How would that work? Feldman thinks that these types of behaviors are intimately linked with oxytocin in a positive feedback loop. “Oxytocin can elicit loving behaviors, but giving and receiving these behaviors also promotes the release of oxytocin and leads to more of these behaviors,” she says. She thinks that talk therapy alone can boost the oxytocin system, but admits that in some cases it might help to jump-start the feedback loop by administering oxytocin. If Guastella’s results support his hypothesis, talk and hormone therapy together might be the best recipe for breaking down dysfunctional communication between partners, especially in cases where the behaviors have been learned in childhood.
Addiction vulnerability: Concentrations of endogenous oxytocin can impact the effects of various drugs and one's susceptibility to substance use disorders. Additionally, bilateral interactions with numerous systems, including the dopamine system, Hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis and immune system, can impact development of dependence. The status of the endogenous oxytocin system might enhance or reduce susceptibility to addiction through its interaction with these systems. Individual differences in the endogenous oxytocin system based on genetic predisposition, gender and environmental influences, may therefore affect addiction vulnerability. Oxytocin may be related to the place conditioning behaviors observed in habitual drug abusers.
To prevent adverse effects, always consult your physician and pharmacist before taking any drug or supplement. Inform your doctor and pharmacist about all drugs you take, whether they are prescription, non-prescription, vitamins, supplements, or herbs. Be sure to read and understand the Drug Facts section of the product label before taking any medication, and never take more than what is specified by your doctor. Dietary supplements are drugs, so be sure to keep them out of sight and reach of children and pets.
Fortunately for the players, despite the appending doom touted by the media, the current research suggests Tβ4 is safe. 23 non-clinical toxicology studies have been performed “that demonstrate the safety of Tβ4 for its current and planned uses in man”. Significantly, a human clinical trial in healthy volunteers found “intravenous administration of Tβ4 appears to be safe and well-tolerated by all subjects with no dose limiting toxicity or serious adverse events reported”. Admittedly, this trial is limited in that it only followed subjects for a period of 28 days, and thus there is a need for further research if Tβ4 is ever to be developed as a medication.
Thymosin Beta 4 is a peptide that was first found within the thymus gland. Since its discovery, other types of thymosin have been found in different tissues throughout test subjects. Thymosin Beta 4 is typically found in both types of muscles – skeletal (the muscles that are required to move) and smooth muscles (such as the heart). When damage occurs in a tissue, Thymosin Beta 4 is upregulated. Then when traumas take place, Thymosin Beta 4 is released in order to help the subject heal from the trauma. This peptide also helps to prevent adhesions from forming, which means there will be less scar tissue and potentially more flexibility. It has potent anti-inflammatory characteristics.
To determine the direct effect of Tβ4 peptide on osteoclastogenesis, mouse BMMs were directly exposed to Tβ4 peptide. Direct treatment with Tβ4 peptide also reduced the number of multinucleated TRAP-positive cells and TRAP activity in a dose-dependent manner (Fig 7A and 7B). Since Tβ4 downregulated H2O2-induced various cytokines expression, the indirect effect of Tβ4 on osteoclast formation through PDLC cells using co-culture system were investigated. After addition of Tβ4 peptide to the BMMs-PDLCs co-culture, the number of osteoclast and TRAP activity were also significantly decreased (Fig 7C and 7D).
Eventually I found Dr Kristaps Paddock, a naturopathic doctor and 5-HTP expert from Maryland in the US. He said one benefit 5-HTP has over SSRIs is that it kicks in quickly for those with anxiety and depression. "Serotonin has a short metabolic half-life, so it metabolises very, very fast. It goes into the body and out at a great speed, unlike SSRIs, which take a while to take effect so a sufferer wouldn't be feeling good during that time, and in fact may be feeling more suicidal. SSRIs also then have to be weaned off slowly, whereas you can stop taking 5-HTP instantly." Another bonus, of course, is that it's natural rather than synthetic. "If you're seriously considering the supplement, you have to weigh the positives and negatives against each other. The toxicity with 5-HTP is lower than that of SSRIs, since it's natural. Also because it's metabolised much quicker, it'd get out of your system more quickly if there were any problems. On the other hand, the research basis for 5-HTP is dramatically lower, so it's important to think of that."
Indeed, the findings that progenitor cells of some form exist both in the regenerative zebrafish heart, and in the hearts of less-regenerative mammals supports this idea. Zebrafish have ostensibly found some method to optimize the activity of progenitor cells, perhaps either by maintaining more cells, or by harboring a more cultivating environment for regeneration. Also, both mammalian and nonmammalian hearts contain an epicardial cell layer, yet zebrafish have found some way to activate the epicardium after injury, a process linked with essential neovascularization of regenerating muscle (Lepilina et al., 2006. This result points to the adult mammalian epicardium as a potential cellular source to assist myocardial regeneration or survival. Indeed, mammalian myocardial infarcts typically show poor or insufficient neovascularization, a response that many are trying to improve experimentally. Recent findings have indicated that the G-actin sequestering protein, Thymosin-ß4, may influence the mammalian epicardium. Treatment of adult cardiac explants with Thymosin-ß4 induced the migration of fibroblasts, endothelial and smooth muscle cells as assessed by gene expression and cellular morphology (Smart et al., 2007). In addition, in vivo Thymosin-ß4 treatment could partially restore cardiac survival and function following coronary ligation (Bock-Marquette et al., 2004). Notably, Thymosin-ß4 expression is induced in the injured zebrafish heart, suggesting that fish naturally release this epicardial stimulant on injury (Lien et al., 2006).
In a study that hasn’t been published yet, Feldman found that oxytocin receptor genes are also linked to empathy in couples. She looked at variants in the gene that have been linked with an increased risk for autism, a disorder that is marked by major social communication deficits. She found that the more of these “risk variants” a person had, the less empathy they showed toward their partner when that partner shared a distressing experience.
Silencing of the Tβ4 or Wnt5a gene was achieved by transfecting cells with small interfering RNA (siRNA). Cells were transfected with Tβ4 or Wnt5a siRNAs (30 nM) for 24 hours using Lipofectamine 2000 (Invitrogen, Carlsbad, CA, USA) according to the manufacturer's instructions. Cells were transfected with Silencer negative control siRNA using the same protocol.
People are using 5-HTP for absolutely everything from sleep disorders to OCD symptoms. After asking people in mental health Facebook groups whether they used it and why, I was inundated with responses. Sach Tennant, from London, takes it for her PMDD (premenstrual dysphoric disorder). "I only take it when I feel low and it only takes one hour to feel calm," she told me. "This month I only needed one to feel better. I don't get the zombie antidepressant feeling – you still have your emotions. Sleep is good on it. I used to have an inner voice that was male and used to bully me during PMT time. Noises seemed too loud, even like somebody eating a bag of crisps. Topping up with 5-HTP has stopped all this."
The two main actions of oxytocin in the body are contraction of the womb (uterus) during childbirth and lactation. Oxytocin stimulates the uterine muscles to contract and also increases production of prostaglandins, which increase the contractions further. Manufactured oxytocin is sometimes given to induce labour if it has not started naturally or it can be used to strengthen contractions to aid childbirth. In addition, manufactured oxytocin is often given to speed up delivery of the placenta and reduce the risk of heavy bleeding by contracting the uterus. During breastfeeding, oxytocin promotes the movement of milk into the breast, allowing it to be excreted by the nipple. Oxytocin is also present in men, playing a role in sperm movement and production of testosterone by the testes.
Affecting generosity by increasing empathy during perspective taking. In a neuroeconomics experiment, intranasal oxytocin increased generosity in the Ultimatum Game by 80% but has no effect in the Dictator Game that measures altruism. Perspective-taking is not required in the Dictator Game, but the researchers in this experimental explicitly induced perspective-taking in the Ultimatum Game by not identifying to participants which role they would be in.13
It should be noted that supplemental 5-HTP can cause an increase in urinary 5-HIAA, which is the major metabolite of serotonin that is excreted in the urine. Increased urinary 5-HIAA is also sometimes a diagonistic marker for carcinoid tumors due to increased conversion of tryptophan to serotonin in these tumors, and in this case serum chromogranin A should be measured (as supplemental 5-HTP does not appear to increase chromogranin A).
5-HTP is POSSIBLY SAFE when taking by mouth appropriately. 5-HTP has been used safely in doses up to 400 mg daily for up to one year. However, some people who have taken it have developed a condition called eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS), a serious condition involving extreme muscle tenderness (myalgia) and blood abnormalities (eosinophilia). Some people think EMS might be caused by an accidental ingredient or contaminant in some 5-HTP products. However, there is not enough scientific evidence to know if EMS is caused by 5-HTP, a contaminant, or some other factor. Until more is known, 5-HTP should be used cautiously.