Thymus Extracts

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Thymus Extracts

Uses

Thymus Extracts

Thymus extracts are extracts derived from the thymus glands usually of young calves (bovine). The thymus is one of our major immune system glands. It is composed of two soft pinkish-gray lobes lying in bib-like fashion just below the thyroid gland and above the heart. To a large extent, the health of the thymus determines the health of the immune system. The thymus is responsible for many immune system functions, including the production of T lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell responsible for "cell-mediated immunity." Cell-mediated immunity refers to immune mechanisms not controlled or mediated by antibodies. Cell-mediated immunity is extremely important in the resistance to infection by certain bacteria, yeast (including Candida albicans), fungi, parasites, and viruses (including herpes simplex, Epstein-Barr, and the viruses that cause hepatitis). Cell-mediated immunity is also critical in protecting against the development of cancer, allergies, and autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis. The thymus gland also releases several hormones, such as thymosin, thymopoeitin, and serum thymic factor, that regulate many immune functions.

What Are "Star" Ratings?

a7_3star   Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.

a7_2star   Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.

a7_1star   For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:


Used for Amount Why
Bronchitis
3 mg per 2.2 lbs (1 kg) body weight daily 3 stars   Thymus extract from calves, known as Thymomodulin, has been found to decrease the frequency of respiratory infections in children who were prone to such infections.

3 stars  Bronchitis

3 mg per 2.2 lbs (1 kg) body weight daily

The thymus gland plays a number of important roles in the functioning of the immune system. Thymus extract from calves, known as Thymomodulin®, has been found, in a double-blind study, to decrease the frequency of respiratory infections in children who were prone to such infections.1 The amount of Thymomodulin used in that study was 3 mg per kg of body weight per day.


Used for Amount Why
Allergies and Sensitivities
120 mg per day of thymomodulin 2 stars   Thymomodulin, a special preparation of the thymus gland of calves, has been shown to prevent allergic reactions to food in a double-blind study of allergic children.

2 stars  Allergies and Sensitivities

120 mg per day of thymomodulin

Thymomodulin is a special preparation of the thymus gland of calves. In a double-blind study of allergic children who had successfully completed an elimination diet, 120 mg per day of thymomodulin prevented allergic skin reactions to food and lowered blood levels of antibodies associated with those foods.2 These results confirmed similar findings in an earlier, controlled trial.3

Used for Amount Why
Hay Fever
120 mg daily purified thymus polypeptides 2 stars   A thymus extract known as Thymomodulin has been shown in studies to improve the symptoms of hay fever and allergic rhinitis.

2 stars  Hay Fever

120 mg daily purified thymus polypeptides

The oral administration of a thymus extract known as Thymomodulin has been shown in preliminary studies and double-blind trials to improve the symptoms of hay fever and allergic rhinitis.4 , 5 , 6 Presumably this clinical improvement is the result of restoration of proper control over immune function.


Used for Amount Why
Hepatitis
200 mg of crude extracts or 40 mg purified proteins three times per day 2 stars   Proteins from the thymus gland, an important part of the immune system, may have a beneficial effect in people with chronic hepatitis B and C.

2 stars  Hepatitis

200 mg of crude extracts or 40 mg purified proteins three times per day

Proteins from the thymus gland, an important part of the immune system, may have a beneficial effect in people with chronic hepatitis B. Initial trials done in Poland used injected thymus proteins with good results.7 Further trials using a variety of thymus extracts by mouth have found that they can improve blood tests that measure liver damage as well as improve immune cell numbers.8 , 9 Preliminary evidence also suggests these extracts may help patients with hepatitis C.10 The standard recommendation for supplementation is 200 mg three times per day of crude extracts or 40 mg three times per day of purified proteins.


Used for Amount Why
Immune Function
1 to 1.5 mg thymus polypeptides per 2.2 lbs body weight 2 stars   The thymus gland is responsible for many immune system functions. A thymus extract known as Thymomodulin has been shown to improve immune function in some people.

2 stars  Immune Function

1 to 1.5 mg thymus polypeptides per 2.2 lbs body weight

The thymus gland is responsible for many immune system functions. Preliminary studies suggest that a thymus extract known as Thymomodulin® may improve immune function, and double-blind trials in children and adults with a history of recurrent respiratory-tract infections have found reduced numbers of recurrent infections with Thymomodulin supplementation.11 , 12 , 13 , 14 , 15 Thymomodulin has also been shown in a double-blind study to improve immune function in cases of exercise-induced immune suppression, and in preliminary studies to improve immune function in people with diabetes and in elderly people.16 , 17 , 18 , 19

Used for Amount Why
Asthma
Refer to label instructions 1 star   A thymus extract known as thymomodulin has been shown to improve the symptoms and course of asthma, presumably as the result of restoration of proper immune function control.

1 star  Asthma

The oral administration of a thymus extract known as thymomodulin has been shown in preliminary and double-blind clinical trials to improve the symptoms and course of asthma.20 , 21 , 22 , 23 Presumably this clinical improvement is the result of restoration of proper control over immune function.


Used for Amount Why
HIV and AIDS Support
Refer to label instructions 1 star   In one trial, a thymus extract known as Thymomodulin improved several immune parameters among people with early HIV infection, including an increase in T-helper cells.

1 star  HIV and AIDS Support

In a preliminary trial, a thymus extract known as Thymomodulin improved several immune parameters among people with early HIV infection, including an increase in the number of T-helper cells.24

How It Works

How to Use It

A number of different thymus preparations are commercially available. However, whether any of them have the same effects as Thymomodulin, which is not available in the United States, is still unknown. The recommended amount of thymus extract varies according to the type of preparation.

Where to Find It

Thymus extracts (from bovine sources) are found in capsules and tablets as a dietary supplement. Thymomodulin is not available in the United States, and it is unknown whether any of the thymus extracts that are available have the same effects as Thymomodulin.

Possible Deficiencies

Since it is not an essential nutrient, no deficiency state exists.

Interactions

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

At the time of writing, there were no well-known interactions with this supplement.

Interactions with Medicines

Certain medicines interact with this supplement.

May Be Beneficial: Some medicines may increase the need for this supplement.
Avoid: Some medicines interact with this supplement, so they should not be taken together.
Check: Some interactions between this supplement and certain medicines require more explanation. Click the link to see details.

Note: The following list only includes the generic or class name of a medicine. To find a specific brand name, use the Medicines Index.

May Be Beneficial: Cisplatin
May Be Beneficial: Cyclophosphamide
May Be Beneficial: Docetaxel
May Be Beneficial: Fluorouracil
May Be Beneficial: Paclitaxel

Side Effects

Side Effects

At the time of writing, there were no well-known side effects caused by this supplement.

References

1. Fiocchi A, Borella E, Riva E, et al. Double-blind clinical trial for the evaluation of the therapeutical effectiveness of a calf thymus derivative (Thymomodulin) in children with recurrent respiratory infections. Thymus 1986;8:331–9.

2. Cavagni G, Piscopo E, Rigoli E, et al. Food allergy in children: an attempt to improve the effects of the elimination diet with an immunomodulating agent (thymomodulin). A double-blind clinical trial. Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol 1989;11:131–42.

3. Genova R, Guerra A. Thymomodulin in management of food allergy in children. Int J Tissue React 1986;8:239–42.

4. Cazzola P, Mazzanti P, Bossi G. In vivo modulating effect of a calf thymus acid lysate on human T lymphocyte subsets and CD4+/CD8+ ratio in the course of different diseases. Curr Ther Res 1987;42:1011–7.

5. Kouttab NM, Prada M, Cazzola P. Thymomodulin: Biological properties and clinical applications. Med Oncol Tumor Pharmacother 1989;6:5–9 [review].

6. Marzari R, Mazzanti P, Cazzola P, Pirodda E. Perennial allergic rhinitis: prevention of the acute episodes with Thymomodulin. Minerva Med 1987;78:1675–81.

7. Skotnicki AB. Therapeutic application of calf thymus extract (TFX). Med Oncol Tumor Pharmacother 1989;6:31–43 [review].

8. Galli M, Crocchiolo P, Negri C, et al. Attempt to treat acute type B hepatitis with an orally administered thymic extract (thymomodulin): Preliminary results. Drugs Exp Clin Res 1985;11:665–9.

9. Bortolotti F, Cadrobbi P, Crivellaro C, et al. Effect of an orally administered thymic derivative, thymomodulin, in chronic type B hepatitis in children. Curr Ther Res 1988;43:67–72.

10. Civeira MP, Castilla A, Morte S, et al. A pilot study of thymus extract in chronic non-A, non-B hepatitis. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 1989;3:395–401.

11. Fiocchi A, Borella E, Riva E, et al. A double-blind clinical trial for the evaluation of the therapeutic effectiveness of a calf thymus derivative (Thymomodulin) in children with recurrent respiratory infections. Thymus 1986;8:831–9.

12. Galli L, de Martino M, Azzari C, et al. Preventive effect of thymomodulin in recurrent respiratory infections in children. Pediatr Med Chir 1990;12:229–32.

13. Vettori G, Lazzaro A, Mazzanti P, Cazzola P. Prevention of recurrent respiratory infections in adults. Minerva Med 1987;78:1281–9.

14. Longo F, Lepore L, Agosti E, Panizon F. Evaluation of the effectiveness of thymomodulin in children with recurrent respiratory infections. Pediatr Med Chir 1988;10:603–7.

15. Maiorano V, Chianese R, Fumarulo R, et al. Thymomodulin increases the depressed production of superoxide anion by alveolar macrophages in patients with chronic bronchitis. Int J Tissue React 1989;11:21–5.

16. Garagiola U, Buzzetti M, Cardella E. Immunological patterns during regular intensive training in athletes: quantification and evaluation of a preventive pharmacological approach. J Int Med Res 1995;23:85–95.

17. Wysocki J, Wierusz-Wysocka B, Wykretowicz A, Wysocki H. The influence of thymus extracts on the chemotaxis of polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMN) from patients with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDD). Thymus 1992;20:63–7.

18. Calsini P, Mocchegiani E, Fabris N. The pharmacodynamics of thymomodulin in elderly humans. Drugs Exp Clin Res 1985;11:671–4.

19. Braga PC, Dal Sasso M, Maci S, et al. Restoration of polymorphonuclear leukocyte function in elderly subjects by thymomodulin. J Chemother 1994;6:354–9.

20. Cazzola P, Mazzanti P, Bossi G. In vivo modulating effect of a calf thymus acid lysate on human T lymphocyte subsets and CD4+/CD8+ ratio in the course of different diseases. Curr Ther Res 1987;42:1011–7.

21. Kouttab NM, Prada M, Cazzola P. Thymomodulin: Biological properties and clinical applications. Med Oncol Tumor Pharmacother 1989;6:5–9 [review].

22. Genova R, Guerra A. A thymus extract (thymomodulin) in the prevention of childhood asthma. Pediatr Med Chir 1983;5:395–402.

23. Bagnato A, Brovedani P, Comina P, et al. Long-term treatment with thymomodulin reduces airway hyperresponsiveness to methacholine. Ann Allergy 1989;62:425–8.

24. Valesini G, Barnaba V, Benvenuto R, et al. A calf thymus lysate improves clinical symptoms and T-cell defects in the early stages of HIV infection: Second report. Eur J Cancer Clin Oncol 1987;23:1915–9.

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