So last week I began answering Teresa’s questions that are listed below. I answered her first two, which you can review by clicking on the blog tab above, but was distracted by work and/or family and am just now finding the time to answer the remaining two. So now that know why fat consumption is not ideal for the HCG diet and that a high or adequate protein diet IS ideal for the HCG diet, let’s talk about pregnancy and the production of HCG.
HCG concentrations during pregnancy
To put Teresa’s question into context regarding the production of HCG during pregnancy has more to do with the formation and production of hormones in a more general sense. There are two types of hormones, steroid and non-steroidal hormones. Steroid hormones, with the exception of retinoic acid, are synthesized or built starting with cholesterol, AKA fat. This is why fat is a necessary part of our diet, with a healthy ratio of Omega 3 fats to Omega 6 fats. Steroid hormones include testosterone, estradiol, progesterone, glucocorticoids, and others. Non-steroidal hormones are mostly peptide-based, such as glucagon, insulin and HCG, among others. If you’ll notice, the latter, glucagon, insulin and HCG are key hormones in regulating both satiety and blood sugar levels. Hormones are chemical messengers; they’re produced throughout the body, but generally controlled by our brain. Glucagon and insulin have adverse effects. Insulin works to lower blood sugar levels after a meal, while glucagon works to raise blood sugar levels in times of diminished food supply by converting glycogen into glucose; this is the bodies near-sighted response to low blood sugar. If blood sugar remains low, as in times of decreased food supply or in today’s world, dieting, the more long term response is ketosis. If you’ve read HCG 2.0, you’ll know that ketosis is a completely healthy physiological state that exists when we are deprived of carbohydrates and must rely on stored fat as an energy reserve. During pregnancy, the growing fetus need a 24/7 calorie supply. The continuous need for additional calories cannot be managed by glucagon and insuline alone. This is one of the roles of the placenta – it produces HCG which triggers the brain to metabolize stored fat to facilitate the additional calorie requirements of the growing fetus.
Now, with that brief synopses of the endocrine system, let’s answer Teresa’s question regarding HCG production during pregnancy. Despite a women’s diet during pregnancy, she will most certainly produce HCG. This is what initially sparked the interest of Dr. Simeons’. He was amazed that extremely malnourished women could still give birth to health full-weight babies. The reason for this is HCG. But, Teresa’s question is how does the placenta produce HCG in the absence of protein in the diet? The answer is by tapping into our fat reserves. Our liver is a fully functioning and extraordinarily efficient biochemistry lab the likes that science will never ever duplicate. It can convert fat to carbs, carbs to fat, protein to carbs, etc. all in response to the hormones directing it. With our liver acting as the manufacturing center and 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 response 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
I’ll answer question number 4 in my next blog.
In reviewing Teresa’s email, it looks like she has roughly 3 questions regarding the physiology of HCG and nutrition in general. I’ll list her questions below and then answer them accordingly.
Why limit fat consumption on the HCG diet? Would adding fat facilitate a more optimal level ketosis?
Does protein covert to carbs?
Would a pregnant woman produce HCG despite her diet?
Is HCG an Amino Acid and if it is, why do we need to eat additional protein if it’s already being produced in the form of HCG?