Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "

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Oxytocin is a rubbish doping substance


Newspaper and webzine headlines [ June 12 2014] [ 10 June 2014] would lead us to think that a new doping substance has joined the ranks. Injections of oxytocin, the 'cuddle hormone' or 'love hormone', are supposed to speed up muscle recovery. But before you rush to order the stuff, it might be an idea to read this post.

Oxytocin is a peptide hormone that is released during orgasm, but also when we do 'soft' things like cuddling, watching weepy movies or looking at photos of puppies or other things that real men generally don't admit to doing.

Synthetic oxytocin has been on the market for years. Doctors give it to women when they give birth if they need to speed up the delivery. It's also an ingredient in sprays prescribed to help new mothers produce more breast milk.

Chemical athletes occasionally use oxytocin as cortisol inhibitor, if online bulletin boards are anything to go by. [[ 1-30-2007] Usually they buy it from online 'research chemicals' suppliers, who also stock myostatin inhibitors, SARMs and MGF.

Oxytocin is a rubbish doping substance

Muscle enhancer?
Although chemical athletes don't use oxytocin as a growth enhancer, the article that researchers at Berkeley in the US published in Nature Communications suggests that oxytocin can actually have this effect. In elderly people, at least. In young people it has the opposite effect.

The researchers injected young and old mice with 1 microgram oxytocin per g bodyweight daily for four days. The human equivalent of this dose based on a bodybuilder weighing 100 kg is 100 mg oxytocin. After this the researchers induced muscle damage in the lab animals' gastrocnemius muscle and monitored the recovery of the damaged tissue.

YOTA = young mice, injected with a substance that deactivates oxytocin.
YOT = young mice, given oxytocin injection.
YV = young mice, given no active ingredients.
OV = old mice, given no active ingredients.
OOT = old mice, given oxytocin injection.

First figure: formation of new muscle tissue in damaged muscle. Second figure: development of young muscle cells into mature muscle cells in damaged tissue.

Oxytocin is a rubbish doping substance

Oxytocin is a rubbish doping substance

Oxytocin is a rubbish doping substance

The researchers also bred mice that could not synthesise oxytocin [KO]. When these mice reached middle age [12 Months], they had slightly less muscle than normal mice [WT]. The figure above shows this.

Muscle tissue homeostasis
"The potent positive effects of oxytocin on muscle tissue homeostasis and repair that were uncovered in this study are thus promising for developing an effective and safe new clinical strategy where oxytocin and oxytocin receptor agonists might be potentially used as systemically applicable and sustainable molecules for combating the deterioration of muscle mass, strength and agility in the elderly", the researchers write.

The researchers discovered that the concentration of oxytocin in the blood of the old mice was three times less than in the young mice, and somewhere in their article they say that the injections brought the oxytocin level in the older mice back to 'young levels'.

For this reason we have our doubts about whether oxytocin really has much of a growth enhancing effect on muscle. In 2011, Australian researchers at the University of New England published a study on the effects of the anabolic steroid trenbolone on the concentration of oxytocin in bulls. [Physiol Genomics. 2011 May 13;43(9):467-78.] The title of the study was Chronic exposure to anabolic steroids induces the muscle expression of oxytocin and a more than fiftyfold increase in circulating oxytocin in cattle.

Fiftyfold. You're not mistaken. And on top of that, remember that the doses of trenbolone that bulls are given are negligible compared with the amount that chemical athletes use. So why would athletes start using oxytocin when there are androgens like trenbolone around?

Nat Commun. 2014 Jun 10;5:4082.

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