One of the most common questions about HCG drops and the HCG diet is “Are there any side effects?” or put another way, “Is HCG safe?” This question isn’t as straightforward as you might think, because there are different types of HCG, and even different types of HCG drops. Most online articles won’t tell you what type of HCG they are talking about, or they get them mixed up. So let’s briefly cover the types of HCG and different sources of the HCG diet side effects you may experience.
HCG Injections Side Effects
When using HCG injections, you are using pharmaceutical HCG, which requires a prescription to purchase in the U.S. This category also includes sublingual (under the tongue) HCG, which also requires a prescription. Be aware that other, non-prescription types of HCG are also taken under the tongue. If you run across anything talking about HCG drops or sublingual HCG, make sure you know whether it’s referring to pharmaceutical HCG or not.
All pharmaceutical HCG is based on Pregnyl, the brand name of the drug. Pregnyl is usually used as a fertility treatment and is taken in doses of 500 to 4,000 IU (international units) per day. When taken as part of the HCG diet, you should only take 125 IU.
As a prescription medication, the side effects of HCG injections can be serious. The seriousness of side effects is often related to dosage, so you can expect that the large amounts used for fertility treatments will have worse side effects than the small amount used as part of the HCG diet. Most articles that talk about HCG diet side effects conveniently ignore this fact. You can expect the same side effects as Pregnyl, but they probably won’t be as common or as intense.
HCG Drops Side Effects
When using HCG drops (also called HCG diet drops), you’re using homeopathic HCG. This product is taken sublingually (under the tongue) and has been very popular and effective among HCG dieters.
This form of HCG starts out the same as prescription HCG, with Pregnyl. It then undergoes a special homeopathic preparation that involves succussion and dilution with water. For this reason, it is not equivalent to pharmaceutical HCG yet the homeopathic process is designed to have the same effectiveness, just through a different mechanism inside the body. Experiences of users indicate that it works. It also has no known side effects.
Unfortunately, due to regulatory actions taken by the FDA, homeopathic HCG is no longer legal to sell or purchase in the United States. The main problem is that HCG isn’t listed in the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States (HPUS) and therefore cannot be used in a homeopathic preparation. This has led to different substitution products being offered by companies that used to sell HCG drops.
HCG Substitutions Using Dietary Supplements
These products are offered by companies trying to replace homeopathic HCG. The ingredients of these products vary, but most often they consist of a mix of amino acids. Sometimes they are regular dietary supplements, and sometimes they are mixed homeopathic preparations. The mixed homeopathic preparations are usually just as illegal as homeopathic HCG because all their ingredients aren’t listed in the HPUS.
There are too many variations to discuss effectively here, but suffice it to say that they aren’t HCG or even related to HCG, even though they may be labeled as HCG drops. You’ll need to look very carefully at the list of ingredients of any product claiming to be HCG, so you know what you’re taking and can look up the side effects.
True Homeopathic HCG Substitutions
Finally we come to the true homeopathic HCG substitution. This type of product takes existing ingredients that are all listed in the HPUS and uses them to simulate the effects of HCG. The ingredients are specially chosen for effectiveness on the HCG diet protocol.
The good news is that, as a homeopathic preparation, this type of product is gentle on your system and has no known side effects. Yet it remains as effective as other forms of HCG drops.
Side Effects of the HCG Diet Itself
There’s one more important thing you need to know: the HCG diet itself can have its own side effects. On the HCG diet you have to eat from a specific set of foods, and they are all healthy choices picked specifically because they’re high in protein, vitamins, and minerals. But the HCG diet is still a very low calorie diet, and it’s a drastic change from your everyday eating habits. Because of this, the diet itself can cause some side effects.
Click here to read more about the side effects of the HCG diet itself.