A gland called your thymus gland is located in your chest just above your heart. Despite its small size, this two-lobed gland plays an important role in immune health. It’s within the tissue of the thymus gland that immune cells called T-cells mature and become capable of fighting off bacteria, viruses, parasites and other foreign invaders.
The birth of future immune cells begins in your bone marrow where specialized but immature cells called lymphocytes are produced. These are future T cells that will eventually take on the task of protecting against foreign invaders like viruses, but first the cells have to mature. To become full-fledged T cells capable of attacking interlopers, they must first travel to the thymus gland where they mature and become more “specialized.” Once mature, they “graduate” to become official members of the T cell community.
The Power of Healthy T Cells
T cells come in various types. The two most important are CD4 and CD8 cells. CD8 cells are sometimes referred to as “killer” cells because they launch attacks against foreign cells. As powerful as the CD8 cells are, they couldn’t do their job without the assistance of “helper” cells called CD4 cells. The CD4 cells are “surveillance” cells that constantly survey their environment for foreign cells that could set up an infection or damage other cells and tissues. When they see one, they alert the CD8 cells so they can go into attack mode. It’s a beautifully orchestrated and coordinated system when it works properly. The thymus gland is an important player in helping these cells grow into the helpers and fighters that they are.
How does the thymus gland help fledgling T cells develop into helpers and fighters? The thymus produces thymic proteins that aid in the maturation process. Once fully mature and developed, these cells migrate to the lymph nodes and spleen where they become functional T cells. Without thymic proteins, the cells would never reach a fully mature stage.
The Thymus Gland is Most Active During Childhood
Although the thymus gland plays an active role in immune health, the once hardy gland begins to shrink in size around puberty. The remaining thymic tissue is gradually converted to inactive fat and connective tissue. By late middle-age, the thymus gland is only a shadow of its former self. As the dying gland changes in size and its glandular tissue is replaced by fat, the amount of thymic proteins it produces declines as well. Remember how the thymic protein helps immune cells change into mature T cells? There’s little thymic protein left to do that. That has severe implications for immune health.
Research clearly shows the ability to fight off infections diminishes with age. This phenomenon is called immunosenescence. Studies suggest the loss of thymus gland activity and the production of thymic proteins is a contributor to the immunosenescence of ageing. Don’t forget a healthy immune system helps protect against another type of age-related disease, cancer. Healthy T cells are able to recognize abnormal cells that have undergone malignant change and destroy them. A robust immune system is your best protection against infection AND cancer.
Is it possible to regain some of the T cell activity that diminishes with age? Harvesting intact, native, bio-identical thymic proteins from healthy, youthful thymus glands and using them to stimulate healthy immune function is one possibility. This process could help aging T cells become fully functional again. Therefore, the bio-identical thymic proteins found in BIOPRO-PLUS™ could take the place of the essential proteins your thymus gland produced at one time but now does not have the ability to contribute to the natural maturation process of these vital T cells. The result would hopefully be a more robust immune system, thanks to the power of science.
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-By Alternative Health Concepts
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