Thymosin alpha-1 (TA1) is a peptide originally isolated from thymus gland and identified as the compound responsible for restoring immune function. TA1 can help prevent healthy cells from being infected by viruses as well as make viral infections more visible to the body’s immune system so infected cells can be destroyed. The main mechanism of action of TA1 is to augment T-cell function. T-cells come in two forms: natural killer cells and helper cells.
TA1 helps regulate the immune response by enhancing the Natural Killer (NK) cell system. The NK cell system is the part of our immune system that destroys stressed cells in our body (such as tumor cells and virus-infected cells). NK cells are constantly on patrol, looking for harmful cells that diminish our health, like cancer cells and virus-infected cells. When NK-cells find these ‘invaders’, they activate other parts of the immune system. Unfortunately, NK-cell function, power, and activity fluctuate throughout our lifetime. As NK-cell function wears down, our response to foreign-invaders (like cancer, bacteria and viruses) response declines — our immune system does not attack and kill the ‘bad guys’ as vigorously as it should, leaving us more vulnerable to illness.
TA1 also enhances the immune response by stimulating stem cells and augmenting the production of new immune cells. With these enhancements, the immune system becomes better able to kill bacterial, fungal, or viral infections and tumor cells. TA1 also improves the response to vaccines by stimulating antibody production.
In 2009, the influenza H1N1 virus was first identified in the United States. It caused outbreaks of disease in several countries, triggering the first pandemic of the 21st century. TA1 was tested during that time as an immune enhancing peptide that potentiated the efficacy of viral vaccines especially in patients who had a weakened immune system. It has since been used in the treatment of several cancer and viral infections because of its direct influence of killing virally infected cells and cancerous cells. TA1 has proven to be useful in a wide range of clinical indications. Over 4400 subjects have been enrolled in clinical trials investigating the use of TA1, including primary treatment for subjects with acute infections, such as seen in severe sepsis, and for chronic infections including chronic hepatitis B (CHB), chronic hepatitis C (CHC), and HIV; as an adjunct treatment for cancers, including melanoma, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and NSCLC; and as an enhancement to both hepatitis B and influenza vaccines in immune-depressed individuals.
As we age, our bodies produce less TA1. This is one of the reasons why our immune systems become compromised with advancing age. Studies have also shown that individuals who are fighting infection have lower levels of thymosin alpha 1 than healthy individuals.
Pandemic or no pandemic, TA1 is a great addition to your self-care routine. But with COVID-19 in full force, TA1 can be a power protector against the virus. TA1 helps to improve cellular functions of innate and adaptive immunity. It has been shown to exhibit: