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  • Overweight women given HCG did not lose more weight than those given saline: 15.8 lbs vs 15.5 lbs


    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    Thursday, August 14, 2008 6:38 am Email this article
    Overweight and obese women given intramuscular injections of human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) six days a week for six weeks combined with a diet of 500 calories per day did not lose any more weight than those given injections of saline (salt water) according to a 1976 study done by doctors at the Fitzsimons Army Medical Center in Denver, Colorado, USA.

    "Is HCG an effective adjunct to a rigidly imposed dietary regimen for weight reduction?" the authors of the study asked>

    On the basis of our results, the answer is negative."

    "Our study, performed in a manner similar to current Simeons-type programs, casts serious doubt of any inherent efficacy that HCG may have as an adjunct to a weight reduction program." Weight Loss

    Weight loss: 15.8 lbs vs 15.5 lbs

    The average weight loss of the women given HCG was 15.8 pounds versus 15.5 pounds for those given saline.

     

    Percent Weight Loss

    Percent weight loss: 9.5% vs 9.2%

    As a percentage of body weight, the women given HCG lost 9.5 percent of their body weight versus 9.2 percent for those given saline.

     

    Starting Weight

    Starting weight: 165.9 lbs vs 167.7 lbs

    The average starting weight of the women in the HCG group was 165.9 pounds versus 167.7 pounds for those in the saline group.

     

    Height

    Height: 5-feet-4

    The average height of the women in both groups was 5-feet-4-inches tall.

     

    Subjects

    Subjects: 51 women

    The study involved 51 women, 9 blacks and 42 whites, 18- to 60-years-old who were 20 to 60 pounds overweight.

    Anybody with more than a minor health problem was excluded.

     

    Age

    Average age: 33-34 years

    The average age of the women was 34 years old for the HCG group and 33 years for the saline group.

     

    Completers

    Completers: 41 of the 51 patients completed the study

    Forty-one of the 51 patients completed the study: 20 out of 25 given HCG, and 21 out of 26 given the placebo.

     

    Diet

    Diet: 500 calories per day

    Patients were encouraged to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water per day, and were advised to strictly follow the diet of 500 calories per day.

    At the bottom of the instructions given to patients was the statement, “Any slight change in the above diet rules will result in downright disappointment.”

     

    Dose

    Dose: 125 units of HCG, 6 days per week

    The dose of HCG used was 125 units given deep intramuscular injection, in the doctors office, following a weight check, 6 days per week, Monday through Saturday, for a total of 28 injections over 32 days.

     

    Side Effects

    Side effects experienced by both groups

    “A large number of patients suffered from severe headaches of brief duration in the first week of treatment,” the authors wrote.

    “The two most common complaints were constipation and fatigue.”

    “Delayed onset of [menstruation] was also seen.”

    “These problems were experienced equally by members of both groups.”

     

    Complication #1 in the HCG group

    Complication #1 in the HCG group: Severe gastritis

    “Two unexpected complications occurred in the HCG group,” the authors noted.

    “Patient 9, during the last week of treatment, developed a severe gastritis [inflammation of the mucous lining of the stomach] which was documented by gastroscopy and required a brief hospitalization.”

     

    Complication #2 in the HCG group

    Complication #2 in the HCG group: Infertile woman became pregnant

    “Patient 35, who had a problem with infertility before entering the study, did not have her usual expected menses during the study period and was subsequently found to be pregnant.”

     

    Complication #1 in the Saline group

    Complication #1 in the Saline group: Gall bladder removed

    “Patient 42 in the placebo group developed acute cholecystitis [gall stones] following termination of the study and diet; she subsequently had a cholecystectomy [surgical removal of the gallbladder].”

     

    Conclusion

    Conclusion: No difference between the groups

    “We anticipated that our study should yeild results similar to Asher and Harper’s findings; that is, that the HCG-treated group wouldlose a significantly greater amount of weight (actually about twice as much) than the placebo-treated group,” the authors of the study noted.

    “We followed a comparable protocol. However, careful statistical analysis of our data did not reveal any signficant difference for any of the parameters of weight loss or hunger between the two treatment groups.”

    REFERENCE

    Stein M, Julis R, Peck C, Hinshaw W, Sawicki J, Deller JJ. Ineffectiveness of human chorionic gonadotropin in weight reduction: A double-blind study. Am J Clin Nutr. 1976 Sep, 29(9):940-48.

    AUTHOR’S CONTACT INFORMATION

    Mark R. Stein, MD
    Dept of Medicine
    Fitzsimons Army Medical Center
    Denver, Colorado 80240 USA

     

    Copy of the Study

    A copy of the study is posted here

    A copy of the paper is available for free here.

    http://www.ajcn.org/cgi/reprint/29/9/940

     

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