Peptide Primer III Thymosin a 1

May 20, 2019

ReferencesProc Nat Acad of SciWikipediaClin Expr ImmunolNatureCritical CareScience Daily,

Ready for this? Here goes a deep dive into the next peptide in our series: Thymosin a1. It was discoveredway back in 1972. It is a 28 amino acid peptide that is a chunk derived off a larger 113 amino acid pro-peptide. It appears to act primarily by enhancing your T-cells to do their thing fighting viruses and cancers. And if you talk T cells, then you have to look at auto-immune diseases where an imbalance of T cell function plays a big role. 
Now, your thymus gland really goes to town when you are a tiny tot. A one-year-old has a thymus gland about half the size of their heart that is easily visible on chest x-ray. But this aging thing isn't so good for your thymus gland, or its function. As we age, we lose significant thymus function. Our thymus gland involutes and is basically gone by age 20. You can find it on surgery, but it's down to a tiny vestige of its former self. Your T cells and dendritic cells are still there, but their function appears to be coasting and slowly degrading. Thymosin a1 helps dendritic cells to present antigens to T cells, and the T cells do the "killing". 

What are some examples of its clinical applications? Well, it if enhances T cell function, it should be able to increase the ability to fight chronic viral diseases. One of the world's scourges is Chronic Hepatitis B. Sure enough, Thymosin a1 adds sufficiently to treatmentthat it has been approved in 35 countries to aid in the treatment of chronic hepatitis B and C. Tuberculosis is another human vulnerability that has been around since Lucy, with clear problems with our T cell defense. Again, it aids in the treatment of drug-resistant TB.

What this all boils down to is the nature of your immune response to invasion. Autoimmune disease is an abnormal feed forward situation where you attack yourself in response to perceived threat, but still, the abnormal release of internal fire alarms called cytokines. The out-of-control spiral effect of too many cytokines is what happens in septic shock, or severe influenza. In fact, the common cold is mostly the result of your immune response to a virus. You are infectious the first day or two of a cold, but your misery for the next 5-6 days is simply your immune system still driving your crazy with symptoms. The virus is gone. 

How does this affect you on a daily basis? Well, if you have an auto-immune disease, you may want to downregulate it a touch. If you have chronic Hep B or C, it may help. But less dramatic and more mundane, how about if you get a bad cold? Want to be sick for a week, or would you rather be sick for a day or two? 

Does it have any side effects? Thymosin a1 had been around since 1972, and not found to have any side effects yet. It shouldn't. It comes naturally as part of you. You had lots of it when you were 20. Not so much at 55, less at 70.

WWW: What will work for me? I write this column this week with absolute fascination. I got a horrible cold this last week. We had planned a weekend away in Door County and with a shaking chill, I could hardly get home at the end of my last day. I thought it was just oak pollen at first, but then I was so achy, I realized I was coming down with a virus. We cancelled the vacation, the dog care, the hotel. So, I rustled up some Thymosin a1 and started myself on it. By 12 hours later my nose was drying up and I slept pretty well. By 36 hours my energy was back. By 48 hours, I was fine. That's better than normal. Am I being seduced by my own enthusiasm? Two of my lectures mentioned that they used T-1 for colds. I've now done it once. You may want to have it one hand yourself.

Pop Quiz

  1. What is Thymosin-a1? Answer: one of your natural immune modulating peptides that signals your immune system to buck up and do its thing in a balanced fashion.
  2. What happens to it as we age? Answer: We really weren't designed to live to be 90. It fades with age. In some circumstances, it fades faster. (auto-immune, chronic Hep B, tuberculosis) In some circumstances, it can't overwhelm the "cytokine storm" of particular infections: severe influenza, sepsis. Ergo: give some back and supplement what you aren't making on your own.
  3. It has been approved in 35 countries to treat what? Answer: Chronic Hep B and C
  4. Why is this topic suddenly coming up? Answer: The advent of peptide manufacturing inexpensively is a new thing. What used to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to make a few precious micrograms is now produced in an hour by the gram. It's on the market. Google it. I can show you how to use it.
  5. Does it have any side effects? Answer: Nope. Not in 35 years. It couldn't. Like asking if thyroid hormone could have any side effects, or estrogen, or testosterone. Oh, get I slight ache where I gave myself the Sub-Q shot. Sorry. One side effect.