HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, is a hormone that encourages the production of progesterone during pregnancy. progesterone is essential for a healthy developing pregnancy.
Early in a typical pregnancy, the cells that will make up the placenta release HCG, then the placenta itself once it has grown. The progesterone produced as a result of HCG encourages the growth of the placenta. For this reason, pregnant women experience a surge in HCG levels in early pregnancy when the placenta is growing, with levels dropping as the placenta takes over the production of progesterone. HCG also contributes to the development of gonands in the baby and the production of andtrogens in the testes of male babies.
Detection of HCG levels is one of the first ways a woman knows she is pregnant. Highly sensitive tests may be able to detect the hormone one week after the woman ovulates, if she is pregnant. Traditional blood tests can detect HCG levels around 11 days post, conception. Urine tests can detect the hormone 12 to 15 days past conception, which
is why the typical home pregnancy test should not be used until at least 12 days past ovulation.
Most women, approximately 85 percent of pregnancies, experience a doubling of HCG levels every 48 to 72 hours in early pregnancy, up until some point between the 8th and 11th weeks, when levels will stabilize. Once the levels reach a higher point, they will double every 96 hours.
Sometimes women are tempted to place a high level of importance on HCG levels, particularly if they have had miscarriages in the past. Doctors warn that levels vary tremendously from one woman to the next, even in healthy pregnancies, so women should not put too much emphasis on their levels. Even those with low HCG levels can carry a baby without a problem.
HCG and Weight Loss
Recently, the HCG hormone has been combined with an extremely low-calorie diet to induce weight loss. This use of the hormone for weight loss comes from a British endocrinologist, A.T.W. Simeons. Dr. Simeons studied pregnant women and India whose lifestyles led to a low-calorie diet, as well as overweight boys with pituitary problems who were treated with low-dose HCG. In his study, Dr. Simeons found that both groups lost fat, not muscle tissue, as would be the case with others on a very low calorie diet plan. Dr. Simeons concluded that the HCG must trigger with the hypothalamus gland to cause a consumption of adipose deposits, rather than muscle, to protect the growing baby.
In light of these findings, Simeons, who was working at the Salvator Mundi International Hospital in Rome, advocated the use of low-dose daily HCG injections combined with avery-low-calorie diet of just 500 calories per day from a high-protien, low-carbohydratemeal plan for those looking to lose adipose tissue without losing muscle. When hedied, the diet begin to spread outside of his practice, and today advocates of alternative therapies and treatments promote it as a viable weight loss solution.