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So what does the science say? One early double-blind study found that patients felt better, had less appetite and lost more weight when on HCG.  So case closed, right? Well, three years later the same journal came out with additional research showing the exact opposite.  In fact, the study concluded "HCG per se offered no advantage over placebo injections in regard to weight loss, distribution of fat lost or hunger index during weight reduction". The following year five obese women were put on the standard 500 calorie diets and injections of 125 IU of HCG with no results and, again, the authors concluded that it offered no advantage over straight calorie reduction.  Study after study thereafter left HCG for weight loss in an ever-weakening position.
Finally, in 1995 a meta-analysis was undertaken that definitively concluded that "there is no scientific evidence that HCG is effective in the treatment of obesity; it does not bring about weight-loss of fat-redistribution, nor does it reduce hunger or induce a feeling of well-being".  The bottom line is that the great majority of studies show no benefit from HCG, making it a big waste of time and money. Yes, females can lose weight from an "HCG Diet" but it is almost for sure from the low calories that she is consuming and not the injections themselves.
What about safety? Well, it is definitely not safe for guys due to the above-mentioned negative feedback loop. For females, that is a different story. It does have some potentially nasty side effects but it is fairly widely used for fertility treatments at significantly higher dosages, so some women will think, "What do I have to lose (except some extra pounds)?" So for short term use in females, there may be no harm done but keep in mind that long or even medium term safety has never really been studies as far as I know. However, one can safely say that it will drain one's account: a typical injection lasts for several weeks and is on the order of $350 and up.
And that leads to a big question: why would a doc, the acquaintence I spoke of above, knowing full well that study after study has shown HCG to be completely useless for weight loss, push his wife to take the same? My guess is simple: the low calorie diet. Most HCG diets are very low calories and so he knew that his wfie would lose weight anyway. So the hundreds or thousands that he would spend would be well worth the investment.
Well, you know what I am going to say: HCG diets, crash dieting, liposuction or any other very rapid way to take off pounds will not lead to long term health and vitality. Fix the underlying root problem or eventually you will put back on the pounds. Remember: a man with about a 40 inch waist or a woman with a 35 inch waist has substantially more heart attack risk (and often sexual dysfunction to go along with it). Gradual weight loss with a steady dose of exercise are always the answer (unless you have been diagnosed with thyroid, testosterone or other hormonal issues).
1) American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Feb 1973, 26:211-218, "Effect of human chorionic gonadotrophin on weight loss, hunger and feeling of well-being"
2) American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Sep 1976, 29:940-948, "Ineffectiveness of human chorionic gonadotropin in weight reduction: a double-blind study"
3) Arch Intern Med, 1977, 137:151-155, "Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) Treatment of Obesity"
4) Br J Clin Pharmacol, 1995 Sep, 40(3):237-43, "The effect of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in the treatment of obesity by means of the Simeons therapy: a criteria-based meta-analysis"
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