HCG Side Effects

Side effects from hCG are reportedly very rare, and when they do occur they are generally not severe.

Some possible side effects include:

Medium Headaches - especially in the first few days of the protocol. This is caused by the release of toxins from the stored fat which is being burned, most likely

Leg Cramps (often due to a potassium shortage) - This can be corrected with a potassium supplement

Fatigue - again, this is generally in the first couple of days before the hCG has begun circulating your stored fat

Hunger - especially in the first week, if you did not "load" sufficiently before the low calorie diet as recommended

Dry Skin - very little fat is being consumed, which can cause dry skin for some people. Since skin creams that have organic fats are NOT allowed on the HCG Diet, the only remedy is a mineral oil-based or other petroleum-based lotion or cream.

It's possible that anxiety about a drastic change in lifestyle and eating habits can cause other side effects which my appear to be severe. Before you decide to begin the hCG protocol, you should be sure of your commitment to the full treatment. While many people might think a 500 calorie diet is impossible to adhere to, those who have completed the protocol will tell you that it's much easier than you would think.

hCG does not cause acne. However, the metabolism of stored fat can release toxins in various ways, sometimes thru the skin. This might happen for some people but not for all.

The dosage of hCG for Dr. Simeons' protocol has never been reported to overstimulate the ovaries. This only occurs with much higher dosages taken by women seeking fertility treatment.

Stall or Plateau - This can occur or appear to occur for a few reasons:

  • constipation (not uncommon on this diet)
  • consuming more than 500 calories per day
  • accidental application of oil containing cosmetics, moisturizers, etc.
  • water retention (often from consuming too much sodium, as by eating pickles)
  • not drinking enough water -Be sure to drink at least 2 litres of water each day.
If you stall or plateau, and experience hunger, Dr. Simeons suggests that this may be because you've attained a previous weight that you maintained for a long period of time in your life, and/or your hypothalamus perceives this to be your ideal weight, even if you think you want or need to lose more.

Dr. Simeons recommends increasing your caloric intake to 800 calories per day at this point. Alternatively, you can try to minimize your hunger with caffeinated teas and try to push beyond the plateau. If you are very near the end of the protocol you can also terminate phase II and proceed with phase III at your new weight.

After the first week or so it's not uncommon for weight loss to only register on the scale every other day or every few days. If you are using the keto strips (Ketostix) and know your body is metabolizing fat, it's certainly no cause for alarm.