Nature has been very clever in a way. Without oxytocin, you know, babies are what they really are - I probably shouldn't say this on TV - but noisy, smelly animals that don't actually do anything useful. And, um, that's what oxytocin does. It gives them a special salience, a special beauty and allows us to bond with these defenceless little animals.
Oxytocin secreted from the pituitary gland cannot re-enter the brain because of the blood-brain barrier. Instead, the behavioral effects of oxytocin are thought to reflect release from centrally projecting oxytocin neurons, different from those that project to the pituitary gland. Oxytocin receptors are expressed by neurons in many parts of the brain and spinal cord, including the amygdala, ventromedial hypothalamus, septum and brainstem.
Bartz found that when she averaged out the volunteers’ results, the sniffs of oxytocin hadn’t seemed to colour their memories of their mothers. But things changed when she looked at them individually. Those who felt more anxious about their relationships took a dimmer view of their mother’s parenting styles when they sniffed oxytocin, compared to the placebo. Those who were more secure in their relationships reacted in the opposite way – they remembered mum as being closer and more caring when they took the oxytocin.
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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 19 obese females given either placebo or 8mg/kg (weight not actually given, only BMI between 30-40 for women) daily for 5 weeks without any concurrent dietary recommendations, 5-HTP treatment was associated with a decrease in appetite and food intake (resulting in weight loss) without significantly affecting mood state. This study noted that food intake was reduced from an average of 2,903kcal to 1,819kcal (62% of baseline) while placebo only reduced calories to 80%, and the 0.5kg weight loss in placebo was outperformed by a near 1.5kg loss in 5-HTP. These weight loss effects have been noted with 750mg 5-HTP over 2 weeks in overweight diabetics and over 12 weeks in obese persons given 900mg 5-HTP daily (58% of baseline intake); this latter study had a 6 week trial without a diet (in which significant weight loss was only noted at week 6) followed up by coadministration with a diet where weight loss proceeded to reach an additional 3.3kg over the subsequent 6 weeks; this latter study is duplicated in Medline.
Serotonin influences sleep and sleep-wake cycles in many ways, and scientists continue to make discoveries about how this important neurochemical affects our sleeping and waking lives. One important way serotonin affects sleep and bio time is through its relationship with the “sleep hormone” melatonin. Melatonin is made from serotonin in the presence of darkness. (Remember, melatonin production in the body is triggered by darkness and suppressed by exposure to natural and artificial light.) Healthy serotonin levels are essential for maintaining healthy melatonin levels—and both serotonin and melatonin are critical to sleep and a well-functioning bio clock. With its ability to increase serotonin, 5-HTP supports a neurochemical process that can enable high-quality sleep and keep the body’s bio clock in sync.
The 10mg powder takes up about 5% of the bag it comes it, meaning you get a greater volume of the powder on your hand than in the spoon your using to find the powder at the bottom of the package. Since dosages are really small, I imagine most of the powder will be wasted. Also the 5-htp powder doesn't seem to dissolve or mix with liquids making it difficult to take. Other than the terrible packaging, the powder itself seems to be of good quality. Recommend it be repackaged in a bag 1/10th of the size, or alternatively, buy the capsules.
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.
A: 5-HTP or 5-hydroxytryptophan is sold as a dietary supplement for "anxiety, depression, insomnia, headaches and other conditions." Because dietary supplements (e.g., 5-HTP) have not been thoroughly studied in the clinical setting, possible side effects and interactions with other drugs are not well known. However, 5-HTP does interact with prescription antidepressants, taking them together can lead to serotonin syndrome which is a rare but potentially fatal condition. Also, because herbs and supplements are not strictly regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, these products are not required to be tested for effectiveness, purity, or safety. 5-HTP has not been proven safe or effective for the treatment of depression or bipolar disorder. There are many prescription medications that have been proven safe and effective for these conditions. In general, dietary supplements should only be taken under the supervision of your health care provider. Laura Cable, Pharm.D., BCPS
Supplementation of 5-HTP has been shown to be more effective than tryptophan supplementation alone. This additional benefit of 5-HTP supplementation arises because 5-HTP bypasses the cell's L-tryptophan's own self-regulation on the IDO enzyme, in which it upregulates the activity of IDO (discussed in next section) to maintain body homeostasis of tryptophan and it bypasses the tryptophan hydroxylase enzyme, which is the rate limiting step in serotonin biosynthesis.
On a personal note, 5-HTP is actually one of the 1st nootropics I ever used. When I was a teenager and would go to raves me and my friends would use 5-HTP the next day because ecstasy (MDMA) diminishes the serotonin levels. Anyone with much experience with ecstasy knows that the day(s) after can be pretty hellish because the drug so depletes your feel good neurotransmitters, 5-HTP is sort of a Biohack for this.
While the structure of oxytocin is highly conserved in placental mammals, a novel structure of oxytocin was recently reported in marmosets, tamarins, and other new world primates. Genomic sequencing of the gene for oxytocin revealed a single in-frame mutation (thymine for cytosine) which results in a single amino acid substitution at the 8-position (proline for leucine). Since this original Lee et al. paper, two other laboratories have confirmed Pro8-OT and documented additional oxytocin structural variants in this primate taxon. Vargas-Pinilla et al. sequenced the coding regions of the OXT gene in other genera in new world primates and identified the following variants in addition to Leu8- and Pro8-OT: Ala8-OT, Thr8-OT, and Val3/Pro8-OT. Ren et al. identified a variant further, Phe2-OT in howler monkeys.
Oxytocin is a hormone that also acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain. Some popular media have incorrectly labeled it the “love hormone,” because it is associated with good feelings and emotions. But its role in the body is much more complex than that. It is not a bliss or hug hormone, but it does appear to be connected to human emotions and the regulation of childbirth and breast-feeding.
The peripheral actions of oxytocin mainly reflect secretion from the pituitary gland. The behavioral effects of oxytocin are thought to reflect release from centrally projecting oxytocin neurons, different from those that project to the pituitary gland, or that are collaterals from them. Oxytocin receptors are expressed by neurons in many parts of the brain and spinal cord, including the amygdala, ventromedial hypothalamus, septum, nucleus accumbens, and brainstem.
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.
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.
In another study, published in PNAS in 2010, men were given a dose of oxytocin and asked to write about their mothers. Those with secure relationships described their moms as more caring after the hormone dose. Those with troubled relationships actually saw their mothers as less caring. The hormone may help with the formation of social memories, according to the study researchers, so a whiff strengthens previous associations, whether good or bad.
The need to balance hunting pride and social obligations, and the necessity to reconnect with a family that depends on their provisioning were likely experienced by men throughout much of human evolutionary history. Oxytocin is found in all mammals and originated in the mother-infant bond, where it helps with childbirth, nursing and bonding. In some species, this existing hormonal mechanism could then be harnessed for novel contexts – for instance, men investing in pair-bonding and family provisioning, which is rare among mammals.
“The study is kind of a high-water mark for the field, putting different levels all together: a robust behaviour, a brain region, and a cellular basis for it,” says Richard Tsien, a neuroscientist also at Langone. Tsien has been studying the action of oxytocin on neuronal circuits in detail, by examining slices of the hippocampus, a region involved in learning and memory. In a 2013 study6 of rats, Tsien's team found that oxytocin selectively acts on a type of cell called an inhibitory interneuron in a way that quiets background chatter within the neuronal circuit. “Oxytocin improved signal transmission, almost doubling the ability of information to flow through the system,” Tsien says. In effect, it is producing more signal and less noise.
Hypoxic heart disease is a predominant cause of disability and death worldwide. As adult mammals are incapable of cardiac repair after infarction, the discovery of effective methods to achieve myocardial and vascular regeneration is crucial. Efforts to use stem cells to repopulate damaged tissue are currently limited by technical considerations and restricted cell potential. We discovered that the small, secreted peptide thymosin beta4 (Tbeta4) could be sufficiently used to inhibit myocardial cell death, stimulate vessel growth, and activate endogenous cardiac progenitors by reminding the adult heart on its embryonic program in vivo. The initiation of epicardial thickening accompanied by increase of myocardial and epicardial progenitors with or without infarction indicate that the reactivation process is independent of injury. Our results demonstrate Tbeta4 to be the first known molecule able to initiate simultaneous myocardial and vascular regeneration after systemic administration in vivo. Given our findings, the utility of Tbeta4 to heal cardiac injury may hold promise and warrant further investigation.
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.
The sequence LKKTET, which starts at residue 17 of the 43-aminoacid sequence of thymosin beta-4, and is strongly conserved between all β-thymosins, together with a similar sequence in WH2 domains, is frequently referred to as "the actin-binding motif" of these proteins, although modelling based on X-ray crystallography has shown that essentially the entire length of the β-thymosin sequence interacts with actin in the actin-thymosin complex.
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5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is a chemical by-product of the protein building block L-tryptophan. It is also produced commercially from the seeds of an African plant known as Griffonia simplicifolia 5-HTP is used for sleep disorders such as insomnia, depression, anxiety, migraine and tension-type headaches, fibromyalgia, obesity, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), seizure disorder, and Parkinson's disease..