In this article, we are going to understand what Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) is and why it is used by men engaged in Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT) programs. We will go over this in easy to understand laymen’s terms with simple analogies to help you understand HCG in association to how the male endocrine system works.For those with a lack of patience and attention, click below to jump to a section within this article:
When thinking of hormones such as testosterone and its associated androgenic hormones that help men feel, perform and use their brain and manly prowess at their best – think of the body’s checks and balance systems that produce and regulate these hormones like we would when thinking of a home’s furnace and its relationship with the thermostat on the wall and its response to the temperature of the house.
Most of us understand the simple relationship that a thermostat has with a home’s furnace; When the temperature of the home gets a little cold and under the setting that we have the thermostat set to, it tells the furnace to kick on and put out some heat. The furnace does just that, the temperature of the home goes up to reach the desired setting that we want it at and then shuts off till it is triggered by the thermostat again. This relationship is what keeps the home feeling comfortable and in a level state of optimal living conditions.
If for some reason, we were to bring in a couple space heaters and placed one right under the thermostat where it is sensing the temperature of the room, it would have a false warm reading of the true overall temperature of the home and therefore not trigger the furnace to work, therefor leaving the rest of the house and those in it, cold.
This analogy just given is similar in how many of the body’s hormones are produced. Up in our brain, we have our hypothalamus which gets the negative feedback when a hormone is a low (like sensing when the room is cold) and then communicates this message to its neighbor - the pituitary gland (like the thermostat), which then will send out any appropriate “commands” to other hormone producing glands throughout the body such as thyroid, testicles and more to “kick out some heat” or in this case – hormones.
Being very direct as to how it relates to a man producing Testosterone (T); when T levels dip a bit, this feedback loop is picked up by hypothalamus>>pituitary (in brain)>>LH (Luteinizing Hormone) & FSH - released from pituitary/received at>>Testicles (Leydig cells) which leads to production of testosterone… T levels rise to the point where that feedback is picked up back at the brain and then things taper off and the system continues working in a harmonious relationship.
Referencing back to the thermostat and furnace relationship with an introduction of a space heater analogy; when we introduce external testosterone into the body, it inevitably will notice this and shut its endogenous (naturally produced) “river” of testosterone and associated & important hormones that need to be produced in our testicles down or, off. This happens because the LH output from our brain slows down (and sometimes shuts off) and therefor very little stimulation at this point is given to our Leydig cells in our testicles.
This is why HCG, which is an LH analogue (like a twin/clone) and mimics exactly the actions of LH in the Leydig cells, is used with intelligently designed and responsibly followed testosterone optimizing programs.
It is wise for any man engaging in TRT, to keep his “river” of associated & important hormones flowing with his T supplementation. Otherwise, there is risk he will eventually start to slide backwards with frustrating symptoms that had him engaging in TRT in the first place.
Next, lets attempt to understand how our “man furnace” works and why it works the way it does. Let’s open the hood and understand why keeping our entire house at an optimal temperature can lend to the best living conditions we can hope to experience in our house with everyone else living in it happy too.
Like when a thermostat sends a signal to a furnace, below we will dissect how our furnace (testicles in this case) works.
This cascade of events at this stage, looks something like this:
In the Leydig cells/testicles in combination with cholesterol, pregnenolone is made and then “upstream” lends to>>androstenedione>>testosterone>>DHT/estrogens, etc.
Many find it easier to visually see this little map of events to understand it better. See below:
Similar to DHEA, which we go over shortly here, pregnenolone is an endogenously produced steroid hormone produced in the Leydig cells of men and acts as a “parent” to a variety of other hormones naturally produced “up-stream” such as; DHEA/Progesterone, then testosterone, DHT and more. ALL of which are critically vital to a man’s well-being and vitality.
Pregnenolone is also known to have the power of protecting brain cells from age-related damage and preserving their ability to keep us mentally sharp with optimal cognitive functions employed in our noggins.
Normal brain tissue has been shown to contain significant amounts of pregnenolone, and animal studies reveal that it lends quite a helping hand to development of new brain cells. In humans, elevating one’s pregnenolone has displayed significant improvements in cases of those suffering from schizophrenia and depression. Pregnenolone also shows promise in helping to minimize memory loss and even some of the abnormal structural findings in Alzheimer’s disease and similar cognitive related concerns aging men sometimes experience.
Arguably the most noticeable difference optimal levels of pregnenolone displays, is its calming, anti-stress effects in humans - notable for its ability to modulate brain receptors for certain neurotransmitters.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is produced in the adrenal glands and is the most common adrenal steroid hormone in the body. Like pregnenolone, it is often referred to as a “parent” hormone due to it being a precursor into other hormones such as estrogen, testosterone and 7-keto DHEA.
Natural levels of DHEA decline with advanced stages of aging. Sometimes, this also happens a bit pre-maturely due to worn down adrenal glands stemming from excessive stress, abusive consumption of caffeine & stimulants or other lifestyle factors.
With these drops in DHEA, men become more vulnerable to metabolic syndrome and its undesired illnesses under its umbrella – heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and more. Low levels of DHEA are also correlated with higher risk of falls and fractures and even earlier death in men. On the flip side, DHEA is associated with improvements in heart health, libido and sexual function, better bone density and decreased inflammation in the body.
Many experts however, feel that the most impressive benefits from DHEA supplementation may come in the form of improved cognitive function. Like pregnenolone, DHEA is also referred to as a neuro-steroid in such a sense that it is thought to protect brain cells too.
Daily supplementation of 25mg of DHEA is shown to enhance cognitive scores with improvements for clarity of thinking and general sense of well-being. This is a big win for the aging man trying to stay on top of his game with regards to business, social life and career performance each day!
In the HRT & TRT world, HCG is considered an ancillary medication for men with a few primary functions we will list here below:
- During a TRT program (more so with injections); to maintain a degree of testicular function, as discussed thus far in this article
- If doing a therapeutic reboot with one’s T injection program (aka; “post-cycle therapy”) to recover their HPTaxis (body’s “thermostat-furnace”) and maintain a healthy endocrine system long term
- To help men if they ever want to contribute to having babies in future
- To avoid having testicles turn into a tiny clump of useless mass
- HCG is a critical key player in helping, along with cholesterol, to make Pregnenolone (mother hormone to many other important hormones up stream)
- To produce precursors (such as #5 above^^) and DHEA, Estrogen, Cortisol, Testosterone and DHT...back filling those pathways to “prevent the river from drying up”
- Starting role player at the beginning of the river, in a cascade of events that support cognitive and brain function by preventing Pregnenolone deficiency (see #5)
- Helps to reduce the amount of testicular shrinkage and any accompanying pain from, due to bunching up into the body
In short, HCG keeps a man’s testicles functioning and key hormones coming from them that enable him to look and feel his best, “flowing”. Utilizing the benefits from HCG is often a smart decision when engaged in a testosterone optimizing program.
Frequency and the dose of HCG will sometimes vary just a little bit depending on an individual’s circumstances and program. Many clients will use creams daily, which will often have a lower amount of HCG needed. Others on injections will want to be stern on sticking to a regular regimen of HCG injections each week, often around 250 iu (25 “units”) to 350 iu, twice per week or every 3.5 days.
*** It is important to note that men will not want to take more or be abusive with too much HCG, to prevent desensitizing receptor sites in Leydig cells.
When done correctly and responsibly, proper incorporation of HCG can help men keep their endocrine systems, testosterone and important associated hormone pathways healthy and most receptive to TRT long term, the way it should be. All men deserve to have optimized testosterone levels while properly sustaining their body to be as healthy as possible.
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