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Over 50 years ago, Dr. A. T. W. Simeons, a British-born physician, began treating obese men and non-pregnant females with small daily subcutaneous injections of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), a hormone produced by the placenta during pregnancy. He combined this with a restrictive diet of 500 calories daily for six weeks. Simeons reported that patients lost an average of one pound per day, and selectively lost “bad" visceral fat, while at the same time preserved lean muscle mass, and had minimal symptoms of “starvation” diets, such as hunger and headaches.
HCG may have a role in transferring maternal fat-energy stores to the fetus and protecting maternal lean muscle from breakdown. HCG is FDA approved for fertility treatments in women and hypogonadism in men improving testosterone and sperm counts. Using small doses, which produce blood levels far less than pregnancy, HCG has never been implicated in disease and has few side affects.
There are stories about thousands of obese patients treated with HCG and an ultra-low-calorie 500 calories per day diet achieving spectacular results. A small 20 patient study done in the early 1970's by Dr. W. L. Asher seemed to affirm Simeons' findings. However, other studies failed to find any evidence that the Simeon HCG diet was any more effective than just 500 calories daily without HCG. Some claim that the HCG only relieves feelings of starvation, which can help people endure such an ultra-low-calorie diet.
In1976, the Journal of the Amercan Medical Association (JAMA) harshly rebuked the Simeons HCG diet, for lack of placebo controlled studies and the potential to damage muscle due to ultra low protein intake. The FDA soon declared it was fraudulent and illegal to claim the HCG diet produced superior weight loss compared to a similar diet without HCG. As recently as 2010 the American Society of Bariatric Physicians has affirmed its agreement with the FDA.
But, recently there has been a big push, mostly on the Internet, by companies distributing and recommending the classic HCG diet using the original and perhaps dangerously low protein, low calorie protocol. They have also made HCG in forms that have never been studied available, such as oral high dose, poorly absorbable HCG, transdermal HCG and so-called “homeopathic” HCG. Spectacular results with testimonials are widely reported, particularly on the Internet.
The modern very low calorie diet (VLCD), otherwise called the modified-protein sparing (MPS) diet is recommended, under physician supervision, in cases of obesity or morbid obesity when the excess weight is considered a substantial health risk. The classic Simeon HCG diet is not a modern VLCD.
Recently, there are reports of combining sublingual HCG and a MPS, compared it to an MPS alone. It has been reported that the result was rapid weight loss and muscle preservation in both groups with more weight loss in the HCG group. One of the conclusions was that there was less hunger with the MPS + HCG drops vs. the MPS alone. It could also be concluded that HCG can be used safely by combining it with a MPS.
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