Other Accessory Drugs

Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin – H.C.G.

human chorionic gonadotrophin in bodybuilding


Found in dosages: 100, 250, 500, 1000, 1500, 2000, 2500, 3000, 5000, 10000 and 20000 IU per amp.

Presentation: Usually 1, 2, or 3 amps per box, with same number of sterile water amps to mix (sometimes supplied as just dry powder vials).

Human chorionic gonadotrophin is a polypeptide hormone found especially in the female body in high amounts during the first few months of pregnancy. It is made in the body by the SYNCYTIOTROPHOBLAST CELLS of the placenta and is responsible for the increase in progesterone in the female metabolism to support embryonic and foetal growth. It is only present in the female body during pregnancy and it is this hormone that turns the little blue line positive on the pregnancy test sticks that a lady wee-wees on to find out if she has been lucky (unlucky?), enough to get in the pudding club. The hormone level in the blood can be detected as soon as 3-7 days after conception, and normally reaches a peak at 2-3 months, then drops gradually up until birth-date.

HCG does possess some subtle FOLLICLE STIMULATING HORMONE (FSH) characteristics, but mainly mimics LUTEINISING HORMONE (LH) within the human body. It is this replication of LH that HCG is used for in school medicine and is used to support ovulation and pregnancy in women (ANOVULATORY STERILITY). My very patient wife Louise, actually used HCG in very high dosages when she (we?) underwent I.V.F. treatment in pursuit of our first child, the terrific (terryfying?) Sophie…but wasn’t need for our second child, future Mr. Olympia Callum, who was a gift from heaven rather than a Petri dish.

HCG can also be used in men as well however, since LH in males stimulates the LEYDIG CELLS of the testes to produce testosterone, treating HYPOGONADOTROPIC HYPOGONADISM (low T output and insufficient LH output). It has also been used to treat PREPUBERTAL CRYPTORCHIDISM, where one or both testicles fail to descend from boy’s abdominal cavity (i.e. ‘ball-dropping’).

HCG was discovered in the 1920’s, but the clever fellows didn’t actually realise it was a pregnancy hormone until around 8 years later. The first drug developed to contain HCG was actually derived from an animal pituitary extract in 1931 by Organon, and was sold under the name PREGNON™. However, a dispute between Organon and another company over this name arose and the name was changed to PREGNYL™ in 1932. Pregnyl is still sold to this day, but it is no longer made from pituitary extract (due to concerns over possible biological contaminants), after techniques introduced in 1940 allowed for the hormone to be produced from the urine of pregnant women and pre-menstrual nuns (yes, you read that right). Even though the end product is still derived from biological origin, the risks of remaining biological contaminants are said to be very low (but not TOTALLY absent…scary).

In the 1950’s, HCG was indicated for many more uses than those outlined above, including uterine bleeding and amenorrhea (absent menstruation), FROEHLICH’S SYNDROME (obesity from hypothalamic tumours), obesity, depression and male impotence. Even though HCG has been used to treat obesity, it does not have any significant thyroid stimulating activity. Something called the ‘SIMEONS DIET’ was touted in the late 50’s after a paper by Dr. A.T.W. Simeons was published, stating that HCG was an effective adjunct to dieting since it helped stave off hunger. This effect was never actually proven, and was just pseudo-medicine touted by the good Dr. to help make him a lot of money at the time. The trouble now is that this old, false information, has been re-hashed as of the last couple of years, and again is touted as a miracle fat cure-all hormone (even though it is also coupled with extreme calorie restriction as well which in and of itself would cause substantial ‘weight’ loss). Don’t believe the hype… IT DOES NOT WORK THIS WAY IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM.

So, what do bodybuilders and strength athletes use HCG for? Since HCG mimics LH and ‘forces’ the testes to produce more endogenous testosterone, athletes have used it in two ways:


Post cycle HCG use

As explained elsewhere, during most all effective (i.e. ones that work), androgenic/anabolic steroid cycles, the male user will experience a ‘shutdown’ of natural testosterone levels (due in part to high estrogen levels from aromatizing steroids), leading to testicular shrinkage (as they aren’t functioning maximally, if at all), and are essentially dormant. Also of concern at the end of a steroid cycle is the increased amount of CORTISOL, which the body will be producing in response to supraphysiological androgen levels. This high cortisol level, tied in with low natural test’ levels after a cycle send a VERY strong signal to the muscle cells to de-structure its amino acids, i.e. shrink. If a male steroid user finishes his cycle ‘cold turkey’, and uses no adjuncts to get the system back to ‘normal’ (i.e. a normal testosterone output), then he will experience a whole host of bad side effects, not to mention lose most if not all his hard-earned, steroid ‘assisted’ muscle. This is where HCG comes in. The HCG can be overlapped with the end of the cycle to start the job of re-growing testicular tissue, or done immediately after the steroid cycle to the same end. Even though HCG influences natural testosterone output, my experience shows that the T output is very short lived after the shot, and that HCG is better used to get the testicular size back, then the user lets CLOMIPHENE CITRATE do the ‘kick-starting’ of endogenous T output (this is outlined in more detail later in this book). Dosage for this type of use is in the region of 2000-5000 IU per week, best split into 2 or 3 doses either injected intramuscular or subcutaneous (my preference), for a 3-4 week period post steroid cycle.

Intra-cycle HCG use

Sometimes, the testicular shrinkage from a steroid cycle is so extreme and ‘set-in’ (possibly from LH desensitization due to it being shut down for so long), that the typical post cycle HCG use can fail and needs to sometimes be repeated twice or more get the system back up to full working order. In an attempt to avoid this post cycle ‘failure’ of HCG, many more clued-up users have started to employ HCG DURING the steroid cycle (particularly the longer/higher dosed cycles), in an intermittent fashion, to completely avoid testicular shrinkage altogether making the post cycle endogenous testosterone recovery a much easier ‘seamless’ activity. My suggestion for this type of use is to inject 1000-2000 IU every 3-4 weeks of the steroid cycle (sub-Q is easiest), which I have found will keep the testes at full size until a time when the steroid cycle is finished and clomiphene is added in (along with more HCG usually, just to be safe). Some care must be taken with this ‘intra’ cycle HCG use however, as HCG can also increase testicular aromatase expression increasing testosterone to estrogen conversion in the body, causing even more HPTA shutdown….the opposite of what we are trying to do. So be wary with HCG frequency and dosage as you CAN get too much of a good thing.

One Dr. John Crisler of the U.S.A., a very well-known expert in the anti-ageing and hormone replacement therapy field, suggests smaller amounts of HCG in the range of 250-500iu every 3rd or 4th day of a cycle, but he is advising patients who are on only 50-100mg of testosterone weekly TRT dose (or equivalent), to keep testicular size ‘adequate’. Even though this may work with his andropause patients, I have found this dosage scheme unrealistic for the hardcore bodybuilder (who is always on much higher steroid dosages), as the HCG dosages aren’t high enough AND we are a forgetful bunch, so we would be missing shots left, right and centre, defeating the intentioned purpose of use.


Pharma H.C.G most always comes in two ampoules of sterile saline and powder to be reconstituted before injection. The amp tops are snapped off and the water one is drawn into a syringe. It is then transferred into the dry powder vial by injecting slowly onto the white crystals, taking care not to ‘blast’ it directly at it; it can cause bubbles that are difficult to draw back into the same syringe and it is said can de-nature the delicate HCG protein structure (dubious). Once mixed, the solution is biologically active and needs to be kept refrigerated to keep it ‘alive’ (that is only if any amp doses are to be split as when injected sub-Q, or when the amp dose is high and smaller dose applications are required). Even though some sample doses have been mentioned above, it is worthy to note that the dose applied should always reflect the steroid cycle length and duration, as overkill is definitely not warranted on milder, short, and/or low-dose cycles.

human chorionic gonadotrophin crystals

Side effects

There are some side effects with H.C.G use, most of which are related to the increase in endogenous test’ levels to which it promotes. Acne, gynaecomastia, and increased hair growth are possible (as with many androgenic steroids), but in many cases levels will not get high enough to be problematic. Other effects may include headaches, irritability, mental depression, and tiredness (i.e. all the signs of female pregnancy in the first trimester), but these are even less common. H.C.G should never be used by anyone with enlargement/cancer of the prostate or pituitary gland, but since it is normally applied after a steroid cycle, they should definitely not be taking steroids either.

Author’s note: I tend to use HCG intra cycle to keep my balls slightly larger than M&M’s, and it works just fine. However, I have noticed that when dieting for shows, particularly in the last few weeks, using HCG in this manner holds a slight film of water under the skin, so I remove it from a cycle at least 4 weeks prior to any show to ensure it’s ‘crisp and dry’ when needed (but still have a respectable ‘package’ in the posing briefs).


On a final note, H.C.G has not had any counterfeit copies in the U.K at this time, even though it does sometimes show up relabeled, pretending to be human growth hormone, as this can be presented in separate amps of water and white crystals too.


Hirose T. Exogenous stimulation of corpus luteum formation in the rabbit: influence of extracts of human placenta, decidua, fetus,

hydatid mole, and corpus luteum on the rabbit gonad. J Jpn Gynecol Soc. 1920;16:1055.

The different mechanisms for suppression of pituitary and testicular function Sandow J,Engelbart K,von Rechenberg . Medical Biology [1986, 63(5-6):192-200].

Please note that this excerpt is only a small sample of the book chapter it is taken from. A great deal more content is available on this and many other topics in the Break the Code book.

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