Women produce the hormone HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) during pregnancy. As a medical treatment, synthetic hCG is used to treat infertility and other hormone-related conditions. hCG is sometimes used in the treatment of hypogonadism to offset some of the side effects of testosterone treatment.
hCG is classified as a drug, so it requires a prescription and cannot be sold legally over the counter. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any hCG products (prescription or dietary supplement) for weight loss regardless of what you might see or hear. In addition, FDA states, “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.”
Adverse events related to hCG reported to FDA include cases of pulmonary embolism, depression, cerebrovascular issues, cardiac arrest, and death. For more information, read FDA’s “hCG Diet Products Are Illegal” and “Questions and Answers on hGC Products for Weight Loss.”
Updated 11 March 2019