Fat Loss Biology

About HCG Thyroid Conditions

Misinformation and confusion seem to be the rule concerning HCG-thyroid conditions. This stems from outdated notions about the link between overweight and thyroid deficiency. Dr. Simeons had already cleared up this confusion more than 50 years ago. Here is what he said and what it means for the HCG diet.

Regarding the Thyroid Gland

Quotes from Pounds and Inches (1954):

When it was discovered that the thyroid gland controls the rate at which body fuel is consumed, it was thought that by administering thyroid gland to obese patients their abnormal fat deposits could be burned up more rapidly. This too proved to be entirely disappointing, because as we now know, these abnormal deposits take no part in the body’s energy turnover – they are inaccessibly locked away. Thyroid medication merely forces the body to consume its normal fat reserves, which are already depleted in obese patients, and then to break down structurally essential fat without touching the abnormal deposits. In this way a patient may be brought to the brink of starvation in spite of having a hundred pounds of fat to spare. Thus any weight loss brought about by thyroid medication is always at the expense of fat of which the body is in dire need.

While the majority of obese patients have a perfectly normal thyroid gland and some even have an overactive thyroid, one also occasionally sees a case with a real thyroid deficiency. In such cases, treatment with thyroid brings about a small loss of weight, but this is not due to the loss of any abnormal fat. It is entirely the result of the elimination of a mucoid substance, called myxedema, which the body accumulates when there is a marked primary thyroid deficiency. Moreover, patients suffering only from a severe lack of thyroid hormone never become obese in the true sense. Possibly also the observation that normal persons – though not the obese – lose weight rapidly when their thyroid becomes overactive may have contributed to the false notion that thyroid deficiency and obesity are connected. Much misunderstanding about the supposed role of the thyroid gland in obesity is still met with, and it is now really high time that thyroid preparations be once and for all struck off the list of remedies for obesity. This is particularly so because giving thyroid gland to an obese patient whose thyroid is either normal or overactive, besides being useless, is decidedly dangerous.


When a patient first presents himself for treatment, we take a general history and note the time when the first signs of overweight were observed. We try to establish the highest weight the patient has ever had in his life (obviously excluding pregnancy), when this was and what measures have hitherto been taken in an effort to reduce. It has been our experience that those patients who have been taking thyroid preparations for long periods have a slightly lower average loss of weight under treatment with HCG than those who have never taken thyroid. This is even so in those patients who have been taking thyroid because they had an abnormally low basal metabolic rate. In many of these cases the low BMR is not due to any intrinsic deficiency of the thyroid gland, but rather to a lack of diencephalic stimulation of the thyroid gland via the anterior pituitary lobe. We never allow thyroid to be taken during treatment, and yet a BMR which was very low before treatment is usually found to be normal after a week or two of HCG plus diet. Needless to say, this does not apply to those cases in which a thyroid deficiency has been produced by the surgical removal of a part of an overactive gland.

Low Thyroid Weight Gain

Dr. Simeons mentioned the technical term, myxedema, to explain weight gain associated with low thyroid. The technical details on myxyderma are as follows:

Edited from Dorland’s Medical Dictionary for Healthcare Consumers

Myxedema – a condition resulting from advanced hypothyroidism, or deficiency of thyroxine; it is the adult form of the disease whose congenital form is known as cretinism. It may be caused by lack of iodine in the diet; by atrophy, surgical removal, or a disorder of the thyroid gland; by destruction of the gland by radioactive iodine; or by deficient excretion of thyrotropin by the pituitary gland. It is marked primarily by a growing puffiness of the skin, nonpitting edema, abnormal deposits of mucin in the skin, and distinctive facial changes such as swollen lips and a thickened nose.

Edited from Wikipedia

Myxedema describes a specific form of cutaneous and dermal edema secondary to increased deposition of connective tissue components (like glycosaminoglycans, hyaluronic acid, and other mucopolysaccharides) in subcutaneous tissue as seen in various forms of hypothyroidism and Graves’ disease.

What All This Means

The recommendations by Dr. Simeons are very clear. Weight gain from low thyroid is due to excessive fluid from edema (swelling) caused by deposition of connective tissue components (i.e., mucin). The accumulation of excessive abnormal fat and low thyroid are not linked. Those who have been taking thyroid preparations for a long time generally respond less well to the HCG diet protocol. So-called thyroid conditions often clear up while on this diet.

I hope this all was not too technical. So many people keep asking the same questions over and over about HCG thyroid conditions, that I felt this post would be of help. It seems to me that, in spite of the fact that little has changed over the past 50 years regarding our understanding of fat gain and thyroid conditions, confusion about it just won’t go away.

With an HCG thyroid update,

Dr. D

38 Comments so far »

  1. by Stacie M


    So does this mean that I should NOT take synthroid while on HCG?

  2. by Andreyah


    Same question, Stacey do you have the answer for that yet?

  3. by Dwight Thyroid


    We may also visit HCG thread and lurk a bit and ask some questions. Many people in general have never heard of HCG so that is a better place to ask than in general, since someone by now on the plan may have the same situation.

  4. by Dr. Dennis Clark


    Dwight Thyroid! I tell you, people get funnier to me every day.

  5. by Kristin


    So, I understand what you’re saying about what can be deemed in layman terms as regular low production of thyroid. But what about those of us that have been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis or Grave’s Disease? Those aren’t thyroid problems so much as auto-immune disorders. Are we to assume that this article addresses all low-thyroid issues?

  6. by Dr. Dennis Clark


    Nope. You are right on regarding the autoimmune problems. They don’t fit into the standard hypothyroid problems. Thanks for you comment, Kristin.

    All the best,

  7. by Karen


    I was diagnosed with thyroid problem with a 4.8 HST test.
    I went on natural Thyroid med July 2010. I decided to do the HCG1 for the 43 day plan so I stopped my med’s. I did start taking the high potency Iodine during this time since I had never taken that before.
    I finished the program on 1/5. On 2/1 had a blood test and my HST went up to 7.6 so I went back on my med’s.
    I was hoping that being on HCG1 and the iodine would help my thyroid problem but it didn’t seem too.
    I did loose 15pounds on the HCG and plan to do it again starting 3/1. but this time stay on my thyroid med’s.

    Karen G.

  8. by md


    I did the HCG diet last year. It worked great. Then I got sick. The protocol is to not take vitamins. My vitamin A and Vitamin D were dangerously low after the diet. Then I got shingles. Doctors say it was because my immune system was taxed. (Could it be the 500 calorie a day diet?) Then I put on weight. Went to an endocronologist. Routine exam found a small lump. CANCER- Thyroid Cancer. No history at all in the family. I can’t blame HCG entirely but it is certainly a large consideration. If I could do it again I would not.

  9. by Remi


    Why has no one mentioned here that one of the five leading causes for thyroid swelling is hcg, which often makes the thyroid glands of women swell during pregnancy?

    That’s what I was assuming the all-wise Dr. Simeons would have mentioned first when discussing the relationship between the thyroid and hcg.

    I have to get ultrasounded today for swelling of my thyroid gland on Day 3 of this diet. MD, I hope you get a second opinion to make sure it’s not only hcg swelling which should be temporary, and that your doctors knew about that symptom in pregnancy.

  10. by Niurka


    I starter the HCG diet without researching about it and now I found this about thyroids I take synthroid .200. I have lost 10lbs in a week period but my problem is the diarrhea. I had this condition since the second day. Can someone advice me on this I have no insurance.

  11. by Dr. Dennis Clark


    Niurka…this is pretty common when excess fluids are flushed…the early part of the HCG protocol has a diuretic effect…it should go away before too long.

  12. by Susan


    I was just wondering how you get hcg. Do you just stroll in your docs office and ask for it? I feel like I’m going to have to make a presentation for him to even consider it, any advice?

  13. by Karleen


    Not so much a comment as a question. I have been told I have an odd texture to my thyroid (via ultasound prior to the HCG diet). I have now been on the diet and am about to begin mantainance – Phase three. I’ve been planning on seeing a physician to have the thyroid checked out but how long should I wait to make sure any tests done would be accurate and not HCG induced? Thank you for yoour help!

  14. by Dr. Dennis Clark


    You are better off when you have a doctor who already knows about it. Educating medical professionals is a tough road to take.

  15. by Dr. Dennis Clark


    Sorry, I have no information for you. Dr. Simeons mentions that fat metabolism and thyroid function are not coupled.

  16. by mary L.


    I have no thyroid I had it killed off due to graves disease however I took hcg homopathic lost 27lbs on 500cal diet. I take 125g synthroid. no problm. What I learned is that i wasn’t taking the true Hcg and still lost weight! now I am not suprised I was dedicated to the diet..now I am going to try the diet with the real HCG. My question is..is there a difference between synthetic HCG and Pregnl HCG? is Pregnal a name brand? Is it considered a synthetic because of its altered state for consumtion? ???? thanks

  17. by Dr. Dennis Clark


    Hi, Mary:

    Yes, you can bet that any compounding pharmacy that supplies hCG for the diet protocol is using Pregnyl. Regarding your question about synthetic hCG, there is no such thing. HCG is a complicated protein hormone that is not easily made in the lab, and certainly not for commercial purposes. The only form that can be loosely considered ‘synthetic’ is a genetically engineered product, made by Chinese Hamster Ovary Cells that make a portion of the native protein (product is called Ovidrel). I have never seen it available from compounding pharmacies that manufacture hCG products for the diet protocol.

    Now imagine how much better your next protocol will be when you use real hCG! Good luck!

    All the best,

  18. by melissa smith


    I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism 15 years ago with the birth of my daughter. I lost 30lbs during my pregnancy. I was alittle overweight pre-pregnancy. Shortly after giving birth I started having symptoms; extreme exhaustion all the time, heart palpatations, etc. I eventually gained half the weight back, throughout the years. Meanwhile my thyroid has been very sporatic. one test shows i was off the charts, next shows, im ok.
    With my last child, which was 5 years ago, I lost about 35 lbs. I was very, very thin after the birth. I kept the weight off overy 4 years. I had another episode where my thyroid levels went crazy again. The Dr had it checked every 60 days or so. I am currently on 175mcg of levothyrosine.
    Can there be a link between the hormone levels in pregnancy and my weight loss? What do you suggest, so that I can loose these extra pounds and regulate it? Any hormones or natural suppliments that I can try and/or request from my Doctor?

  19. by Dr. Dennis Clark


    Hi, Melissa:

    The link between hypothyroidism and gaining abnormal fat is a tenuous one that is not well understood. Regarding you question about hormones and supplements, get all the information you can from Dr. David Brownstein. Start with this article: http://thyroid.about.com/cs/expertinterviews/a/brownstein.htm, then see what else you can find out at his website at https://www.drbrownstein.com/homePage.php. Pay special attention to what he says about iodine.

    All the best,

  20. by RLJ


    I was diagnosed with Graves disease 2 years ago, and am working with both a Naturopathic Doctor well-versed in this, and with a Chinese doctor, also with experience in autoimmune conditions. I’ve been taking specific supplements for over a year now, and Chinese herbs for 6 months, and my blood work is now normal. I’m doing the hcg diet to lose about 20 pounds, and had planned to continue my supplements and herbs. I’m in the 2nd week, and have not supplemented at all, nor taken any herbs, and so far I have had no thyroid reactions. I’ll continue to monitor it, with the help of my naturopath.

  21. by Dr. Dennis Clark


    RLJ…this is a fantastic result! Autoimmune conditions generally have a lifestyle component, and you have discovered how to minimize it. Keep it up!

    All the best,

  22. by Annie


    I understand that after hypothyroid diagnosis and starting a replacement therapy, one would not gain additional unintended weight, but that the old weight still has to be worked off with dieting and exercise? Which is easier with the added energy from replacement hormone.

  23. by Dr. Dennis Clark


    Hi, Annie: Yes, you have to do something to get the old weight off. It may not change only with replacement therapy.

    All the best,

  24. by Lori


    I am interested in starting the Hcg oral therapy. I had my thyroid completely removed in 2010 including the lymph nodes becuase of papillary carcinoma. I am at my therapeutic dose of Synthroid 175mcg per day. I am still confused about whether or not I stay on the Synthorid when I begin Hcg. Please advise.

  25. by Rita brown


    So is homeopathic Hcg good as others? I have Hcg odt (white) compounded 500iu sl tablets, are they good guality?
    Thank you

  26. by Dr. Dennis Clark


    Hi, Rita: Homeopathic hCG is as good as any other product that also does not contain any actual hCG. I couldn’t comment on the tablets you mention because I don’t know anything about the compounding pharmacy that makes them.

    All the best,

  27. by Candy


    Can improperly dieting with hCG protocols both synthetic and real hCG eventually lead to autoimmune deficiencies? Can doing the protocol improperly with synthetic lab created hCG lead to auto immune deficiencies like Hashimoto’s? I was diagnosed last year with Hashimoto’s and I gained weight and very rapidly and have since stayed 40 pounds overweight no matter what I do.

    Now I’m wondering if I did something to lead to cause Hashimoto’s? . I’m also wondering if doing the real HCG protocol having already having Hashimoto’s is s good idea? Will it make it worse? Cause more problems? Because I would love to do the Proto call one final time the absolute right way to help my weight loss.
    Thank you

  28. by Candy


    I forgot to mention an important piece of the puzzle I sort of abused the hCG protocol by starting and stopping and starting and stopping and I didn’t even completely finished my very first round the proper way I going to the different phases that’s why I was wondering if it contributed to my autoimmune deficiency. Thank you so much I hope you can help me with this because I don’t want to be afraid to do hCG again to do it right to get this weight off and to feel better. Actually I’m hoping hCG will help my symptoms. Thanks again, Candy

  29. by Dr. Dennis Clark


    Hi, Candy:

    The short answer is yes, you most likely and unknowingly acquired Hashimoto’s via iodine deficiency. I wrote a post on iodine that should help you start thinking along those lines, here:

    Most Important Mineral For Optimal Health

    Let me know if you have any questions about it.

    All the best,

  30. by Candy


    So the iodine deficiency was due to going on the hCG diet because I was deficient and hCG only made it worse?

    I guess I’m trying to correlate doing hCG with acquiring Hashimoto’s

    Can you connect the dots for me?

    Thank you

  31. by Candy



    In this article under “Iodine excess” read what it says…. Correct me if I’m wrong but I’m understanding it to say that is the reason for Hashimotos onset …..

    But I’m also understanding your explaination is “iodine deficiency” is the reason for Hashimotos onset…

    How does a person know which is correct?

    Or maybe I’m missing someone?

  32. by Candy


    Missing something not someone


  33. by Candy


    So, I haven’t gotten a response if it is even possible for the HCG hormone to contribute to getting Hashimotos? Or is it just iodine deficiency? Because the only thing that may give iodine deficiency it seems the HCG diet protocol could.

    any thoughts?

  34. by Dr. Dennis Clark


    Hi, Candy:

    No, hCG is not causal. A lot of things have to happen for Hashimoto’s to develop. Calling it an autoimmune disease is misleading. Start researching the topic by reading and giving it your best shot to understanding this post by Dr. Jack Kruse:


    Please feel to ask if you have any additional questions. Hashimoto’s is a growing problem that should not be happening.

    All the best,

  35. by Candy


    Thank you for that last comment and article. It was very helpful. The body is so complex, and so much is over my hear but the just of all the information is interesting and helpful. This is also helping to decide that I want to go ahead and do a round of hcg after all. I am positive I will do it completely right this time (I MUST) because I want to much to get on track and treat my body right. Do I need to get tested for iodine deficiency before I start and consider supplement? I am post menopause for over 2 years now, if that helps you any. I will see you online as I will be ordering the real hcg from you… in fact, in all my researches, you are the one I trust the most…thank you for all your efforts in providing vast information and educating all of us like you have. Kindly, Candace

  36. by Candy Metts / question about LDN and taking HCG


    I have a questions about LDN

    My ND prescribed me LDN for my hashimotos…. is has helped, but can I take it while on HCG diet?


  37. by Dr. Dennis Clark


    Hi, Candy:

    Unfortunately, the appearance of Hashimoto’s is going up in our population. The concept of ‘autoimmunity’ is highly flawed. Before you worry about the potential for LDN treatment, which is an odd choice for addressing autoimmunity, take a look at the series of articles that begin here, by Dr. Jeffrey Dach:


    All the best,

  38. by Dr. Dennis Clark


    Hi, Candy:

    Unfortunately, the appearance of Hashimoto’s is going up in our population. The concept of ‘autoimmunity’ is highly flawed. The potential for LDN treatment for autoimmunity started in the MS crowd. It is an odd choice. Before you get too far into it, take a look at this series of articles that begin here, by Dr. Jeffrey Dach:


    All the best,

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