Thymosin Alpha-1 (TA-1) Role In Immune Function

Immune function is one of the most important aspects of human health. The immune system has three main functions: fight off pathogens such as viruses and bacteria; fight toxic substances the body comes into contact with; and fight any changes in the body that could lead to diseases such as cancer. To say that having a healthy immune system is vital would be an understatement.

There are many components that make up the immune system and how it functions. Immune cells such as T- and B-cells, also referred to as lymphocytes, are white blood cells that attack toxins, viruses, and bacteria. B-cells, in particular, also produce antibodies that aid in ridding the body of pathogens. Along with cells, the immune system is also made up of antibodies, the complement system, the lymphatic system, the thymus, the spleen, and the bone marrow. Together, these special cells, organs, and chemicals keep you healthy.

Other molecules can also have an effect on how your immunity works. Thymosin alpha-1 is one of those molecules – but what is thymosin alpha-1, exactly? And what is its role in immune function?

What is thymosin alpha-1?

Thymosin alpha-1 is a peptide hormone. It is derived from a type of protein be found in humans known as prothymosin alpha. It is naturally produced by a small and irregular-shaped gland known as the thymus. The thymus is also tasked with producing other substances such as sweat, tears, digestive juices, and other hormones.

cancer patient and doctor
Image by the National Cancer Institute on Unsplash: What is thymosin alpha-1 used for? It can be used to help cancer patients undergoing treatment.

Does thymosin play a major role in the development of immunity?

While you may have never heard of thymosin alpha-1, don’t be mistaken in thinking it’s a new or trendy peptide! While it is gaining traction in the health world of late, it has been in use since the 1960s. In 1961, to be exact, medical scientists realized that surgical procedures designed to intervene with congenital heart defects by removing part or all of the thymus had a severe effect on how the immune system functioned in newborn animals.

The effects showed that the amount of lymphocytes made by the animals was severely deficient, and the immune system had a problem mediating its response. The production of antibodies was also hindered after these procedures, and the newborn animals also suffered from the inability to grow normally. It was after all this that researchers looked at the thymus and began to investigate its role in the immune system. Thymosin was then purified, taken out of the thymus, and tested for its effects on mice; researchers found that it greatly helped their immune function.

The discovery of thymosin at that time opened the door for more research into its benefits in the use of humans with various immune function deficiencies. 

What are the benefits of thymosin alpha-1?

There are several benefits of thymosin alpha-1 that have been scientifically proven since its humble beginnings in the early 1960s. One such benefit is its ability to enhance the immune system – specifically, T-cells and dendritic cells. T-cells are a type of lymphocyte that targets viruses or other pathogens. Dendritic cells, found in tissues, are designed to show antigens on the surface of other cells so that specific antigen-fighting cells can identify and destroy them. Thymosin alpha-1, as mentioned above, has been shown to enhance those cells’ abilities to do their respective jobs.

Studies have also found that thymosin alpha-1 can rid the body of unhealthy cells and stop infection or cancer growth. It does this by stimulating a higher immune response against cancer cells so that the body can fight the disease off better. Along with fighting cancer cells, thymosin alpha-1 can also suppress the growth of tumors, and help kill both fungus and bacteria cells that may cause harm in the body.

Some more recent research surrounding vaccinations and thymosin alpha-1 has found that people who receive a vaccine while also being given thymosin are more likely to be effectively immunized than those who do not. Additionally, thymosin has also been used to help reduce the risk of severe COVID-19 infections in people who are battling and being treated for cancer. Since cancer treatments often cause a weakening of the immune system, and COVID-19 can thrive in those conditions; thymosin has been shown to be a helpful tool in that specific instance.

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Image by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash: Does thymosin affect the immune system?

How do you take thymosin?

Thymosin alpha-1 is typically administered via subcutaneous injection. This means that it is given in a needle under the skin. Does of thymosin alpha-1 range, but two separate doses of 0.8–6.4 mg twice per week to 1.6–16 mg for five to seven days is typically the standard.

That being said, some studies have found that thymosin alpha-1 can be taken orally when it is expressed by yeast. The use of oral thymosin, however, is not the first choice for many medical professionals – injections are the best course of administration for many patients looking to improve immunity with thymosin alpha-1.

While thymosin alpha-1 may not be a household name, it has been known in the medical community for decades because of its highly beneficial properties. When it comes to the immune system, this peptide has proven to be effective at modifying the immune response, enhancing the body’s ability to fight off infection or disease, and restoring immune function in people who have compromised immunity.

Featured image by Nhia Moua on Unsplash

Can Thymosin α-1 Treat Symptoms Of Chronic Fatigue?

Chronic fatigue syndrome is characterized as extreme tiredness or fatigue that doesn’t get better with rest. The syndrome is unlikely to be attributed to an underlying medical condition, so it can be hard to pinpoint where it’s coming from and how it started in the first place. It is sometimes referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis or systemic exertion intolerance disease.

Since the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome isn’t easy to determine, treatment options can also be difficult to attain. Some research suggests that the condition can be caused by various ailments, including viral infection or chronic stress. The only way to diagnose chronic fatigue syndrome is by ruling out other conditions, making the illness rather difficult to diagnose and treat.

Does chronic fatigue syndrome affect the immune system?

In people with chronic fatigue syndrome, the immune system can become compromised. This is because when chronic fatigue takes a hold of the body, it can lead to a prolonged immune response where none is needed. This results in the immune system attacking the body’s own healthy tissues.

Chronic fatigue syndrome is not an autoimmune disease per se, but it does share a significant amount of features with such conditions. Researchers believe that is affects the immune system in several ways, including the overproduction of cytokines; lowered ability of natural killer cells to defend against pathogens; and changes in T-cell activation.

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Image by Who Is Margot on Pixabay: Chronic fatigue is hard to diagnose, but people who suffer from the condition could benefit from thymosin alpha-1 treatment.

What is thymosin alpha-1?

Thymosin alpha-1 is a naturally occurring fragmented peptide. This means that is a smaller version of a protein molecule. It is made up of a 28-amino acid chain that is derived from a larger protein known as prothymosin α. It is created in tissues throughout the body, the most notable being the thymus gland.

Peptides such as thymosin alpha-1 are microscopic, but play vital roles in how well the body functions. They are the regulators of a myriad of specific bodily functions. The regulation of T-cells and immune response is thymosin alpha-1’s specific function. The thymus gland plays a big role in T-cell health as they grow; when they reach maturity, thymosin alpha-1 acts a cell signaler for the T-cells so that they know when to fight off pathogens.

What does thymosin do in the body?

Researchers have found many important processes can be affected by thymosin alpha-1. As mentioned above, one of the peptide’s biggest roles is to regulate and cell-signal for proper functioning of the immune system. It does this by directly affecting the action of the innate immune system in response to pathogens. It also regulates both the adaptive immune responses and the inflammatory response. The release of thymosin alpha-1 has been shown to increase lymphocytes to help the body ward off illness.

Thymosin alpha-1 also has the ability to heighten the body’s chances at fighting off infection. In one particular study on the effects of the peptide against COVID-19, researchers found that it could significantly reduce the risk of mortality of the viral infection by restoring T-cell numbers and reversing T-cell exhaustion.

Other conditions that have seen benefit from the use of thymosin alpha include:

  • Hepatitis B and C
  • Some forms of cancer
  • Autoimmunity
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Lyme disease
  • DiGeorge’s syndrome

For many conditions that require a boost in the immune function, thymosin alpha-1 has been an effective supplemental treatment.

Vital RX - immune cells
Image by Swift Science Writing on Pixabay: Immune cells are designed to fight off infection, but sometimes they need a little boost to do their job properly.

What are the benefits of taking a thymosin alpha-1 supplement? 

Because thymosin alpha-1 can help regulate and boost both immune and inflammatory processes, the benefits of supplementation can lead to a higher ability to fight off infection and avoid further illness.

When the peptide stimulates T-cells, it leads to an overall better response against viruses, bacteria, and tumor cells. It gives the immune response the boost it needs to become stronger against pathogens, which leads to a better immune function overall. It has also been shown to regulate inflammation caused by diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, systemic lupus, and erythematosus. Other studies have shown that the peptide has the ability to increase the efficacy of vaccinations by supporting its ability to keep infection at bay.

Overall, the benefits that can be achieved by taking thymosin alpha-1 include:

  • Strengthened immune system
  • Lowering of widespread inflammation
  • Increase in the number and efficacy of T-cells
  • Eradication of damaged and unhealthy cells to hinder multiplication
  • Prevention of the spreading of disease throughout the body
  • Aid in recovery from chronic fatigue
  • Protection against oxidative stress

Other promising research has shown thymosin alpha-1 to be effective in treating a wide variety of cancers, although more study into the area will need to be conducted in terms of what it lacks when it comes to tumor targeting.  

Is thymosin alpha-1 safe?

Thymosin has been used in the treatment of viral infections and immune disorders for over four decades, and it is generally considered to be a safe and effective supplement for boosting immune function, warding off illnesses, and improving the symptoms of other chronic conditions.

Vital RX’s Immune Health Subscription Box includes thymosin alpha-1 to help boost immune function. Without a properly functioning immune system, the body is susceptible to chronic disease, illness, and infection, so if your system needs a boost, supplementation might be the answer.

Featured image by Dimitrisvetsikas1969 on Pixabay