Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) is a hormone that mostly functions during pregnancy. Although it has some health benefits, there are drawbacks to this hormone.
- Health Benefits of HCG
- Drawbacks of HCG
During pregnancy, the body releases Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) hormone.
It exists in five common forms and has various functions – from controlling pregnancy to causing cancer. The five forms are HCG, sulfated HCG, hyperglycosylated HCG, HCG free β-subunit and hyperglycosylated HCG free β-subunit. (R)
Health Benefits of HCG
1) HCG Promotes Pregnancy and Fertility
Hyperglycosylated HCG plays an important role in implantation of the egg and also the development of cytotrophoblasts, which are cells protecting the embryo (R).
By comparing the hormone level of pregnant women, it is found that an increased HCG level allow women’s bodies to tolerate the fetus, meaning that it stops the immune system from attacking the fetus (R).
Using this hormone can improve ovulation for women and sperm count for men, promoting fertility (R).
2) HCG Stimulates Fetal Development
It promotes the formation of the umbilical cord (R).
Fetus organs, such as the kidney and the liver, contain HCG and LH receptors. These receptors are absent in adult organs. Also, the fetus’ kidney is able to release the hormones. These findings suggest it promotes organ development of a fetus. (R, R)
Overall, HCG and hyperglycosylated HCG are essential in the initial stage of human formation. Also, low levels may result in miscarriage or damage to the offspring in the early stage of development.
3) HCG Assists in Menstrual Cycle (Period)
Sulfated HCG is produced similarly with LH during the menstrual cycle. This indicates the hormone plays a crucial role in the menstrual cycle and in what we considered being the function of LH which is the promotion of ovulation and formation of corpus luteum (R).
4) HCG Can Prevent Autoimmune Diabetes
Type I Diabetes is an autoimmune disease, and although it cannot be stopped, the progression of the disease can be prevented.
A study done on mice showed that treatment with hCG for 12 weeks on mice with type I diabetes helped prevent development (R).
Drawbacks of HCG
1) HCG Promotes Cancer
Hyperglycosylated Human Chorionic Gonadotropin causes cancer in ovaries, uterus, and testicles, and the cancer cells produce a high concentration of hyperglycosylated HCG. The presence of hyperglycosylated HCG inhibits elimination of cancer cells promoting the growth of cancer cells (R).
Other types of cancers are caused by different factors independent to the hormone. However, as the cancer cell grows, HCG free β-subunit is produced. Therefore, the presence of HCG free β-subunit was observed by different types and origin of cancer cells (R).
Similar to hyperglycosylated HCG, HCG free β-subunit was found to protect cancer cells from dying off, preserving the growth of cancer cells (R).
Also hyperglycosylated HCG, HCG free β-subunit, and hyperglycosylated HCG free β-subunit are found to be interchangeable as a promoter of cancer cells (R).
Using anti-HCG vaccine can be one way to eliminate cancer cells (R).
Also, a clinical trial with colorectal cancers patients has shown that anti-HCG free β-subunit agent promoted longer lives for patients (R).
2) HCG May Cause Mood Changes
The Human Chorionic Gonadotropin receptor is present in different parts of a brain. A study on rats has revealed the presence of the receptors in different parts of the brain such as the hypothalamus, hippocampus, and brain stem. These receptors may be the reason why pregnant women experience nausea or vomiting during pregnancy (R).
It can also increase anxiety (R).
3) HCG Impairs Working Memory
Daily doses of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin in mice led to an impairment in working memory. They failed to complete a spatial working memory task and persisted with previously learned behavior and failed to adapt to their environment (R).
4) Side Effects
Some common side effects are headache, fatigue, and depression (R).
- Mice administered 200 IU/d of hCG have impaired learning performance in the working memory task, indicated by a significantly longer escape distance to locate platform compared with all other treatment groups (R).
- Patients who developed anti-hCG antibody levels higher than or equal to the median value exhibited a median survival of 45 weeks compared with 24 weeks for patients who developed anti-hCG antibody levels lower than the median (P = 0.0002) (R).
- In each cell line, hCGbeta reduced the number of apoptotic bodies dose-dependently, indicating a diminished apoptotic rate (R).
- Additionally, the receptor expression was higher in umbilical vessels closer to the baby and decreased toward placenta, becoming barely detectable once the vessels were inside the placental tissue (R).
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