We provide this FAQ page so that you may better understand HCG, and its use in our program. We believe in fully informed consent hence this page. Please note, all weight loss programs contain inherent risk. Being alive, flying on a plane, and driving a car contains inherent risk, arguably much higher than the risk of losing weight. Losing weight also holds a much lower risk than staying overweight does, or, predictably gaining more weight over time - which is the evidence-based likely future for those who are overweight. We provide this page to inform you, not to scare you. If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to book a follow up call with us.
Why Do We Use HCG In the Divine Life Program?
HCG is the Secret Sauce and ultimate hack for expedited, lasting weight loss in our program for people with stubborn weight and / or hormonally associated weight gain. Be certain, this is not the ONLY thing that causes weight loss in our program, and we have a highly proprietary method of using the HCG supplement inside of a net of strategies to take off - and KEEP off - weight, while ultimately re-setting your hormones for the better. I - Dr. Erica - am an HCG researcher partnered with York University and will be revealing the results of the studies I'm authoring over the next year.
Simply stated, we have found NOTHING that works as exceptionally as HCG inside of our proprietary program, to help reset hormones and take the weight off.
Here is a video that discusses the science behind WHY HCG Works:
How is Your Program's Use of HCG Different?
HCG is widely used by anti-aging clinics across North America as their best kept secret. (Read why it's a secret below). This is how I (Dr. Erica) discovered and used HCG - through the anti-aging centre I formerly worked at. The problem is, visits were short - 15 minutes long, and included no between-visit support. They also did nothing to address male and female hormonal imbalances, so while the weight would come off for people, it was easy to put back on if other hormones were left imbalanced - particularly thyroid, adrenal, or sex hormones. After conducting research on what I saw worked and didn't work in the clinical setting in the 10 locations I've worked at over the past 9 years, and pooling together with my colleagues' research, I developed a program by me - for me - that provided lasting results. It was so mind-blasting that I developed The Divine Life Program. This entails:
- The Proper and supported use of HCG
- Access to Coaching every day instead of once per week
- A supportive private community to immerse yourself in
- A specialized maintenance and post-maintenance nutritional plan shown to keep the weight off
- Addressing emotional eating and food addictions to create breakthroughs to sustain weight loss
- Learning how to still enjoy treat foods WITHOUT gaining weight
- Strategies to disrupt new weight gain if it happens
- Proper teaching of exercise type and frequency
- Stress management and lifestyle techniques to keep hormones balanced
- Proper sleep hygiene education
- Tailored, bespoke supplement recommendations to rebalance remaining hormonal imbalances
- Daily accountability
- Group calls for instant feedback on questions
In short, we leave NOTHING uncovered and support our clients 100% so that they have everything they need to fully lose the weight and prevent re-gaining the weight.
What Is HCG?
HCG Stands for Human Chorionic Gonadotropin. It is commonly referred to as the 'pregnancy hormone' however this is completely inaccurate, HCG is a glycoprotein and has no hormonal properties whatsoever. (Vitamin D, on the other hand, IS a hormone, by contrast.) HCG is not.
HCG is secreted in pregnant women, by the placenta and helps to maintain the pregnancy in the first trimester. The other role it plays is to keep thyroid functioning high in pregnancy, even if the mother is not eating. The role of this is to ensure that the thyroid does not shut down, leading to a shut down of fat being released into the bloodstream (this would be a starvation response). If a pregnant mother had a starvation response like this, her unborn baby would die from a lack of fat and nutrients in the blood, so HCG is an 'override mechanism' of pregnancy to keep fat in the bloodstream EVEN if the mother has low access to food. This is the exact OPPOSITE of what we see in people who go without food, whom are not pregnant. And so, when we give these people HCG, we prevent the starvation response.
In non-pregnant individuals who are on low calories, their thyroid will normally shut down (permanently, to a degree, if the calories are low enough and the time is long enough, and nothing is done to address it afterwards). This means metabolism drops, and access to fat stores decreases as all systems begin to function more sluggishly. This is why typical caloric deprivation diets are majorly problematic. HCG offers a complete over-ride to this, whereby even in the face of a typical caloric restrictive diet, the thyroid and metabolism stay high and fat stores are broken down into the bloodstream for fuel. You begin consuming 1500 - 2000 calories per day of your own fat stores, which normally go majority untapped.
Why is HCG So great?
See the question above, as well as know that HCG provides a rest to the adrenal glands, it corrects thyroid functioning (we have seen several cases of thyroid hormone returning to normal after use and people coming off of their thyroid medication), it helps the body make its own progesterone again which is depleted in times of stress and necessary for youth and vitality; it also re-sets leptin sensitivity, the master hormone. Leptin resistance is common in people whom are over-weight and is extremely damaging to all major organ systems. Correcting this with HCG can literally give you 10 - 14 more years of life, and can shorten your morbidity window (the time you spend 'falling apart') from the average 10 years, to only 6 months or less. This is the benefit of losing weight, regaining leptin sensitivity, and ensuring physical activity and proper nutrition.
Dr. Erica is further studying HCG and its effects on hormonal systems and fat oxidation at York University.
Is HCG the same as HGH?
No. HGH is Human Growth Hormone. While HGH has a lot of anti-aging benefits like increased muscle mass, stronger bones, enhanced weight loss, correction of high LDL cholesterol, improvement in erectile dysfunction, and better sleep - and is used at anti-aging clinics as well - Dr. Erica does not currently recommend injecting or taking exogenous HGH. Done right, your own body can begin to make its own HGH again once health and hormonal balance is restored.
Is HCG A Hormone?
No, it is a glycoprotein. It is commonly called the pregnancy hormone, but this is a misnomer. It has no direct impact on hormones, it simply gives your body a break from the onslaught and inflammation of leptin resistance (and our overall program gives your body a break from insulin resistance as well), which leads to your own capacity to correct your hormones, especially cortisol, progesterone, and thyroid hormones which are typically depleted.
How Long Has HCG Been Used for Weight Loss?
Dr. Simeons began using it for weight loss in 1920, so, that makes it 97 years old as a weight loss therapy. The majority of his concluded clinical studies came out after decades of observation, in the 1950s.
Is HCG FDA Approved?
Yes HCG is approved by the FDA and Health Canada in doses from 100 - 20,000IU.
What is HCG Used to Treat?
HCG is used to treat infertility by helping women ovulate at doses of 20,000IU and in the male partner to produce more viable sperm. Men use doses of 1500 - 2000 IU, 3 times per week, for up to 6 months for this purpose.
In contrast, HCG used for weight loss is dosed at 150- 200 IU per day, which is 1/100th the dose used to treat infertility in women and stimulate ovulation.
Using HCG for weight loss is considered an off-label use.
What is Off-Label Use?
Off-label use means using a medication for something other than its original intention. For instance, the Birth Control Pill is approved to control and prevent birth - or rather, pregnancy. However, many more women use the birth control pill for acne, endometriosis, fibroids, general hormonal regulation, etc, versus to prevent pregnancy. These are all off label uses. Physicians commonly prescribe things for off label use.
What Does the Current Research Say About HCG?
It is important that you are aware that the current meta analyses of HCG (by current, I mean 22 years old) do not support the use of HCG in weight loss.
In 1976 the FDA initially stated:
These weight reduction treatments include the injection of HCG, a drug which has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration as safe and effective in the treatment of obesity or weight control. There is no substantial evidence that HCG increases weight loss beyond that resulting from caloric restriction, that it causes a more attractive or "normal" distribution of fat, or that it decreases the hunger and discomfort associated with calorie-restrictive diets.
— 1976 FDA-mandated disclaimer for HCG diet advertisements
In 1995 the statement was:
There is no scientific evidence that HCG is effective in the treatment of obesity. The meta-analysis found insufficient evidence supporting the claims that HCG is effective in altering fat-distribution, hunger reduction or in inducing a feeling of well-being. The authors stated “…the use of HCG should be regarded as an inappropriate therapy for weight reduction…” In the authors opinion, “Pharmacists and physicians should be alert on the use of HCG for Simeons therapy. The results of this meta-analysis support a firm standpoint against this improper indication. Restraints on physicians practicing this therapy can be based on our findings.”
It is worth being critical in regarding these statements. One thing to note is that HCG is a natural substance, meaning it cannot be patented. If a substance can't be patented, a pharmacuetical company cannot hold full rights to its distribution, which means they cannot profit off of the substance in any major way. As a result, the pharmaceutical industry is actively against the use of HCG for weight loss, and it will not fund appropriate studies on HCG, meaning individual clinicians and University Researchers are left to do the research on their own, unfunded, which takes a lot longer.
It is also worth noting that the major income stream for Bariatric Physicians, is bariatric surgery, so it can be assumed they will not support the use of a natural substance that actually works. I will leave that up to you to decide.
Clinically, I've met doctors all over the world that use HCG with incredible results, however, we have to keep it our 'best kept secret' because of the powers that be. New research coming out over the next decade will help to support the use of HCG for weight loss. And to be clear, HCG on its own is not enough for weight loss, which is why we have designed a proprietary methodology of using it.
As for myself (Dr. Erica), I spent a year being very anti-HCG while I worked in the anti-aging clinical setting. However, the results my mutual patients were getting (those that worked with our RN and MD) were beyond belief. Trying it for myself is what made me delve further into the research. And now we see that 100% of our clients get the weight loss results they want with HCG. When you see it happening right in front of your eyes again, and again, and again, and you speak with multiple doctors all over the world seeing the same thing, it's hard to believe this isn't substantiated. This is why I have pursued continuing research on HCG.
How Long Has HCG Been Used?
It's been used for weight loss for 97 years.
What Are The Side Effects of HCG?
With any weight loss program it can be expected to experience fatigue, restlessness, irritability, and headache until you've acclimatized (which usually takes a few days at most if you experience this at all), as well as symptoms of low blood sugar if you have insulin resistance issues - feeling hangry, shaky, and irritable. These can happen with any weight loss program.
Another symptom that can occur with any type of weight loss program is gallstones, so please alert us if you have a history of gallbladder surgery or stone formation so that we can specially tailor your protocol for you.
HCG has also been found to cause ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) at the fertility dose. About 33% of women experience mild OHSS on the fertility dose, moderate OHSS occurs in 3 -6% of cases at the fertility dose, and severe OHSS occurs in 0.1 - 2% of women on the fertility dose of 20,000IU (which is 100 times higher than the dose we utilize), which warrants a hospital trip as it can be life threatening. Symptoms include swelling of the abdomen, having to urinate frequently, and enlarged ovaries, and it is necessary at this stage to have the excess fluid removed from the abdomen. All other symptoms, and mild or moderate OHSS are self-limiting and correct within a few weeks.
Again, OHSS has not been seen at the dose of 200IU per day.
Who Should Not Take HCG?
Anyone whom is pregnant, breastfeeding, allergic to HCG, under the age of 18, or has prostate cancer. There are other guidelines about whom should not engage in a weight loss program, and if you're reading this, you've probably already been screened for those.
What Are The Long-term Side Effects of HCG?
There are no documented long-term side effects. Other than, I suppose, having a baby in your arms if you took the fertility dose, or having a kick-ass body after losing the weight.
Do Celebrities Use HCG?
Given how popular it is amongst surgeons and MDs at anti-aging and wholistic clinics across North America, I would not be surprised. To date Britney Spears (after having her twins), Khloe Kardashian, Snooki & JWoww of Jersey Shore have publicly spoken about their use of HCG for weight loss. Not that this should influence your choice in any way! But we do get asked this question so I figured I'd throw it in for good measure.
Will Taking HCG Make a Man Turn Into A Woman?
No. In fact, some athletes take HCG (at higher doses and mixed with other substances) to cause more testosterone production. Major League Baseball Player Manny Ramirez, NFL Player Brian Cushing, and MMA Fighter Dennis Silver have all been suspended from their sports for taking HCG to enhance performance.
Further, as mentioned above, HCG is given to men to improve sperm quantity and quality and impact testosterone levels. It has also been used to cause sex changes / differentiation of boys and girls whom were not going into puberty properly.
Is Homeopathic HCG The Same as Pharmaceutical grade HCG?
Heellllll to the No. Personally I'd be way more scared of taking homeopathic HCG than real HCG. Answer me this:
If you wanted to prevent pregnancy, would you take the Birth Control Pill, or homeopathic birth control?
If you had syphilis and the only proven cure is antibiotics, would you take antibiotics, or homeopathic antibiotics?
If you had a type of cancer known to respond very favourably to a single round of chemo and then you'd be in remission, would you take the chemo, or homeopathic chemo?
There is no research either in meta analyses nor in clinical data to support the use of homeopathic HCG, and further, because it has no real action in the body, and you put yourself on any level of caloric restriction without the appropriate hormonal rebalancing support, you are at a very high risk for permanently shutting down your thyroid gland and lowering your metabolism forever. Scary stuff, amiga. I would avoid like the plague.
Should I Buy HCG Online?
I don't recommend it AT ALL. The companies selling HCG online over the counter are usually third world, unverified, and fly by night companies that shut down once the FDA is onto them. Who knows what you're even getting in that bottle? I'd be terrified to put a substance into my body that wasn't verified.
We ONLY work with a compounding pharmacy in the US that meets all FDA and compounding standards and we do not recommend purchasing HCG online.
Who Prescribes HCG?
ONLY Medical Doctors (MDs) can prescribe HCG. If you're getting it from anyone else, I'd be very terrified myself. A Registered Nurse or Registered Nurse Practitioner can sometimes prescribe it as well UNDER the MD's directive, so you're still technically being prescribed it by an MD at all times.
How Will I Get My HCG If I Work With You?
We work with an amazing compounding pharmacy in the US and they have a team of Medical Doctors. For the record - ONLY medical doctors can prescribe HCG. If you're getting it from anyone else, I'd be very afraid. When you go through our program, we connect you with the pharmacy and their MDs. The MDs assess you and if they deem you are a fit, they will prescribe the HCG to you. You them become a PATIENT of that MD and can call them at any time, you become a CUSTOMER of that pharmacy and can place your order with them based on the MD's prescription, and you become a CLIENT of the Divine Life Program, and we help you with everything else!
Why Do You Work with That Particular Pharmacy?
Can I tell you how many compounding pharmacies I've worked with in Canada that just obliterated the prescription entirely? That's right, compounding pharmacies in Canada have very little understanding of how to compound HCG for weight loss correctly. The weight loss market in the US is much higher than Canada, probably due to the fact that their population is about ten times larger than Canada's. This has driven an increased expertise of the compounding of HCG for weight loss in the US. We unfortunately had many clients not experience the benefits of HCG in Canada due to poorly compounded HCG that did not dispense correctly. Since finding this pharmacy, we work exclusively with them, but please know, they ARE a separate company and we are not responsible for correcting their products or orders - they are. To our experience, they've been absolutely fantastic and their customer service to our clients is beyond compare.
How Do You Take HCG?
The pharmacy we work with offers HCG in injections, oral drops (NOT the same as homeopathic drops!!!!), and oral pellets. We strongly recommend the injection option as it has been found to be slightly more effective. That said, if you are needle-phobic, you can opt for an oral option. One of our clients has lost 90lbs to date on oral HCG alone, so it still works phenomenally. If you do opt for the injections, know that the needle is very small, about as thick as a strand of hair, and as long as your finger nail. Most people report they cannot even feel it.
What Is the Long-Term Success Rate of HCG?
Clinically the clients I've worked with keep the weight off easily, however, the long-term success rates with any weight loss program are typically sad and clients regain the weight back. This is often because they make no real lifestyle changes, and expect to be able to go back to eating a fast food lifestyle 3 times a day after their program is over (that NEVER happens in the Divine Life Program, but is common with do-it-yourself or other programs). Also, most clinical programs cause permanent shut down of the thyroid which lowers metabolism, whereas our clients come out with improved thyroid functioning and increased metabolism.
In short, the long-term success rate with HCG is based on the person's willingness to eat an 80% whole foods diet and exercise 3 - 4 times a week (ALL of which we teach you). This looks like eating 17 delicious healthy meals a week like steak, chicken, seafood, veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, good fats, healthy dairy, etc. And then 4 meals a week being treat meals. If you aren't willing to take that on, we really can't help you.
But I'm Afraid HCG Will Mess Up My Hormones?
Girl! (Guy!) Do you have any idea the POWER you have over your hormones on a day to day and year to year basis!? Do you sit under fluorescent lights, expose yourself to lights or screen time after dark, sit for more than 4 hours a day, wear synthetic fabrics, eat less than 100% perfect paleo whole foods cooked from scratch by you, take medications ever, stress out, sit in traffic, eat when you're not hungry, or have sex less than once a week?
Congratulations, you have messed up your hormones more than any supplement or hormonal therapy ever could.
You know what's worse than pro-actively dealing with your imbalanced hormones? Not pro-actively dealing with your imbalanced hormones. The longer you take to address the situation, the more entrenched and complicated and imbalanced your hormones become. In contrast, HCG used for a short period of time has a benefit profile that far and beyond outweighs the risks.
Couldn't I rebalance my hormones by correcting my diet and lifestyle?
Yes, you could. It will take on average 10 - 20 years to see the results.
This is because you've used unnatural means to damage your hormones, so expecting strictly natural means to correct the imbalance, means you will be waiting a LONG time. I don't know about you but, I've got business and LIFE to attend to. I want to waste as little time as possible getting from Point A of less than stellar weight and wellness, to point B of Looking and feeling like a God or Goddess.