You might well be familiar with human chorionic gonadotropin hormone as a pregnancy glycoprotein but did you know that it is also used in weight loss efforts? For several years now, this hormone has been used in helping people quickly, safely, and effectively lose weight and if you are serious about taking better control over your weight, it is about time that you look into the HCG hormone diet and the different HCG products like HCG injections and drops. However, some people are confused as to whether to go with the injections or buy HCG drops. And the best thing to do is to learn more about both options.

In the past, people did not have much choice about which HCG product to use. This is because the only method to administer the hormone in the body several years back was through injections. And over the years, HCG injections have proved to be quite effective in helping lose weight – of course, along with certain diet and lifestyle changes. And the same goes for HCG drops – one can never really be too dependent on the HCG products to find success in their efforts. Success also involves putting in a good amount of discipline and commitment into the diet regime.

There are those who prefer to buy HCG drops because they do not want to feel the pain that comes with injections. Many people also find this as a very convenient alternative as there is no self-mixing involved. However, there are those who think that the homeopathic drops are less potent and would require people to take them in more frequently than administering HCG shots. Then again, the pain and the needle marks are not to be of worry with this option.

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Perhaps one of the biggest concerns that people have about whether to buy HCG drops or injections is the cost. Generally, the difference in cost would not be that much because the homeopathic drops need to be consumed more frequently than the HCG shots. The additional cost that comes with the additional quantity somehow covers the difference because using the shots need to be less frequent but would require syringes.

Just keep in mind that whether it is HCG injections or HCG drops, your efforts can be easily put to waste if you still continue to eat a lot of junk foods and do not allow yourself to have some form of exercise.

The holidays came and went, and now we are here again:

The mid-winter bulges and blahs. From the holiday treats that you want to burn off, to the frosty weather that keeps you indoors, chances are everything has conspired lately to make you feel heavier and sluggish at times.

Now it’s time to turn the tables and make things work in your favor, to help you improve your mood, gain energy and lose weight.

As I will explain, it’s about the remarkable weight-loss hormone called leptin. And so you can get started right away, I have included plenty of links for free recipes, resources and more information.

If you have tried restrictive diets but failed to make the scale budge, you know there is more to the weight-loss equation than calories taken in minus calories used.

Chances are your weight problem is not a matter of will or discipline, but a hormonal imbalance. While many still think that losing weight is simply about willpower, eating less and exercising more, the latest research on obesity indicates the problem is far more complex, involving many factors.

One key area of obesity research focuses on how the hormone leptin influences the body’s ability to shed excess pounds. What could a hormone have to do with weight loss?

According to the latest research, leptin plays an important role in appetite control, metabolism and weight loss. It is your body’s natural weight control mechanism. And the great thing about leptin is that it is produced naturally in the body.

Leptin Regulates Metabolism And Appetite

It lets your brain know how much fat is in your body. As leptin levels rise, your appetite diminishes. As leptin levels fall, your appetite increases.

It regulates the rate of fat breakdown. As leptin levels rise, your metabolic rate increases. As leptin levels fall, your metabolism slows.

The number of calories you burn is regulated by thermogenesis, a process in which the body makes heat, mainly in the muscles. According to recent research from Monash University in Australia, the hormone leptin can substantially increase thermogenesis, helping to burn fat.

Leptin Resistance

The body doesn’t always listen to the leptin message and leptin resistance occurs. The leptin signal isn’t being heard, so it cannot stimulate your metabolism or suppress your appetite. Leptin resistance can make losing weight very difficult if not impossible.

What causes leptin resistance? The typical modern lifestyle contributes to leptin resistance; fast food, little or no exercise, too much stress and not enough sleep. Read my article The Standard American Diet (SAD) to learn more about the alternative to the typical lifestyle.

For example of what can impact leptin, research done at the Laval University in Quebec found that 7-8 hours of sleep each night, on average, was associated with relatively higher levels of leptin. In contrast, getting less sleep meant lower levels of leptin and higher body mass index in the study.

Making Leptin Work So You Can Lose Weight

Unfortunately most doctors aren’t yet fully aware of leptin resistance, or the way to combat it with nutrition and lifestyle.

But my experience practicing nutritional medicine and my exploration of the scientific research provided me with unique insights into how to make leptin work and help people lose weight.

So I put this knowledge together and created a breakthrough program in my book The Fat Resistance Diet.”

The goal of my program is to make leptin work properly and help you lose weight. It includes changes such as switching to a healthy eating plan with recipes that feature a combination of inflammation-fighting foods, getting enough sleep and reducing stress.

Using the nutritional guidelines I provided, my son Jonathan Galland created meal plans and recipes with flavors inspired by his time living in Italy and Japan. We have been very gratified by the enthusiastic response from our readers about the food. Try the free one day meal plan with recipes at my website.

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Once you make this change — adding the right fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and protein sources, and cutting back on sugar and unhealthy fats — you’ll notice a remarkable change. Not only will you feel better and look better and find the pounds dropping almost effortlessly, but you’ll also stop craving unhealthy foods.

Increase Your Resting Metabolic Rate

It’s well known that exercise burns calories. In addition, regular exercise stimulates the activity of fat-burning enzymes. The exciting news is that the hormone leptin also stimulates these enzymes, which can increase your metabolic rate even when you’re not exercising. This is important because for most people, the resting metabolic rate accounts for two-thirds of the total number of calories they burn each day.

Five Steps To Increasing Metabolism:

1. Maximize flavor and nutrition. Choose food that give you the most flavor and nutritional value for the calories you consume. These foods are rich in one or more of the dietary elements that help your metabolism such as vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, fiber, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Foods with appetite-satisfying flavor and lots of nutrition top our list, such as blueberries, tomatoes, ginger, onions and fresh herbs.

Get a selection of my favorites here List of Healthy Food Choices.

2. Benefit from Omega-3 Oils. Omega-3 essential fatty acids are essential to the healthy functioning of the body and brain. Omega-3s help heal inflammation as well as promoting a wide range of cellular activities, and improving or preventing depression, Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders. Plant sources of Omega-3s include: ground flax seed, walnuts, and beans — especially navy, kidney and soy. Animal sources include fish, especially oily cold-water fish such as salmon or tuna.

3. Up Your Fruit and Veg Servings to 9 or 10 a Day. Find delicious ways to incorporate fruits and vegetables into every meal. Choose those fruits and vegetables with deep colors and intense flavors that reflect their high content of anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, like carotenoids and flavonoids. The deepest red and blue flavonoids belong to a subgroup called anthocyanins, found in the jewel-like colors of blueberries, cherries and pomegranates.

4. Skip the Artificial Sweeteners. The use of artificial flavors and sweeteners deprives you of the potent anti-inflammatory phytonutrients found in herbs, spices and naturally sweet fruits. Studies show that artificial sweeteners interfere with weight loss. So steer clear of these sugar substitutes and enjoy fruit, fruit juice and fruit concentrates for their flavor and nutrition. A recent editorial in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) also raised concerns about the use of artificial sweeteners. See more in my article “Artificial Sweeteners, Not So Sweet.”

5. Enjoy Healthy Snacks and Desserts. Snacks satisfy hunger, and desserts add fun and satisfaction to a meal. Indulge, but in healthy choices only. Enjoy delicious snacks such as crunchy walnuts or almonds, and dessert treats made from fruit and yogurt that will excite your palate while keeping you satisfied.

In addition to weight loss, the important role that the leptin hormone plays in maintaining health is still being discovered. For a look at leptin and the brain, read my article: “Leptin Fights Alzheimer’s Disease.”

(For readers of Italian, my book was translated into Italian and published as La Dieta Galland by TEA in Milan.)

Now I’d like to hear from you …

What is your post-holiday season recovery plan?

What have you found to be helpful?

Please let me know your thoughts by posting a comment below.

Best health,

Leo Galland, M.D.

Important: Share the Health with your friends and family by forwarding this article to them, and sharing on Facebook.

Leo Galland, MD is a board-certified internist, author and internationally recognized leader in integrated medicine. Dr. Galland is the founder of Pill Advised, a web application for learning about medications, supplements and food. Sign up for FREE to discover how your medications and vitamins interact. Watch his videos on YouTube and join the Pill Advised Facebook page.


“The Fat Resistance Diet” by Leo Galland, M.D., Broadway Books

Monash University “Research adds weight to fat burning theories” 27 February 2008

Sleep. 2008 April 1; 31(4): 517-523. “The Association Between Sleep Duration and Weight Gain in Adults: A 6-Year Prospective Study from the Quebec Family Study” Jean-Philippe Chaput, MSc, Jean-Pierre Desprs, Ph.D., Claude Bouchard, Ph.D., and Angelo Tremblay, Ph.D.

This information is provided for general educational purposes only and is not intended to constitute (i) medical advice or counseling, (ii) the practice of medicine or the provision of health care diagnosis or treatment, (iii) or the creation of a physician–patient relationship. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, contact your doctor promptly.


Dear JJ: Becoming a fat burner has become a hot topic these days. I’m confused. I thought burning sugar was ideal, yet you mention in your book for weight loss, I want to become a fat burner.

A sugar burner is just what it sounds like: Your body’s primary source of fuel is glucose, which gives your body no reason to access your fat stores for fuel. Why should it, since your body runs on a steady supply of carbs?

“People who eat a lot of carbohydrates [are] ‘sugar-burners,'” Mark Sisson tells Riva Greenberg. “They burn carbs for energy and need a steady supply of carbs to keep their energy up. Always relying on carbs for energy, they have difficulty accessing and burning their stored fat.”

You can easily know if you’re a sugar burner. A few hours after you eat, you’re hungry again. That’s because eating higher-sugar impact foods raise blood sugar, which triggers your hormone insulin to pull that blood sugar back down. Problem is, insulin becomes a little too eager and pulls blood sugar too low.

According to Mark Hyman, M.D., chronically elevated insulin levels store fat, increase your appetite, and adversely affect other fat-regulating hormones.

“Insulin blocks leptin, your appetite-control hormone,” he writes. “You become more leptin-resistant, so the brain never gets the ‘I’m full’ signal. Instead, it thinks you are starving.”

As a result, sugar burners often feel cranky, tired, irritable, and constantly hungry. You struggle to lose weight, and frequently carry fat around your midsection. A vicious cycle ensues as frequent drops in blood sugar make your body crave more sugar.

Sisson says fewer carbs make you a fat burner, where your “body first goes for carbs to burn for fuel, but after it burns the small amount of carbohydrates eaten, primarily from vegetables, it then accesses and burns stored body fat, which leads to weight loss.

Becoming a fat burner literally means your body shifts from glucose to fat as its primary fuel source. Suddenly, you can go four to six hours between meals. Cravings subside. Your hormones cooperate so you burn fat and stay lean. You discover what it feels like to feel full again.

So how do you become a fat burner? By tapering off high-sugar impact foods and transitioning to a low-sugar impact, low-glycemic diet.

“There are now numerous published medical studies indicating that a low glycemic index diet has a positive effect on not only improving insulin resistance, but managing Type 2 diabetes, retinopathy, cardiovascular disease, and acne vulgaris,” writes Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D.

The good news is you can shift from being a sugar burner to a fat burner with your very next meal, which should include lean protein, healthy fats, leafy and cruciferous veggies, and slow-release high-fiber carbs.

The hCG Diet: A healthy stepping stone for weight management


The hCG diet is not a new concept; although it may seem to be, since it is the latest fad diet to steal the attention of Americans seeking weight-loss nirvana.

However, hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) – the “hormone of pregnancy” – became a dietary solution in the 1950s, when obesity researcher, Dr. Albert T.W. Simeons of the Salvatore Mundi International Hospital in Rome published his research, Pounds and Inches, describing the efficacy of hCG as a weight loss supplement when coupled with a restrictive diet.

The diet did not gain much traction and quickly fell out of popularity in the 1960s. It found its way back into the mainstream in 2007, when an infomercial marketer touted its benefits in a book. Until recently, you could not avoid the billboards, radio ads and late-night TV commercials promising a truly slimmer waistline in a matter of days through the hCG diet.

However, because hCG has not been approved by the FDA for use as a weight loss drug – it was developed to treat infertility in women – the FTC has enforced strict regulations on advertising. Doctors are no longer allowed to advertise the use of hCG for weight loss, although it is still available for this off-label use.

The controversy over the use of hCG for weight loss stems from the heavy calorie-restriction required and potential for adverse side effects. The hype, along with America’s obsession with a “quick-fix” weight loss regimen, have fueled the flames of the controversy and buried the potential for hCG to be known as a tool toward the path to successful, healthy weight management.

According to Simeons, the effectiveness of hCG as a diet supplement is its role in “re-setting” the hypothalamus and changing how the body burns fat. In his research he wrote that there are three types of fat in the body: structural fat, the fat that fills gaps to create protection around organs and bones; reserve fat, used by the body as a sort of nutritional income, as well as for fuel for muscles and body temperature regulation; and “abnormal” fat, which should be available for nutritional reserves, but is actually trapped.

Simeons speculated hCG unlocked the body’s ability to burn this trapped fat. Dieters may supplement hCG with a 500-calorie diet and feel no hunger pains because their body is living off the calories from the trapped fat. It is only advisable to participate in this stage of the diet for 21 to 40 days.

To make hCG a tool for success, it is necessary to carefully screen patients and monitor their progress from initiation of the diet to the transition back to eating normal foods. Following the initial stages, under the care of a physician, the patient should slowly return to normal eating and activity. The hCG diet does not teach healthy eating, therefore behavior modification has to be effectively learned in order to ensure the patient’s excess weight does not return when returning to healthy, sufficient calorie consumption.

Patients who pursue the hCG diet under the care of a dedicated physician not only benefit from the weight loss, but from improvement in reducing the number of markers of disease. These include metabolic syndrome markers, elevated blood pressure, high blood glucose levels, high C-reactive protein and total cholesterol levels. Some patients may even find they no longer need some of their medications.

To answer the question, yes, hCG is an effective stepping stone for healthy weight management. However, it must be carefully distributed and monitored under the care of a physician and the patient should be guided back into a healthy eating pattern and routine activity.

It should not be distributed and used as a quick-fix or crash diet.

Dr. Jennifer Landa is Chief Medical Officer of BodyLogicMD, the nation’s largest franchise of physicians specializing in bioidentical hormone therapy. Dr. Jen spent 10 years as a traditional OB-GYN, and then became board-certified in regenerative medicine, with an emphasis on bio-identical hormones, preventative medicine and nutrition. She is the author of “The Sex Drive Solution for Women.