Melanotan II, also known as MT-2, is a peptide discovered in the 1980s. It appears to researchers to be safe and effective when pinned against natural α-MSH. The results the many studies conducted since the peptide’s discovery have never shown any harmful side effects.
What is a Peptide?
A peptide is Greek for “digested”. The short chains of amino acids are linked by peptide bonds. Peptides can be distinguished from proteins based on size. As a benchmark, they contain approximately 50 amino acids or less.
The shortest peptide consists of two amino acids joined by a single peptide bond. It’s called a dipeptide. There are also bytripeptides, tetrapeptides, and polypetides. A polypeptide is a long, continuous yet unbranched peptide chain.
What is an Amino Acid?
Amino acids are organic compounds made from amine and carboxylic acid functional group. They also have a side-chain specific that is amino acid specific.
The key elements of an amino acid include:
There are close to 500 amino acids which are classified in different ways. Structurally speaking, they can be alpha, beta, gamma or delta. Some other ways to categorize them include:
Side Chain Group (Aliphatic, Acyclic, Aromatic, Containing Hydroxyl or Sulfur)
Polarity pH Level
As a protein, amino acids make up human muscles, cells, and other type of tissue. It is the second largest component of the body. Water is the first.
Amino acids are critical for neurotransmitter transport and biosynthesis. They are used to synthesize other molecules. Examples include:
Trypophan. A precursor of the neurotransmitter serotonin.
Tyrosine as well as Phenylalanine. Precursors of catecholamine neurotransmitters, dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine.
Glycine. A precursor of porphyrins like heme.
Arginine. A precursor of nitric oxide.
Ornithine and S-Adenosylmethionine. Precursors of polyamines.
Aspartate, Glycine, and Glutamine. Precursors of nucleotides.
Phenylalanine. Precursor of phenylpropanoids, which are an important part of plant metabolism.
Classifications of Peptides
Peptides can be classified as:
Biological Oligomers and Polymers
Oligo and Polysaccharides
Synthetic peptides are valuable in advancing biological sciences. Their genetic makeup allows researchers to see how strings of amino acids make up cells, combat disease, and improve overall health as well as the physique. Clinical trials involving MT-2 have proven to be helpful in the fight against skin cancer.
The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that “One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.” In the United States, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. There are 3.5 million skin cancers diagnosed annually in over two million people. MT-2 because of its tanning properties has been promising the prevention of different types of skin cancer.
First Synthesized Melanotan II
The University of Arizona first synthesized Melanotan II. They knew that melanin activated in the skin was one of the best ways to combat skin cancer. Inducing the body’s natural pigmentation to produce a tan before being exposed to UV was ideal. Through a naturally occurring hormone, α-MSH cause melanogenesis which causes the skin’s pigment cells to produce melanin.
To test Melanotan II’s efficiency, it was tested in an attempt to cause sunless tanning. It’s half life was too short so they worked to provide a better, more potent alternative. Researchers along with Victor J. Hruby and Ma E. Hadley found a peptide, α-MSH, that was 1,000 times more potent than a natural α-MSH. They gave the molecule the name of “Melanotan” and later “Melanotan-1”. Through further research, they discovered “Melanotan II,” a supposed answer to skin cancer melanoma.
The scientists wanted to use the peptides as a cancer fighter by creating a tan in test subjects without exposure to the sun. They believed that an artificial tan could reduce the potential of skin damage and ultimately deadly skin cancer. The scientists licensed their patented peptides to biotechnology companies that could continue to conduct research using them.
Reduction of Skin Cancer and Skin Damage
Melanotan 2 has been essential in the reduction of skin cancer and skin damage caused by harmful UV rays. Because it has natural tanning mechanisms in the body, it can effectively be used to tan the skin without exposure from the sun. Sensitivities to UV rays can be combated with MT-2.
The main research on the peptide has been done in an attempt to fight cancer. More and more studies are being conducted on test subjects as a way of measuring side effects and potential issues with dosage. Aside from its tanning properties, Melanotan II has a number of other benefits.
A Well-Known Aphrodisiac and Fighter of Erectile Dysfunction
Clinical trials showed tanning was evident after five low doses of Melanotan II were injected into research subjects every other day. Mild side effects were experienced but easily managed at smaller doses of MT-2. Erections, erectile dysfunction, and nausea were symptoms of Melanotan II. A known-aphrodisiac, the peptide has been known to increase libido, the frequency of erections, and fight erectile dysfunction.
A Weight Loss Aid
Melanotan 2 has also been known to increase weight loss. Research test subjects experienced suppression in caloric intake and an increase of oxygen consumption a week after studies started. It has been suggested that Melanotan 2 can lower caloric and carbohydrate intake in overweight and obese test subjects.
Cholesterol and Serum Insulin Levels Reduced
Cholesterol level reduction as well as serum insulin level reduction is more successful when compared to other control treatments. Melanotan II reduces the level of acetylcholine A caboxylase expression to prevent palmitoltransferase ImRNA and carnitine through muscle pair-feeding. Muscle issues are reduces while cholesterol and muscle fat catabolism is increased.
Additional Traits of MT-2
Other traits associated with chemical Melanotan 2 include:
Basal Insulinaemia Reduction
NPY Orexigenic Action Suppression
Kidney Failure and Muscle Breakdown from Too Much Melanotan 2
Too much Melanotan 2 has the possibility of causing kidney failure and muscle breakdown. Illinois Poison Control Center researchers describe a case in detail in clinical toxicology reports where the peptide was misused. Despite being advertised to the public, MT-2 can cause muscle proteins to enter the bloodstream which causes muscles to disintegrate and kidneys to fail.