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.
Where are they found?
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.
Thymus extracthave been
used in connection with the following conditions (refer to the
individual health concern for complete information):
Who is likely to be deficient?
Since it is not an essential nutrient, no deficiency state exists.
How much is usually taken?
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
Are there any side effects or interactions?
No side effects or adverse reactions have been reported with the use of thymus
Are there any drug
Certain medicines may interact with thymus extracts. Refer to drug interactions for a list of those medicines.