MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C. - Looking for a way to cut fat fast? Many people will try almost anything to shed those extra pounds. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin is a drug that has become increasingly popular. HCG is a hormone produced by the human placenta during pregnancy.
The Food and Drug Administration currently approves HCG as a treatment of female infertility. HCG is a prescription drug that helps stimulates ovulation and helps developing eggs in a woman’s ovaries. The FDA does not approve HCG as a weight loss supplement and has prohibited over the counter selling of HCG, Dec. 6, 2011. It has been declared illegal unless prescribed.
“HCG was first promoted for weight loss in the 1950s,” said Elizabeth Miller, acting director of FDA’s Division of Non-Prescription Drugs and Health Fraud. “It faded in the 1970s, especially when it became apparent that there was a lack of evidence to support the use of HCG for weight loss.”
“Online vendors selling these illegal homeopathic HCG weight-loss drugs claim their products will alter metabolism and eating patterns to accelerate weight loss,” said Stephen D. Berry, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing substance abuse control officer. “Some products containing HCG suggest that users may lose 20-30 pounds in as little as 30 days.”
“These products are marketed with incredible claims and people think that if they’re losing weight, HCG must be working,” said Miller. “But the data simply does not support this; any loss is from severe calorie restriction, not from the HCG.”
Most HCG diets restrict people’s diets to only 500 calories a day, said Britney Daschke, GNC store manager aboard Marine Corps Air Station New River. She said anybody would lose a lot of weight if he ate such a small amount of calories.
“The claims made by these illegal homeopathic HCG weight-loss drug marketers are unproven,” said Berry. “Therefore, those who use HCG to lose a little weight are taking a big risk.”
Starting a 500-calorie HCG diet is a potential hazard to one’s health, according to FDA experts. Consumers on such restrictive diets are at increased risk for forming gallstones, heart arrhythmia, and imbalances of electrolytes that keep the body’s nerves working properly.
Taking prescription drugs without proper medical supervision not only risks a person’s health, but it can also put military careers in jeopardy.
Although the Marine Corps may have no official stance on this product, Berry said the wrongful use of any prescription drug, supplement, or over-the-counter products may result in administrative or punitive action against the service members involved.
There is no quick or simple solution to losing weight. Eating nutritious foods and exercising daily is the healthy and reliable way to shed extra pounds and keep them off.