What’s with all the hCG?

In the last year we have seen two significant positive tests in professional athletics for hCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin). Although most people assume that the players were coming off a steroid cycle and had used hCG as way to jump start their own testosterone production. Not a bad assumption – but if you were to scrutinize these tests a little further (as well as have experience in this area, as I do), then another possible (and more likely) reason emerges as to why both Manny Ramirez and Brian Cushing tested positive.


HCG - Human Chorionic Gonadatropin

HCG looks exactly like HGH (human growth hormone) and the inexpensive former is often a substituted for the highly expensive latter,

HGH- Human Growth Hormone

HGH- Human Growth Hormone

by¬†unscrupulous steroid dealers looking to maximize their profits. Because HCG is cheap while HGH is expensive, and they look virtually identical, it’s easy understand why it would make sense to pass one off for the other. This happens all the time on the black market. They both need to be reconstituted by sterile water, they both come in similarly sized bottles, and they both have a fine white powder (the hormone) at the bottom. Except for the price ($20 versus $200) and the label, they look identical. Switch a label and you’ve just made an additional 900% profit on the transaction.

Currently the NFL and MLB don’t test for HGH. Its a free for all until a validated test is approved for use in both leagues (ie. could take years). Players can use HGH at will – and in my opinion probably have been for a few years now. With all of the steroid testing going on it makes a lot more sense for people who get paid tens of millions, if not hundreds of millions, of dollars to use whatever they can to improve their performance and recovery.

It’s possible that Brian or Manny could have gone to their steroid dealer to get HGH and gotten hCG instead. Then they tested positive for a substance that no tested athlete in their right mind would be using.


If you think it all the way through you realize there is something missing from all this. These guys didn’t test positive for steroids… any steroids – and that’s the real red flag. So let’s assume they had the connections to get whatever the current undetectable steroid is, we know they have the money for it and we know they have the need. After going through all that trouble they thought it would be a good idea to come off the undetectable steroid (which no one knows they are using) and go on the easily detectable hCG. No one would do this unless they are trying to get caught. Of course, this is all speculative on my part, but….

Whats more likely? Get new designer steroids to use so that it can’t be detected and then follow those up with an easily detected substance OR they buy HGH because it cant be tested for but end up getting screwed by their dealer because he sold them some bunk HGH – a substance which professional athlete’s can easily afford, can easily acquire and isn’t tested for.

About the Author

Matt Cahill has worked extensively in the nutritional supplement field, and is the former CEO of Designer Supplements. During his time in the field has researched and developed prohormones, testosterone boosters, and other related compounds, both for his own company and others.