The abbreviation hCG stands for “human chorionic gonadotropin”. Chorionic Gonadotropins are a peptide hormone that is found in the body of women in early pregnancy, it is produced in the placenta. This is actually an indicator of pregnancy, since it appears in the blood only at this time. The level of gonadotropin in the blood will be noticeable already just after 7 days following conception, and by 2-3 months the level of hCG will reach the limit values and then will begin to decline. HCG is approved by the FDA for the treatment of undescended testicles in boys, for the treatment of hypogonadism (decreased testosterone production), and for the stimulation of ovulation in women. In a man’s body, chorionic gonadotropin, when administered, has a luteinizing and follicle-stimulating effect, that is, it shows the activity of the luteinizing and follicle-stimulating hormones. In its structure, hCG is similar to these hormones and differs only in the amino acid sequence. In order to clarify, you will have to take a brief excursion into the work of the human endocrine system. The follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) together with luteinizing hormone (LH) are produced in the anterior pituitary gland under the influence of the hypothalamic gonadotropin-loving hormone. FSH secretion occurs in a pulsed mode in intervals of 1-4 hours. In men, FSH affects the development of the seminiferous tubules, increases the concentration of testosterone, stimulates the formation and maturation of sperm in the testes and promotes the production of the androgen binding protein. After puberty, FSH levels in men are relatively constant. LH is a gonadotropic hormone of the anterior pituitary gland that determines the functional state of the leydig cells of the testicles, it stimulates the production of testosterone in men, due to which sperm maturation also occurs. Thus, the introduction of hCG into the body has the same effect on it as LH and FSH simultaneously, although the effects of LH are still somewhat predominant. This article will discuss the use of hCG on a steroid course and its use within post-cycle therapy (PCT).
Hypothalamus – Pituitary – Testicles
Using testosterone or any of its derivatives, will disrupt the functioning of the hypothalamus-pituitary-testis chain. The hypothalamus fixes an increase in the level of androgens in the blood, which we create artificially and ceases to give signals to the pituitary gland for the production of the above hormones – FSH and LH, respectively, testosterone is not produced in leydig cells, because it is already in excess. Long inactivity of the leydig cells leads to their atrophy. This is one of the main dangers of using anabolic steroids. There are three main purposes for which hCG is used within sports:
- On a long cycle to maintain testicular health;
- On PCT to accelerate the “launch” of the production of a user’s natural Testosterone;
- For conception purposes during a course of AAS.
Let’s consider this in order:
Goal # 1 – Maintaining the testicular performance during long cycles
We will go from far away from the fact that not everything that a person considers is logical, especially regarding the work of the body. That means that this can be assumed, but in practice it may not work for every individual, despite the fact that it sounds convincing and viable.
A huge number of factors are not taken into account, the presence of which, we think, will not cause any doubts. It is not difficult to predict the line of reasoning of a person: Once the testes do not work while using testosterone, that means they are “sleeping”, and since they’re sleeping, you need to “wake them up”, and to achieve their awakening, you need to inject artificial pituitary hormones such as; LH and FSH, and then they wake up and work at full strength even after withdrawal of the synthetic testosterone. The fact is that there are no serious medical studies on this subject, and we would not recommend relying on everyday experiences, which usually has nothing to do with endocrinology, or listen to the advice of “researchers” and “scientists” from forums that are similar to a fence on which “it is also written”.
If you don’t know how the substance works, and what consequences its use may lead to, do not use it, otherwise it will be possible to promote side effects of your own mistakes. Although no one has cancelled the placebo effect, the single placebo effect will not be enough to normalize the hormonal system after the course of AAS. Using HCG during the course will not accelerate the onset of testosterone recovery after the discontinuation of the use of AAS.
Nevertheless, recommendations to use gonadotropins during the steroid cycle currently dominate in unofficial sources and are based on the fact that hCG will help to prevent testicular atrophy during a long steroid cycle.
Goal # 2 – The use of hCG in PCT to accelerate the restoration of the hormonal system
American doctor Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale in his book “Drug Use in Amateur Sports” writes: “Athletes use HCG (hCG) to mitigate the negative effects that occur when steroids are taken for a long time. These athletes believe that using hCG will help them to quickly restore their testosterone production in the testes and bring it back to normal. But this opinion is still in debate.
Although hCG stimulates the production of a user’s own testosterone, it does not affect the arch of the hypothalamus – pituitary – testicles and does not lead to its full recovery. After a more or less prolonged use of steroids, the hypothalamus and pituitary gland are still depressed and remain this way when taking hCG, because testosterone produced by the body due to the exogenous intake of hCG suppresses the endogenous production of LH (luteinizing hormone). And as soon as the intake of hCG ends, the athlete is still forced to go through the recovery phase. Taking hCG only postpones this phase”.
We think that everything is clear enough and there is nothing to add. The use of hCG will indeed increase the natural level of testosterone after the course, but after the expiration action of the drug, everything will return to normal and the recovery will not accelerate as fast.
At the same time, a user cannot be 100% sure even that natural testosterone in the blood will rise in response to hCG injections. Endocrinologist Mikhail Klestov, a world-famous bodybuilder, talks about his personal negative experience: “Gonadotropin therapy with 5000 units per week for six months did not lead to an increase of testosterone by one. That means that, the reaction can be very individual based”.
The same negative results were obtained by Nelson Vergel during his research. Wergel is an expert in testosterone therapy and the author of the scientific work “Man’s Guide” related to the use of testosterone by men. In his study, endocrinologists compared the effects of three substances: an injection of 5000IU of hCG twice a week, an injection of a testosterone mixture (Sustanon) at a dosage of 250mg once every three weeks, and daily use of a gel containing 50mg of testosterone. The hCG used in the study was called Pregnyl and manufactured by Oragon. Sustanon was also produced by Oragon, and the gel that participated in the study was called Testogel, produced by Schering. Researchers gave these substances for six months to three groups consisting of two dozen men with hypogonadism (a pathological condition caused by insufficient secretion of androgens). In all men, testosterone levels were below 300 ng / dl, with a norm of 400–1000 ng / dl. As a result, hCG only increased the size of the testicle compared to other substances. This effect is completely expected, because hCG has a similar effect to luteinizing hormone, which causes testicular growth and increased testosterone production.
But what turned out to be completely unexpected in this study, was that hCG did not affect the concentration of testosterone in the blood. Why this happened, the researchers do not know, in other, earlier studies, hCG did affect testosterone levels. Perhaps one of the reasons for this is that the subjects in this trial were between the ages of 18 and 29, and the subjects in other studies were much older. In the book Anabolix 2006, by William Llelevelin, another reason was noted for hCG to be useful in PCT: “The main ability of hCG is the ability to restore the responsiveness of testicles to endogenous LH. After a long period of inactivity, this ability is reduced, and even if the production of endogenous LH has returned to normal, this does not mean that testosterone has also returned. Many people know that if the testicles have decreased during the course, then their recovery without the use of drugs takes a long time. HCG quickly returns size and functionality to the testicles”. There, the author gives recommendations for admission: “Usually we should not take more than 1500-3000 units (IU) every 4-5 days for 2-3 weeks. If you increase the dose or the duration, then hCG will decrease the sensitivity to LH in Leydig cells, which we don’t need”.
Goal # 3 – Conceiving a child during a steroid cycle
As already mentioned, when using exogenous sex hormones, your own testosterone ceases to be produced, as well as LH and FSH. In turn, a man has very little chance of conception, because his sperm count and activity are reduced. This principle of contraception is an analogue of female hormonal contraception. No research nor conducted, but there are reviews with successful results that have used hCG for this sole purpose.
However, there are also reviews that indicate a successful conception during even long steroid courses without the use of gonadotropin drugs. Everything is also very individual based here when we are talking about hormones, as every individual has different tolerance levels to each drug or hormone that is ingested.
We intentionally do not recommend any schemes, as we don’t want to take responsibility for someone else’s miss health. Dosages and administration methods for one purpose or another can be freely found on almost any forum. As an example, the protocol of Dr. Michael Scalia is the only protocol officially recognized by the American Association of Endocrinologists for the treatment of hypogonadism caused by steroids:
Post-Cycle Therapy Regimen:
- Days 1-16 – Gonadotropin at 2,500 IU every other day;
- Days 1-30 –Clomid at 50mg twice daily;
- Days 1-45 Tamoxifen (Nolvadex) at 20mg per day.
The protocol was tested on 19 men aged 23 to 57 years who completed a 12-week course of Testosterone Cypionate and Nandrolone Decanoate. The average level of PH before the course was 4.5, after the course less than 0.7, after PCT – 6.2!
In our opinion, the use of hCG to accelerate the launch of a user’s natural testosterone production and to maintain the health of testicles is impractical. When using gonadotropins, we invade hormonal regulation at a higher level than when taking steroids, the level of the hypothalamic-pituitary loop. No matter how paradoxical this sounds, taking testosterone is safer and more physiological for the body than taking gonadotropins. So after reading this article, you must have some knowledge regarding hCG and its uses and also be prepared that if you are going to take high dosages of AAS or do long duration cycles, then hCG may be your best friend!