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Overweight women given HCG did not lose more weight than those given saline: 15.8 lbs vs 15.5 lbs
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: 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.
The average height of the women in both groups was 5-feet-4-inches tall.
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.
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: 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: 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: 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 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: 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.”
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.
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