Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG)
Scientists first documented an explicit hormone now known as Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) in the 1920´s (1). HCG is no doubt one of the most distorted, misinterpreted, and underutilized tools in bodybuilding pharmacology we have available. HCG is not a steroid, nevertheless a naturally stirring peptide hormone, formed by the embryo in the early stages of pregnancy and later by the trophoblast (part of the placenta) to help manage a pregnant woman´s hormones (1). This creates the uterine lining prepared for budding of the fertilized egg. HCG is a glycoprotein composed of 237 amino acids and has a mass of 36.7kDa. HCG "acts" as Leutenizing Hormone (LH) in your body. LH is a Gonadotropin. They were first extracted from the human in 1958 more specifically the pituitary glands. A Gonadotropin is any substance that stimulates the gonads (ovary, testes). It is heterodimeric (initiates prophase of mitosis) with an alpha subunit identical to LH (luteinizing hormone), FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), and TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone). LH is as stated above is also called as a Gonadotropin because it stimulates the gonads (testes). It is produced in the pituitary cells and is made up of a beta chain of 115 amino acids and an alpha chain of 89 amino acids. In the testes, the LH connects to receptors on the leydig cells that in turn stimulate the synthesis and secretion of testosterone. Like LH, FSH is also called a Gonadotropin. It consists of a beta chain of 115 amino acids and an alpha chain of 89 amino acids, the same as LH. GnRH (gonadotropin releasing hormone) controls production and release of FSH. FSH stimulates testicular growth and supports the function of sertoli cells that are needed for sustaining maturing sperm cells. TSH is also known as a thyrotropin and is secreted by cells in the anterior pituitary glands. TSH is comprised of a beta chain of 112 amino acids and an alpha chain of 89 amino acids. The alpha chain is the same as that found in the two other pituitary hormones, LH and FSH, and HCG as well. TSH is produced when the hypothalamus releases TRH (thyrotropin releasing hormone). TRH then causes the pituitary gland to release.

TSH. TSH makes the thyroid gland produce triiodothyronin (T3) and thyroxine (T4), which controls the body´s metabolism.
HCG LEVELS & Pregnancy

To persuade ovulation and treat ovarian disorders in women, as well stimulate the testes hypogonadal (underproduction of testosterone) men HCG is clinically used. Moreover, it is also used in the treatment of undescended testicles in young males.

HCG proffers no possible performance augmentation in female athletes, but does prove to be very useful in male athletes especially those that use AAS. As stated above HCG in males is alike to LH, since they are akin and LH binds to receptors on leydig cells stimulating synthesis and secretion of testosterone, the use of HCG would be an extra bonus to ASS users even if there were a lack of endogenous LH. Since HCG increases the body´s natural testosterone levels, its use during long or extremely high dosed cycles can be most beneficial were the effects on the hypothalamus causes a depressed signal to the testicles. The result of the depressed signal leads to what is known as testicular atrophy (shrunken nuts). The use of HCG will send an artificial signal to the testes (again, as if it were actually LH), consequently preventing (to some degree) atrophy. It not only helps to maintain testicular size and condition but it will also help in restoring testicles back to their original size. At a time, when below normal androgen levels (due to ASS use) could turn out to be costly. Restarting natural testosterone production as rapidly as probable is of a particular concern in males at the end of a cycle of AAS. The price paid by bodybuilders for failing to raise natural test levels is the loss of most if not all the hard-earned muscle you have gained, the major cause is cortisol. Cortisol sends a message to the muscles that is opposite to that of testosterone. If cortisol is not dealt with (because of an extremely low testosterone level), it will quickly strip away the new and hard-earned muscle you have just gotten.

Several users discover that they have enhanced gains and quicker recovery while using HCG during a cycle of AAS. This first claim is more than likely, because the body has a high level of natural testosterone as well as that provided by the use of AAS, and the second may be somewhat justifiable, as stimulating the testes to secrete testosterone intermittently may aid recovery. Perhaps this is due to the maintenance of a higher level of Inter-Testicular-Testosterone (ITT) provided by the intermittent use of HCG, which should greatly aid recovery of the hypothalamic-testicular-pituitary-axis. An average dose of HCG during a cycle is between 500 IU to 1000 IU every week to every other week while on a cycle. In one study I looked at, a single injection of 6000IU of HCG elevated test levels for 6 days.

That´s why, many people recommend taking it every 3-5 days. We´d have more stable blood levels, though if we shot it more frequently. Remember, it´s non-estrified and water-based injectables, after all. In that, same study I just spoke of, 1500IU of HCG shot test levels up between 250 and 300%. Taking it all at once however will cause an increase in estrogen levels caused by the aromatization of normal testosterone; the result may be a case of gynaecomastia for the user (3).
Since observe HCG´s use of Post-Cycle-Therapy (PCT), smaller and more common doses after a cycle of AAS would give the best results with the least amount of side effects. A dose of 250iu to 500iu everyday (ed) for 2 to 3 weeks is plenty and should very little from person to person (3). The Physicians’ Desk Reference recommends 500 iu/day, as did the late, great, Dan Duchaine. The smaller doses are sufficient to begin reversal of testicular atrophy and used in conjunction with nolvade, will help the already present problem of recovery without raising the levels of estrogen to high and increasing the risk of gynaecomastia in the user. Lower doses of 250 IU to 500 IU also avoid the further risk of down regulating LH receptors in the testes. The old saying more is better definitely does not apply to the use of HCG. You don´t want to finish PCT after using too much HCG only to find out your back at the beginning again. Your best bet is to start at 250 IU or 500 IU Ed for 5 or 6 days, and if you don´t notice anything happening (nuts dropping and getting bigger) up the dose slightly. Small doses like 500 IU two days a week isn´t going to cut it like some people think. The only thing small doses of HCG may be useful (sublingually) for is reducing symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia (7). Yeah, that´s right, you can probably reduce some symptoms of an enlarged prostate with the use of small doses of HCG.

As stated above the cycles of HCG should be in the 2 to 3 week range with a least one month off in between, you could stretch your cycle out to four weeks without any major concern if you are using lower doses. One should however take care when using HCG as prolonged use could repress the body´s natural production of Gonadotropin permanently, but this is mostly just pure speculation as it does not have yet to be reported nor has there been a case of an overdose. To be on the safe side shorter cycles of HCG seem to be that of the norm. Most users cycle HCG near the end of a steroid cycle, you should start your HCG therapy on the last week of your cycle. For best results you should also run nolva while you run HCG as taking HCG by itself will do little to nothing and gyno even though rare may also flair up. Once the HCG cycle is finished, you continue with your usual clomid or nolvadex (preferably the latter) for pct as it is more effective when used in conjunction HCG for pct. With an AAS cycle of 6 to 10 weeks, HCG may not be necessary unless extreme doses of AAS were used or there is an existing problem of testicular atrophy or you are running a heavy oral only cycle. AAS cycles of 12 or more weeks should have HCG as a part of post cycle plan.

Since HCG is used to stimulate testosterone production, side effects can be the same as those associated with AAS, although gyno may be more common. Possible side effects of HCG use are water and sodium retention after higher doses are used. This is usually a result of higher androgen production. It may cause gyno (again if doses are too high). Any athletes worried about failing urine test because of low levels of epitestosterone may find that using a dose of 500 IU of HCG will increase epitestosterone levels. However, the problem with HCG is that it is also banned by the IOC and can also be detected in a urine test; the half-life of HCG is approximately 4 to 5 days. Another possible downside to HCG is that it too can be suppressive to natural testosterone because it takes the place of LH. Since LH is manufactured in the pituitary because of the response of GnRH (Gonadotropin releasing hormone), which in turn is secreted by the hypothalamus. Because the HCG mimics LH and is being supplied exogenously the hypothalamus will be given a signal to still stop producing GnRH, so no natural LH will be produced (5). This is why it should always be used with a compound such as nolvadex. So although HCG is essential after long or heavy cycles, it should not be used without an ancillary such as (specifically) nolv. In addition, HCG therapy should be discontinued at least 2 weeks prior to stopping the use of nolva, or it may suppress natural testosterone itself (5). This should not be a problem if you are running it towards the end of your cycle of AAS and before pct.
The average price to buy HCG is between 10$ to 40$ per 5000iu with solvent, it comes in doses of 100, 125, 250, 500, 1000, 1500, 2000, 2500, 3000, 5000, 10000, 20000 all iu (international units).

HCG is readily available and can be found in almost all the places where you may find AAS. If you have a good source, you should have no problems in obtaining this product. There are currently only a few fakes of HCG around, but most are rare. Since the powder of HCG is similar to the powder of somatropin, often-cheaper HCG is sold and marketed as the more expensive HGH (human growth hormone) on the black market.
  • Menopause
  • Women who have disease polycystic ovary disease, cysts ovarian cysts, irregular vaginal bleeding, or infertility.
  • Children who start sexual development at a very young age.
  • Men who have infertility.
  • Men who do not have testicles or whose testicles are underdeveloped.
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