If you missed my previous blog, you should CLICK HERE to get caught up. We discussed the role of HCG, and all hormones, for that matter and their role in both satiety and blood sugar levels. Teresa has one final question: Is HCG an amino acid and why do we have to eat additional protein if HCG is already being produced?
As we discussed yesterday, there are two types of hormones, steroid and non-steroidal hormones. Steroid hormones, other than retinoic acid, are synthesized or constructed using cholesterol, AKA fat. This is why fat is a necessary part of the omnivorous diet of humans, with a healthy ratio of Omega 3 fats to Omega 6 fats. Non-steroidal hormones are mostly peptide-based, such as glucagon, insulin and HCG, among others. A peptide is another word for protein and the “building blocks” of proteins are amino acids. So, the answer is yes, HCG is a long chain amino acid, AKA protein.
HCG concentrations during pregnancy
The next part of Teresa’s question is why do we have to additional protein if it is already being produced? First, let’s keep in mind that HCG is ONLY produced during pregnancy in sufficient concentrations to have any affect on our physiology, this can be seen from the graphic below illustrating HCG concentrations during pregnancy. So, during pregnancy, if a woman is significantly deficient in protein consumption, will she still be able to produce HCG? The answer is yes.
Despite a woman’s diet during pregnancy, she will absolutely produce HCG. This is what sparked the initial interest of Dr. Simeons‘ and is the foundation for his manuscript Pounds and Inches; A New Approach to Obesity. He was astonished that very malnourished women could still give birth to healthy full-weight babies. The answer to this is HCG. However, Teresa’s question is how does the placenta produce HCG if there were no protein in the diet to supply the building blocks of HCG? The answer is by tapping into our fat reserves. Our liver is a fully functioning and extremely efficient biochemistry lab the likes that science will never duplicate. It can convert carbs to fat, fat to carbs, protein to carbs, and fat to protein in necessary amounts to produce HCG, all in response to the hormones directing it. With our liver acting as the manufacturing center and our hormones dictating supply and demand, the placenta will have all the protein it needs for the production of HCG. This acts as a feed forward process by supplying more HCG, which in turn facilitates more HCG production until there is enough which will then alert the placenta to stop… as is the case in the third trimester when HCG levels begin to decrease. See the chart regarding HCG production during pregnancy.
Dr. Zach LaBoube