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Monday, October 17, 2011


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Hanna Uhrova

Dr. Grenache,
Do you know if the new fad of the HCG diet would also cause false positive pregnancy test? And is it really safe?

David Grenache, PhD


That's an excellent question! I should have included "exogenous hCG" in my post as well because when injected at high doses (for ovulation induction or, illicitly, in conjunction with anabolic steroids) hCG can cause positive results.

However, I know of no published studies that have documented a positive hCG test result in the serum or urine in individuals who are on the fad hCG diet. That doesn't mean it isn't possible, it's just that we don't know for sure.

The likelihood of that happening would depend on two things: 1) the route of hCG administration (injected or oral) and 2) the dose of hCG used. The preparations of hCG touted for use in weight loss that I've seen don't contain enough hCG to be detected by hCG tests. Further, most people on the hCG diet consume hCG orally by placing a solution of hCG under the tongue. These preparations are often labeled as homeopathic, meaning they are very diluted solutions of hCG. Even if injected, the amount of hCG in the diet preparations are simply too low to be detectable.

Several double-blind studies have clearly demonstrated that hCG does NOT cause weight loss. The use of hCG is combined with a 500 calorie per day diet and it is the severe calorie restriction that results in weight loss. These studies have also shown no difference in hunger between individuals who did and did not use hCG while dieting.

Is it safe? Probably. Although I would be wary of injecting a solution of anything without evidence of properly conducted clinical trials for safety. Notably, the hCG available to dieters is not regulated by the FDA in contrast to the hCG injections used for legitimate purposes (induction of ovulation as part of infertility treatment).

Thanks for your question!

David Grenache

Alabi Olawale smith

I came upon this article while on my quest to find an answer to a kind of mystery I came access in my line of duty. Am a biomedical scientist by profession.. i ran a serum HCG on one my client and it came out positive. The lady claimed she hasn't had sex before. I was stunned. I took her urine sample and it showed negative. I further carried out a quantitative beta HCG and it was. 0.6 which is just as low as it could be. I actually ran out of explanation for my client. In a bid to get the right answer.. i find myself here.


Is it possible for a women to become pregnant while going through menopause. When I was growing up women going through what they called the change of life, some got pregnant and they called them change of life babies and they were healthy babies, question is why are some health care professionals think that when a woman is going through menopause it is impossible for her to become pregnant. Can you give a reasonable answer.

David Grenache

Although not common, women who are “going through menopause” (i.e. the menopausal transition) can become pregnant. A woman who has stopped menstruating is not capable of achieving pregnancy.

David Grenache