This article is authored by a PhD Candidate and her supervisory team at University of Queensland, and reflects the interests of the student’s doctoral project in undertaking the nation’s first qualitative study into experiences of Melanotan use among the general population. Dubbed ‘Project Melanotan’, the investigation aims to directly engage with ‘melanotanners’ in a non-judgemental environment, in an effort to both critically evaluate as well as understand lived experiences of melanotaning as they relate to conceptually relevant notions of risk, technology and the body.


Thymosin beta-4 is a very large molecule. In fact, it is so large that it cannot fit entirely into the receptor. Different sections of the molecule have different activities. TB-500 is the part of thymosin beta-4 hormone which promotes the most useful effects (overall healing, repair, new blood and muscle cells). For medical applications it is more practical to use the TB-500 instead of the entire Thymosin Beta-4 protein.
Growing up, Joe was plagued with a myriad of health issues such as gut problems, autoimmune issues, chronic fatigue, brain fog, insomnia, and general inflammation. Both conventional and alternative doctors weren’t able to help him, so he decided to fix himself. With lots of health questions and few satisfying answers, Joe decided to read every research paper he could get his hands on and conduct thousands of experiments on his own body in order to fix his health issues. Joe started SelfHacked in late 2013 when he successfully fixed all of his issues, and now it gets millions of readers a month looking to educate themselves about how they can improve their health. Joe is now a thriving author, speaker, and serial entrepreneur, founding SelfDecode & LabTestAnalyzer.

The RANKL and OPG have been identified as a key regulatory component of alveolar bone loss associated with inflammatory periodontal disease [52]. Moreover, PDLCs were shown to express several osteoclastogenic cytokines, including both OPG and RANKL [30, 31]. Our data demonstrated that Tβ4 peptide abolished H2O2-induced RANKL expression and restored OPG expression. Osteoclasts, bone-resorptive multinucleated cells derived from hematopoietic stem cells, are associated with osteolytic diseases. Furthermore, NFATc1, a master modulator of osteoclastogenesis, regulates target genes, such as cathepsin K and calcitonin receptor or Calcr [53]. In our in vitro study using BMMs, Tβ4 peptide directly and indirectly inhibited RANKL-induced osteoclast differentiation and expression of osteoclast markers, such as cathepsin-K, calcitonin receptor or Calcr, NFATc1, and RANK in BMM cells. These results indicated that Tβ4 was a key therapeutic target in controlling inflammation-induced bone loss.


Stimulation of milk ejection (milk letdown): Milk is initially secreted into small sacs within the mammary gland called alveoli, from which it must be ejected for consumption or harvesting. Mammary alveoli are surrounded by smooth muscle (myoepithelial) cells which are a prominant target cell for oxytocin. Oxytocin stimulates contraction of myoepithelial cells, causing milk to be ejected into the ducts and cisterns.
For decades, 5-HTP has been recognized as important to appetite regulation. Higher levels of serotonin are linked to diminished appetite. Keeping serotonin levels from dipping can help keep appetite in check, and may help reduce cravings for carbohydrates. As a serotonin booster, 5-HTP may help to suppress appetite. Research indicates that 5-HTP may be effective in helping people who are overweight or obese lose weight.
Researchers often investigate the effects of hormones on behavior in laboratory experiments with student subjects. Some studies show that when you give people oxytocin they become more generous and trusting. In others that administer testosterone to men, the opposite happens. The strength of such studies is that they can demonstrate cause and effect – the behavior change only occurs in subjects receiving hormones, not in those who get a placebo. But this research has weaknesses as well: it often focuses on single hormones, ignoring their potential interactions, and behavior is measured with highly artificial tasks.
About ten years ago, psychology studies started to show that single doses of oxytocin, delivered through an intranasal spray, could promote various aspects of social behaviour in healthy adults. People who inhaled oxytocin before playing an investment game were more willing to entrust their money to a stranger than were placebo-treated players10. A dose of the hormone also increased the amount of time that people spent gazing at the eye region of faces11, and improved their ability to infer the emotional state of others from subtle expressions12.
Even if you did look after yourself adequately and monitor the amount of 5-HTP you were taking, it doesn't appear to be a permanent or lasting solution. A couple of the doctors talked about something that comes up time and time again with long-term SSRI use: a dissipating effect, meaning they can feel less and less effective over time. It seems that people may have the same problem with 5-HTP. "If you push on your biochemistry hard enough, it may downregulate," Dr Paddock explained. "If you're taking SSRIs your body may downregulate the amount of serotonin it puts out so you get waning effects over time. It's similar with 5-HTP. There may be a certain level of serotonin your body is keeping you at and if you raise it or push it, your body then may say, 'Okay, we're above the set point, let's then raise that point again.'"
Oxytocin is not only correlated with the preferences of individuals to associate with members of their own group, but it is also evident during conflicts between members of different groups. During conflict, individuals receiving nasally administered oxytocin demonstrate more frequent defense-motivated responses toward in-group members than out-group members. Further, oxytocin was correlated with participant desire to protect vulnerable in-group members, despite that individual's attachment to the conflict.[64] Similarly, it has been demonstrated that when oxytocin is administered, individuals alter their subjective preferences in order to align with in-group ideals over out-group ideals.[65] These studies demonstrate that oxytocin is associated with intergroup dynamics. Further, oxytocin influences the responses of individuals in a particular group to those of another group. The in-group bias is evident in smaller groups; however, it can also be extended to groups as large as one's entire country leading toward a tendency of strong national zeal. A study done in the Netherlands showed that oxytocin increased the in-group favoritism of their nation while decreasing acceptance of members of other ethnicities and foreigners.[66] People also show more affection for their country's flag while remaining indifferent to other cultural objects when exposed to oxytocin.[67] It has thus been hypothesized that this hormone may be a factor in xenophobic tendencies secondary to this effect. Thus, oxytocin appears to affect individuals at an international level where the in-group becomes a specific "home" country and the out-group grows to include all other countries.
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.
“People got quite excited,” recalls clinical neuroscientist Evdokia Anagnostou, who co-directs the Autism Research Centre at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto, Canada. But Anagnostou says that some preliminary steps were skipped over as researchers rushed to test oxytocin as a psychiatric drug. “To be honest, if we had done it properly, we wouldn't have done it the way we did. It went a little bit too fast,” she says. Because oxytocin had cleared the early, standard steps of drug development decades earlier, some researchers did not systematically test a range of doses to see whether they had differing psychological effects.
Surgery: 5-HTP can affect a brain chemical called serotonin. Some drugs administered during surgery can also affect serotonin. Taking 5-HTP before surgery might cause too much serotonin in the brain and can result in serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety. Tell patients to stop taking 5-HTP at least 2 weeks before surgery.
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.
TB-500 has been used extensively for race horses to prevent adhesions from forming, although it is not a prescription veterinary drug. It’s an injectable peptide with limited human use. Mostly, it’s limited to humans who like to experiment, although reports of human use of thymosin dates back as far as 1974 – when a young girl became the first person to receive injections of thymosin because she was diagnosed without a functioning thymus gland.

The pore-forming subunit of the cardiac sodium channel Nav1.5 encoded by SCN5A is a critical determinant of myocardial excitability and conduction. Loss-of-function mutations in SCN5A can clinically manifest as progressive cardiac conduction disorders or as arrhythmic syndromes, such as Brugada syndrome. In addition to electrophysiological dysfunction, SCN5A mutations are also associated with myocardial fibrosis manifesting as global cardiomyopathy. In a 10-year old child exhibiting Brugada syndrome, the mutation SCN5AE555X was discovered. Therefore, cardiac sodium channelopathy pig models were generated by homologous recombination in the genetic background of outbred Yucatan minipigs via SCNT exhibiting the orthologous porcine heterozygous mutation SCN5AE558X. The heterozygous mutant animals were viable and fertile, and showed no sudden death over a 2-year monitoring period. They showed reduced SCN5A protein expression, which resulted in diminished total sodium conductance. The heterozygous mutant hearts showed slowed conduction and increased susceptibility for ventricular arrhythmias in the absence of structural defects of the myocardium or specialized conduction system. In total, a novel animal model was established for understanding the mechanisms linking sodium channel dysfunction to cardiac pathophysiology (Park et al., 2015b).

In the hypothalamus, oxytocin is made in magnocellular neurosecretory cells of the supraoptic and paraventricular nuclei, and is stored in Herring bodies at the axon terminals in the posterior pituitary. It is then released into the blood from the posterior lobe (neurohypophysis) of the pituitary gland. These axons (likely, but dendrites have not been ruled out) have collaterals that innervate neurons in the nucleus accumbens, a brain structure where oxytocin receptors are expressed.[31] The endocrine effects of hormonal oxytocin and the cognitive or behavioral effects of oxytocin neuropeptides are thought to be coordinated through its common release through these collaterals.[31] Oxytocin is also produced by some neurons in the paraventricular nucleus that project to other parts of the brain and to the spinal cord.[32] Depending on the species, oxytocin receptor-expressing cells are located in other areas, including the amygdala and bed nucleus of the stria terminalis.
This article is authored by a PhD Candidate and her supervisory team at University of Queensland, and reflects the interests of the student’s doctoral project in undertaking the nation’s first qualitative study into experiences of Melanotan use among the general population. Dubbed ‘Project Melanotan’, the investigation aims to directly engage with ‘melanotanners’ in a non-judgemental environment, in an effort to both critically evaluate as well as understand lived experiences of melanotaning as they relate to conceptually relevant notions of risk, technology and the body.
Wonderful column. My expertise is the psychology of risk perception, and I have done some reading on oxytocin and trust (not the kind you want to boost in a bar with Liquid Trust – you can the stuff with pheromones – to boost THAT kind of trust). It turns out there is a high concentration of oxytocin receptors on the amygdala, the area of the brain where fear starts. As oxytocin levels go up, the ability of the amygdala to be warry and more mistrustful goes down. I describe this in Ch. 3 of How Risky Is It, Really? Why Our Fears Don’t Always Match the Facts. A few graphs of which are below. I wonder whether the influence of oxytocin on the amygdala might be connected with the finding of the study you write about.

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.


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,[62][63] and in this case serum chromogranin A should be measured (as supplemental 5-HTP does not appear to increase chromogranin A).[63]
For all its positivity, however, oxytocin has a dark side. Or, more accurately, it plays a more complex role in human behavior than is commonly thought. As a facilitator of bonding among those who share similar characteristics, the hormone fosters distinctions between in-group and out-group members, and sets in motion favoritism toward in-group members and prejudice against those in out-groups. Ongoing research on the hormone is a potent reminder of the complexity of biological and psychological systems.
Tβ4 is the major monomeric actin-sequestering peptide in human tissues, and can bind globular actin (G-actin) in a 1:1 ratio and consequently involved in cytoskeletal regulation by inhibiting the polymerization of G-actin into fibrous actin (F-actin) [7]. In addition, Tβ4 is an ubiquitous naturally occurring molecule and is found at concentrations of 1 × 10−5 to 5.6 × 10−1 M in a variety of tissues and cell types, yet, no receptors for the protein have been identified [33]. A recent study suggests that internalization of exogenous Tβ4 is essential for its subsequent cellular functions [34]. Moreover, Tβ4 has been shown to be associated with, wound healing, hair growth, immunomodulation, and angiogenesis [7–9].

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.

Recently, therapeutic biomolecules such as growth factors provide great potential as an alternative therapeutic approach to traditional periodontal wound healing [61]. However, because of the short half-lives of growth factors and polynucleotides in the body and the necessity to deliver to specific target sites, those medicinal substances do not always exhibit the anticipated therapeutic potency and outcomes [62]. Thus, optimized delivery regimes and well-defined release kinetics appear to be logical prerequisites for safe and efficacious clinical application of biomolecules. For considering the application of Tβ4 in clinical trials, target cells of exogenous Tβ4 should be restricted to cells in the periodontal tissue.


To untangle the ways different hormones together influence behavior in more naturalistic contexts, we worked with the Tsimane people in Bolivia. Traditional societies like the Tsimane are not living relics of the past, but their lifeways – small, tight-knit communities that produce their own food – can reveal the kinds of situations our hormone systems are well adapted to.
The first time Ditzen and her colleagues did this experiment they found that for both men and women oxytocin improved communication and lowered cortisol, a stress hormone. But in a recent study published in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, Ditzen and her colleagues measured salivary alpha-amylase (sAA)—an enzyme tied specifically to social stress—and found that men and women responded differently. Women who got oxytocin showed a decrease in sAA whereas men showed an increase and reported feeling more intense emotions. Counterintuitively, these men were also better at communication during conflict: they smiled more, had more eye-contact and were more open about their feelings. These behaviors are essential for peaceful conflict resolution.

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
Froemke's and Tsien's work fits into a broader theory: that one way oxytocin helps social interaction and recognition is by enhancing the brain's response to socially relevant sights, sounds or other stimuli. Young has shown that the hormone helps mice to recognize and pay attention to the smells of other mice7; others found that it promotes people's ability to recognize faces8.

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.
I am not a doctor and nothing I say should be taken as medical advice. If you have a read through the article, I would suggest following the recommendations there. If you want to go into detail book a consult at
"By understanding the oxytocin system's dual role in triggering or reducing anxiety, depending on the social context, we can optimize oxytocin treatments that improve well-being instead of triggering negative reactions," said Jelena Radulovic, the senior author of the study and the Dunbar Professsor of Bipolar Disease at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. The paper was published July 21 in Nature Neuroscience.

It is highly important to understand that MT2 itself does not protect skin from burning, tan protects your skin. Until some base tan is developed users should still take care not to over-expose skin to uv rays. Starting only with the amount of exposure that the user's skin can handle without burning. It should not take long before the user can handle longer exposures to strong sunlight without adverse effects.

Oral 5-HTP results in an increase in urinary 5-HIAA, a serotonin metabolite, indicating that 5-HTP is peripherally metabolized to serotonin, which is then metabolized. This might cause a false positive test in tests looking for carcinoid syndrome.[28][29] Due to the conversion of 5-HTP into serotonin by the liver, there could be a risk of heart valve disease from serotonin's effect on the heart, as based on preclinical findings.[30][31] However, 5-HTP has not been associated with cardiac toxicity in humans.[22][32][33][34]