But Carter and other scientists are concerned by reports from the physicians and parents of children with autism spectrum disorder who say that they are already using oxytocin off-label — before it has been thoroughly tested. “We do not understand how the hormone works yet, or have enough information about what happens when it's given repeatedly,” Carter says. “This is not a molecule that people should be self-administering or playing with.”
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."
Doctors have noticed cancer patients have a higher amount of Thymosin in the affected tissues than other people. So in the early stages of research, doctors assumed that this meant Thymosin may cause cancer. After more research was conducted, it was discovered that the main action of Thymosin Beta 4 was to produce new white blood cells – so its presence in the body in the areas affected by cancer was likely not a cause of the cancer, but instead, a matter of “showing up” in the body where cancer lived to help the body mount an immune system response.
Autism: Oxytocin has been implicated in the etiology of autism, with one report suggesting autism is correlated with genomic deletion of the gene containing the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR). Studies involving Caucasian and Finnish samples and Chinese Han families provide support for the relationship of OXTR with autism. Autism may also be associated with an aberrant methylation of OXTR.
Another interesting agent reported to significantly accelerate chronic wound repair is infrared (700–1200 nm wavelength) and near infrared (600–700 nm) light delivered through lasers or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) (Mester et al., 1968; Rochkind et al., 1989; Conlan, 1996; Schindl et al., 2000; Enwemeka, 2004). Spectroscopic measurements indicate that photons at wavelengths of 630–800 nm penetrate through the skin and muscles of the forearm and lower leg (Chance et al., 1988; Beauvoit et al., 1994, 1995). The effect of the light may be to stimulate cytochrome c oxidase in the mitochondria, resulting in increased oxygen consumption and production of ATP (Karu, 1999).
In December 2010, the delegate made a delegate only decision to include afamelanotide (also known as melanotan I) with a cross-reference to melanocyte stimulating hormone (MSH) for inclusion into the current Poisons Standard. It was noted that afamelanotide should not be confused with a similar substance commonly known as Melanotan-II, which is a cyclic lactam synthetic analogue of α-MSH. It was noted that melanotan-II was under investigation for treating sexual dysfunction, although this has been abandoned due to side effects associated with the immune and cardiovascular systems. Its metabolite, bremelanotide, is under investigation for treating haemorrhagic shock.
Cells were pretreated with indicated concentrations of Tβ4 peptide for 2 hours and then incubated with 200 μM H2O2 for 48 hours (A-C). Protein expressions were assessed by Western blot analysis (A). The production of NO (B) and PGE2 (C) were measured by Griess reaction and ELISA, respectively. Data replicated the quantifications of NO and PGE2 with the standard deviation of at least three experiments (n = 4). The bar graph shows the fold increase in protein expression compared with control cells. * Statistically significant differences compared with the control, p<0.05. # Statistically significant difference compared with the H2O2—treated group.
Chae, H. S., Kang, O. H., Choi, J. G., Oh, Y. C., Lee, Y. S., Jang, H. J., Kim, J. H., Park, H., Jung, K. Y., Sohn, D. H., and Kwon, D. Y. 5-hydroxytryptophan acts on the mitogen-activated protein kinase extracellular-signal regulated protein kinase pathway to modulate cyclooxygenase-2 and inducible nitric oxide synthase expression in RAW 264.7 cells. Biol Pharm Bull 2009;32:553-557. View abstract.
It turns out oxytocin is responsible for a lot more than just love. New science has found that this amazing molecule also influences how sociable each of us is, allowing us to 'tune in' to the social information around us, perceiving it in much higher resolution. Scientists are now applying this new knowledge in the lab, and as reporter Dr Graham Phillips finds out, they're discovering oxytocin's great potential to treat social disorders, like drug addiction and alcoholism.
Social behavior and wound healing: Oxytocin is also thought to modulate inflammation by decreasing certain cytokines. Thus, the increased release in oxytocin following positive social interactions has the potential to improve wound healing. A study by Marazziti and colleagues used heterosexual couples to investigate this possibility. They found increases in plasma oxytocin following a social interaction were correlated with faster wound healing. They hypothesized this was due to oxytocin reducing inflammation, thus allowing the wound to heal more quickly. This study provides preliminary evidence that positive social interactions may directly influence aspects of health. According to a study published in 2014, silencing of oxytocin receptor interneurons in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) of female mice resulted in loss of social interest in male mice during the sexually receptive phase of the estrous cycle. Oxytocin evokes feelings of contentment, reductions in anxiety, and feelings of calmness and security when in the company of the mate. This suggests oxytocin may be important for the inhibition of the brain regions associated with behavioral control, fear, and anxiety, thus allowing orgasm to occur. Research has also demonstrated that oxytocin can decrease anxiety and protect against stress, particularly in combination with social support. It is found, that endocannabinoid signaling mediates oxytocin-driven social reward.
5-HTP can affect a brain chemical called serotonin. Dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM, others) can also affect serotonin. Taking 5-HTP along with dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM, others) might cause too much serotonin in the brain and serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety. Do not take 5-HTP if you are taking dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM, and others).
Oxytocin has been of keen interest to neuroscientists since the 1970s, when studies started to show that it could drive maternal behaviour and social attachment in various species. Its involvement in a range of social behaviours2, including monogamy in voles, mother–infant bonding in sheep, and even trust between humans, has earned it a reputation as the 'hug hormone'. “People just concluded it was a bonding molecule, a cuddling hormone, and that's the pervasive view in the popular press,” says Larry Young, a neuroscientist at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, who has been studying the molecule since the 1990s.
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.
Thymosin beta 4, developed by RegeneRx Biopharmaceuticals as a pharmaceutical for the healing of wounds, is a synthetic version of the natural peptide. As Dr. Allan Goldstein emphasizes, “Tb4 represents a new class of wound healing compounds. It is not a growth factor or cytokine, but rather exhibits a number of physiological properties which include the ability to sequester and regulate actin, its potent chemotactic properties. . . and its capability to downregulate a number of inflammatory cytokines that are present in chronic wounds.” When a wound heals there are many growth factors produced in the area so that additional factors, such as those currently on the market for wound healing, may help but are not necessarily lacking. Tb4 treatment, however, adds a new dimension to wound repair by providing cells with actin as needed, for cell migration, replication and differentiation.
The enzyme dopamine decarboxylase (aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase) mediates the conversion of 5-HTP into serotonin, and this enzyme is expressed in stomach tissue. Inhibition of this enzyme in the stomach during 5-HTP ingestion is thought to promote the concentration of 5-HTP that reaches neural tissue, which is supported by a study using 100-200mg Carbidopa (pharmaceutical inhibitor) alongside 5-HTP to increase radioactivity of 5-HTP (indicative of neural accumulation) in humans.
Tb4 has other effects that are needed in healing and repair of damaged tissue. It is a chemo-attractant for cells, stimulates new blood vessel growth (angiogenesis), downregulates cytokines and reduces inflammation, thus protecting newly formed tissue from damaging inflammatory events. Tb4 has been shown to reduce free radical levels (with similar efficiency as superoxide dismutase), decrease lipid peroxidation, inhibit interleukin 1 and other cytokines, and decrease inflammatory thromboxane (TxB2) and prostaglandin (PGF2 alpha).
How not surprising on one level that a hormone involved in the formation of primary bonds, those that can have serious impacts on your survival, would be discerning. After all, if you had a mother who was dangerous, abusive, etc., how counter productive would it be for you to bond so tightly to her that you were all over her all the time, increasing your chances of pissing her off and killing you. And, how beneficial for you to be more bonded to a mother figure who was good to you, and provided you with nurture.
5-HTP works in the brain and central nervous system by increasing the production of the chemical serotonin. Serotonin can affect sleep, appetite, temperature, sexual behavior, and pain sensation. Since 5-HTP increases the synthesis of serotonin, it is used for several diseases where serotonin is believed to play an important role including depression, insomnia, obesity, and many other conditions.