The promise of repairing sun parched aging skin is alluring, especially if damage control may be attained by applying a substance that is abundant in our body. Thymosin beta 4 (Tb4), a molecule that accelerates wound healing in animals and cultured cells, "may be valuable in repairing skin damage caused by sun or even by the wear and tear of aging?" This hopeful message of Tb4's potential to restore damaged human skin was voiced at the 5th International Symposium on Aging Skin, in California (May 2001), by Dr. Allan Goldstein, Chairman of the Biochemistry Department at George Washington University and founder of RegeneRX Biopharmaceuticals. RegeneRX is carrying out preclinical research on Tb4 as a wound healer, in collaboration with scientists at the National Institutes of Health.
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During the 2000s, the Melanotan II peptide and the metabolite derived from it, the erectile dysfunction-focused Bremelanotide (also known as PT-141), were patented and then licensed to biotechnology companies hoping to develop them into profitable prescription drugs. However, these companies also offer the peptides for direct sale to researchers. These transactions occupy a legal gray area, since the peptides are banned for human use outside clinical trials. While they can be purchased from various websites specializing in research chemicals, the purchaser usually has to affirm prior to final sale that the peptide "will not be used for human consumption" and is being acquired for "research purposes only."
There have been some side effects reported while using Melanotan 2, typically these effects appear during the first few days of dosing and will become increasingly less obvious as the body adjusts to the peptide. These effects include: nausea, appetite loss, drowsiness and increased sex drive. In order to combat nausea, an anti-histamine can be taken when injecting until the body gets used to it. But most common way to deal with this is to inject Melanotan before bed, this is also beneficial to combat any drowsiness.
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. 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. However, 5-HTP has not been associated with cardiac toxicity in humans.
5-HTP increases a chemical in the brain. This chemical is called serotonin. Some medications used for depression also increase serotonin. Taking 5-HTP with these medications used for depression might cause there to be too much serotonin. This could cause serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety.
Some of these medications used for depression include phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), and others.
Research in the early 1960s showed that in rats, administration of α-MSH caused sexual arousal, and work on this continued in many labs up through the 1980s, when scientists at University of Arizona began attempting to develop α-MSH and analogs as potential sunless tanning agents, and synthesized and tested several analogs, including melanotan-I and melanotan II.
A 2002 review concluded that although the data evaluated suggests that 5-HTP is more effective than placebo in the treatment of depression, the evidence was insufficient to be conclusive due to a lack of clinical data meeting the rigorous standards of today. More and larger studies using current methodologies are needed to determine if 5-HTP is truly effective in treating depression. In small controlled trials 5-HTP has also been reported to augment the antidepressant efficacy of the antidepressant clomipramine.