Thymus Gland - Its Overlooked But Vital
By James South MA
gland (TG) is a small gland in the upper chest. It weighs one third - to one half
ounce at birth, and reaches its peak weight of about 1? ounces at puberty. Thereafter,
under the influence of many factors, including adrenal and sex hormones, the active
TG cells begin to die off, with much of the TG tissue being gradually replaced
by fat and connective tissue.
Much of the healthy TG structure typically atrophies
by age 20, and the decline accelerates through-out life thereafter. As immunologist
Keith Kelly notes: "The involution [shrinkage] of the thymus gland is one
of the cardinal bio-markers of aging." (1).
In the past 40 years, science
has discovered that the TG is the key regulator of immunity.
In the 1960's research showed that immature white blood cells
would "incubate" for a period inside the TG, and exit transformed into
one of the specific types of T-lymphocytes, such as T4 helper cells or T8 suppresser
or cytotoxic T cells.
By the 1970's, the TG began to be viewed as an endocrine
gland, similar to other endocrine glands, such as the pituitary or thyroid.
Thus, pioneer TG hormone researcher Allan Goldstein, MD stated in concluding his
classic 1974 paper Thymosin and the Immunopathology of Aging: "Our studies
indicate that the thymus controls the maturation of T cells by an endocrine mechanism,
and that the hypothesis that the [TG] must come into contact with T-cell precursors
is no longer tenable. We propose that the [TG] secretes thymosin, and perhaps
other hormones, which can act at sites distant from the thymus to influence the
ontogenesis [and] function... of lymphoid cells involved in cell mediated immunity."
By the 1990's, at least 4 different peptide hormones naturally secreted
by the TG had been discovered and clinically tested. These included the Thymosins,
a group of 40 or so related peptides, found in thymus extracts called "Thymic
Fraction 5"; Thymopoietin; Thymulin; also called "Facteur Thymique Serique";
and Thymus Humoral Factor (3).
Collectively, these TG hormones have been shown,
in human, animal and in vitro studies, to have a broad range of action, well beyond
merely maturing and differentiating T cells.
TG hormones can increase key immune signals, called "lymphokines", including
interleukin 2 (IL2), interferon, colony stimulating factor, and others (4,6).
TG hormones can cause greater numbers of T cells to develop more IL2 receptors
more quickly, which is critically necessary to allow rapid white blood cell proliferation
and activation to fight invading germs (4).
TG hormones can prevent the tissue
wasting that occurs with TG removal or severe TG atrophy, and promote healthy
weight gain in disease states- such as AIDS- where catabolic body wasting is typical
TG hormones can reduce autoimmune reactions, clinically and experimentally,
such as occur in rheumatoid arthritis (5).
TG hormones prevent the bone marrow
injury and subsequent reduction in white and red blood cell production, frequently
produced by X-ray or chemotherapy cancer treatment (5).
TG hormones can increase
disease-fighting antibodies when they're needed, yet reduce the levels of the
"allergic antibody" IgE, in patients suffering allergic rhinitis, asthma,
and atopic dermatitis (5). These are just some of the many ways TG hormones have
been shown to enhance, restore, and balance immunity!
As cellular physiologist
Dennis Fahy has noted: "If you restore immune function, your ability to make
DNA, to have normal cell division, to have normal insulin sensitivity, to have
normal thyroid levels and other things, such as normal population of certain molecules
in the brain that change with age, all these things are restored by an improvement
in the immune system." (1).
Thymus- aging and growth hormone
As the thymus gland shrinks with age, so the blood levels and activity of various
TG hormones decline with age. Thus, Goldstein observed a significant drop in blood
thymosin levels in normal individuals between the ages of 20 and 40 (2). Thymulin,
a zinc-activated TG hormone, shows bioassay evidence of a significant drop in
activity in aging, healthy adults, and in hypothyroidism (3).
Since TG hormones
are secreted by the very TG cells that "shrivel up" and waste away due
to aging, stress, disease, radiation and malnutrition etc., the drop in TG hormone
activity with aging should hardly be surprising.
Part of the restorative,
rejuvenate, anabolic, general health-enhancing effects of TG hormones may relate
to the parallel and synergistic interactions between the pituitary and TG, and
growth hormone (GH) and TG hormones.
TG hormones increase the number, activity,
and healthy structure of T cells, and T cells secrete GH and GH releasing hormone
(7,8). Furthermore, they can stimulate the pituitary to release GH (3).
experimental TG removal is accompanied by degeneration of the pituitary cells
that produce GH (3).
Thymus- immune system
effect of TG hormones is their immune normalizing action. TG hormones do not automatically
just "turn up the volume" and increase all immune activity. Rather,
TG hormones tend to reduce immunity when excessive, as evidenced by overly high
T4: T8 ratios, often seen in rheumatoid arthritis.
TG hormones increase immune
activity when it is weak, as shown by low T4: T8 ratios, a hallmark of AIDS. TG
hormones will also more precisely normalize the T4: T8 ratio in persons whose
T4: T8 ratio is already more or less normal, and bring the ratio closer to the
"ideal", healthy T4: T8 ratio of 1.74.
A retrospective study of
the results from clinical trials with 130 patients suffering various ailments,
who received oral pharmaceutical thymus extract demonstrates this clearly. 40
subjects had T4: T8 ratios below normal (under 1.02); 78 had normal ratios (between
1.02 and 2.46); while 12 cases had above normal rations.
After 3-months the
oral therapy had increased the below-normal group's T4: T8 ratio from 0.72 to
1.10, while the above-normal ratio group decreased from 3.33 to 2.18. The already
normal T4: T8 ratio group increased their ratio slightly from 1.53 to 1.70, almost
exactly the "ideal", healthy ratio of 1.74 (9).
Although it is little known, even to most alternative/ anti-aging
medicine devotees, there is a large body of published, human clinical research
supporting the use of oral TG extracts. They have been used in a broad range of
conditions, ranging from cancer treatment, to rheumatoid arthritis, to various
allergy and asthma conditions, to recurrent respiratory infections and hepatitis
(see reference 5 for a detailed list of references).
These studies have generally
shown TG extracts to be extremely non-toxic and side-effect free, with few contraindications
The main block to the acceptance of the efficacy of oral TG extracts
is the erroneous yet widespread belief that all proteins and peptides taken orally,
as food or supplements, are 100% digested to individual amino acids before absorption,
from the intestine into the body.
If this were true, then indeed orally administered
TG peptide hormone extracts would be broken down completely during digestion,
becoming merely very expensive, low dose amino acid supplements, with no more
immune activity than (for example) a few hundred milligrams of ground beef protein!
Yet it has been known since the 1970's that significant quantities of various
proteins, such as gliadin from wheat, milk casein, ferritin, haemoglobin and milk
immunoglobins routinely survive digestion and enter the body- and even the brain-
The pioneering research of W.A. Hemmings (10) and Ziovdrov and colleagues
(11) had repeatedly demonstrated this in a wide variety of experiments using many
different proteins, by the late 1970's.
In the 1997 textbook Oxidology (12),
Bradford and Allen even explain the mechanism of how this occurs. It is based
on a cellular process called "pinocytosis."
Thym-Uvocal (TUV) is not just a "desiccated whole thymus glandular extract"
of the sort found in health food stores.
The active substances in TUV are
obtained by a selective, multi-stage biotechnology process. The starting material
is TG's from strictly selected and healthy calves.
Tissue from any given animal
is used only after a veterinary physician has examined the live animal and issued
a certificate of good health.
Before the tissue is processed, histological
and bacteriological tests are performed. During the multi-stage processing, proteins
and prohormones in the tissue are enzymatically cleaved to short-chain pharmaceutically
Filtration and special heat treatment ensure the inactivation
and removal of any microorganisms. The controlled and reproducible manufacturing
process produces an activation and concentration of the desired low molecular
The various major TG hormones range in molecular weight from
860 Daltons (Thymulin) to 5600 Daltons (Thymopoietin). Injectable TUV is standardized
to be under 2000 Daltons molecular weight, thus minimizing the risk of allergic
reaction, while the oral form TUV has a molecular weight under 10,000 Daltons.
Since animal experiments and human clinical research has found no single TG hormone
to be capable of performing all the immune-optimizing functions induced by the
TG family of hormones as a whole, pharmaceutically balanced TG polypeptide hormone
mixture is both more "natural", and more likely to be safe and effective,
than any specific thymic hormone.
TUV has been in clinical use in Europe since
1976. The German company- Mulli which produces TUV has published research, as
well as in-house and physician anecdotal evidence to support the efficacy and
safety of TUV (13).
Who can benefit from Thym-Uvocal?
both children and adults, with infections, autoimmune, allergic and cancerous
conditions, both acute and chronic, have been shown to benefit from Thym-Uvocal
(TUV), whether taken by injection or orally. Hepatitis, recurrent respiratory
infections, early-stage AIDS, candidiasis, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and skin
conditions have all been treated successfully with TUV or similar pharmaceutical
2. Thym-Uvocal is useful as a key endocrine-normalizing, anti-aging
therapy, especially for those over 20! Thymus size and hormone activity shrink
significantly by the age of 20, after peaking in the first 10-12 years of life.
Further significant decline usually occurs by the age of 40, and it's all downhill
from there- until death, at whatever age.
3. Thym-Uvocal is useful as part
of a growth hormone-increasing program. GH and thymic hormones are mutually supporting
4. Thym-Uvocal is useful even for those who are relatively
healthy, but who suffer frequent colds, flu, and other minor infections.
Thym-Uvocal (TUV) is useful as an agent to increase energy and vitality, and to
"lift the spirits." In his book Life Energy (14), John Diamond, MD provides
evidence that the thymus gland controls the acupuncture energy meridians of the
human body, and is the glandular key to vitality, love, courage and the will to
live/ will to be well.
Diamond specifically recommends thymus gland (TG) extracts
as a major method to restore TG structure/ function.
TUV may be given by subcutaneous
or intramuscular injection from the TUV ampoules, or it can be taken orally as
How to use Thym-Uvocal
For rapid results, the
injections are taken on alternative days with the tablets. For those not suffering
major or life-threatening illness, TUV tablets alone may be sufficient.
or 2 ampoules are injected every other day, while 2 tablets (240mg each) are taken
3 times a daily, or 2-4 tablets twice daily are taken on an empty stomach. TUV
should be taken daily by those not using injections. Long term, even permanent
TUV use is both safe and effective.
TUV cream may also be used topically for
minor skin allergic conditions, infections and simply to "youthify"
There are few
known contraindications for TUV use. TUV should NOT be used during pregnancy,
unless prescribed by a physician.
TUV should NOT be used by those with thymic
tumours, myasthenia gravis, untreated hypothyroidism and those receiving immunosuppressive
therapy- e.g. to prevent transplanted organ rejection.
To conclude on a personal note; my wife and I have used Thym-Uvocal (TUV) off
an on since 1993, and continuously since 1996.
Aside from the obvious immune
benefits (no colds or flu, almost perfect allergy control), we have both noticed
a unique effect from TUV that nothing else in our (rather massive) health/ anti-aging
regimen can replace.
We both notice a distinct "vitalizing" and
"joie de vivre" effect from oral TUV. I have been using various thymus
extracts since the late 1970's, and I have never found any other thymus product
to give this unique effect.
We have periodically stopped taking TUV until
we noticed a drop in mood or energy, and upon resuming TUV we notice the uplift
after taking just one or two doses! It's an extremely pronounced effect within
Our personal experience with TUV very much confirms John Diamond's
views on the thymus gland in his book Life Energy.
Thym-Uvocal is one of our
core pro-health supplements.
(1). R. Klatz & C. Khan "Grow Young with HGH" NY: Harper Collins
(2). A. Goldstein et al. "Thymosin and the Immunopathology of Aging."
Federation Proc., 33, 2053-56, 1974.
(3). J. Goss & M. Flye. "The
Thymus Regulator of Cellular Immunity." Austin: R.G. Landes Co. 1993.
(4). M. Sztein et al. "Modulation of Interleukin 2 Receptor Expression on
Normal Human Lymphocytes by Thymic Hormones." Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci. USA,
83, 6107-11, 1986.
(5). N. Kouttab et al. "Thymomodulin: Biological Properties
and Clinical Applications." Med. Oncol. and Tumor Pharmacother. 6, 5-9, 1989.
(6). M. Zatz & A. Goldstein. "Mechanism of Action of Thymosin."
J. Immunol., 134, 1032-38, 1985.
(7). D. Weigant and J. Blalock. "Immunoreactive
Growth Hormone- Releasing Hormone in Rat Leukocytes." J. Neuroimmunol. 29,
(8). K. Kelly et al. "A pituitary- Thymus Connection During
Aging." Ann. N.Y. Acad. Sci. 521, 88-98, 1988.
(9). P. Cazzola et al.
"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., 42, 1011-17, 1987.
(10). W. Hemmings. "Dietary Protein Reaches
the Brain." Orthomol. Psychiatry, 6, 309-16, 1977.
(11). C. Ziovdrou
et al. "Opiod Peptides Derived from Food Proteins." J. Biol. Chem.,
254, 2446-49, 1979.
(12). R. Bradford & H. Allen. "Oxidology."
Chula Vista, CA: R.W. Bradford Foundation, 1997.
(13). Thym-Uvocal, Immunotherapeutic
Agent; A 32 page booklet published by Medalfa AG, Pratteln, Switzerland, no date
but 31 references plus many case histories.
(14). J. Diamond. "Life Energy."
N.Y. Paragon House, 1985.
(15). Z. Fahmy. "Immunostimulation therapy
with Thymus Extract in rheumatoid arthritis." A journal of medical practice
(in German titled- Erfahrungsheilkunde), Vol. 31, No 5, May 1982, pp. 423-427.
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Last Updated: Wednesday, March 21, 2001
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