Melanotan II- A brief history and explanation of this peptide hormone.

Melanotan II- A brief history and explanation of this peptide hormone.

Way back in the 1960’s, in labs across the world, scientists created a synthetic analogue of the peptide named a-melanocyte stimulating hormone (a-MSH),  which is produced naturally in the body and thus stimulating the hormone to even greater levels. Rats were the medical ‘guinea pigs’ of choice as it was originally developed as a drug to treat female sexual dysfunction and male erectile dysfunction.

Fast forward a couple of decades later to the 1980s and scientists working at the University of Arizona attempted to combine a-MSH with other analogues to create a sunless tanning agent, eventually synthesizing Melanotan I. The more effective and potent version known as Melanotan II soon followed which came with it’s own unique and now infamous mis-hap. A scientist trialling the peptide accidentally injected himself with twice the dose intended and the results were a very painful eight hour erection  and plenty of vomiting along the way.

It was discovered that MT II acts as a non-selective agonist of the melanocortin receptors from MC1 through to MC5. The tanning effects are understood to take place at the MC1 receptor which initiates a process called melanogenesis. (For those interested the sexual impact is found in the MC4 receptor and to a lesser extent the MC3 receptor.)

Melanogenesis is the process where melanocytes produce excess melanin which is a pigment found primarily in the skin. (It is also found in the hair, nails, ears etc.). Melanogenesis leads to a long lasting alteration of the pigmentation of one’s skin. This is why when the user of MT II has reached their desired colour, much lesser use of the peptide is sufficient to maintain the newly desired skin tone.

As MT II activates and increases the levels of melanin in the skin this can finally put to bed a question that is asked probably the most frequently over its usage. Does MT II work without UV exposure? Yes, absolutely it does. The science behind the mechanism of the peptide proves this. However, is this method optimal? No, absolutely not. MT II administration responds more effectively and rapidly in the body when combined with adequate UV exposure, be that from natural sunlight or synthetic tanning beds.

In closing, side effects to take into consideration can be nausea, increased libido, flushing of the skin, loss of appetite and in more severe cases vomiting. All of these sides of course are entirely dependant on the individual user’s tolerance and the dosages used.

For the most effective results, small doses either frequently or infrequently (depending on your natural skin tone) combined with sensible UV exposure (i.e. not daily, lengthy sunbed sessions) wins the race. Think of it more as a chisel to refine one’s appearance than whacking away at it with a hammer until it will eventually break.

Hope this helps others to understand a little more about the benefits and potential side effects of using Melanotan II and to utilise it in the most efficient way possible.

Ryan Smith

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