This is an email I received from a patient with questions regarding his HCG 2.0 diet. These are questions that apply not only to HCG 2.0, but to the traditional HCG diet developed by Dr. Simeons’ as well. In fact, Hectors questions are the same questions that I had after first reading Dr. Simeons original manuscript, Pounds and Inches: A New Approach to Obesity and a primary motivator in writing the book.
I do have to apologize to Hector as I’m usually more timely with my response, but I seemed to get a little sidetracked this time. I did however reply (same day) with the abridged version of the email you see below. I hope Hector and the rest of you find the complete and unabridged answers beneficial…
HCG Diet Quesitons #1 – What kind of control do you have for this hormone HCG? Is it synthetic or is it from human origin?
This question can almost entirely be answered from HCG 2.0. See the Excerpt below from the chapter titled “Variations of HCG.”
Before discussing the drops, let’s briefly define homeopathy. This alternative medical system was developed in Germany at the end of the 18th century. It is based on the “law of minimal dose” — with the focus being that exposure alone to a particular compound provides the greatest effect. The Homeopathic HCG that you’ll find from an FDA approved manufacturer uses the intact HCG molecule, in combination with a magnification process, to increase its potency. You’ll find this on the label under drug facts. The Homeopathic HCG used in my practice is labeled (3X, 6X, 12X, 30X, 60X), which is an indication of its potency. This may raise eyebrows, and I was skeptical at first too. In fact, it was only recently that I introduce the drops into my practice; prior to that I was working only with the prescription HCG. I did so as a result of overwhelming patient demand. I had so many requests for the HCG drops because they’d had a friend or family member do so well with the product that they wanted to use it themselves. I spent months, wasting my breath, arguing with patients as to why the prescription hcg product was better before I finally broke down and did some investigating. I soon found a FDA approved, homeopathic manufacturer that assured me his product would get equal, if not better results than the prescription HCG that I’d been using. I began recommending it as a more affordable alternative to the prescription HCG and was so impressed with the results that I now use it almost exclusively. It’s been my experience that there is little difference in weight loss when comparing the homeopathic drops to prescription HCG. This is echoed by Linda Prinster, author of The HCG Weight Loss Cure Guide, which is used by many MDs as the patient education piece to accompany the diet. Prinster says that with committed patients both prescription and homeopathic HCG products will yield weight loss of 20-30 lbs. in 30-40 diet days. I included a graph from her book that compares and contrasts the Homeopathic, the injections and the sublingual, or what she refers to as mixed HCG, because of the mixing agent used to facilitate absorption through the oral cavity.
There are some exceptions, usually when a patient gets closer to their goal weight, when the prescription product will be more effective. This usually occurs with patients that are struggling to lose that last 10 to 15 pounds. This pertains to dieters that have lost a considerable amount of weight and just can’t shake that last 10 to 15, rather than those men or woman who put on a few pounds over the winter and are trying to get back into swimsuit shape. The non-prescription drops will work fine for the latter, but that last 10-15 can be difficult to shake for many. The reason is because the closer you get to your goal weight, the stingier your body will be with releasing its fat reserves, especially if you’ve been overweight for a long time. This is when a more concentrated HCG, like that of the prescription product, may be more effective. The downside here is the expense involved. The prescription product is often 3 to 4 times the cost; the reason being that it is usually compounded at a boutique type pharmacy and individualized to each patient.
My only warning regarding the non-prescription HCG drops is that the quality can vary significantly. There are many internet retailers out there trying to make a quick buck on a hot industry. In December 2011, the US Federal Drug Association, and the Federal Trade Commission, issued warning letters to seven online retailers of homeopathic HCG drops. The letters warned that selling drugs unapproved by the FDA was illegal, in addition to making unsupported and exaggerated claims regarding HCG and its effects on weight loss. My advice here is to be careful with what you purchase via the Internet. I don’t feel that there’s any danger with purchasing a product online, but the quality could be suspect. If you’re purchasing online, at the very least make a phone call to find out if the retailer has a medical professional on staff. Also, stay away from any HCG retailer that offers a guarantee. Medical professionals don’t offer guarantees.
**You may have noticed the appearance of HCG on store shelves of supplement stores and even your local pharmacy. Most of the over-the-counter products are labeled “hormone free.” Considering that HCG is in fact, a hormone, this is quite a paradox. Again, I don’t feel that there is anything dangerous about these products, but in the same breath I cannot recommend and HCG product if it is labeled hormone free.
HCG Injections – Injections were the method used by Dr. Simeons in his clinic. His dosages ranged from 125 IUs to 200 IUs. He warned that increasing dosages beyond those ranges could, in fact, be counter-productive, which may account for why the homeopathic version is equally as effective. During the time Dr. Simeon was practicing, prior to bio-identical hormones therapy, the HCG hormone was harvested from the urine of pregnant women, usually in underdeveloped countries, which made for an unsterile product. Many have concluded that this is why the diet disappeared for nearly 50 years, as a result of a Foot and Mouth epidemic that broke out in the UK from unsterile HCG. I can’t say this with complete certainty, but I felt it worth mentioning. It seems logical that this could be the reason the diet lost popularity so quickly. Now days, with the advances in bio-identical hormone therapy, HCG is compounded in a pharmacy and mixed with bacteriostatic water. Bio-identical Hormone therapy uses a protein from a yam or soy bean and alters it to become the exact replica of that which is produced in the human body, creating a safe and sterile product. As I said earlier, it’s typically made at compounding pharmacies that specialize in individualized medicine, but there are also brand name products such as Pregnyl and Organon. What you have to remember, is that a bio-identical hormone is the same regardless of where it’s compounded. The reason I say this is to help you find the most affordable product. It’s kind of like buying aspirin or ibuprofen; the molecular makeup is the same, regardless of the name brand, so save yourself a couple of bucks and buy generic.
Sublingual – As I stated above, when I began working with HCG, injections were the only available option. As the diet gained in popularity, pharmacies were quick to develop more patient-friendly HCG products that don’t involve syringes. The sublingual tablet w/B12 is the most common, but there are also trans-dermal creams, lozenges and nasal sprays. The sublingual tablet is now the product of choice. Given the widespread availability of alternatives to the injections, and the recent fungal meningitis outbreak at the New England Compounding Center; I no longer work with injections, as they are unnecessarily invasive, especially for home use. Some patients are of the belief that by injecting themselves with a needle, the procedure is more therapeutic, and thus will lead to greater weight loss, but this is not true. The sublingual tablets are equally as effective. If you’re still determined to do the injections, there are still plenty of practitioners prescribing them, but first see the advantages to the sublingual tablets below.
HCG Diet Quesiton #2 – Do you think eating only 500 calories per day will produce a significant amount of weight loss without the use of HCG?
If you’ve read HCG 2.0, you’re aware the HCG is NOT what is responsible for your weight loss. The rapid weight loss you experience on the HCG diet is a derivative of you low calorie diet. See the excerpt from HCG 2.0 below…
Before we begin, it’s important to understand that nearly all of the research we have regarding HCG and its role in supporting weight loss is mostly clinical, meaning it is more subjective in nature and not tested in a controlled environment. Additionally, HCG is not a miracle pill that magically makes the unwanted pounds fall off, nor does such pill exist, despite what you might see or hear on TV and radio. HCG requires a restrictive diet. In fact, HCG is not what causes you to lose weight at all. Your weight loss is a result of your decrease in caloric intake and a healthy metabolic process called Ketosis, which is defined and discussed in the pages to follow (page 15 if you’d like to quickly skip ahead). So what then does HCG do and why is it used to accompany this diet?
HCG, as theorized by Dr. Simeons and supported by a substantial collection of clinical research, provides two distinct actions to facilitate your weight loss while on the low calorie phase of the diet and one action following the diet to help you maintain your ideal weight. All three are listed below.
HCG targets your weight loss so that you maintain muscle mass while strictly losing from abnormal fat deposits.
HCG suppresses appetite by enhancing Ketosis, which is a process that converts our fat reserves to usable calories allowing us to sustain ourselves on our own stored fat. By summoning calories from stored fat, our body reacts as though it has just consumed a meal thus producing a feeling of satiety and fullness.
Following the low calorie phase – By acting on a gland in the brain called the hypothalamus, which is responsible for regulating metabolic activity, including hunger and satiety, HCG has the capacity to “reset” your metabolism allowing you to successfully maintain your weight loss.
HCG Diet Question #3 – How can someone function normally under such calorie restrictions (500 calorie protocol)?
This question is what inspired me to write HCG 2.0. The 500 calorie HCG protocol may be an adequate number of calories for a small woman, but for a large man, it’s not nearly enough, especially in regard to protein. This is why HCG 2.0 uses a BMR calculation to determine the amount of calories one can consume on their own individualized HCG 2.0 diet. See the Slideshare presentation below which illustrates this…
HCG Diet Question #4 – Is it unhealthy to lose so much weight so fast?
The answer here is a bit complicated. If you’re losing more muscle mass than you are losing fat then yes, it can be dangerous. However, with the assistance of the HCG combined with a proper loading phase as described in the book, No. HCG allows you to maintain muscle mass while strictly losing from unwanted fat. See the explanation below from HCG 2.0…
The first two days that you begin taking your HCG supplement, it’s necessary to overload on fatty foods. This may seem counter-productive, but it serves three purposes. First, the sudden fat overload causes your hypothalamus to spring into action by alerting the body to begin attacking fats, essentially jump starting the diet. Secondly, the excess fat provides an immediate calorie reserve to mediate your hunger during the early stages of the diet, allowing the HCG ample time to tap into your fat stores, which can take up to 5-7 days. Finally, as we discussed earlier regarding Set Point Theory, keep in mind that human physiology exists for our long term survival and any sudden decrease in calories can alarm the body into “starvation mode.” During starvation mode, your body actually becomes more efficient with its calories and more determined to store away fat, assuming that there is a scarcity in food supply. This is why dieting is so difficult. Not only are we battling our own poor eating habits, but a physiological pre-disposition to retain fat. Loading on fats for two days causes your liver enzymes to spike which is theorized to prevent the body from entering this starvation mode. By the time your liver enzymes return to normal levels, the HCG has already tapped into your fat reserves and is providing you with supplemental calories thus bypassing starvation mode, which facilitates more rapid weight loss.
Additionally, with the increase in protein calories that you get in HCG 2.0, it makes exercise a viable option. I suggest that patients continue with the exercise routine they were on prior to starting the HCG diet protocol. If there were not exercising prior, I recommend a walking routine of about 30 min per day. Not only does this lower your optimal ketosis levels, allowing you to maintain ketosis throughout the length of the diet, but it also helps maintain muscle mass.
Dr. Z’s HCG blog
It’s a bit long-winded, but I hope this answers all of Hector’s questions. If you have questions of your own, email them to me or post them to our FACEBOOK page here.
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