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- Selank is a synthetic peptide of the naturally-occurring tuftsin. It affects both the immune and nervous systems.
- Selank is extremely effective in treating Generalized Anxiety Disorder, anxiety issues, stress and depression. It works as well as benzodiazepines drugs, a common category of anti-anxiety medications.
- It has immune modulating effects and helps and modulates brain health.
- Selank can help with alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
- It has no known side effects.
- Want to get better patient results and have a larger impact? Learn about the root causes of anxiety, cognitive decline and immune function by checking out our functional medicine training program at mindbodyfunctionalmedicine.com.
Are your patients or clients anxious? Do they have generalized anxiety disorder? Or maybe it’s you who suffers from anxiety? Then meet a peptide called Selank. Like other peptides, it can provide a novel remedy to health issues. Selank is especially great for anxiety issues. Please read on for the details!
** Please note: If you want the short summary version of this article, then please click here **
We have recently written many blogs about peptides. To recap, a peptide is a small protein, made up of a chain of amino acids. They can be used therapeutically to help with different health conditions. Click on the links to see our articles on peptide therapy, HGH, CJC 1295/Ipamorelin, BPC 157, PT 141, Ta1, VIP, Thymosin Beta 4, KPV, Trio, SS-31 and DSIP.
Anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and mood issues are quite common. There are many different causes of anxiety and many different approaches to resolving it. We teach on the topic of anxiety in our online functional medicine school, as it is such an important issue to be able to treat. There are many different causes of anxiety and we always should be considering the root causes. AND it is good to learn about advanced treatments that are easy, affordable and incredibly effective. This is what we are doing here! The peptide Selank is an interesting and cutting-edge tool to use with anxiety.
What is Selank?
Selank is a nootropic and a synthetic peptide. A nootropic is a drug, supplement or other substance used to improve cognitive function, particularly memory, creativity and motivation in healthy people. There are many substances that can support cognition. Research is at an exciting and early stage on nootropics. You can learn about topics like this, including the latest medical research, in our online functional medicine program.
A synthetic peptide is an analog of a natural peptide. It typically contains natural amino acids in its structure, like natural peptides. Selank is a synthetic version of the human peptide tuftsin and was developed by the Institute of Molecular Genetics of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Filatova E, 2017).
Tuftsin acts primarily on macrophages of the immune system (Fridkin M, 1989). It is involved in various cell functions such as phagocytosis (the ingestion of bacteria or other material by phagocytic cells), motility, immunogenic response, and bactericidal and tumoricidal activities (destroying and killing bacteria and tumor cells) (Fridkin M, 1989).
Selank is highly effective in the prevention and treatment of generalized anxiety disorder, stress and anxiety (Filatova E, 2017)
What does the Research Say?
Selank affects both the immune and the nervous systems.
The Immune System
Selank influences the expression of genes that mediate different types of immune responses, thereby maintaining the balance of the immune system (Kolomin T, 2014). Selank modulates the expression of Interleukin-6 (IL-6) and affects the amount of T helper cells (Uchakina ON, 2008). Selank can increase IL-6 in blood cells. IL-6 is an inflammatory protein that fight off infections.
The cytokine regulating effects of Selank indicate it can be used as an immunomodulator in patients with anxiety-asthenic disorders (Uchakina ON, 2008). When Selank was tested on people with depression, it led to changes in the Th1/Th2 cytokine balance in the serum of patients with generalized anxiety disorder (Uchakina ON, 2008).
The Nervous System
In the nervous system, Selank’s mechanism of action is thought to be related to its ability to affect the GABAergic system (Filatova E, 2017). GABA is the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter of the central nervous system. Its principal role is reducing neuronal excitability throughout the nervous system. The GABAergic system includes molecules involved in releasing or binding GABA. It is involved in the regulation of vigilance, anxiety, muscle tension, epileptogenic activity (changes in the brain that cause neurons to fire in an abnormal manner, known as a seizure) and memory functions.
Selank is involved in changes in the expression of 84 genes related to the functioning of the GABAergic system and neurotransmission (Filatova E, 2017). The amount of GABA in the brain changes in the presence of Selank (Filatova E, 2017). Selank can lead to a rapid change in the GABAergic system by binding to and modulating the activity of GABA receptors.
As a result, Selank has a distinct anxiety-relieving effect (Filatova E, 2017). It is comparable to benzodiazepine drugs, which are used to reduce and treat anxiety and insomnia. The benzodiazepines drugs act via GABA receptors and enhance the GABA effect (Filatova E, 2017).
Selank can affect the concentration of the monoamine neurotransmitters, which are dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin (Semenova TP, 2010). It helps to induce serotonin metabolism and can be used to correct disturbances caused by low serotonin metabolism (Semenova TP, 2009).
In rats, Selank can enhance memory storage processes due to its effect on serotonin levels in the brain (Semenova TP, 2010). Serotonin plays a significant role in learning and memory, in particular by interacting with the GABAergic system (Buhot MC, 2000). In mice, when serotonin release was increased, neuronal communication became stronger, improving the mice's spatial memory (Buhot MC, 2000). And when serotonin release was artificially blocked, spatial memory in the mice was impaired (Buhot MC, 2000).
Selank can help with brain health by increasing BDNF or Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (Inozemtseva LS, 2008). BDNF is a protein in the brain, active in the connections between nerve cells (synapses), where cell-to-cell communication occurs. BDNF helps regulate synaptic plasticity, which is important for learning and memory. Selank can quickly increase the expression of BDNF in the hippocampus of rats (Inozemtseva LS, 2008).
Selank affects enkephalins in the brain, which help to counteract the stress response (Miller P, 2013). Enkephalins are small opioid peptides in the brain that transmit messages. They primarily inhibit pain perception. Selank can help stabilize enkephalins in the blood (Miller P, 2013). In one study, mice without enkephalins showed exaggerated responses to painful or threatening environmental stimuli (Miller P, 2013). In another study, mice without enkephalins demonstrated increased anxiety-related behavioral responses in various stress tests, such as a maze test, light–dark test and hyperthermia test (Miller P, 2013).
Selank can also decrease depression in rats (Sarkisova KI, 2008). Selank in high doses can counteract symptoms of depression in the rats’ behavior (Sarkisova KI, 2008). It has mechanisms of action which are similar to antidepressants, such as activating the monoamine neurotransmitters and dopamine synthesis (Sarkisova KI, 2008).
One study looked at the effects of Selank on alcohol withdrawal in rats (Kolik LG, 2014). A single injection of Selank eliminated anxiety induced by alcohol withdrawal, suggesting that Selank is effective in eliminating alcohol withdrawal symptoms (Kolik LG, 2014).
What We Notice
We train doctors and clinicians all over the world in functional medicine in our online school. Therefore we get to see the clinical results not only from our practice, but also from the practices of the clinicians we mentor. With anxiety and with memory, we almost always see many root causes at play. Neurotransmitter imbalances, toxins, infections, blood sugar imbalances, free radical stress, nutrient imbalances and more can all play a role in the development of anxiety as well as the development of cognitive decline. We find the best results when we combine researched based peptides such as this with functional root cause lab testing and add in treatments for Lyme, mold, environmental toxins and other lab findings.
Are there any Side Effects?
Synthetic analogs of regulatory peptides typically contain only natural amino acids in their structure so they often do not have toxic side effects (Filatova E, 2017). In terms of side effects, Selank is actually better than traditional anxiety treatments. Benzodiazepines, for example, can have adverse effects. With Selank, there are no sedating or negative cognitive side effects and no associated addiction or withdrawal problems (Filatova E, 2017).
** Please stay tuned for our next blog on more Peptide Therapy! **
As always, please get in touch with us. If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety issues, or general health concerns, contact our clinic today. If you are interested in functional medicine training, please schedule a free practice evaluation call with us to see if our online functional medicine training and mentorship program meets your needs.
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