The use of HCG in bodybuilding

Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG), often called the pregnancy hormone, is a natural non-steroidal hormone produced by the placenta after conception.

The presence of HCG in the urine is used to confirm pregnancy.

In 1930, scientists were able to isolate HCG from urine of pregnant women paving the way for its active use in clinical medicine and sports.

HCG in bodybuilding on fitness portal is divided into follicle-stimulating, luteinizing hormone and prolactin.

Follicle-stimulating and luteinizing HCG can enhance fat burning and stimulate Leydig cells in the testicles, which results in the production of testosterone thus restoring or increasing testosterone levels in the body.

HCG’s non-steroidal property make it remain undetected in doping tests. As a result, its popularity in the sports environment has been hiking a notch higher over the years as it is used for rejuvenation and general body strengthening.

HCG is introduced into the body through an intramuscular or subcutaneous injection.

Its concentration in the blood increases to maximum within 4-12 hours and can actively remain in the body for up to 30 hours.

Anabolic steroids are often used by athletes to achieve great results. They, however, disrupt the mechanism of the relationship between the hypothalamus-pituitary-testes. Chorionic gonadotropin, due to its catabolic nature, regulates this mechanism. Hence, it is especially needed by male bodybuilders.

The male body responds to HCG by enhancing spermatogenesis and increasing synthesis of testosterone and dihydrotestosterone. With active sports, chorionic gonadotropin preserves the gained volume of muscle mass, enhances anabolic steroids, eliminates excess fat and restores the libido that is suppressed by anabolic steroids.

HCG is peculiar because it reduces body fat while maintaining muscle size and weight. It should be noted, however, that it cannot be used alone to achieve effects similar to anabolic steroids.

Chorionic gonadotropin is unsafe, hence only a doctor should establish contraindications and indications for its purpose.

Side effects from HCG in athletes occur when significant excesses of the recommended doses are taken or when it is taken for too long a cycle. When dosage is correctly selected, no side effects are experienced.

Negative symptoms noted include:

  • Low sperm count
  • Migraine
  • Excessive libido
  • Gynecomastia
  • Hypertension
  • Suspended linear growth in young athletes
  • Excessive acne
  • Allergic reactions
  • Psycho-emotional mood changes
  • Degeneration in the structure of the gonads
  • Appearance of symptoms of false pregnancy in women; nausea, vomiting and increases volume of the abdomen
  • Chronic headaches
  • Excessive fluid retention in internal tissues
  • Too early puberty in adolescents undergoing treatment of physical and sexual development disorders
  • Signs of toxicosis in men that are experienced in women during pregnancy
  • Aggravates muscularization in women, increases hair growth and hair loss on the head.

It should be noted that administration of HCG was banned by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in 1987, although no definitive test for it has been approved by the committee.

Sport doctors and trainers share similar opinions regarding use of chorionic gonadotropin by athletes.

For best results, it is introduced into the body against a background of a cycle of anabolic steroids. After monitoring athletes taking HCG, it is generally recommended that the start of chorionic gonadotropin should coincide with the start of reducing the dose of anabolic steroids when taking the steroids for more than six months.

When anabolic steroids are taken for a prolonged period of time, HCG should not be administered concurrently.

It should instead be taken as part of post-cycle therapy as an injection every other day and the cycle should last 20 days. In an instance where anabolic steroids are being taken for a period of 3-4 weeks, a break in taking the steroids should be taken for 2-3 weeks. Chorionic gonadotropin should be taken during the break, hence providing optimal levels of testosterone in the body.

The maximum amount of HCG permitted in men is 10000 units per one injection. The dose is dependent on the weight of the athlete. For a man weighing approximately 70 kilograms, from 1500 units to 3000 units per day is prescribed two days later on the third. The dosage is increased if the weight is higher. For women, chorionic gonadotropin is prescribed for medical indications. The accepted programs are 1500 IU 7 times every other day for 5-6 weeks, 3000 IU 2 times every three days for three weeks and 500-1000 units twice a week for 8 weeks.

Chorionic gonadotropin should be taken from the third week of taking anabolic steroids during a cycle of the steroids. The dosage should be 1000 or 1500 units divided into two injections. HCG admission ends with the steroids before starting post-cycle therapy.

When anabolic steroids are being taken for a prolonged period of time, chorionic gonadotropin should be taken three weeks once a quarter or once every six months. 1500 units of injection should be administered once every four days in this instance. For a quick recovery cycle of two to three weeks, gonadotropin should be injected in doses of 1500-2500 IU once every 3-4 days.

HCG is necessary in the cycle of post-cycle therapy to prevent testicular atrophy, to eliminate side effects of anabolic steroids and to preserve muscle size.

HCG is available in form of an ampoule containing powder. It is also available in tablet form but this form does not create the desired effect. Hence, an intramuscular or subcutaneous injection is most recommended in sports.

The ampoules are diluted using sterile water of isotonic 9% sodium chloride solution, then processed with alcohol. Using a syringe, the solvent should be introduced slowly into a bottle with a powdery substance. Failure to introduce it slowly will cause bubbles to form.

The bottle should then be shaken until the powder dissolves completely. The needle must be replaced but the syringe can be used for injection. The prepared solution can be used for two weeks if stored in the refrigerator. If the vial is sealed, it can be used for up to three years. It is also available for purchase at the pharmacy. Attention should be paid at the amount of active substance in the unit when purchasing so as to facilitate correct dilution.

High levels of physical and aesthetic results cannot be achieved without additional pharmacological preparations. Programs are compiled individually considering the results of an athlete’s diagnostic studies and their indicators.

Therefore, when compiling sport cycles, the help of a specialist with extensive experience in hormonal drugs is required.


Hsieh TC, et al. (2013). Concomitant intramuscular human chorionic gonadotropin preserves spermatogenesis in men undergoing testosterone replacement therapy [Abstract].

Liu PY, et al. (2002). A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial of recombinant human chorionic gonadotropin on muscle strength and physical function and activity in older men with partial age-related androgen deficiency.

Questions and answers on HCG products for weight loss. (2016).

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