Human Chorionic Gonadotropin HCG
All You Need to Know!
Human chorionic gonadotropin (medically abbreviated to hCG) is a hormone that is produced by the placenta during pregnancy. It helps to keep the pregnancy going and also has an effect on the development of the baby. In addition, it can also be produced by some tumors known as germ cell tumors, in particular those that originate from sperm or an egg, and the levels in a man may be measured in order to determine if cancer of the testicles is present.
HCG testing may be used to determine if a woman is pregnant and may also be carried out to check for a cancer of the uterus or an ectopic pregnancy which is when a fertilized egg begins to grow somewhere other than the uterus – normally in a fallopian tube. An ectopic pregnancy can be extremely dangerous and needs to be terminated immediately.
Tests For hGC Can Be Done From Blood Or Urine
HCG levels can be tested from the blood or urine. Some tests are done simply to check whether or not woman is pregnant, while others may be carried out in order to determine the levels of hCG present. A higher level of hCG than normal may indicate the presence of twins or triplets, while a lower than normal level may indicate an ectopic pregnancy. The pregnancy test kits that are sold overthe counter detect the presence of hCG in the urine: if positive this almost always confirms pregnancy (although there may be the occasional exception), but if negative that does not always mean there is no pregnancy. A further testwill need to be carried out a week later. Alternatively, a blood test could becarried out, since a blood test for hCG is more accurate than a urine test.
A sperm will usually fertilize an egg in the fallopian tube and within a period of nine days or less the egg will travel down the tube into the uterus where it attaches to the uterus wall. This is known as implantation and once it has taken place the placenta begins to grow and commences releasing hCG into the blood and the urine. HCG can be found in the bloodstream as little as 6 days after the egg implants, well before the first missed menstrual period.
During the menstrual cycle an egg is released from the ovary at ovulation. Theovarian follicle which enclosed the egg now forms a temporary ovarian glandcalled the corpus luteum which produces progesterone. If the egg remains unfertilized after two weeks the corpus luteum stops producing it and instead sends a signal to the pituitary gland to produce follicle stimulating hormone which starts the next menstrual cycle. However, if the egg is fertilized by a sperm the corpus luteum must continue to produce progesterone until the placenta is ready to take over this function. If progesterone production was stopped it would lead to the womb lining being shed (menstruation) which inturn would prevent the embryo from implanting. HCG is the hormone that makes certain the corpus luteum continues to produce progesterone. The hCG itself is created by the trophoblast cells which surround the developing embryo at about the fifth day of pregnancy.
The levels of hCG in the blood and urine increase rapidly during the first 14 – 16 weeks after the last menstrual period and are at the highest at that time. After this the levels will begin to decline, and shortly after the birth of the baby there will be no hCG in the blood or urine at all.
HCG Tests Can Also Indicate Possible Birth Defects
Testing the levels of hCG in the blood is also carried out in order to check for possible birth defects such as Downs Syndrome. The tests will check either three or four different substance levels in the blood. In the case of the triple test it will include a type of estrogen known as uE3 and a check for levels of alpha-fetoprotein. The quadruple test will also check the levels of a hormone called inhibin A. In addition, other factors are taken into account, including the age ofthe mother, and combined they will help the doctor assess the chances of the baby having certain birth defects.
Testing for hCG can be done with either a blood or urine sample. If testing for the presence of hCG in order to determine whether or not a pregnancy exists, it is best done with the first urine of the day as it has the highest levels of hCG. Alternatively, a test can be done no less than four hours after the last urination. The levels of hCG in the blood increase rapidly during the first 14 – 16 weeks of pregnancy and in the first week of gestation may be between 5 and 50 IU/L(international units per litre). At four weeks of gestation these levels will have risen to between 1,100 and 30,000 IU/L, while at 12 weeks of gestation the figures may be anywhere from 12,000 to 270,000 IU/L. or urine at all.
In a pregnant woman very high levels of hCG may indicate the presence of a multiple pregnancy such as twins, triplets, or even more. However, it can also indicate the possibility of Downs Syndrome or a molar pregnancy. HCG does notitself cause Downs Syndrome, but studies have shown that where Downs Syndrome exists – caused by an extra chromosome at position 21 – the hCGlevels are approximately twice that of a normal pregnancy.
A molar pregnancy is a large quantity of abnormal placental cell growth in the uterus which can partially or completely fill it. This results in the symptoms of pregnancy including severe morning sickness and increased blood pressure.
A molar pregnancy is treated by removing all the tissue from the uterus by suction through the cervix and the vagina, after which the uterus is curetted, which means having any remaining abnormal cells scraped out of it.
Low levels of hCG during pregnancy may indicate an ectopic pregnancy, while if hCG levels drop abnormally during the pregnancy it may indicate that a miscarriage is very likely to occur.
Tests for hCG may not always be accurate if certain other factors are involved. For instance, if a woman is taking certain medicines such as anti-nausea or anti-coagulant medicines this can affect the results. Blood in a urine sample can alter the hCG levels and if a woman is taking a diuretic that can result in a false low reading. A urine test taken very early in the pregnancy may also produce a negative result which is why a further test a week or so later can produce a positive result. Furthermore, hCG develops at different rates among different women so once again a negative test result is not always accurate. A positive result is almost certainly accurate as regards a pregnancy, but can also becaused by certain types of tumor – cancerous or non-cancerous.
HCG And Weight Loss
There is some controversy over hCG in respect of its’ use as a homeopathic remedy for weight loss when used in conjunction with a low calorie diet. HCG for weight loss was originally promoted by British endocrinologist Albert T. W. Simeons who studied pregnant women in India who were on a calorie-deficient diet, together with “fat boys” with Froelich’s Syndrome. He treated both with low doses of hCG and found that they lost fat rather than muscle tissue. He then worked at Salvator Mundi International Hospital in Rome and recommended low dose daily injections of hCG for weight loss, in conjunction with a very low calorie diet of 500 calories a day combining high protein and low carbohydrate. In 1954 he published a book called Pounds and Inches: A New Approach to Obesity.
However, Simeons’ results were not reproduced by other researchers and following complaints to the US Federal Drug Administration in 1976 it required Simeons and others to include a disclaimer on all advertisements to the effect that there was no substantial evidence that hCG as a weight loss product had any benefit, nor that it had any effect in decreasing hunger discomfort resulting from a calorie restricted diet (source: Wikipedia).
Nonetheless, it is also true that Americans are far less interested in homeopathic products than other countries, especially in European countries such as Germany where they are sought after. In addition, there are many unsolicited reports and testimonials from individuals who have used hCG for weight loss in combination with a restricted diet and are prepared to sing its praises.
According to Dr Sheri L. Emma, creator of Dr Emma’s hCG Protocol, her system of treatment does work. However, she uses injections of hCG, claiming that pills or drops do not raise the levels of hCG in the blood. She states that it is the restricted calorie diet that causes the weight loss, but that hCG changes the WAY in which one loses weight. According to her patients’ reports, hCG reduces hunger pangs while on the diet. In 2013, a video of which can be seen here: http://www.doctoroz.com/article/new-hcg- diet.
However it works, or is claimed to work, there are very many people who have used the homeopathic hCG drops or pills who insist that their successful weight loss is as a result of the hCG diet.
HCG And Bodybuilding
Some bodybuilders use hCG during or after anabolic-androgenic steroid use. The purpose of this is to prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue and also to restore the testes to their normal size and abilities after the period of anabolic-androgenic steroid use. When used in conjunction with a low calorie diet,bodybuilders burn off the extra layer of fat over their muscles giving them what is described as an extremely defined look.
Other research has been carried out on penile growth and testicular volume in male patients presenting with micropenis. HCG was administered intramuscularly three times a week for a period of eight weeks. According to the researchers “The hCG treatment increased the serum testosterone level, penile length, and testicular volume in IHH patients. Our results suggest that hCG treatment has abeneficial effect on gonadal function and penile growth in patients with IHHpresenting with micropenis.
There were also “no remarkable adverse effects of the hCG treatment.
Side Effects Of hCG
Most people do not seem to suffer any side effects from the use of hCG, but Everyday Health states that common side effects include headache, irritability,restlessness, fatigue, depression, swelling of feet, ankles, lower legs or hands,and the appearance of female breasts in men (http://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/hcg).
However, another report states “HCG is one of the most side effect friendly hormones in existence. There are possible side effects of hCG use but they are extremely rare. Side effects commonly associated with traditional medicines such as gastrointestinal issues, headaches, rashes or other related occurrences are impossible. ” (https://www.steroid.com/HCG.php).
It seems that the debate on the benefits or otherwise of taking hCG will continue on for many years.