New Diet Plan Uses Oxytocin

8994313260_a2214a9e88_mDiet Doc, an online provider of medical weight loss programs, is offering a new program called the Emotional Eating Diet Plan. It includes inhaled oxytocin as part of the plan.

I spoke to Ryan Shelton, N.D., medical director of Diet Doc, about the plan and why and how Diet Doc is offering oxytocin to dieters in its program. He said that there are 16 or 17 scientific studies that support the use of oxytocin for weight loss. Some used human subjects' diet diaries and emotional surveys to find correlations between emotions like loneliness were correlated with eating more calories, and then saw a change after oxytocin administration.

In the research I scanned, administration of oxytocin reduced the likelihood of eating for pleasure (comfort) without interfering with normal hunger. (See the bottom of this article for a few studies supporting the idea of using oxytocin to help with weight loss.) However, our bodies are complex; note that in the study "Divergent Effects of Oxytocin Treatment of Obese Diabetic Mice," oxytocin seemed to increase insulin resistance, which can lead to Type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Shelton told me that Diet Doc did not start out to create a diet plan that included oxytocin. Instead, he said, "The Emotional Eating Diet Plan was devised first, then we started looking at outside agents, natural and herbal or pharmaceutical, to complement the actual diet."

Assessment forms on the Diet Doc website help site visitors and Diet Doc personnel identify what type of overeater they might be. In addition to emotional eaters, the company has plans for sugar cravers and people whose weight loss has gotten stuck. Diet plans typically include consultations with doctors, supplements, prescription drugs, food plans and exercise regimes.

Prescriptions for inhaled oxytocin are provided through compounding pharmacies; these are pharmacies that can produce drugs in forms or doses different from how they are typically prescribed.

Diet Doc doesn't provide statistics about patient results, but it emphasizes that people have to follow their prescribed programs for quite a while. Shelton said, "We're interested in sustainable weight loss. We have no problem helping people shed 15 or 20 pounds -- that's quite easy. We're interested in helping them achieve those goals while implementing long-term strategies of promoting health and wellness -- keeping that weight off. The weight issue is secondary to more important therapeutic goals, insuring a healthier lifestyle, movement and healthy nutritional intake."

Does this mean that someone who succeeds in shedding pounds via the Emotional Eating Diet Plan will have to keep taking oxytocin for the rest of his or her life? Not at all, he said. "The goal is to achieve certain therapeutic parameters. We try as best we can to implement strategies that, when in place, are not dependent on external agents, medications or supplements."

He acknowledged that there's no information on the possible side effects of long-term dosing with oxytocin. The first experimental oxytocin therapies began only about 10 years ago.

There are some very important things to note about the Diet Docs approach:

  • Dieters are working under a doctor's personal supervision.
  • Oxytocin is sold via a doctor's prescription only.
  • Diet plans are customized for individuals.
  • Oxytocin is only one part of the diet plan; the Emotional Eating Plan also may include other supplements and/or drugs, as well as, most important, decreased food intake and exercise.
  • Diet Docs says that oxytocin isn't appropriate for all dieters.

In short, oxytocin is not a magic weight-loss potion. For people who eat for comfort, to reduce stress or cope with feelings of isolation or loneliness, it may really help.

It's also interesting to note that this is still another case of private companies applying scientific research to product development without going through all the hoops of getting FDA approval or doing clinical trials. Diet Doc's prescribing oxytocin is legal: Physicians are allowed to prescribe FDA-approved drugs for uses other than that for which they've been approved. This is called off-label prescribing. The company is, in effect, conducting its own, private clinical trial.

I haven't tried Diet Doc, nor am I endorsing them. I'm not an affiliate marketer for the company; I write about oxytocin therapies of all kinds on this blog. To find out more about the Diet Doc Emotional Eating Diet  Plan, follow the link.

PHOTO: Mayan Brenn

A few studies:

Peripheral oxytocin suppresses food intake and causes weight loss in diet-induced obese rats. Gregory J. Morton , Brendan S. Thatcher , Roger D. Reidelberger , Kayoko Ogimoto , Tami Wolden-Hanson , Denis G. Baskin , Michael W. Schwartz , James E. Blevins. American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism Published 1 January 2012 Vol. 302 no.  1,  E134-E144 DOI: 10.1152/ajpendo.00296.2011.

Divergent Effects of Oxytocin Treatment of Obese Diabetic Mice on Adiposity and Diabetes. Altirriba Gutierrez, Jorge et al. Published in  Endocrinology. 2014, vol. n.a., p. en20141466 

Sex Hormone Lessens Snacking. Meredith Knight. Scientific American Mind 25, 11 (2014). Published online: 13 February 2014 | doi:10.1038/scientificamericanmind0314-11a (subscription access only)

Oxytocin, Feeding, and Satiety. Nancy Sabatier et al. Front Endocrinology (Lausanne). 2013; 4: 35. Published online Mar 20, 2013. Prepublished online Nov 22, 2012.  doi:  10.3389/fendo.2013.00035

 


Oxytocin Injection: a Personal Experience

Oxytocin bowtie Sprechter

The latest news about oxytocin is that it helped regenerate muscle tissue in old mice. This is not so surprising; while most of the excitement about oxytocin is around its influence as a neurochemical on our emotions and thoughts, it's also a hormone that travels through the bloodstream and helps regulate many bodily functions.

A study led by Irini Conboy at UC Berkeley found that circulating oxytocin can help repair muscles, reducing the muscle wasting, or sarcopenia, that comes with aging. Daily subcutaneous injections of oxytocin allowed the older mice to repair muscle injuries as fast as the younger ones did.

The study was published June 10 in Nature.

I have an acquaintance who's struggled with fibromyalgia for most of his life. He's working with a naturopath who is able to prescribe drugs and is willing to help him experiment with treatments. He recently tried oxytocin injections. I asked him to write me about his experience, and here's what he says:

I injected 1 ml (10 units) of oxytocin subcutaneously, for a couple of months, as an experiment. I found that it raised my mood and gave me energy, which jibes with the article's conclusions. I stopped using it because oxytocin is only manufactured in small vials suitable for one-time use. For daily use, a bigger vial that can use a vial adapter would be required.

Oxytocin is quite expensive, and, unlike drugs like insulin which are packaged to be drawn out with a sterile needle over and over, the vials my friend got from the pharmacy were more than he needed for a single injection, but they could not be resealed.

People frequently ask me how to get oxytocin, and I always tell them to find a healthcare professional who will work with them, so my friend's experience is a good example of how the relationship with a medical provider can work. Unfortunately, it also points up a big issue with using oxytocin off-label.

PHOTO: Speicher Tie Co.


Chile and Argentina Test Oxytocin for Chronic Migraine

Trigemina, a company focused on creating non-narcotic pain relief drugs, is enrolling patients in a Phase II clinical trial of inhaled oxytocin to treat chronic migraine. Trigemina's oxytocin product, known as T1-001 (no doubt to be renamed to something lyrical if it comes to market), has already shown promising results in preliminary studies, the company says.

This use makes perfect sense: Oxytocin is a general analgesic (pain reducer), and it also contributes to relaxation and healing.

It's notable that Trigemina specializes in inhalant drugs, and it has a proprietary formulation of oxytocin. Without some market angle, there's little incentive for companies to develop oxytocin-based drugs.

If and when this comes to market, I can see it being prescribed off-label for all kinds of things, including   persistent genital arousal disorder (PGAD) and fibromyalgia.

 


Oxytocin to Treat Fibromyalgia?

For a couple of friends, I wanted to track down evidence that oxytocin could be useful to treat the symptoms of fibromyalgia. There are some shreds, just shreds of evidence. But a single, intravenous dose of oxytocin administered by a doctor should not have negative effects, as long as a woman wasn't pregnant. If I was suffering and had a physician who was willing to experiment, I might try it.

Here's what I found:
Plasma oxytocin levels in female fibromyalgia syndrome patients:

This 2000 study by Anderberg and Uvnas-Moberg looked at oxytocin levels in 39 women with symptoms of fibromyalgia, some of whom were depressed, comparing them to 30 controls (women without fibromyalgia). It found that depressed patients had significantly with lower levels of oxytocin in their blood, as did the small group of fibromyalgia patients who had a lot of pain, stress and depression.

The researchers concluded: "... oxytocin may, together with other neuropeptides and neurotransmitters, play a role in the integration of the stress axes, monoaminergic systems and the pain processing peptides in the pathophysiologic mechanisms responsible for the symptoms in the [fibromyalgia syndrome].

Alternative treatment of fibromyalgia using the oxytocin-hormonal-nutrient protocol to increase nitric oxide.(Clinical report)

Jorge Flechas is an MD who uses oxytocin to treat fibromyalgia. He has not published in peer-reviewed journals, but he did write this paper. (You will need to register for a free trial to read the whole thing.)

 Low-Dose Oxytocin Stops Burning Pain in Fibromyalgia

I have no idea where this came from, and it's only one person. But the paper says, "A two-week intranasal treatment with low-dose oxytocin proved effective in resolving the burning pain, but also resulted in a general improvement, including of hydration."

From Fatigued to Fantastic is a hypish-sounding book by Jacob Teitelbaum. In it, he says that one injection of 10 IU (1 cc) into a muscle may decrease pain in 30 to 60 minutes, although it doesn't always work.

It might be worth a shot.


Oxytocin Could Help Schizophrenia

3206360360_07a0e2fb53_mInhaled oxytocin looks very promising for relieving some of the symptoms of schizophrenia: the inability to perceive emotion in others, to respond appropriately to social cues, mistrust of others and the tendency to come to the wrong conclusions about other people's actions.

Speaking at a National Institute of Mental Health symposium, Deanna Kelly, Pharm.D., of the University of Maryland, presented the results of several studies that showed improvement in patients with schizophrenia.

According to the report in Clinical Psychiatry News,

"Emerging clinical data demonstrate that oxytocin administrated via the intranasal route, which is believed to provide a favorable pathway for the peptide into the central nervous system, provides benefit with respect to emotion recognition, positive and negative core symptoms, social cognitive measures, and neurocognition."

PHOTO: Dark Botxy


INSAR: Single Snort of Oxytocin Could Improve Social Brain Function

A paper to be presented at the 2012 international Society for Autism Research used fMRI to find that a single dose of inhaled oxytocin increased activity in areas of the brain that process social activity.

The researchers' conclusion:

These results provide the first, critical steps towards devising more effective treatments for the core social deficits in autism which may involve a combination of validated clinical interventions with an administration of oxytocin. Such a treatment approach will fundamentally alter for the better our understanding of autism and its treatment.

LeftBrainRightBrain has more info and a link to the study, led by I. Gordon at Yale.


New Patent App: Melanotan II to Enhance Oxytocin

220px-Melatonin-3d-CPKLarry Young, one of the early researchers on oxytocin and bonding in prairie voles, applied for a patent on using Melanotan II to enhance the effects of oxytocin used during psychotherapy. Co-applicant is Meera E. Modi, a member of Young's lab at Emory University.

The patent application "relates to methods of improving social cognition in a subject in need thereof including administering a compound that stimulates oxytocin (OT) release in the brain. Typically, the compound that stimulated OT release is a melanocortin receptor agonist. The compound, in certain embodiments, is melanotan II or derivative thereof."

Melanotan II is a synthetic version of melatonin.

Young and Modi point out that there are melanocortin receptors located on nerve cells that produce oxytocin. So, instead of having a patient inhale oxytocin directly, he or she could be given melanotan II or something like it, which would cause the brain to release oxytocin.

A bit of scientific inside-baseball: Larry Young and Sue Carter got a lot of attention for their work showing oxytocin's effects on prairie voles, but they seemed to quickly get left behind when researchers, most notably Paul Zak, began dosing humans. So, it's interesting to see Young getting in this game.

Also, I'm not a patent expert, nor a researcher, but the Young-Modi patent application is based on studies done with prairie voles. In the early days, Young and Carter were careful to say that they didn't know if their research applied to humans. Turned out it did. But I wonder if a patent would be granted for human treatment based on animal studies. Any experts out there want to weigh in?

You can read the patent application here: http://www.freshpatents.com/-dt20120503ptan20120108510.php


What Is Oxytocin Factor?

People always ask me, "Where can I get some oxytocin?" I always tell them to generate their own. A new product on the market actually contains oxytocin.

Moreover, I have a lot of respect for Bryan Post, the person who developed the product and acts as neutriceutical director for ABC Neutriceuticals.

Bryan Post is a psychologist who does ground-breaking work with families of kids who have severe behavior problems, mostly as the result of early trauma from adoption or spending time in the foster system.

His approach takes into account the dynamics of the whole family, recognizing that a parent's anger or inability to connect can further traumatize the child. Post was himself an adopted and disruptive child. At the Post Institute for Family-Centered Therapy and in workshops around the country, he helps parents learn to provide the brain-shaping experiences their children missed.

I talked to Bryan about how he developed the product, what's in it, how stable it is, whether it's really legal to sell, and why he thinks it's safe. These are all questions you should ask about any supplement or product.

I'm not ready to endorse this product, but if you decide to buy it, here is my affiliate link: https://abcnutri1.infusionsoft.com/go/home/kuchinsk/

I'm afraid my voice in this is a bit warbly (thanks, Skype!) but Bryan's is clear.

Bryan Post 3-23-12ED




People, Pets and Oxytocin

NPR had a nice story on therapy animals, pointing out how bonding with an animal feels safer and can improve our ability to bond with people.

If you read my blog regularly or have heard me speak, you know that I think animals are one of the best ways "in" to connection. I first experienced love when I got a puppy.

It can be scary to try to connect with a human being -- and traumatic if the relationship fails. Animals are non-judgmental and easy to give to and receive from.


San Diego Clinical Trial of Oxytocin for Anxiety

101734066_65130a6b32_mA researcher at UC San Diego is recruiting people with symptoms of anxiety for a six-week, double-blind trial to see whether inhaling oxytocin can help.

David Feifel is actively recruiting study participants now. Because it's double-blind, only some of the group will get oxytocin, the rest will get placebo. The idea is to see whether oxytocin can enhance the effects of other medications, rather than replace them. The does is 20 IU per day.

By way of the San Diego Reader blog: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs/news-ticker/2012/jan/04/controversial-love-hormone-trial-conducted-at-ucsd/

PHOTO: World of Oddy