Pregnyl or HCG Active: Human Chorionic Gonadotropin
Human chorionic gonadotropin, or HCG, is not an anabolic/androgenic steroid but a natural protein hormone which develops the placenta of a pregnant woman. HCG is formed in the placenta immediately after nidation (1). It has luteinizing characteristics since it is quite similar to the luteinizing hormone (LH) in the anterior pituitary gland. During the first 6-8 weeks of a pregnancy the formed HCG allows for continued production of estrogens and gestagens in the yellow bodies (corpi luteum). Later on, the placenta itself produces these two hormones. HCG is manufactured from the urine of pregnant women since it is excreted in unchanged form from the blood via the woman’s urine, passing through the kidneys. The commercially available HCG is sold as a dry substance and can be used both in men and women. In women injectable HCG allows for ovulation since it inﬂuences the last stages of the development of the ovum, thus stimulating ovulation. It also helps produce estrogens and yellow bodies.
The fact that exogenous (2) HCG has characteristics almost identical to those of the luteinizing hormone (LH) which,‘ as mentioned, is produced in the hypophysis, makes HCG so very interesting for athletes. In a man the luteinizing hormone stimulates the Leydig’s cells in the testes; this in turn stimulates production of androgenic hormones (testosterone). For this reason athletes use injectable HCG to increase the testosterone production.
Pregnyl is often used in combination with anabolic/androgenic steroids during or after treatment. As mentioned, oral and injectable steroids cause a negative feedback after a certain level and duration of usage. A signal is sent to the hypothalamohypophysial-testicular axis since the steroids give the hypothalamus an incorrect signal. The hypothalamus, in turn, signals the hypophysis (3) to reduce or stop the production of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and of LH. Thus, the testosterone production decreases since the testosterone-producing Leydig’s cells in the testes, due to decreased LH, are no longer sufficiently stimulated. Since the body usually needs a certain amount of time to get its testosterone production going again, the athlete, after discontinuing steroid compounds, experiences a difficult transition phase which often goes hand in hand with a considerable loss in both strength and muscle mass. Administering HCG directly after steroid treatment helps to reduce this condition because HCG increases the testosterone production in the testes very quickly and reliably. In the event of testicular atrophy caused by megadoses and very long periods of usage, HCG also helps to quickly bring the testes back to their original condition (size).
Since occasional injections of HCG during steroid intake can avoid a testicular atrophy, many athletes use Pregnyl for two to three weeks in the middle of their steroid treatment. It is often observed that during this time the athlete makes his best progress with respect to gains in both strength and muscle mass. The reasons for this is clear. On the one hand, by taking HCG the athlete’s own testosterone level immediately jumps up and, on the other hand, a large concentration of anabolic substances in the blood is induced by the steroids. Many bodybuilders, powerlifters, and weightlifters report a lower sex drive at the end of a difficult workout cycle, immediately before or after a competition, and especially toward the end of a steroid treatment. Athletes who have often taken steroids in the past usually accept this fact since they know that it is a temporary condition. Those, however, who are on the juice all year round, who might suffer psychological consequences or who would perhaps risk the breakup of a relationship because of this should consider this drawback when taking Pregnyl in regular intervals. A reduced libido and spermatogenesis due to steroids, in most cases, can be successfully cured by treatment with HCG.
Most athletes, however, use HCG at the end of a treatment in order to avoid a ”crash,” that is, to achieve the best possible transition into ”natural training.” A precondition, however, is that the steroid intake or dosage be reduced slowly and evenly before taking HCG. Although HCG causes a quick and significant increase of the endogenic plasma-testosterone level, unfortunately il is not a perfect remedy to prevent the loss of strength and mass at the end of a steroid treatment. The athlete will only experience a delayed re-adjustment, as has often been observed. This is also confirmed by the physician Dr. Mauro Di Pasquale in his book Drug Use and Detection in Amateur Sports: ”HCG is used by athletes to try to decrease the negative effects which occur when coming off prolonged dosages of anabolic steroids. These athletes believe that by using HCG, they can stimulate their own testes to produce testosterone, thereby getting back to a normal state faster. This however, is faulty reasoning. Although HCG does stimulate endogenous testosterone production, it does not help in re-establish the normal hypothalamic/pituitary testicular axis.
The hypothalamus and pituitary are still in a refractory state after prolonged steroid usage, and remain this way while HCG is being used, because the endogenous testosterone produced as a result of the exogenous HCG represses the endogenous LH production.
Once the HCG is discontinued, the athlete must still go through a re-adjustment period. This is merely delayed by the HCG use.” For this reason experienced athletes often take Clomid and Clenbuterol following HCG intake or they immediately begin another steroid treatment. Some take HCG merely to get off the ”steroids” for at least two to three weeks.
Many bodybuilders, unfortunately, are still of the opinion that HCG helps them become harder while preparing for a competition by breaking down subcutaneous fat so that indentations and vascularity are better exposed. A look at the book The Practical Use of Anabolic Steroids with Athletes by Dr. Robert Kerr should eliminate all doubts: The HCG package insert states clearly that HCG ”has no known effect of fat mobilization, appetite or sense of hunger, or body fat distribution.” It further states, ”HCG has not been demonstrated to be effective adjunctive therapy in the treatment of obesity, it does not increase fat losses beyond that resulting from caloric restriction.”
A remarkable characteristic of HCG is its biphasic response. The American physician Dr. William N. Taylor writes in his book, Anabolic Steroids and the Athlete: ‘Apparently, regardless of the dose used, a biphasic response of plasma testosterone to a single injection to HCG, has been reported. The initial peaked rise in plasma testosterone levels occurs approximately two hours after the single injection of HCG, and the second peaked level occurs some 48 to 96 hours after the initial single HCG injection. Throughout this period the mean plasma testosterone level is elevated, and both the magnitude of the peak values and the magnitude of the mean plasma levels seem to be dose dependent in at least some studies.”
Thus the question arises: what dosage is needed in order to obtain a sufficiently high testosterone level? Since neither scientific nor medical literature indicates the usage of HCG in athletes, one can only start with empirical data. To avoid complete reliance on speculations we would, once more in this context, like to refer to the book Anabolic Steroids and the Athlete by Dr. William N. Taylor. In the chapter HCG and its Function in Men one reads: ”In 1980, Padron et al. reported that in normal men the administration of 6000 IU of HCG in a single injection resulted in elevated testosterone levels for six days after the injection.” Also, in the same chapter Taylor writes that at a dosage of 1500 IU the pharmatestosterone level increases by 250—300% (2.5-3 fold) compared to the initial value. Taking these observations and combining them with general empirical values, one comes to the conclusion that the athlete should inject one HCG ampule every 5 days.
Since the testosterone level, as explained, remains considerably elevated for several days, it is unnecessary to inject HCG more than once every 5 days. The relative dose is at the discretion of the athlete and should be determined based on the duration of his previous steroid intake and on the strength of the various steroid compounds. As we know, the elevation of the HCG-caused plasmatestosterone level depends on the dosage. Thus athletes who take steroids for more than three months and athletes who use primarily the highly androgenic steroids such as Anadrol 50, Sustanon 250, Testosterone enanthate cypionate, Dianabol, etc. should take a relatively high dosage. The effective dosage for athletes is usually 2000-5000 IU per injection and should, as already mentioned, be injected every 5 days.
Pregnyl should only be taken for a few weeks. We are of the opinion that intake for more than 4 weeks is neither necessary nor sensible. If Pregnyl is taken by male athletes over many weeks and in high dosages, it is possible that the testes will respond poorly to a later Pregnyl intake and a release of the body’s own LH. This could result in a permanent inadequate gonadal function. B. Phillips, Anabolic Reference Guide, 5th issue: ”Cycles on the HCG should be kept down to around 3 weeks at a time with an off cycle of at least a month in between. For example, one might use the HCG for 2 or 3 weeks in the middle of a cycle, and for 2 or 3 weeks at the end of a cycle. It has been speculated that the prolonged use of HCG could permanently repress the body ’s own production of gonadotropins. This is why short cycles are the best way to go.”
Dr. William N. Taylor, Anabolic Steroids and the Athlete states ”…that large doses of Pregnyl produce what is speculated to be a transient loss of testicular receptors for HCG, which gives rise to a desensitization of the testes to HCG.”
Pregnyl can in part cause side effects similar to those of injectable testosterone. A higher testosterone production also goes hand in hand with an elevated estrogen level which could result in gynecomastia. This could manifest itself in a temporary growth of breasts or reinforce already existing breast growth in men. Farsighted athletes thus combine Pregnyl with an anti-estrogen like Tamoxifen. Male athletes also report more frequent erections and an increased sexual desire. In high doses it can cause acne vulgaris and the storing of minerals and water. The last point must especially be observed since the water retention which is possible through the use of Pregnyl could give the muscle system a puffy and watery appearance. Athletes who have already increased their endogenous testosterone level by taking Clomid and intend subsequently to take HCG could experience considerable water retention and distinct feminization symptoms (gynecomastia, tendency toward fat deposits on the hips). This is due to the fact that high testosterone leads to a high conversion rate to estrogens. In very young athletes Pregnyl, like anabolic steroids, can cause an early stunting of growth since it prematurely closes the epiphyseal growth plates. Mood swings and high blood pressure can also be attributed to the intake of Pregnyl. Dr. Bob Goldman in his book Death in the Locker Room notes: ”One interesting aspect is that with abuse of this drug men might finally realize what it feels like to be pregnant, for with enough use, they may experience nausea, vomiting, and ”morning sickness” syndrome women enjoy…”
A few years ago it was speculated whether or not the biologically active HCG could possibly transmit the AIDS virus. It was shown, however, that this is not in any way possible.
Pregnyl is also suitable as ”over bridge” doping before a competition with doping controls. This was especially common in the former East Germany which had centrally guided doping practices, as the author Brigitte Berendonk lays open several times in her book Doping: ”These over bridging recommendations in the habilitation paper by Riedel, 1986, for the jumping disciplines of track and field athletics, already given in his dosage suggestions (on p.205), were mildly beautified compared to reality… This HCG regulating hormone which was taken to increase the body’s own testosterone synthesis, in practice was often used in amounts above the 3000 IUs recommended by Riedel. Riedel, on another occasion, suggests injections of up to 4000 IU every 5th day (see p. 33) and all the fraud protocols had in common that a last amount of 3000 IU.
Pregnyl was injected on the day before the competition (track and field) or even on the day of the competition (Dr. Lathan’s practice with the weightlifters of East Germany). The reason was that the East Germans had discovered (Clausnitzer et al. 1982; Riedel 1986) that when the testosterone level was increased by the intake of HCG the critical T/E quotient was hardly changed and discovery through testing became impossible.” HCG and the already discussed Clomid are options for increasing the endogenous testosterone concentration without a pronounced change of the T/E ratio.
HCG’s form of administration is also unusual. The substance choriongonadotropin is a white powdery freeze-dried substance which is usually used as a compress. Based on the low structural stability of this compress it can easily fall apart, thus giving the impression of a reduced volume. This is, however, insignificant since there is neither a loss in effect nor a loss of substance. Each package, for each HCG ampule, includes another ampule with an injection solution containing isotonic sodium chloride. This liquid, after both ampules have been opened in a sterile manner, is injected into the HCG ampule and mixed with the dried substance. The solution is then ready for use and should be injected intramuscularly.
If only part of the substance is injected the residual solution should be stored in the refrigerator. It is not necessary to store the unmixed Pregnyl in the refrigerator; however, it should be kept out of light and below a temperature of 25° C.
It should also be noted that Pregnyl is often sold on the black market as Growth Hormone and care should be taken when confronted with cheap GH.