What’s the Deal With HCG?

The FDA does not approve HCG for use in weight loss. Find out why:

Have you ever heard of human chorionic gonadotropin, or HCG? HCG, a hormone that is produced by the human placenta during pregnancy, has been marketed for its “homeopathic” use by the companies that sell it – but the truth is, HCG is not a safe or effective means of achieving weight loss results. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration has advised would-be consumers to avoid this unapproved product.

Why doesn’t it work?
Makers of HCG claim that the product will “reset your metabolism” and “change abnormal eating patterns.” In reality, the product is typically sold in conjunction with instructions to follow a very low calorie diet. The FDA states, “Many HCG products are marketed to be taken in connection with a very low calorie diet — it’s the decrease in calories that accounts for any weight loss.”

Are HCG products still prescribed?
They shouldn’t be. The FDA has issued letters to the firms that market HCG products to consumers. Occasionally, however, health care professionals will prescribe injectable HCG for unapproved uses, such as weight loss or obesity. Higher risks of negative side effects are possible when HCG is used in such contexts, including cases of pulmonary embolism, depression, cerebrovascular issues, cardiac arrest, and death.

When are prescription HCG products safe to use?
The FDA approves certain prescription HCG products, including female fertility and select hormonal treatment in males. Prescription HCG has not been approved for any other uses. In fact, the FDA requires that labels for approved HCG drug products contain the following statement, regarding the use of HCG for weight loss:

“HCG has not been demonstrated to be effective adjunctive therapy in the treatment of obesity. There is no substantial evidence that it increases weight loss beyond that resulting from caloric restriction, that it causes a more attractive or ‘normal’ distribution of fat, or that it decreases the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restricted diets.”

Are you ready to achieve weight loss results the healthy way? Dr. Garcia and his team can help! Visit one of our three Tampa area locations today.

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