A synthetically produced cyclic lactam analog of the peptide hormone α-MSH (stimulates melanocytes and melanin production) is known as Melanotan 2.
This α-MSH hormone is responsible for melanogenesis, pigmentation, or skin darkening. Melanotan 2 was developed at the University of Arizona, as its synthetic variant, and due to its ability to increase the production of pigments, it mainly shows darkening effects, or skin pigmentation. In clinical studies, it was found that Melanotan 2, in addition to increasing skin tan, also has aphrodisiac effects, suppresses appetite and promotes fat burning.Let's take a look now at some of the theses that are circulating about Melanotan 2 and evaluate whether they are facts or just an unfounded myth!
How did it all start?
Scientists from the University of Arizona came up with the thesis that increased skin pigmentation, or tanning the skin, could be an effective protection against skin cancer. Precisely because of the activation of melanin, it was assumed that naturally increased pigmentation could be a protection against ultraviolet rays and cancer. The hormone α-MSH is responsible for the production of melanin in the body by activating melanocytes, but sunlight is needed to start this process. However, exposure to the sun itself is now considered one of the main causes of skin cancer. If it were possible to activate the pigments without the presence of sunlight, it would be a move towards a greater possible protection of the skin against UV and at the same time with a lower risk of developing the disease. However, the α-MSH hormone has a very short half-life. Even though experiments were done with its administration directly into the body, it turned out that due to its short half-life it practically cannot be used as a therapeutic agent. The alternative was to develop its synthetic variant.
Before the Melanotan 1 and Melanotan 2 peptides were finally developed, scientists went through many different molecules. Melanotan has been shown to be 1000 times more effective than the hormone α-MSH. Thus, it was possible to develop a peptide that can increase the pigmentation (tanning) of the skin without exposing it to the sunlight. It is believed that the tan would be able to fight the harmful effects of UV radiation.
So what is the correct answer to the question of whether Melanotan 2 is able to fight skin cancer? The answer is simple. Further investigation and collection of factual evidence is needed to confirm this claim with certainty. Research studies have so far proven the ability of Melanotan 2 to induce tanning without the need for the sun, but its protection against UV and its negative health consequences is still the subject of extensive scientific investigation.
Yes, Melanotan 2 has aphrodisiac effects and helps with erectile dysfunction. We can approximate it based on the findings of three researches.
In 1996, the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Arizona conducted a phase 1 clinical trial on 3 men to investigate the direct effects of Melanotan 2 in healthy humans. The results of the study revealed findings that Melanotan 2 is able to induce tanning of the skin without exposure to the sun through the administration of a subcutaneous injection in 5 doses. The men received low doses every other day. Side effects noted included mild nausea and spontaneous erections.
Subsequently, another university study was published in 1998, conducted on 3 men directly suffering from erectile dysfunction caused by psychogenic factors. Melanotan 2 was also able to induce an erection in them. Side effects could be managed at a dose of up to 0.025 mg/kg of body weight.
A third study from 2000 also concluded that Melanotan 2 is able to induce an erection in patients with organic erectile dysfunction, and the same is true of PT-141 (a similar synthetically produced variant). Although Melanotan 2 has not yet been approved by the FDA in the US as an over-the-counter drug for erectile dysfunction, it is still being investigated as a possible treatment for sexual dysfunction in men.
Although Melanotan 2 has been the subject of studies on nutrition and food intake in mice, where it has been shown to reduce body weight, adipose tissue in internal organs, and suppress caloric intake, many argue that there is no conclusive evidence that Melanotan 2 can be used for weight loss. Melanotan is reported to reduce appetite, which could lead to weight loss, but this is only a side effect of this peptide. Using Melanotan 2 for weight loss and weight reduction would then probably be considered "off-label" use.
The answer is: Yes, Melatonan 2 could be a potential drug for the treatment of impotence in the near future. The mentioned 3 clinical studies on men showed that Melanotan 2 is capable of inducing an erection even in patients with psychogenic and organic erectile dysfunction. The synthetic variant PT-141 did the same. Therefore, it is very likely that this peptide will become the basis for drugs for similar male problems. Although the treatment of impotence certainly requires a more complex approach and may have different causes. However, further research will certainly bring new important knowledge, evidence and possibilities in this direction.
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