HCG, or human chorionic gonadotropin, is used in some states by certain practitioners who promote it for weight loss. Mobilization of fat, increased metabolism of fat tissue and increased metabolic rate are among some of the claims made by those who distribute this medication. The American Society of Bariatric Physicians (ASBP) has issued a position statement which concludes that in numerous clinical trials HCG has shown no demonstrable weight loss effect and the Society also recommends that HCG not be used for treatment of obesity. This report is available on the ASBP website.
In addition, the FDA requires that all products containing HCG be labeled and advertised with the following wording: 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 calorie 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. Many states have also specifically prohibited the use of HCG for weight loss.
Dr. Blackshear’s Comment:
As these prestigious organizations note, no scientific studies have ever demonstrated any benefit of HCG in the treatment of obesity. Nevertheless, HCG has been promoted by many weight loss centers as a “magic bullet” in the treatment of obesity. Close inspection of the labeling on packaging of HCG products and/or the advertising often discloses in the fine print that HCG should be used “in conjunction with diet and exercise.” Of course it is diet and exercise which actually produce the weight loss seen in their studies. In summary, patients who are seeking to lose significant amounts of weight should not rely on any medical or “physiologic” treatment method which has not been demonstrated scientifically to have proven value.