Reverse Thymus Aging - the TRIIM Trial

May 08, 2022

Reverse Thymus Aging - The TRIIM Trial

Your thymus gland, just behind your breast bone, is the nexus of your immune system. By age 50 it is basically all composed of fat and non-functional. Without a properly functioning thymus gland, your immune system starts drifting toward "lack of balance" with many indications that you are becoming vulnerable to disease. Aging. We can measure aging by the calendar, and indeed, we sing Happy Birthday to you every year.

But, a more accurate measure of your frailty is your epigenetic age. Your epigenetic age is now acknowledged by most aging scientists as the best marker of your biological age. Your epigenome is the library of methylation and other markers on your DNA that indicate to you "when to hold 'em, and when to fold 'em", when to turn on genes and when to silence them. That whole system is maintained by your sirtuin proteins which are nourished and fed exclusively by NAD and not ATP. Your epigenome has its own energy system and its own repair system. Repairing and maintaining DNA had to be the first function of the first cell on planet earth, so sirtuins and NAD are found in all cellular life.

Your thymus gland and your epigenome have a curious intersection. The aging of the thymus gland results in a reduced population of naive T cells that can be programmed by the thymus to balance many components of the immune system. Thymic involution leads to the depletion of critical immune cell populations, resulting in a collapse of the T-cell receptor (TCR) repertoire in humans after the age of ~63. Immune aging turns on many populations of cells that cause trouble, and your epigenome can't help out, because it too is degrading.  That creates a curious nexus between your epigenome and your thymus aging.   To fix one, we have to fix the other.  

The question arises, can we reverse this? Well, yes! Turns out growth hormone helps regenerate your thymus gland. But growth hormone has a nasty tendency to nudge you towards diabetes. So, the TRIIM trial(Thymus Regeneration, Immunoregulation, and Insulin Mitigation) decided to counter that with a combination of Growth Hormone, DHEA, Metformin, 3000 iu of Vitamin D, and 50 mg of Zinc. Nine men, ages 51-65 were recruited who were given this cocktail, and then had their thymus gland measured by MRI every couple of months.

What happened? Voila. After one year of treatment, the men were 1.5 years younger by epigenetic testing. That means a -2.5 year gain on aging. Their thymus glands grew back dramatically. The study was widely talked about and has been rated in the top 5% of research papers ever scored.

www.What will Work for me. Well, I've measured my epigenome once and I know understand the combination of growth hormone, NAD, metformin and Vitamin D. After promoting Vitamin D for 15 years, I feel vindicated for that. Now, Growth Hormone is expensive. But the technology of growth hormone has leapfrogged into the world of peptide sciences. It is much cheaper, more effective, and safer to get your boost from the peptides that stimulate you to make your own growth hormone. And last but not least, it is also helpful to see the impact of DHEA and its importance. Just about everyone over age 55 has a dramatically lower DHEA than they had at age 20. This study is so important, that we will do more on it next week. This is enough for my aging brain to soak up in one week

References: Aging Cell, Life Extension, Aging, Frontiers in Immunology, Journal of Immunology,

Pop Quiz

1. What happens to your thymus gland with aging?                         Answer. Fades into the sunset.

2. Is there an acknowledged age where it seems to hit the final wall?                        Answer: Yes, age 63.

3. Your "biological age" can be measured more accurately than your calendar age? T or F.               Answer: True

4. How?                               Answer: Your epigenetic age. We can now measure and count that.

5. Remind me, what is your epigenome?                      Answer: the complex markers on your histone proteins, your DNA coating, that instructs your cell about activating and inactivating your genes in response to environmental changes.

This column was written by Dr. John Whitcomb, MD, Brookfield Longevity, Brookfield, WI, (262-784-5300)