Will the hCG Diet Make You Infertile & Give You Cystic Ovaries?

Monday, September 26, 2011
By: Byron J. Richards,
Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
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The hCG diet is based on a 500 calorie per day diet, which is brutal torture to your metabolism. It is probably better than being diseased from the adverse side effects of obesity, but it would be a last ditch effort after all other reasonable options have been exhausted. The addition of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) to the diet makes it even more risky, as hCG will interact with sex hormones in women or men in unpredictable ways. The hCG diet has become a “medical fad” wherein various doctors, often pretending to be natural health practitioners, offer prescriptions for daily hCG injections (typically self-administered). In the over-the-counter market there are various homeopathic dilutions of hCG and amino acid products that seek to mimic the profile of hCG, calling themselves hCG diet supplements. In many ways this reminds me of the fen-phen medical weight loss fad that was eventually found to cause heart disease. 

As the author of The Leptin Diet, I am typically asked questions about virtually every diet on the market, which in the past few years has included an increasing number of questions about the hCG diet. Usually, I do not bother to write about any other diet, as it would simply be too time consuming. However, I recently became more interested in the topic of the hCG diet when I was researching eugenics and the FDA and came across a rather extensive body of literature and “scientific” effort (Rockefeller funding) wherein vaccines containing hCG were being tested on humans as a form of birth control, with potential side effects of sterilization. Maybe those who would consider injecting themselves with hCG should understand the subject a little bit better.

What is hCG?

HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is best known for its role in pregnancy. It enables the corpus luteum to keep producing progesterone to get the pregnancy rolling, while enhancing the attachment of the fertilized egg to the uterus by helping to build the vascular system required to nourish the fetus. Elevated levels of hCG act throughout pregnancy to facilitate the growth and development of the fetus and are vital for the development of the fetal nervous system and the delivery of nutrition to the fetus. Each month as part of the normal menstrual cycle, small amounts of hCG are produced by the pituitary gland in conjunction with the surge of luteinizing hormone (LH). This is to help prepare the female system in case a pregnancy should occur.

As with any hormone, the timing and the amount are vital to its efficient function. While low levels of hCG are associated with inability to become pregnant or miscarriage, high levels are associated with Down’s syndrome. High levels of hCG are also associated with abnormal growths in the reproductive system, such as tumors and cysts, and other dysfunctional situations involving complex hormone dysfunction.

In short, when hCG enters the human system at the right time and in the right amount it has a clear and vital purpose. Any other use of it raises multiple questions.

HCG has two subunits to its structure called alpha and beta. The alpha subunit is identical in structure to the luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). The beta subunit, however, is unique to hCG. This means that injections of hCG cause a risk of significant hormonal disruption or confusion by potentially binding to receptors for other hormones (since your body is not expecting abnormal intake of hCG). Indeed, it has been shown that administering hCG to men boosts estrogen levels, most likely by competitively binding to testosterone/LH receptors.

How problematic, abnormal hCG intake will be for any one person will vary considerably upon their underlying inflammatory situation and pre-existing state of hormonal confusion, which, as a baseline, are typically quite high in an overweight person. It is completely logical to assume that hCG could provoke an autoimmune reaction, especially in women, that could result in serious ovarian damage (a clear problem identified in the hCG vaccines I will discuss shortly).  In animal studies, administration of hCG routinely produces ovarian cysts. This has also been found to occur in women taking hCG. Women with PCOS have excessive LH signaling, which likely correlates to inappropriate elevation of their pituitary production of hCG, which is the likely compound that makes cysts grow, along with higher estradiol. An animal study shows that administered hCG that is causing cysts, also promotes excessive levels of testosterone and estradiol in the female system, fueling the problem. 

HCG Vaccines for Population Reduction

Once you understand the vital need of hCG for pregnancy, you can also understand that disrupting it in some way would prevent pregnancy or cause an early stage abortion. Now we go from science to politics, entering into the long-standing agenda of the eugenics movement, typically funded by the Rockefellers and Rockefeller front groups such as the New York based Population Council. The goal of these Rockefeller-funded vaccines is to combine hCG with a toxic adjuvant so that an immune response is mounted against hCG. In other words, by causing a surge of hCG along with a toxic inflammatory situation then the vaccine is supposed to teach the immune system that hCG should be attacked, i.e., creating an autoimmune response against hCG. This would make a woman unable to become pregnant as long as the antibodies against hCG remain elevated. Human experimentation with Rockefeller’s hCG vaccine have been going on for decades, mostly in India or other countries targeted by the elite for population reduction.

This is not something they are hiding from anyone, as they even publish studies trying to figure out how to make the vaccines work better. Their eugenics agenda has run into some resistance, as there exist numerous health concerns surrounding the vaccine. However, research on hCG vaccines and other pregnancy-stopping vaccines is in full swing.

While the hCG vaccines are different from injecting hCG, this issues raises some important questions. Clearly, disruption of hCG by provoking auto-antibodies against hCG is a way to stop pregnancy. 

It should be understood that when a woman becomes pregnant her immune system is “turned down” so that her own immune system does not reject the fetus. It is only at that time that hCG levels naturally elevate. HCG injections will elevate the levels of this hormone at non-pregnant times and thus, being an unnatural substance for that time, could readily provoke an autoimmune reaction. There are no studies proving this as it has simply not been looked at in people or animals, but it is one obvious concern any person should have. Any person with any type of pre-existing autoimmune problem, such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is fairly common in people who struggle with weight loss, would be at increased risk for developing autoantibodies to hCG, which could injure the reproductive system in women or men, and could cause infertility.

There is No Proof hCG Does Anything for Weight Loss

The use of hCG and a 500 calorie diet has been going on for half a century. It has been debunked and now reinvented through misleading internet hype. The most obvious question to ask is simply, do you lose more weight on a 500 calorie diet if you have or don’t have hCG? 

There are four double-blind, placebo-controlled trails testing the hCG diet. These were published in 1976, 1977, 1987, and 1990. All of them show that hCG does nothing to improve weight loss compared to the diet alone. All of them show that hunger was not better reduced by hCG compared to a saline injection. The use of hCG to enhance the benefits of calorie restriction is not supported by any published science.

Is a 500 Calorie Per Day Diet Safe and Effective?

Let’s begin with the effective aspect of this question. Unless your are metabolically frozen or in horrid health, you will lose weight eating 500 calories per day. Your metabolism is set to burn how many calories per day you now eat. Thus, if your are eating 2,000 calories per day and you switch to 500 your body will burn an extra 1500 calories per day for 2 to 4 weeks. At that point your body will think you are starving and leptin will command your metabolism to slow down to efficiently use 500 calories per day (hibernation metabolism). Once this happens your body has evoked that survival-oriented, leptin-orchestrated response to starvation – which not only slows down your metabolism on the front end but commands that extra calories are stored as fat when you start eating more in the future, a very necessary mechanism for starvation recovery.

The only way to escape this leptin-orchestrated recovery mechanism is to exercise like crazy and keep your calories at a low level (more like 1200 for women and 1600 for men) for a number of months. Most people won’t or don’t do that, thus rapidly gaining weight back that they have lost while starving themselves. The process of extreme weight loss followed by weight regain is physically traumatic, and the person would have been better off not doing the 500 calorie diet in the first place. In other words, if you want to do a 500 calorie diet for a month or two, then plan on being really good with your follow-up diet and really active for the following year, or you will do more harm than good.

The question of safety is more complicated and depends on the person’s other health problems besides being overweight along with the person’s fitness. The greater the number of other health problems the riskier the diet will be. The more fit a person is, the safer the diet will be. Many things can go wrong. For example, rapid weight loss can cause an already sluggish gall bladder to become super-saturated and congested, causing a need to remove the gall bladder. Any “weak spot” in a person’s health will be tested by such a diet, making medical supervision by a smart doctor essential.

In the past I would have warned wholeheartedly against the 500 calorie per day diet. A recently published small study with 12 people who did a 600 calorie per day diet for 8 weeks found it reversed their type 2 diabetes. That is a rather stunning result, especially considering the number of adults with type 2 diabetes who are placed on an endless supply of drugs that never fix anything. Thus, the risk of a low-calorie diet may need to be viewed in the context of the impending health doom if the person doesn’t do something to change.  In my mind, there are much better ways to change this state of affairs than a very low calorie diet, but I would now place it into the category of a diet of last resort if all else fails, one with many potential risks.

Safe and Effective Dieting

In order to effectively and safely lose weight you must learn to tame the leptin tiger. You must learn how to restore the fitness of your fat. This subject goes far beyond the number of calories you consume and speaks directly to the health and efficiency of your metabolism. When you eat in harmony with leptin, you can extract more energy from less food. You are much less likely to slip into “starvation” metabolism. 

The easiest way to start is to simply follow the Five Rules of the Leptin Diet, clean up the quality of your diet, and make sure you are consistently exercising. 

If you are not making enough progress just doing that, you want to make sure that you are not lacking in basic nutrition that is often lacking on overweight people. I explain these common deficiencies in my article, The Leptin Diet Weight Loss Challenge #1 – Overview and Basic Needs.  This is nothing fancy, it is just simple common sense.

As the weeks go by you need to improve your aerobic fitness. Walking is fine, but it is not enough if you are able to do more. Adding dietary supplements that specifically enhance your response to aerobic exercise can help you burn more fat during the exercise, as I explain in my article, Byron’s Running Tips.

Digestive problems pose a major roadblock to weight loss. Sluggish thyroid issues are common problems. And there are many other nutrients that can help your metabolism burn fat. There are no quick fixes. There is no such thing as some magical weight loss dietary supplement. Nutrients are tools that can help guide your metabolism in the right direction. There are many options that can help you. Always, your basic strategy of a good diet, exercise, and nutrient basics form the foundation for healthy weight loss.

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