HCG, also known as Human Chorionic Gonadotropin, is a glycoprotein hormone used for bodybuilding, especially during anabolic androgenic steroid use.
This hormone is normally produced by the placenta during pregnancy. It stimulates the production of progesterone to support healthy pregnancy.
The form used by bodybuilders to improve results is synthetic and is usually produced in a lab. But HCG may also be derived from the urine of pregnant women.
Some bodybuilders also use it alongside other anabolic steroids (at the end of steroid dosage) to increase testosterone levels in the body. In addition, people looking to lose weight may incorporate HCG into a very low-calorie diet.
The use of HCG in weight loss was originally introduced by Dr. A.T.W. Simeons, a British researcher who studied the effects of HCG on women fertility. During his study, he observed that the hormone caused body fat to be burned for fuel instead of muscle.
Benefits of HCG
The use of HCG at the end of the steroid dosing cycle helps prevent negative side effects of anabolic-androgenic steroid use, such as testicular atrophy (testicle shrinkage) and muscle atrophy (wasting or loss of muscle).
When used in conjunction with an extremely low-calorie diet, HCG helps burn off extra fat in the body, helping achieve a toned body.
Bodybuilders typically cycle anabolic steroids for a period of 6-8 weeks, with 5-7 injections a week. During this time, bodybuilders can gain massive amounts of lean mass while gaining little or no fat.
It’s not uncommon to gain 10-20 pounds of lean muscle while on anabolic-androgenic steroids. Using HCG at the end of the steroid cycle helps protect these lean muscle gains and restore the testes to normal abilities.
Women may also incorporate HCG into their low-calorie diets to reduce or eliminate excess unwanted fat.
Side Effects of HCG
Users tend to abuse anabolic-androgenic steroids and HCG, which interferes with normal sperm production, according to a study published in the International Journal of Sports Medicine in 2004.
Using this hormone for a prolonged period of time has also been shown to interfere with testosterone production. While using HCG alongside a very low-calorie diet has been shown to aid weight loss, users can easily gain the lost weight back if they resume their normal eating habits. So it may not be an ideal method of losing weight.
HCG is not FDA-approved as a dietary supplement. A very-low calorie diet may lead to organ damage due to lack of essential nutrients, as well as malnutrition.
Women who undergo HCG injections may increase their chances of pregnancy and the risk of multiple pregnancy. Possible side effects of HCG include: excessive fluid retention, breast development in men, hair loss, tiredness, and acne.