Gonadotropin hormone treatment, deficiency and injection therapy, risk, side effects
November 2 2015 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.


Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a glycoprotein hormone produced in pregnancy that is made by the developing embryo soon after conception and later by the syncytiotrophoblast.


HCG supplement, scam?
In theory, the hCG hormone is supposed to suppress hunger and trigger your body’s use of fat for fuel. The real hormone is only available by prescription but there are vitamin companies that sell an oral version. The one taken by mouth or under the tongue has no effect. There is little evidence at this point that the prescription hCG injections will lead to effective and safe weight loss.


You will find many websites promoting such supplements for weight loss or muscle gain. Here is one example: "hCG is readily absorbed and starts working burning fat within your body in less then 10 minutes. To any athlete looking for muscle strength and lean muscle mass gain, hCG sublingual is much better and superior as compared to intra-muscular injections." Here is another example, "The sublingual supplements of HCG will discard your body weight in few weeks. Human chorionic gonadotropin is a naturally occurring hormone in pregnant females but it can be taken by both men and women for fast weight loss. It is available in various forms but most popular forms of infusing this hormone in the body are of course, injections and oral drops."
   There is no evidence that these statements are true.


Food and Drug Administration warned in 2011 that “homeopathic” forms of hCG, like lozenges and sprays, sold over the Internet and in some health food stores, are fraudulent and illegal if they claim weight-loss benefits. The injectable, prescription form of hCG, human chorionic gonadotropin, is approved as a treatment for infertility and other uses, and it is legal for doctors to prescribe it “off-label” for weight loss.


Safety, risk, side effects, adverse reactions
HCG hormone has risks of blood clots, depression, headaches and breast tenderness or enlargement.

Human chorionic gonadotropin use in sports

Because hCG and estrogen blockers produce marked increase in blood testosterone concentration in men, this provides strong evidence to support the banning of hCG and estrogen blockers in men. In women, however, the negligible effect on blood testosterone suggests that drug-induced performance enhancement by hCG or estrogen blockers is highly unlikely.

Human chorionic gonadotropin hcg function
Gonadotrophin serves to maintain progesterone production by the corpus luteum in the early part of pregnancy. By the time HCG drops at the beginning of the second trimester, the placenta can make sufficient progesterone to maintain the endometrium. HCG also stimulates the development of fetal gonads and synthesis of androgens by the fetal testes. HCG has a similar to function to LH in stimulating secretion of estrogen and development of the placenta.

Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone
GnRH and its analogs (GnRH-a) are used extensively for the treatment of prostate cancer and other hormone-dependent diseases via the desensitization of pituitary gonadotropes, which consequently leads to the inhibition of gonadotropins, gonadal steroids and tumor growth. The actions of GnRH-a are mediated by the GnRH receptor (GnRHR) that is expressed in both the pituitary and extrapituitary sites, including normal tissues and tumors. Several studies have provided evidence that besides its pituitary effects, GnRH-a may exert direct anti-proliferative and apoptotic effects in tumor cells.


Endocrinology. 2014. Metabolic influences on reproduction: Adiponectin attenuates gonadotropin-releasing hormone-1 neuronal activity in female mice. Metabolic dysfunctions are often linked to reproductive abnormalities. Adiponectin, a peripheral hormone secreted by white adipose tissue, is important in energy homeostasis and appetite regulation. Gonadotropin-releasing hormone-1 (GnRH) neurons are integral components of the reproductive axis, controlling synthesis and release of gonadotropins.



Q. I have referred to your site many times because I respect your opinions. I have found some research pertaining to two supplements that you recommend and I'm hoping that you can clarify this information for me. I read from your site that melatonin has many positive benefits. One of the side effects you state is that "Long term use of melatonin may have an influence on sex organs." Concerned about this side effect, I did some research and found a UC Berkley Press release that went into clearer, greater detail about the Japanese study you noted. The UC Berkley letter confirmed that melatonin switches on a recently discovered hormone called gonadotropin inhibitory hormone (GnIH), which has the opposite effect of Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). Gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) as you may already know, is is a hormone made by the hypothalamus which causes the pituitary gland to make luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). Both hormones have direct effect on the growth and maturation of testosterone and sperm in males and eggs in females. It is now demonstrated that melatonin inhibits Gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH), which in turn inhibits luteinizing hormone (LH). Does this mean taking melatonin would also down-regulate the production of testosterone and sperm in males, which in turn would have a negative effect on sex-drive, mood, muscle growth among other things? I have been taking melatonin on occasion to help me fall asleep, which it works very well. I am very concerned about these side effects.
   A. It is possible but I need to review more human trials.