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The thymus is a lobular gland located under the breastbone near the thyroid gland. It reaches its maximum size during early childhood and plays a large role in immune function. The thymus is responsible for the production of T-lymphocytes, as well as the production of various hormones including thymosin, thymopoeitin, thymulin, thymic humoral factor, and serum thymic factor. These hormones may be involved in the increase in lymphokines (interleukin 2, interferon, colony stimulating factor), increase of interleukin 2 receptors, and regulation of weight. With age, the thymus is replaced by fat and connective tissue. According to legend, glandular or organotherapy, which refers to the use of animal tissues or cell preparations to improve physiologic functioning and support the natural healing process, first gained popularity in the early to mid 1900s. The idea of homeopathic glandular therapy was first introduced almost 200 years ago. Thymus extracts for nutritional supplements are usually derived from young calves (bovine). Bovine thymus extracts are found in capsules and tablets as a dietary supplement. Thymus extract is commonly used to treat primary immunodeficient states, bone marrow failure, autoimmune disorders, chronic skin diseases, recurrent viral and bacterial infections, hepatitis, allergies, chemotherapy side effects, and cancer. Most basic and clinical research involving oral and injectable thymus extract has been conducted in Europe. Clinical trials in humans suggest promising results in terms of allergies, asthma, cancer, chemotherapeutic side effects, cardiomyopathy, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, HIV/AIDS, immunostimulation, liver disease, respiratory tract infections, systemic lupus erythematosus, and tuberculosis. However, not all study results agree, and properly randomized, double-blind clinical trials are still needed in many fields. Future areas of research include (but are not limited to) rheumatoid arthritis, warts, urinary tract in...
Zinc has been used since ancient Egyptian times to enhance wound healing, although the usefulness of this approach is only partially confirmed by the clinical data of today. Zinc is necessary for the functioning of more than 300 different enzymes and plays a vital role in an enormous number of biological processes. Zinc is a cofactor for the antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) and is in a number of enzymatic reactions involved in carbohydrate and protein metabolism. Its immune-enhancing activities include regulation of T lymphocytes, CD4, natural killer cells, and interleukin II. In addition, zinc has been claimed to possess antiviral activity. It has been shown to play a role in wound healing, especially following burns or surgical incisions. Zinc is necessary for the maturation of sperm and normal fetal development. It is involved in sensory perception (taste, smell, and vision) and controls the release of stored vitamin A from the liver. Within the endocrine system, zinc has been shown to regulate insulin activity and promote the conversion thyroid hormones thyroxine to triiodothyronine. Based on available scientific evidence, zinc may be effective in the treatment of (childhood) malnutrition, acne vulgaris, peptic ulcers, leg ulcers, infertility, Wilson's disease, herpes, and taste or smell disorders. Zinc has also gained popularity for its use in the prevention of the common cold. The role for zinc is controversial in some cases, as the results of published studies provide either contradictory information and/or the methodological quality of the studies does not allow for a confident conclusion regarding the role of zinc in those diseases.
Numerous controlled trials have examined the effects of oral garlic on serum lipids. Long-term effects on lipids or cardiovascular morbidity and mortality remain unknown. Other preparations (such as enteric-coated or raw garlic) have not been well studied. Small reductions in blood pressure ( Numerous case-control/population-based studies suggest that regular consumption of garlic (particularly unprocessed garlic) may reduce the risk of developing several types of cancer, including gastric and colorectal malignancies. However, prospective controlled trials are lacking. Multiple cases of bleeding have been associated with garlic use, and caution is warranted in patients at risk of bleeding or prior to some surgical/dental procedures. Garlic does not appear to significantly affect blood glucose levels.