the use of hCG as indicated in Dr. Simeon’s protocol does not result in more pounds lost vs. placebo, but does generate a considerable difference in fatty deposits.
Quantity vs. Quality:
While the FDA continues to maintain that hCG is of no use in the management of obesity, experience in patients throughout the years has proven that weight loss and the quality of weight loss (reduction of fat) is more effective while using hCG.
The Interests of the pharmaceutical Industry:
hCG is not open to Patent, and this is its major draw back in terms of business gain for pharmaceutical companies. The Oral hCG Method™ is a patent pending utility belonging to the Oral hCG Research Center and is composed of a series of procedures, one of which is the administration of hCG.
However, while understanding and knowledge of the treatment is restricted to licensed professionals, the medication as such does not represent an area of economic interest for laboratories.