In PCOS circles, there has been a lot of buzz surrounding the role of the HCG diet for IVF (in-vitro fertilization), as its effects have been said to vastly improve the probabilities of women (particularly those suffering from PCOS) suffering from fertility problems of actually becoming pregnant (1).
The symptoms of PCOS, as we know, create conditions within one’s reproductive system that makes it difficult for a woman to conceive, as eggs have a difficult time attaching to the uterus, if they are even released at all.
However, the introduction of HCG to a patient’s body improves this situation dramatically, and when paired with a diet focusing on caloric restriction, your internal climate will change to a point where IVF efforts will prove to be much more fruitful.
Let’s dive deeper so you can begin to understand how all this works.
What is the HCG diet for IVF, and how does it work?
HCG Diet for IVF refers to a strict dietary regimen that limits daily calories drastically (the regimen restricts you to roughly 500-1500 calories a day, dependent on the starting point of the client) over a fixed period of time, all while injecting HCG (also known as human chorionic gonadotropin) into the patient. This has had the documented effect of invoking dramatic weight loss (2) that often exceeds a pound per day.
The HCG also helps the body in bringing its hormones into balance (3). As you know by now, estrogen, androgen, coritsol, insulin, testosterone, insulin and other compounds are often wildly out of whack in the body of a PCOS sufferer, causing the disproportionate uptake of glucose into adipose cells.
Additionally, HCG injections actively release fat from the adipose cells, while keeping you from losing muscle tissue during the ultra low calorie period of the HCG diet for IVF (4). This is vital for those seeking to both lose their excess weight, as those dieting without HCG on low calorie diets lose vital mitochondria when muscle wastes away (there are approximately 40 times more of these fat-burning factories in muscle cells versus adipose cells)
This is why so-called so-called yo-yo dieters are perpetually frustrated, as they see the initial loss of water and muscle weight, only to see their progress stagnate and reverse as their metabolism slows down in lockstep with muscle cell loss.
Those undertaking the HCG diet for IVF undergo a process that lasts at least 26 days, to a maximum of 43 days (5). In the case of the shorter period, a HCG injection or drops is required during 23 of those days, and the maximum duration will need at least 40 treatment days.
The three days where no HCG injection/drops occurs is placed at the very end of the diet cycle, so that the hormone can get a chance to be processed out of the dieter’s body before they resume their previous eating regimen (preferably healthier than what they were consuming before – we don’t advise going back to eating Twinkies for breakfast for example). Treatment ceases when the maximum time period allowed arrives, or when a patient loses a maximum of 34 lbs (15.4 kilos), whichever comes first (6).
So you may be wondering: if you are only eating as little as 500 calories per day on this regimen, wouldn’t you be starving the entire time, or be as weak as a newborn kitten? As mentioned earlier, the HCG introduced to your body releases tonnes of your excess fat to compensate for the lack of calories that you would normally consume, providing you with all the energy needed for you to get through your day.
While it might be tempting to keep going on this routine, the time limits imposed on the HCG diet for IVF are in place for a good reason. Eventually, your body gets wise to what’s going on after the excess stored fat is all used up from your adipose tissue, after which your body will not have the energy it needs to run on the paltry limit of 500 calories per day (7).
Who is the HCG Diet for IVF meant for?
While men have successfully used this regimen to lose weight, the fertility benefits of the HCG diet for IVF are only enjoyed by women, as only they have the necessary equipment down there to create a new human life.
While you might pumped to get started on this course of treatment, always consult a doctor before adopting the HCG for IVF, as you would with any unfamiliar drug/dietary protocol. Of particular significance is the fact physicians will not allow this treatment to any woman that is already pregnant or nursing a recently born child.
Those seeking to improve their chances of conceiving often take HCG inoculations, as it is high concentrations of this compound that stimulate ovulation. However, the dosages used in the HCG diet for IVF is markedly lower than the amount used for fertility purposes.
It is worth noting though that the dramatic loss of weight through this fat loss technique may clear up PCOS symptoms to a point where fertility is enhanced on its own, and if that isn’t enough, a second regimen of HCG treatments can be undertaken after going through the HCG diet for IVF, with the appropriate doses needed for stimulated ovulation being taken in this application of this versatile compound.
How the HCG Diet for IVF can help your PCOS
As noted previously, the HCG diet for IVF trigger the loss of enormous amounts of fat from a patient’s adipose cells. This has the effect of significantly lowering your blood glucose and insulin levels, reducing the fertility-impairing symptoms of PCOS as a result.
Furthermore, HCG regulates levels of hormones like testosterone, which plays a big role in causing and aggravating the symptoms that define PCOS. Thus, following this protocol will bring this metabolic disorder to heal both in tangential and direct ways.
What’s allowed, what’s not?
Don’t expect a massive buffet of certain food like you would on competing regimens like the Paleo or Keto Diets. As disclosed earlier in this post, you will be limited to 500 to 1,500 calories a day, depending on your personal situation at the start of treatment.
Specifically, you are permitted to eat twice per day at lunch and dinner. Each meal includes precisely one protein, one vegetable, one bread, and one fruit item each.
From the protein camp, you can consume: chicken breast, veal, beef, wild white fish, lobster, crab, or shrimp, so long you don’t eat any fat. Salmon, tuna, herring, eel, or dried or pickled fish are banned from the regimen due to their chronically high levels of bio accumulated heavy metals in their systems.
Vegetables you are permitted to eat include spinach, onions, red radishes, cucumbers, beet greens, green salad, tomatoes, celery, chard, chicory, fennel, asparagus, and cabbage … all others are barred.
Those desperate for a bit of bread are limited to chewing on breadsticks, or a singular piece of melba toast … all other forms of carborific treats are strictly forbidden.
While many of the new dietary regimens have it out for fruit in general due to its natural sugars, the HCG diet for IVF is quite a bit friendlier, as your fruit choice at each meal can include an orange, an apple, a half a grapefruit, or a handful of strawberries.
Those accustomed to having their morning cuppa will not put out by the HCG diet for IVF, as it permits you to have as much coffee or tea as you want, in addition to water of course. Those seeking a little of milk to cut up their daily dark roast can have up to 1 tablespoon of milk per day … no glasses of milk though, so be sure to keep this in mind.
Finally, those with an unrepentant sweet tooth won’t have to go into total withdrawal on this regimen, as sugar substitutes like Stevia or sucralose are fine. Don’t plan on having any stir-fry during your diet though, as oils aren’t allowed, as is butter … sacrifices, sacrifices! (8)
Don’t overdo it: the drawbacks of the HCG Diet for IVF
While many might be excited by the sudden and quick weight loss results on this diet (PCOS sufferers in particular), there are some very real risks that one needs to heed before beginning the HCG diet for IVF.
This treatment often triggers various side effects: some are minor annoyances like headaches and leg cramps, others are a bit more distressing or dangerous, like hair thinning or even blood clots. More importantly, consuming 500 calories a day will put you below the amount your body needs to maintain your body in the long run.
As such, it is vital that you cease treatment when your doctor advises you to do so (no more than 43 days at the very most!): otherwise, you risk developing health problems associated with malnutrition. This includes decidedly unsexy problems like electrolyte imbalance, as well as bone and muscle loss (9).
If your long term goal is to carry a fetus through to term and/or to finally get that bikini body you’ve always wanted, you need to have a well-nourished body, which is something that chronic use of the HCG regimen won’t support.