Studies of oxytocin also have found that it is an important chemical messenger that controls some human behaviors and social interaction. It is oxytocin that triggers the bond between a mother and an infant, and it may also play a role in recognition, sexual arousal, trust, and anxiety. Some research shows that the hormone may affect addiction and stress as well.
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.
Some work has pointed to a potential dark side to oxytocin. Carter's group found that a single low dose of the hormone given to baby prairie voles improved their pair bonding as adults, but that higher doses interfered with that behaviour — possibly because oxytocin started to activate other receptors16. And human studies have suggested that in certain contexts, a puff of oxytocin can cause people to be more aggressive in defending themselves against outsiders or competitors17. In patients with a psychiatric condition known as borderline personality disorder, a single dose of oxytocin has been found to hinder trust and cooperation18.
In 1989, a nationwide outbreak sickened over 1500 people and caused at least 30 deaths in the US. The outbreak was characterized by severe muscle pain and high white blood cell count. The culprit was later determined to be tryptophan supplements made by a specific manufacturer that were thought to be contaminated. Shortly thereafter, the FDA recalled and banned all forms of tryptophan supplements. In the meantime, an alternative supplement called 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), which is a chemical byproduct of tryptophan, was introduced as an alternative and has since become popular.
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.
Melanotan II non-selectively mimics the action of melanocortin peptides. These are natural hormones involved with pigmentation, energy homeostasis, sexual functioning, the immune system, inflammation, and the cardiovascular system. Much like melanotan I (afamelanotide), melanotan II stimulates the production of eumelanin, causing the skin to go darker (tanning).
Who is 5-HTP best for? Emotional eaters stand to benefit greatly, of course. So do carb addicts. Carbs help the body make 5-HTP — so when 5-HTP or serotonin are low, carb cravings kick in. Boosting 5-HTP with a supplement has been shown to slash carb cravings by more than 50 percent. And if a “fat gene” runs in your family, early evidence hints that this genetic tendency toward obesity is linked to “decreased activity of an enzyme that helps turn tryptophan into 5-HTP,” explains Michael T. Murray, ND, author of 5-HTP: The Natural Way to Overcome Depression, Obesity and Insomnia ($14.77, Amazon). Though more human research is needed, Dr. Murray believes 5-HTP supplements are a quick fix for the genetic glitch.
Bonding. In the Prairie Vole, oxytocin released into the brain of the female during sexual activity is important for forming a monogamous pair bond with her sexual partner. Vasopressin appears to have a similar effect in males. In people, plasma concentrations of oxytocin have been reported to be higher amongst people who claim to be falling in love. Oxytocin has a role in social behaviors in many species, and so it seems likely that it has similar roles in humans.
Oxytocin has been shown to help people with autism improve their ability to recognize emotion, and Wallum found that the same receptor variant that increases risk for marital crisis in women is linked to social problems in girls. These include trouble getting along with others and a preference for being alone. This and Feldman’s work on oxytocin’s importance for the mother–child bond suggests that the hormone is more involved in the communication component of love between couples than the romantic component of love.
Growth factors play an important role is enhancing structural repair of chronic wounds (Robson, 1997). KGF-2 (Robson et al., 2001), TGF-β (Robson et al., 1995), PDGF-BB (Mustoe et al., 1994; Kiritsy et al., 1995; Smiell et al., 1999), β-NGF (Muangman et al., 2004) have been shown to enhance re-epithelialization (Greenalgh, 1996 for review). The KGF-1 gene has been shown to improve cutaneous wound healing in a septic rat model when delivered in a plasmid (Lin et al., 2006). The PDGF-B gene carried in a plasmid mixed with a bovine collagen gel was reported to accelerate closure of patient diabetic ulcers (Mulder et al., 2009; Blume et al., 2011). KGF-2, PDGF-BB and FGF-L are commercially available as RepiferminTM, RegranexTM, and Trafermin to treat human chronic wounds. Data for the effects of PDGF-BB on back wounds of diabetic mice and for the effects of KGF-2 on chronic venous ulcers in patients is tabulated in Tables 10.3 and 10.4. Thymosin β4 accelerated keratinocyte migration in the wounds of old diabetic mice (Philp et al., 2003).
There is one glaring problem, however: the supplements come with a disclaimer that recommends not taking them for more than three months. Most of the information out there on 5-HTP is anecdotal, and most of them are stories of it helping people, rather than hard facts about its scientific properties. I approached neurologists, psychologists and experimental doctors about 5-HTP, and many responses were strange. Not many people were willing to speak about it, saying they weren't qualified or hadn't read the relevant material, but there isn't much material to speak of. The main source of legitimate scientific evidence came from the University of Maryland Medical Center website, who stated that 5-HTP may work as well as certain antidepressant drugs to treat people with mild-to-moderate depression. But all the studies that support that statement were done in the 1980s and 1990s. I wanted to know if 5-HTP was a realistic alternative to SSRIs. Could I stay on 5-HTP forever, basking in its natural glory?
Supplements haven't been tested for safety and due to the fact that dietary supplements are largely unregulated, the content of some products may differ from what is specified on the product label. Also keep in mind that the safety of supplements in pregnant women, nursing mothers, children, and those with medical conditions or who are taking medications has not been established. You can get tips on using supplements, but if you're considering the use of 5-HTP supplements, talk with your primary care provider first. Self-treating a condition and avoiding or delaying standard care may have serious consequences.
5-HTP has been investigated for its role in hot flashes as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) have been noted to reduce the occurrence of hot flashes and menopausal symptoms. In a study in menopausal females given 150mg 5-HTP daily (50mg taken thrice a day) for a period of one week failed to quantitivatively reduce the occurrance of hot flashes as assessed by a Flashmark Pro recording device.
Nolen, W. A., van de Putte, J. J., Dijken, W. A., Kamp, J. S., Blansjaar, B. A., Kramer, H. J., and Haffmans, J. Treatment strategy in depression. II. MAO inhibitors in depression resistant to cyclic antidepressants: two controlled crossover studies with tranylcypromine versus L-5-hydroxytryptophan and nomifensine. Acta Psychiatr.Scand 1988;78:676-683. View abstract.
Ultimately, this lack of literature on the drug best serves to illustrate the recklessness of Stephen Dank in committing to something so experimental in nature. Perhaps he was privy to anecdotal evidence the rest of us weren’t. The drug has been used by amateur athletes and bodybuilders, and reportedly in the equine industry. Nevertheless, any benefits are unsubstantiated, which lends to an exasperation shared by supporters as to why Dank would risk so much for a substance that potentially offers no advantage at all. As a supporter, I would have much preferred a drug that allowed us to hit a target inside 50.
Melanotans include melanotan I (afamelanotide) and melanotan II. Both melanotan I and II are widely abused to obtain a cosmetic tan. The melanotans are potent, non-selective melanocortin receptor agonists affecting MC1, MC3, MC4 and MC5 receptors. These receptors are responsible for many physiological systems including: pigmentation, energy, sexual function, immune system, inflammation and the cardiovascular system.
In 2015 I found my self bed ridden for 8 weeks with an issue all the doctors I had been to we’re unable to diagnose. I discovered, after much research, that what I was suffering from was damaged facia in my left and right gluteus muscles, which left me unable to do anything. I was in excruciating pain and couldn’t do anything except lay in bed on my back. Then my husband found TB 500. Initially I was against using it but after deteriorating to the point of being bed ridden I broke down and ordered some. As soon as I received it my husband injected me in the gluteus muscle. Within 30 minutes I started getting relief from the TB-500, within 8 weeks I was out of bed and the pain was gone! It healed the damaged fascia covering the gluteus. If I had not done this I don’t know where I would be today. For me, TB-500 was a life saver and if I had to I would use it again. I have suffered no side affects then or now.
Evidence for this role of oxytocin come from two types of experiments. First, infusion of oxytocin into the ventricles of the brain of virgin rats or non-pregnant sheep rapidly induces maternal behavior. Second, administration into the brain of antibodies that neutralize oxytocin or of oxytocin antagonists will prevent mother rats from accepting their pups. Other studies support the contention that this behavioral effect of oxytocin is broadly applicable among mammals.
Can a supplement proven to fight blue moods also help stimulate weight loss? “Yes it can!” say experts who are now prescribing a natural compound called 5-HTP. According to top integrative health expert Tasneem Bhatia, MD, author of What Doctors Eat ($15.99, Amazon), “5-HTP is converted directly to serotonin, and serotonin makes you feel good, feel happy, feel full — and when you feel that way, you’re going to eat less.” In fact, Dr. Bhatia adds that while most appetite suppressants only target physical hunger, this one also “works to reduce ‘emotional hunger’ and stress-related urges to eat.” Dr. Oz said he left impressed after consulting with a panel of 5-HTP experts, including American Board of Obesity Medicine alum Denise E. Bruner, MD. He said the supplements may even be “a secret weapon for hunger!”
Guastella and his team just completed an unpublished study that is the first to test the effects of oxytocin on couples in therapy. In one part of the study, couples were asked to discuss a “hot topic,” one that usually led to conflict between the pair, and to then try to solve the issue. Although the data analysis is still in progress, Guastella expects couples that got oxytocin to show less hostile interpretations of the problem and be less critical of their partners. He thinks overall it will increase perspective-taking and reduce blame, leading to smoother communication and better problem-solving.
I am not a doctor and this is not to be taken, interpreted or construed as medical advice. Please talk with a licensed medical professional about this. These are just my own personal thoughts and not a prescription or a diagnosis or any form of health care whatsoever. In terms of doctors, here are a few directories that may help you find a good functional medicine or naturopathic practitioner in your area:
In reality, SSRIs and 5-HTP aren't so different. Both affect serotonin. SSRIs work by blocking serotonin from being reabsorbed by nerve cells so more serotonin is available to help brain cells work efficiently. As a doctor would later tell me, 5-HTP, on the other hand, "provides your body with the tools to make more serotonin, as opposed to antidepressants, which are just working with the serotonin that you have already."
About three months after quitting, I did have a major relapse, which was falling back into old habits for about two weeks. And the whole time I knew what was happening, I knew how dangerous it was, but I couldn't stop myself. I felt like I couldn't connect to anyone without drinking. I couldn't talk to my friends, I couldn't be open and honest with anybody in my life without already having had a few drinks. It was a really disconnected, really unpleasant feeling. That's what I couldn't sit with and I couldn't cope with that feeling, so I went back to drinking.
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Three groups of mice were individually placed in cages with aggressive mice and experienced social defeat, a stressful experience for them. One group was missing its oxytocin receptors, essentially the plug by which the hormone accesses brain cells. The lack of receptors means oxytocin couldn't enter the mice's brain cells. The second group had an increased number of receptors so their brain cells were flooded with the hormone. The third control group had a normal number of receptors.
Angiogenesis is an essential step in the repair process that occurs after injury. In this study, we investigated whether the angiogenic thymic peptide thymosin beta4 (Tbeta4) enhanced wound healing in a rat full thickness wound model. Addition of Tbeta4 topically or intraperitoneally increased reepithelialization by 42% over saline controls at 4 d and by as much as 61% at 7 d post-wounding. Treated wounds also contracted at least 11% more than controls by day 7. Increased collagen deposition and angiogenesis were observed in the treated wounds. We also found that Tbeta4 stimulated keratinocyte migration in the Boyden chamber assay. After 4-5 h, migration was stimulated 2-3-fold over migration with medium alone when as little as 10 pg of Tbeta4 was added to the assay. These results suggest that Tbeta4 is a potent wound healing factor with multiple activities that may be useful in the clinic.