Commonly referred to as hCG, Human Chorionic Gonadotropin is a pro-hormone the female body naturally produces during pregnancy. In recent years, both injected and sublingual hCG has received widespread attention as a weight-loss aid. Proponents of the hCG treatment say a regular regiment should last 23 days, though in some cases it can go for as long as 64 days.
What are hCG Drops?
During pregnancy, hCG supports fetus development by breaking down the mother’s body fat reserves for energy and diverting the fat calories from the mother to the fetus. British endocrinologist Dr. Albert T.W. Simeons began experimenting with the weight-loss properties of hCG injections in 1930. Since then, synthetic hCG has been used in other various forms, like drops, in conjunction with a severely calorie-restricted diet to promote weight loss.
The hCG diet program is different from other weight-loss programs because the hCG hormone is supposed to aid in preventing the loss of lean tissue while dieting and in boosting metabolic rate, helping to prevent hunger. HCG hormone causes a reaction in the hypothalamus gland, which is the part of the brain that controls hunger. This hypothalamus trigger allegedly resets the metabolism, encouraging fat burning, raising energy levels, and decreasing feelings of hunger.
Normally, when the body burns more calories than it takes in, referred to as creating a calorie deficit, the body naturally responds by slowing down the metabolism to preserve stored fat. In theory, taking hCG helps the body to overcome this fat protection mechanism, allowing the body to metabolize fat stores and use the stored fat for energy. This allows the body to stay energized while burning off fat and reducing the waistline.  (PDF)
It is important to note that there are scientific results using hCG hormone, which is only available by prescription. Sublingual homeopathic hCG drops contain no actual hCG hormone, instead the hCG drops are “developed through an advanced technique with ingredients that mimic the metabolic effects of hormonal hCG”
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hCG Drops Ingredients
Human chorionic gonadotropin is a hormone produced by a woman’s body after an egg becomes fertilized and implanted in the womb. Because of this, some pregnancy hormone level tests are designed to check for the presence of the hCG hormone. As some cancerous cells also produce the hormone, elevated hCG levels can indicate a cancer diagnosis in non-pregnant women.
The pituitary precursor of hCG, known as luteinizing hormone, is manufactured by the pituitary gland of both females and males. The hCG hormone is a glycoprotein composed of 237 long- and short-chain amino-acid strands with a molecular weight of 36.7.
The hCG hormone is heterodimeric, with an alpha (α) subunit is the same as that of the luteinizing hormone and beta (β) subunit that is exclusive to the hCG hormone. The hCG α subunit is composed of 92 amino acids. The hCG β-subunit is composed of 145 amino acids arranged in tandem in inverted pairs on the 19th chromosome.  
Together, the two subunits compose a lesser hydrophobic core with most of the outer layer of amino acids being hydrophilic.
There is no hCG hormone in homeopathic sublingual hCG drops sold in the U.S.. There are theories that the anecdotal positive results that some users experience are merely the placebo effect. The active ingredients listed on various labels include:
- Pygeum Africanum
- Astragalus, for use as a weight-loss supplement
hCG Drops Nutrition Facts
The recommended dosage amount of hCG drops varies, from one to 30 drops, depending on the manufacturer. Even at the upper dose of 30 drops, hCG nutritional values are insignificant, with nutrients, vitamins, calories, carbohydrates, and protein all coming in at less than .5 grams each. According to FDA regulations, this diluted formulation allows the manufacturer to list these values as zero on the product’s Nutritional Facts label.
What Do hCG Drops Do?
The hCG hormone is a pro-hormone that helps the body produce more hormones. While the adrenal glands produce many of the bodies hormones, hCG stimulates the adrenals to make even higher amounts of hormones. Because hormone imbalance or deficiency, from problems like hypothyroidism or menopausal issues, is typically partly responsible for weight gain, hCG may offer help. According to anecdotal patient reporting, hCG drops reduce the feelings of hunger, allowing users to be satiated while eating very small amounts of food. That is if hCG suppresses the appetite once in the bloodstream.
What is the Difference Between Homeopathic and Prescription hCG Drops?
There are two types of sublingual (under the tongue) hCG drops: prescription hCG and over-the-counter homeopathic hCG drops. Here is the break down:
Prescription hCG Drops
- Available only by prescription
- Contains 5000 iu synthetic hCG hormone
- Many online retailers offer “tele-consultations” to obtain access to prescription hCG
- Cost is expensive: around $400 for a 46 day plan
Homeopathic hCG Drops
- Available over the counter
- Contains extremely diluted amounts of hCG and amino acids
- Ingredients are so diluted, they are considered to have “zero amounts” of the listed ingredients
- Some homeopathic “Diet Drops” only contain amino acids and herbs that are said to trigger the same response as hCG- but has no hCG hormone at all
- Less expensive: around $30 – $70 for a 40 day supply
Do hCG Drops Work?
During crash dieting, there is a dramatic loss of weight with a high percentage of lost muscle tissue. Because lean tissue, or muscle, is denser than adipose tissue, or fat, this loss looks great when the dieter steps on the scale, because the pounds are dropping quickly.
However, this causes the metabolism to slow down so much that the dieter regains weight rapidly, typically regaining all the lost weight as well as some additional pounds. Additionally, it requires work to rebuild the muscle that was lost. By elevating hormone levels in the body, including testosterone, the hCG hormone creates an anabolic, or muscle-building, state that works to counteract the catabolic, or muscle-breakdown, state. In theory, there are receptors on muscle fibers that respond to the increased hCG level in patients taking the hormone.
To date, there is no empirical, quantitative data, or clinical studies, that show hCG drops, or any other oral form of hCG like sprays or pills, have any beneficial effects. This is probably due to the compounds being dissolved or destroyed during the ingestion and digestion processes, and never being absorbed into the bloodstream; or, because the drops don’t really contain hCG after all.  (PDF)
hCG Drop Benefits
Weight loss hCG supplements are used by both men and women who want to lose weight without sacrificing lean tissue in the process. When taken in conjunction with a low-calorie diet, hCG drops are supposed to allow the body to more efficiently metabolize stored fat to be used for energy than if the dieter was trying and lose weight without hCG.
The most important assertion of adding hCG to a weight-loss regiment is the fact that loss of lean tissue is typically the first self-defense reaction from the body when calories are severely restricted. In theory, to prevent this loss of lean tissue, hCG helps the body burn off fat instead of muscles tissue.
The use of the hCG hormone has been recommended by weight-loss doctors around the world, as there can be severe long-term consequences for people who lose muscle, and sometimes osseous, or bone, tissue, through severe calorie restrictive weight-loss plans.
Consequences can include decreased mobility and possible osteoporosis. The supposed effects of hCG are it promotes rapid weight loss, with some users reporting an average weight loss of over a pound a day.
Because hCG is a pro-hormone, another reported benefit of taking the hCG hormone is a testosterone boost. Both men and women produce testosterone naturally in the adrenal glands, but issues can develop when testosterone levels drop, including a reduction or loss of sex drive. 
Are There hCG Drops Side Effects to Worry About?
In pregnant women, the hCG hormone often causes feelings of nausea, especially in the early stages of pregnancy. When taken supplemental, injected hCG side effects have been reported to include:
- Fluid buildup
- Gynecomastia (swelling of the breasts in males)
- Thrombosis, or blood clots  (PDF)
Some users have also suggested that hCG drops are addictive. Sublingual homeopathic hCG drops available without prescription in the U.S. do not actually contain any hCG, so it is unlikely to be harmful or addictive, or to cause the same side effects as injected hGC.
Is There an hCG Drop Alternative?
There are several commercially prepared alternatives to hCG drops. However there is no clinical evidence to support the effectiveness of any of these preparations. Currently, the only alternative is a regiment of hCG injections administered by a licensed physician.
Only injections of the hCG hormone have been demonstrated to have any effect on increasing the level of hCG in the bloodstream, touted to prevent muscle loss while dieting.
What Do hCG Drops Cost?
The cost of hCG drops can vary based on the preparation type and company selling the drops. Homeopathic hCG drops from a reputable company typically cost between $85 to $100 for a 23-day course.
Some companies sometimes offer a two-bottle special for the price of a single bottle, which is helpful for those on a tight budget. The companies that offer hCG alternatives sell their drops for approximately the same cost as the homeopathic hCG drops.
There is no form of hCG hormone drops available for sale within the U.S. without a prescription. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns consumers to avoid homeopathic hCG weight-loss products, including those sold in the form of oral drops that can be found online and in some retail stores.
Both the FDA and the Federal Trade Commission have sent letters to businesses warning the companies they are selling illegal homeopathic hCG weight-loss drugs that are not FDA approved and make unsupported claims. Even though the drops are not legal for sale in U.S. pharmacies, hCG drops can be legally purchased online, from non-U.S. based companies. 
Costs for hCG injections can vary widely, based on several factors. Because injections must be administered by a licensed physician, the cost will include an office visit as well as the hCG injections. This can result in an expensive three-week protocol costing several hundred to over a thousand dollars, depending on whether or not insurance will cover part of the cost of treatment. Just the insurance co-pay alone can cost over $200.
hCG Drops Directions
HCG Sublingual Drops are used under the tongue, as opposed to being injected or sprayed into the nostrils. When placing the drops under the tongue, absorption is best when placed as close as possible to the large vein found there.
Standard directions for taking sublingual hCG drops are to not eat or drink anything, including water, for 30 minutes before taking the drops. Apply the recommended number of drops under the tongue, holding there for at least one minute before swallowing. Holding the drops under the tongue for a longer time, from 5 to 15 minutes, will increase absorption of the drops.
Instructions also call to not eat or drink anything for 30 minutes after taking the drops. In the case of hCG Sublingual Drops, recommendation for duration of the regimen ranges from 2 weeks to 2 months. One two-oz bottle is needed over the course of a 43-day regiment and two two-oz bottles over the course of a 64-day treatment; a 64-day regiment is recommended for those wanting to lose 20 pounds or more. Recommended dosage is to place 4 to 6 drops under the tongue, at three separate intervals daily.
hCG Drops Results
Despite anecdotal reports to the contrary, there is no scientific data to support hCG weight-loss claims and multiple U.S. government agencies, including the FDA and FTC, has called hCG drops a fad. While many people do claim to have lost about 3/4 of a pound a day, on average, over the entire course of the regiment, this is typically due to the severe calorie restrictive diet, and not the hCG drops. 
The hCG Diet
The bigger picture of using hCG drops, or hCG in any form, is the hCG diet. This diet plan has been around for almost 50 years and has been buried under controversy since the 1960s. However, in recent years it has experienced a resurgence of sorts as people look for ways to lose weight. These weight reduction treatments originally include the injection of the hCG hormone, which was never approved by the U.S. FDA as a safe and effective treatment for weight control.
Taking hCG drops are only one part of the hCG weight-loss protocol. The other piece of the puzzle is the hCG diet guidelines set forth by Dr. Simeon that limits caloric intake to 500 calories per day. Further restriction of the diet plan includes what types of foods the 500 calories are derived from and what types of foods are prohibited.
For most people, consuming a 2,000 calorie a day diet, the average meal consists of at least 500 calories. On the hCG diet, the calories most people consume at one sitting must be spread out in a very specific and structured manner throughout the day.
There are 3 phases in the hCG diet:
Phase 1: The Loading Phase
During phase 1 of the hCG diet, dieters “load up” on hCG sublingual activator drops by taking them every day. During this loading phase, which lasts for 3 days, there are no food restrictions. Many people use this phase to enjoy all their favorite foods, including sweets and fats.
Phase 2: The Calorie Diet
Phase 2 begins on the fourth day, following 3 days of phase 1. This phase is where things get serious- only 500 calories a day are allowed for those needing to lose more than 12 pounds. The plan recommends drinking only no-calorie liquids for breakfast, and then eating the remaining 500 calories by splitting them between lunch and dinner. For those who only need to lose 10-12 pounds, calorie count may be increased to 1000 calories per day, for 25 days, if desired. For persons wanting to lose over 12 pounds, staying on the 500 calorie restricted diet for 6 weeks will result in a loss of 25 to 30 pounds. During this phase, hCG drops are taken every day, as directed.
Phase 3: The Maintenance Diet
The 500 calorie phase 2 diet must be discontinued after 6 weeks. At this time, all foods except starches and sweets may be eaten again. Dieters are encouraged to monitor their weight and to cut back if weight gain starts to occur. The hCG drops are also suspended for a month, at which time they may be taken again for an additional 6 to 8 weeks. This cycle of 6-8 weeks on the diet and 30 days off, can be continued for as long as desired.
There are groups of approved foods during phase 2, namely proteins and vegetables. Starches, fats and sweets are severely limited or prohibited altogether. Up to 200 grams of animal protein can be eaten per day, but no more than 100 grams at any one meal. All fat and bone must be trimmed before cooking.
Approved proteins are:
- Extra Lean Beef
- Three Egg Whites
- White Fish
There is a bit more variety of vegetable choices. The hCG diet allows people to consume up to two cups of vegetables per day, but no more than one cup with each meal.
Approved vegetables are:
- Green Salad
- Mixed Greens
Some fruits are allowed as well:
- Half grapefruit
The hCG diet and supplement protocol is extremely limiting regarding what starches are allowed. The only approved starches while on the hCG diet are Grissini breadsticks or Melba toast and eaten as sparingly as possible.
While most people may not pay much attention to things like seasonings, there are also rules for everything else consumed, such as spices and flavorings. The hCG diet advises against seasoning mixes as mixes often contain sugar and excessive salt. Oil, butter or any dressings are strictly prohibited. There are several websites online that include recipes for the hCG diet.
Here is a short list of other approved items that can be added to the hCG meal plan:
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Braggs Amino Acids
- Herbal Tea
- Mustard powder
- Salt, pepper, or any other natural spices
Desserts on the hCG Diet
There are essentially no approved deserts on the hCG diet plan, as most desserts contain either lots of fat or sugar or both. However, cocoa powder is allowed, and some dieters have come up with some creative ways of using cocoa powered and Stevia to flavor some of the foods on the approved lists. Still, any such concoction must be included in the 500 calories per day allowance.  
hCG Drops Effectiveness
From an article published in the American Society of Bariatric Physicians, the American Medical Association adopted a policy that the use of hCG was inappropriate for weight loss as there is no empirical evidence that hCG any significant effect in treating obesity.
The meta-analysis of data found there was insufficient evidence to support the claims that hCG was effective in altering either fat usage or causing a reduction in hunger. In conclusion, the medical professionals who wrote the article stated the use of human chorionic gonadotropin should not be regarded as an appropriate therapy for weight reduction. 
Uses for hCG Drops
In addition to being used as a weight loss supplement, hCG drops are also used in these ways:
- Atheletes use hCG to increase testosterone, which in turn increases muscle mass. HCG use has been banned by the Olympic Committee
- Men with erectile dysfunction use hCG to boost testosterone levels
- Boys may use hCG at puberty to encourage proper development of the penis and testes
- Women have used hCG to treat infertility and encourage ovulation
- HCG has anti-aging properties and may improve skin tone, increase metabolism, heighten brain function and relieve menopausal symptoms
- Increased energy has been reported by some users of hCG
Things to Consider about hCG Drops
- HCG sublingual drops are expensive- do they fit within your budget?
- Prescription hCG drops and injections are made from a synthetically produced hormone, while homeopathic sublingual hCG drops are made from natural ingredients
- Can you stick to a very strict, 500 calorie diet?
- Homeopathic hCG drops are very safe, but prescription hCG may be more effective, and may have possible side effects
- Homeopathic preparations are extremely diluted, and many experts debate their effectiveness
- Products with actual synthetic hCG hormone can not be purchased in stores, although it may be found online from non U.S. sources
Where to Buy hCG Drops
Homeopathic “Diet Drops” supplements, which contain amino acids and herbs but no hCG or other hormones, may be purchased on Amazon and similar online retailers including Walmart, eBay and Jet. Homeopathic drops containing hCG are illegal to sell in the U.S.
Homeopathic hCG drops, containing highly diluted hCG and an amino acid mix can be purchased from HCG Triumph. The website states that hCG hormone is included in their formula, but no ingredient labels are shown on the website. This online retailer also offers a recipe book, sugar free gum, lemonade powdered drink and other weight loss supplements. A hormone free sublingual drop is also available. The 40 day kit costs $155.25
Nu Image Medical sells prescription hCG drops, hCG oral pellets and hCG injections. Options include a 26 day or 46 day plan. Purchasers are given a tele-consultation by a physician, and given a prescription. Follow up tele-visits are promised, and this retailer states that they comply with U.S. regulations on prescription hCG products. The cost is $297 for the 26 day plan, and $397 for the 46 day plan.
HCG Injection kits can be purchased online from Escrow Refills, which provides the materials needed from pharmacies around the world. The prices on this website are lower than most, but it is only intended as a vehicle to fill prescriptions. No consultation, prescription or other information is offered on this website.Also: read our Burn HD Weight-Loss Kit review »
The Bottom Line on hCG Drops
The promise of hCG weight loss drops is the preparation can be used at home and is a natural and easy way to achieve rapid and safe weight reduction. While anecdotal reports support these claims, the science says that any extremely low-calorie diet will result in drastic weight loss. Numerous peer-reviewed studies have found no substantial evidence that hCG diet drops increase weight loss past what results from the strict caloric restrictive diet of 500 calories per day.
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