Human chorionic gonadotropin, also known as hCG, is a hormone which plays different roles in male and female sexual development. In women, hCG affects ovulation and fertility. In men, physicians may prescribe hCG to increase or restore testosterone production. Both men and women use hCG for weight loss, though this method is controversial and not FDA-approved.
HCG acts like luteinizing hormone (LH). In males, LH tells the testes to produce testosterone. In men undergoing hormone replacement therapy, their testes may stop producing testosterone, so hCG can remind their testes to keep producing testosterone. Some researchers, however, claim hCG stops the body from producing LH naturally.
Men suffering from androgen disorders take hCG to jump start their testosterone production. Following a round of anabolic steroids, weight-lifters might use hCG to restore their natural testosterone cycle says the University of New South Wales. HCG also raises sperm counts, so it can improve male fertility. In pubescent males, hCG may correct sexual abnormalities.
HCG can improve sperm production and adolescent sexual development. It can also correct undescended testes. Numerous bodybuilders rely on hCG to stabilize their testosterone levels after steroid use, though this approach is controversial. Many websites claim hCG promotes weight loss, but hCG is not FDA-approved for this use. University of Maryland researchers suspect Mario Lanza, a performer in the 1940s and 1950s, may have died from hCG diet complications.
A prescription medication, hCG is injected subcutaneously. According to Drugs.com, it's sold as a powder that's mixed with liquid, and it's also available in filled syringes. Men typically inject hCG into their skin or muscle, and injections can be done at home.
Using hCG to restart testosterone production is a "problematic balancing act," claims the University of New South Wales. While hCG may increase testosterone, sometimes the testosterone converts to estrogen through a process called aromatization. Common side effects include enlarged breasts, acne, mood alterations, hair loss and other conditions associated with increased testosterone. Avoid "black market" hCG, as hCG use requires careful medical supervision.