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hCG in Medically Supervised Weight Loss Programs

March 1, 2010 |

The IAPAM is committed to educating physicians in the industry’s best practices for medical weight loss management. In support of this commitment, the IAPAM has completed a survey of several experts in the use of hCG in a medically supervised weight loss program. These experts agree that there are 3 keys to successfully incorporating hCG into a physician-managed weight loss protocol:  strict adherence to the protocol and physician supervision, properly sourced hCG, and comprehensive hCG protocol training and understanding.

As part of the it’s mission to provide enduring aesthetic medicine training, the IAPAM has completed a survey of the best practices of notable experts in the use of hCG in a medically supervised weight loss program.  In consultation with the following experts:  Dr. Ben Gonzalez, Dr. Scott Morris, Dr. Robert Carlson, Dr. Deborah Musso, Dr. Suneil Jain and Dr. Sasson E. Moulavi, the IAPAM has determined that there are 3 critical success factors that must be adhered to, to ensure that an hCG program is successful for both the patient and the doctor.  These key elements to success are:

1.  Patients must follow the protocol precisely and patients should be under a physician’s care, so that possible side effects can be understood and managed;

2.  hCG must be sourced from an experienced physician or accredited compounding pharmacy; and

3.  Training is essential to ensure that the managing physician has a comprehensive understanding of the hCG protocol, including past and current research, understands the effects of medication and/or the use of vitamins in the protocol, and appreciates all the nuances of tailoring the program to each patient.

What it is and Why it works – hCG Weight Loss Training for Physicians

Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) was first discovered by researchers in the last 1920’s and early 1930’s, as the hormone normally secreted by cells of the placenta during pregnancy. Today, most hCG is produced synthetically.  In 1954, the first report on hCG and obesity was published by British physician, Dr. A.T.W. Simeons.

Dr. Scott Morris, of the respected Chicago-based Complete Clinics, explains for audiences today, that, “hCG, has the effect of “unlocking”the body’s fat stores so that the metabolism can now burn these energy reserves to power daily bodily functions.  This in turn helps to maintain one’s muscle mass during weight loss.   In the case of using hCG as an aid to healthy weight loss, an effective yet well-tolerated dose is used once or twice per week to optimize the ability of the metabolism to burn fat for energy.  A subcutaneous, painless injection is the route of choice as it maximizes absorption versus oral routes.  Specifically,  healthy dietary lifestyle changes are begun to increase the body’s metabolism which can then more efficiently metabolize and remove body fat with the help of hCGhCG may also help to reshape the body’s fat deposits, targeting especially the abdomen, buttocks, upper thighs, neck and face.”

Dr. Morris also notes that “it has also been suggested that hCG plays a role in establishing a new weight “set point” for the body making it less likely to return to one’s previous body weight.”

Adherence to a Designed Protocol Coupled with Medical Supervision

Proponents of hCG for weight management agree, that the ultimate success of hCG in weight loss is linked to medical supervision and careful adherence to a specific medical protocol, such as the one designed by Dr. Simeons.  It is the responsibility of health care professionals to supervise, advise, guide and control their patients health before, during and after treatment. The physician should be able to establish which patients are good candidates for treatment with hCG, and together with their patient, set realistic expectations that will allow for a successful process .

Dr. Ben Gonzalez, of the renowned Atlantis Medical Wellness Center, reinforces this point.  “Patients must be evaluated and followed by a medical provider on this protocol.”  “A full medical evaluation to look for subtle metabolic issues that can contribute to decreased overall health and increased weight must be done.  Equally, a Very Low Calorie Diet (VLCD) can slow down the metabolism significantly and can place patients at higher risk for medical issues such as muscle wasting and kidney issues to include all out renal (kidney) failure. The hCG protocol, though it is safe and has a different pathophysiology behind it than regular VLCD do, must be monitored to ensure those issues to not arise.

Furthermore, Dr. Gonzalez adds, some patients “are not approved for the protocol because of medical issues that are undiagnosed. This demonstrates the importance of the pre-protocol examination and labs etc.”  Interestingly, if these issues are found and addressed before contemplating the protocol, sometimes these remediations take care of the weight, and “the protocol is unnecessary.”

Furthermore, Dr. Morris adds that, “the importance of physician supervision [also] revolves around preventing or managing side effects.”

For example, “patients undergoing surgical procedures require alterations of their hCG regimen, as do patients who experience menstrual irregularities following the initiation of hCG therapy also require alterations.”  Equally, the protocol is undertaken only after a comprehensive medical, during the assessment phase of the program, where patients can reveal medical histories containing certain risk factors that might require remediation before beginning the protocol (e.g. history of hormone sensitive cancers, etc.).

Dr. Deb Musso, of the successful Sea Change New York Wellness Centre, also finds that medical management is essential to patient success with hCG and weight loss.  “Supervision is important because patients are less likely to change the protocol or add a little bit here and there.  They stay on point, and they understand each phase of the protocol and the reasons for each phase,” suggests Dr. Musso.

Properly Sourced hCG

Dr. Musso has some excellent insights regarding the safe sourcing of hCG.  Patients should ensure that, “their hCG [is secured] from an experienced physician who has worked consistently with the product and sources reliable outlets for their product.  I do not suggest buying hCG from the internet or from someone who says you do not need a prescription. You have no idea where that hCG is coming from, there seems to be a lot of hCG coming from questionable facilities in China. Any hCG you receive should be from a Federally licensed compounding pharmacy located here in the USA (or Canada).”

Training is Essential for Success

Dr. Morris reminds doctors and patients alike that an hCG protocol it “is not for everybody. This is NOT a catch all diet. It is not a diet at all. Not everyone may be ready for this. It is for people who have no immediate or sub-cute medical issues that need to be addressed first and are mentally ready to follow a very strict protocol for the duration without deviation.”  Therefore, training on and understanding of the hCG protocol is essential.  Through education, doctors can appreciate the effects of medications, the implications of plateauing, the importance of vitamin supplements, and understand all the other nuances in the protocol that result in patient success and satisfaction.

For example, Dr. Suneil Jain of the respected Rejuvena Health Aesthetics practice in Scottsdale, Arizona, recommends that patients take “a good food-based multivitamin and antioxidant to fill any nutritional gaps while on the hCG diet.”  Equally, Dr. Sasson E. Moulavi, Medical Director of Smart for Life™ Weight Management Centers in Boca Raton Florida, shares that “people who have thin hair or brittle nails may benefit from a ‘hair skin and nail vitamin,’ one that includes selenium and biotin.”  Furthermore, “some people may get leg cramps, and they should add a potassium and magnesium supplement.”

Finally, Dr. Jain emphasizes that a key for long term success with hCG, is that managing physicians ensure they “have a program in place so that the person does not gain the weight back.”  For example, “coupled with the diet, [Dr. Jain] uses a food sensitivity test that tells which foods [a patient] is sensitive to.” This way Dr. Jain and his team are able to give patients “a way to eat for the rest of their lives that keeps the weight off permanently.”

Through training, networking and with inclusion in industry articles, experts like the aforementioned, are able to share with other doctors their best practices pursuant to the use of hCG for weight loss.

Conclusion:  Added Benefits of hCG

Beyond the myriad of health benefits for weight loss, Dr. Carlson of Sarasota, Florida, recommends an hCG protocol for these added aesthetic benefits.  “Because hCG does protect the structural fat, wrinkles, if any, will be dramatically reduced. The treatment does not deplete the subcutaneous or other essential fat; therefore the face retains its freshness and natural appearance. Double chins, protruding stomachs and fat around the thighs should be the first to go.”

Ultimately, managing overweight and obese patients requires a variety of tools and techniques. Physicians who can include hCG as part of their medical weight management tool kit will have a competitive advantage in the healthcare arena, and a proven offering to support the weight loss goals of their patients.

compiled by Leslie Marshall, Online Media and Research Specialist for the IAPAM

About the  International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine

The International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine is a voluntary association of physicians and supporters, which sets standards for the aesthetic medical profession. The goal of the association is to offer education, ethical standards, credentialing, and member benefits. IAPAM membership is open to all licensed medical doctors (MDs), dentists (DDSs/DMDs) doctors of osteopathic medicine (DOs),  physicians assistants (PA’s) and nurse practitioners (NP’s).  Information about the association can be accessed through IAPAM’s website at or by contacting:

Jeff Russell, Executive-Director
International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine (IAPAM)

1-800-219-5108 x705

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