HCG (human Chorionic Gonadotrophin) is a glycoproteic hormone, normally secreted by trophoblastic cells of the placenta. It consists of two dissimilar, separately but coordinately translated chains called the Alfa and Beta subunits. When it was discovered by Ascheim and Zondek by 1927 they found out that hCG matured the infantile sex glands of experimental animals, and it was secreted by the human placenta. From there its denomination: Chorionic Gonadotrophin.
The first report on the use of hCG for the management of obesity was published in 1954 by the late Dr. ATW Simeons, a German-born Physician practicing at the Ospedale Salvatori Mundii in Rome.
Working in India, he noticed that the so-called “fat boys,” who displayed Adiposogenital dystrophy (or Frölich’s syndrome) when treated with hCG improved not only their condition (testicular descent), but he also observed that body fat distribution modified during the treatment course.
Therefore he hypothesized that if those children were concomitantly submitted to a very Hypocaloric diet they could decrease their body weight, consuming the (as he called it) “fat on the move”. Later on, he extended his investigations to patients showing different degrees of obesity, and concluded that hCG might be useful for the treatment of obesity because:
|Patients tolerated a Very Low Calorie Diet without suffering headaches irritability, weakness, so common to this approach for weight reduction.|
|Maintenance period after treatment was more effective when compared with simple dietetic procedures.|
|Weight reductions were more satisfactory than those obtained with Standard Hypocaloric Diets.|
|Patients lost more body fat from those regions where adipose tissue accumulations were more conspicuous.|
|Simeons also hypothesized that hCG acted at diencephalic level, modulating hypothalamic regulatory Centers, which were in turn responsible for the excessive fat accumulation as seen in obesity.|
This preliminary communication was followed by a myriad of reports, some of them favoring the use of hCG, and others criticizing the procedure.
Finally, and after a serial of Double-Blind Tests, the FDA concluded the method bears no utility for Obesity therapy. This Administration forced Pharmaceutical Firms to include in their hCG leaflets of information a paragraph stating that hCG was of no use in the management of obesity.
However, formerly treated patients claimed the treatment back: they were more than satisfied with the obtained results, and eager to initiate a new course to decrease their body weight.
Weight loss was rapid, they referred a sensation of well-being throughout the treatment course, and noticeably reduced their body circumferences in the most conspicuous areas, improving their body image and self-esteem.