Melanotan II

Melanotan 2 (MT2) is a synthetic cyclic heptapeptide that is mainly used to increase tanning. It stimulates a natural increase in melanin production. Melanin is the main determinant of skin color in humans. Melanin is a brown pigment which causes skin to become darker in appearance when exposed to UV rays.

Melanotan II was first synthesized at the University of Arizona when looking at possible ways to treat skin cancer. They hypothesized that an effective way to reduce skin cancer rates in people would be to induce the body's natural pigmentary system to produce a protective tan prior to UV exposure.

Clinical trials have shown that Melanotan 2 safely promotes melanogenesis. This is a process were melanocytes produce melanin. Lighter-skinned people have low base levels of melanogenesis. Exposure to UV-B radiation causes an increased melanogenesis. The purpose of the melanogenesis is to protect the hypodermis, the layer under the skin, from the UV-B light that can damage it. It does this by absorbing all the UV-B light and blocking it from passing the skin layer.

I have conducted my own research on the tanning effects of MT2. My own clinical trials have displayed the fast and pronounced effects MT2 has on promoting melanogenesis. MT2 is a very powerful drug in this regard and results have been seen with as alittle as 100mcg daily injected subcutaneously. Results increased in a dose dependent manner during my experiments. However side effects were seen in my testers at higher dosages. As a result I feel the optimal dosing range for future clinical trials would be 250-500mcg daily.

MT2 has also been shown to have aphrodisiac effects. Giuliano F et al. (2006) showed MT2 exerting a dose-dependent effect on erections in anesthetized rats. They went on to show MT2 having inducer and facilitator activities on erection depending upon delivery route of the peptide. There are various studies showing similar results in both animals and humans. Wessells H et al. (2000) highlighted the positive effect MT2 has on sexual desire and erections in men suffering with erectile dysfunction and various organic risk factors.

Through clinical research it has been shown MT2 has excellent fat burning effects. It was previously thought that it assisted weight loss indirectly due to its appetite-reducing effect. However, it now appears that MT2 has direct fat burning effects. Strader AD et al. (2007) is a great example of the direct fat burning effect. They conducted a series of tests including one that shown MT2 treatment led to a general reduction in both visceral and subcutaneous fat tissue in high-fat-fed mice. Choi YH et al. (2003) also showed in addition to reducing food intake and inhibiting body weight gain, administration of MT2 reduces fat mass. They concluded this was most likely by accelerated lipid mobilization, but not by apoptosis (cell death).

A very interesting effect MT2 brings about is it's ability to increase insulin sensitivity during researchers trials. Heijboer AC et al (2005) studied the effects MT2 has on hepatic and whole-body insulin sensitivity. Results showed administration of MT2 increased insulin-mediated glucose disposal but did not affect the capacity of insulin to suppress EGP. MT2's acute effect on insulin sensitivity was further highlighted during studies done by the Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine. Banno R et al. (2007) examined the effects MT2 had on insulin sensitivity in diet-induced obese rats. The insulin tolerance test showed that insulin sensitivity was significantly improved in the MT2 group compared to the pair-fed group. Furthermore, MT2 treatment increased the number of small-sized adipocytes in epididymal white adipose tissues, suggesting that MT2 increased insulin sensitivity through action on the white adipose tissues.

Side effects are usually observed when MT2 is researched. The most common noticed usually in the early stages of clinical trials are:
Nausea and decreased appetite, flushing of the face, tiredness and yawning, spontaneous erections (males).
These should disappear over a short space of time. Although I recommend bed time dosing to minimize certain side effects. An anti histamine is very useful 1 hour before injection. Ginger root is a natural anti-histamine and anti-emetic so is great for this purpose.

Less common side effects during longer trials include:
Darkening of lips, darkening of freckles, increased libido (females).
If you wanted to minimize these effects I would recommend using a lower dose. For the darkening of lips a high strength sun block should be used as a preventative measure.

References

1. Giuliano F, Clément P, Droupy S, Alexandre L, Bernabé J (2006) Melanotan-II: Investigation of the inducer and facilitator effects on penile erection in anaesthetized rat. PMID: 16360286 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
2. Choi YH, Li C, Hartzell DL, Lin J, Della-Fera MA, Baile CA (2003) MTII administered peripherally reduces fat without invoking apoptosis in rats. PMID: 12834806 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
3. Strader AD, Shi H, Ogawa R, Seeley RJ, Reizes O (2007) The effects of the melanocortin agonist (MT-II) on subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue in rodents. PMID: 17567964 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
4. Banno R, Arima H, Hayashi M, Goto M, Watanabe M, Sato I, Ozaki N, Nagasaki H, Ozaki N, Oiso Y (2007) Central administration of melanocortin agonist increased insulin sensitivity in diet-induced obese rats. PMID: 17321524 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
5. Heijboer AC, van den Hoek AM, Pijl H, Voshol PJ, Havekes LM, Romijn JA, Corssmit EP (2005) Intracerebroventricular administration of melanotan II increases insulin sensitivity of glucose disposal in mice. PMID: 15971058 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
6. Wessells H, Gralnek D, Dorr R, Hruby VJ, Hadley ME, Levine N (2000) Effect of an alpha-melanocyte stimulating hormone analog on penile erection and sexual desire in men with organic erectile dysfunction. PMID: 11018622 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE].