HCG Theory Explained
It is our opinion that HCG is probably one of the most misunderstood and misused
compounds in bodybuilding. . HCG stands for Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin and is
not a steroid, but a natural peptide hormone which develops in the placenta of
pregnant women during pregnancy to controls the mother's hormones.
(Incidentally, this is the reason you may hear of people testing for growth
hormone (HGH) with a pregnancy testing kit - If their HGH shows 'pregnant',
they've been ripped-off with cheaper HCG - but we digress slightly).
Its action in the male body is like that of LH, stimulating the Leydig cells in
the testes to produce testosterone even in the absence of endogenous LH. HCG is
therefore used during longer or heavier steroid cycles to maintain testicular
size and condition, or to bring atrophied (shrunken) testicles back up to their
original condition in preparation for post-cycle clomid therapy. This process is
necessary because atrophied testicles produce reduced levels of natural
testosterone , this situation should be rectified prior to post-cycle clomid
HCG administration post-cycle is common practice among bodybuilders in the
belief that it will aid the natural testosterone recovery, but this theory is
unfounded and also counterproductive. The rapid rise in both testosterone , and
thus estrogen due to aromatization, from the administration of HCG causes
further inhibition of the HPTA (Hypothalamic/Pituitary/Testicular Axis -
feedback loop discussed above); this actually worsens the recovery situation.
HCG does not restore the natural testosterone production.
The typically observed dosing of 2000 to 5000IU every 4 to 5 days causes such an
increase in estrogen levels via aromatization of the natural testosterone that
this has been responsible for many cases of gynecomastia.
From the above discussion it is clear that HCG is best used during a cycle,
1) Avoid testicular atrophy, or
2) Rectify the problem of an existing testicular atrophy.
Doses of HCG
Smaller doses, more frequently during a cycle will give best overall results
with least unwanted side effects. Somewhere between 500iu and 1000iu per day
would be best over about a two-week period. These doses are sufficient to
avoid/rectify testicular atrophy without increasing estrogen levels too
dramatically and risking gynecomastia. This dosing schedule also avoids the risk
of permanently down-regulating the LH receptors in the testes.
Presentation and Administration of HCG
Synthetic HCG is often known as Pregnyl (generic name) and is available in
2500iu and 5000iu (not ideal for the above doses!). Administration of the
compound is either by intra-muscular or subcutaneous injection. It comes as a
powder which needs to be mixed with the sterile water. The powder is
temperature-sensitive prior to mixing and should not be exposed to direct heat.
After mixing, it should be kept refrigerated and used within a few weeks -
though there are sterility issues which need to be considered after mixing.
HCG is provided as a glycoprotein powder to be diluted with water, and acts in
the body like LH, stimulating the testes to produce testosterone even when
natural LH is not present or is deficient. It therefore is useful for
maintaining testosterone production and/or testicle size during a steroid cycle.
Use of this drug in the taper is rather counterproductive, since the resulting
increased testosterone production is itself inhibitory to the hypothalamus and
pituitary, delaying recovery. Thus, if this drug is used, it is preferably used
during the cycle itself. A daily amount of 500 IU is generally sufficient, and
in my opinion usage should not exceed 1000 IU per day.
Daily administration is superior to less frequent administration.
Doses over 1000 IU are noted for their tendency to cause or aggravate
gynecomastia, and also act to desensitize the testicles to LH.
HCG may be injected intramuscularly, subcutaneously, or in a shallow injection
about 1/4" deep with the needle going straight in. A 29 gauge insulin needle is
recommended. Injection speed should be slow.
Some HCG products are diluted 5000 or even 10,000 IU per mL, while others are
diluted 1000 IU per mL. So far as I know there is no need to make the
preparation so dilute. Once mixed, the preparation should be refrigerated and
used within a few weeks. The substance is also somewhat temperature sensitive
before mixing and should not be exposed to excessive heat.
HCG does not correct the problem of progressively-decreasing ejaculatory volume
that is typical during a steroid cycle. So far as I know the only cure is to go
off-cycle and use clomid, but it is possible that HMG, a related drug which
works analogously to FSH might be useful during a cycle to treat this problem.
HMG supports spermatogenesis and is commonly used in conjunction with HCG to
treat male fertility problems. (Consider use of HMG to maintain ejaculatory
volume to be a strictly past-the-cutting-edge hypothesis: I have not yet had the
opportunity to test the matter.)
The athlete who would otherwise fail a urinary ratio test because of low
epitestosterone may find HCG useful in increasing epitestosterone and therefore
improving this ratio. A 500 IU dose is sufficient, but on the other hand, HCG
itself is also banned by the IOC and is readily detected in urine.
HCG can also useful for returning testosterone to normal levels should levels be
low post-cycle, or, with care, to increase levels from normal to high normal.
Titration of the dose, by measuring T levels and then adjusting the HCG dose
accordingly, is recommended for long term use.