The HCG Diet and vitamin B12 shots have been heavily marketed in recent years as an effective way to lose weight. Conflicting information can make choosing a healthy diet a daunting task. Educating yourself by getting information from trusted sources, like your doctor or nutritionist, may help decipher which diet is a healthy option or a waste of time.
HCG is the abbreviation for human chorionic gonadotropin, which is a hormone released only during pregnancy and is used to maintain a healthy fetus. It is found in the blood and urine of pregnant women, according to the American Pregnancy Association. B12 is a water soluble vitamin derived from animal foods. Combined with folate, vitamin B12 is active within the body by helping build DNA and red blood cells as well as constructing myelin sheaths around nerves, according to the American Pregnancy Association.
Features of HCG for Weight Loss
The HCG Diet consists of severe calorie restriction of 500 calories per day on an extremely rigid diet. Supplemental injections of 125 IU -- or international units -- daily are given, in theory, to reduce hunger, improve mood or outlook, and to encourage spot reduction in the abdominal area. The diet itself lasts four to six weeks and also should include food journals and daily consultation with a doctor.
The founder of the HCG Diet, Dr. A.T.W. Simeons admitted the HCG shots would not increase the amount of weight lost and his initial success has rarely been replicated. On the contrary, his claims have been contradicted by studies published by the National Institutes of Health and the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology where no correlation was made between weight loss and HCG supplements.
Features of B12 for Weight Loss
No clinical evidence demonstrated in studies that vitamin B12 aids in weight loss. According to both the American Dietetic Association and the Mayo Clinic, vitamin B12 has no effect on weight loss and you will not see any benefit from supplementation unless you have a vitamin B12 deficiency. Proponents of B12 shots claim you will experience a boost of energy but a person with normal B12 intake will not notice any surge in energy, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Losing weight is a difficult and emotional journey and, despite what advertisements claim, there is no easy fix. It takes time to gain weight and it should also take time to lose it if weight loss is done in a healthy manner. The HCG diet requires near-starvation level calorie intake, which is unhealthy and a high percentage of patients gain their weight back, according to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Vitamin B12 shots are not effective at all in weight loss, according to the American Dietetic Association and the Mayo Clinic, and supplementation would be redundant because the average American diet provides plenty of B12 to meet nutritional requirements. A balanced diet with exercise is the best method to lose weight healthfully.
- Rejuvenal: Vitamin B12
- American Pregnancy Association: Human Chorionic Gonadotropin: The Pregnancy Hormone
- PubMed: Risk-benefit analysis of a hCG-500 kcal reducing diet in females; Rabe, t. et al; May; 1987
- “British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology”; Lijesen, et al; The effect of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) in the treatment of obesity by means of the Simeons therapy: a criteria-based meta-analysis.; September; 1995