For those that follow the medical spa industry, there is always a new product or service that is being touted as the latest and greatest in the industry. Many are little more than marketing hype.
One emerging trend is the hCG diet. Supporters argue that it has allowed many to lose weight. Others maintain that there is no scientific evidence that indicates that it is effective. They further opine that any weight loss is a result of near starvation diet levels of calorie intake (less than 500 calories per day).
hCG is human chorionic gonadotrophin and it is a pregnancy hormone. It is non existent in the male anatomy except for a brief period after birth. It only exists on women during pregnancy. It use is linked to near starvation diets in the weight loss use.
It is important to note that its use is not FDA cleared. By itself, this is not a concern because physicians routinely utilize medical and prescriptive materials "off label" if they believe that it is warranted in a given situation.
However, it is appearing in many non-physician owned medical spas. The HCG dispensed in such settings cannot be medical grade hCG and popular belief is that the non medical grade hCG is non efficacious for weight loss. In fact, in January of 2011, the FDA determined that homeopathic hCG is "fraudulent and illegal" when sold for weight loss. Even in a medical setting, with physicians utilizing medical grade hCG, the product must carry a warning which indicates that there's no proof they accelerate weight loss, redistribute fat, or numb the hunger and discomfort typical of a low-calorie diet.
The bottom line is that there is no scientific evidence to suggest that hCG works.
The disturbing thing is that I have noticed many medical spas that are touting outrageous results from the use of hCG. It appears that many spas are promoting hCG without differentiating between homeopathic grade and medical grade.
In any event, the use of such a product must be carefully watched. Practitioners need to exercise extreme care in providing this service. Extreme caution must be made in marketing the service. From what I have observed, there are a lot of fraudulent claims that may result in severe damage to patients and client...