To Lose Weight, Inject Yourself With Urine?

Some people will do anything to lose weight – including inject themselves with urine from pregnant women, according to a news report from Boston.

The weight-loss regimen, which requires restricting your diet to 500 calories a day and daily injections of urine from pregnant women, is hyped as helping people lose one pound a day, according to the WCVB-TV station in Boston. The urine costs anywhere from $300 to $565 for a six-week supply.

But the injections are far from safe. They may have contributed to the death of Mario Lanza, a film and recording star from the 1950s. Lanza, who died at age 38, was on the diet for the last two years of his life, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. He could have died partly from thyrotoxicosis, a condition of sped-up metabolism and an irregular heartbeat, brought on by a hormone present in pregnant women's urine.

That hormone, called human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), is what weight-loss counselors say promotes the weight loss , WCVB said. Urine from pregnant women contains hCG, which is made by the placenta during pregnancy.

In a non-pregnant person, the hormone can make the brain think the body is pregnant, and supposedly makes the body metabolize faster , a weight-loss counselor told WCVB.

The hormone's presence in urine is what makes pregnancy tests turn up positive, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

The diet is touted by some, including Sheryl Paloni of Boston, who told WCVB she lost 43 pounds while on the diet since June.

But skeptics say that it's the 500-calorie per day restriction that promotes the weight loss , not the hormone, according to WCVB.

The United States Food and Drug Administration has approved hCG for some medical uses, like for pregnancy tests, but not for weight-loss purposes .

Live Science Staff
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