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Not only is this product bogus, the FDA says this is illegal
Not only is this product bogus, the FDA says this is illegal

Unfortunate Resurgence of HCG Use For Weight Loss
By Tom Venuto

A recent issue of the International Journal of Obesity featured a brief commentary explaining the fact that HCG has no weight loss effects but it does have potential safety concerns. They concluded by asking professionals in the health community to "speak out strongly against HCG use." That's the reason I'm writing yet another article on HCG.

It's very frustrating and very difficult when legitimate health educators are up against the likes of Dr OZ doing a national TV show on HCG for weight loss - which is sure to spike his ratings as well as sales of HCG. It has reached the point where scientific journals have called out OZ by name (see abstract /summary of article below).

I was just in a Rite Aid pharmacy store in New Jersey yesterday where they have vastly expanded the nutritional supplements and weight loss pills section - it's like a mini GNC - and I saw "HCG" products on the shelves.

This was not the prescription drug - real HCG is an injection that must be obtained by prescription from a doctor. But this product was labeled as HCG and being sold with other over the counter weight loss pills. There was no way for someone uneducated (like someone who just watched Dr. Oz on TV) to know the difference. It reminded me very much of the muscle building supplements that are named and marketed to sound like steroids.

For example, "Dianabel - anabolic activator" might be seen on a bottle in the health food store - sounds like the steroid dianabol - and the similarity in name is intentional. Common sense alone should tell you that you can't buy a steroid in a health food store right over the counter, but skinny teenagers buy this stuff all the time, thinking they are getting steroids. (They've heard of dianabol and other steroids in online forums, etc).

So here we have on the same store shelves boxes of HCG. Never mind that the box contains pills or homeopathic drops and that real HCG is a prescription drug administered by injection; people heard about it on a talk show and just buy the fraudulent / fake hcg right off the shelf.

Over-the-counter (otc) hcg is illegal and it is still on the shelves everywhere. Have these stores and supplement companies no shame?

Given the recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) ruling, I was shocked that supplement companies and stores are still getting away with this and I feel terribly sorry for the people wasting their money not only on a bogus product, but on a bogus version of a bogus product.

It's frustrating because the HCG diet for some reason has created true believers out of many people. I simply don't understand it. They go on 500 calorie starvation diets while simultaneously taking a product with no evidence of effectiveness (many studies showing the opposite -- that HCG is totally ineffective) and yet rather than attribute the weight loss to the 500 calories per day diet, they attribute it to the bogus HCG.

Please avoid these products and spread the word that HCG injections don't work for weight loss, they come with a starvation diet, the injections are potentially dangerous (see summary below) and sales of OTC versions of HCG (whether homeopathic or otherwise) are both fraudulent and illegal.

Here's my previous article on HCG which gives the complete HCG story and reviews the research that found HCG no more effective than a placebo.

Below you will see an abstract / highlights of the recent warning that was published in the International Journal Of Obesity - one of the most respected, peer reviewed journals in the field.

An unfortunate resurgence of human chorionic gonadotropin use for weight loss, JC Lovejoy and M Sasagawa, International Journal of Obesity, 36: 385-386

Some 55 years ago, English physician ATW Simeons proposed to treat obesity by administering human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG). Simeons' protocol involves a combination of up to 6 weeks of daily low-dose HCG injections and a very low calorie diet (500 kcal per day). In recent decades, several randomized controlled trials demonstrated that HCG was no better than placebo and experts concluded that HCG has no merit for weight loss. Thus the use of HCG for weight loss is discouraged by legitimate clinicians who treat obese patients.

However, since the publication of a 2007 popular book, and most recently the promotion of HCG for weight loss on the Dr. Oz television show, some conventional and many alternative medicine clinics have been offering HCG weight loss programs because it is a lucrative business for a prevalent health issue, obesity.

Anecdotal stories indicate that many patients are satisfied with these programs because of the success of weight loss, although any weight loss that occurs is very likely due to the hypocaloric diet that accompanies the injections rather than any effect of HCG per se and; as there is usually no maintenance program provided, weight is quickly regained after the end of the program.

In addition to its lack of efficacy, it is concerning that the HCG dosage administered to obese patients is sufficiently high to cause certain physiological responses and the quality of the HCG used by many "obesity clinics" is unknown. A typical dosage used for weight loss programs is the daily dosage of 150 US for six times per week or a weekly dosage of 1000IU. In a clinical trial of oocyte production, a daily dose of 200IU has been successfully used for maintaining late follicular phase as a gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonist.

The likelihood that HCG administered for weight loss is having reproductive effects is further suggested by the finding of luteinizing hormone/HCG receptors on various tissues. Preliminary studies showed that HCG facilitated decidualization of stromal cells of human endometrium, which raises concern of possible leimyoma formation and exacerbation of endometriosis.

For males, animal prostate cells expressed HCG receptor gene upon stimulation, and the authors concluded that luteinizing hormone/HCG receptors are linked to the development of prostatic hyperplasia and prostate carcinomas.

Carlson et al, report that luteinizing hormone/HCG receptor mRNA was found from autopsy archival samples of benign gynecomastica and male breast carcinoma, and suggested that luteinizing hormone and HCG might have a role in the pathogenesis of male breast disorders at sufficiently high dosage.

Given that HCG has no demonstrated weight loss effects and has potential safety concerns, it is incumbent upon the scientific and clinical community in the obesity field to educate their patients about the lack of efficacy and potential risk of off -label HCG use and to speak out strongly against its use.

Tom Venuto,

Burn The Fat Coach

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