The immune system is one of the most complex and fascinating systems of the human body. Controlling its various components is the thymus the master gland of the immune system. The thymus is composed of two soft, pinkishgray lobes lying 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.
Functions of the Thymus
The thymus produces T-Iymphocytes, white blood cells that control cell-mediated immunity immune mechanisms not controlled or mediated by antibodies. Cell-mediated immunity protects against the development of allergies and helps the body resist infection from mold-like bacteria, yeast, fungi, parasites, and viruses.
The thymus also releases several hormones such as thymosin, thymopoeitin, and serum thymic factor, which regulate many immune functions. Low levels of these hormones in the blood are linked with depressed immunity and an increased susceptibility to infection. Typically, thymic hormone levels are low in the elderly and individuals exposed to undue stress.
Lymphocytes and T-cell Ratios
The thymus coordinates the activity and ratios of the different white blood cells. In particular, it plays a crucial role in the manufacture of T-cells.
T-cells are the major components of cellmediated immunity. There are different types of T-cells, including helper T-cells, which help Vascular Tissue other white blood cells to function, suppressor T-cells, which inhibit white blood cell functions; and cytotoxic T-cells, which attack and destroy foreign tissues and viruses.
The body must maintain a proper ratio of helper T-cells to suppressor T-cells. An altered T cell ratio usually reflects disturbed thymus function.
For almost as long as historic records have been kept, glandulars have been valued for their natural benefits. Liver, for example, -is an excellent source of heme iron, vitamin B12, and folic acid. Today, supplements containing glandular extracts are available, including extracts of the thymus gland.
Clinical data shows that high-quality thymus preparations especially those concentrated and standardized for their polypeptide content can provide exceptional nutritional benefits.