Natural Somatostatin?
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Name not given
Posted on: May 15, 2001

I have an urgent question as to the possible natural replication of a hormone produced by the hypothalamus called Somatostatin. A similar creation in nature might be a life saving revelation. I know other hormones are created by nature – e.g. estrogen – so if you can point me in any direction I would be eternally grateful.

Sorry, I don’t know of a natural product or method that will stimulate somatostatin production.

[The following was added by Q&A editor Conrad Richter:]

There are commercial herbal products that claim to suppress the release of somatostatin with the goal of promoting muscle growth and fighting the effects of aging. For example, Triple Strength Growth Hormone™ is claimed to derive part of its effect from the Indian herb, Mucuna pruriens. The beans of this plant contain L-dopa which is converted to dopamine in the body which, the manufacturers claim, regulates somatostatin release.

There is some scientific support for a role of herbs on somatostatin release. Two constituents from the luffa gourd (Luffa cylindrica) were found to elevate somatostatin in the hippocampal area of the brain in rats (Qi et al. 1997, Zhongguo Yao Li Xue Bao 18(6):529-31). Alkaloids from species of Psychotria are antagonists of somatostatin receptors (Gueritte et al. 1999, Journal of Natural Products Research 62(6):838-43; Rasolonjanahary et al. 1995, European Journal of Pharmacology 285(1):19-23), leading to an increase of growth hormone release by pituitary cells (Gueritte-Voegelein et al. 1992, Journal of Natural Products Research 55(7):923-30). Fenugreek seeds too were shown to contain components that lower somatostatin levels in dogs (Ribes et al. 1984, Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism 28(1):37-43).

There is even evidence that the somatostatin protein itself is found in plants. One study found somatostatin in spinach extracts and in the aquatic plant Lemna gibba (LeRoith et al. 1985, Endocrinology 117(5):2093-7) and another found somatostatin-like peptides in tobacco (Werner et al. 1985, Peptides 6(5):797-802). The studies showed that the plant somatostatins are bioactive and not just inert analogues; but whether these somatostatins have any relevance in human physiology has not been studied as far as we know.

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