What does a Thymus do?
The thymus plays a critical role to protect ourselves from viruses and bacterial infections. The thymus is our body’s training university for T Type white blood cells. There are two types of T cells, Killer T cells and Helper T cells. The T cells seek out and kill cells that have been infected with a virus while the helper cells teach other adaptive immune system resources to kill a virus or pathogen in the blood and clean up cells the destroyed by the T-killer cells.
The thymus functions as a specialized university, teaching the T-Cells what to look for. One of the "classes" teach T-cells who the bad guys are. The second "class" teaches the T-Cells who the good guys are. We do not want the T-Cells to hunt down and kill healthy cells by mistake (Autoimmune Disease).
What happens to our thymus as we age?
By the time we reach 10 years old, the thymus has reached its maximum size and peak performance. At 25, the thymus has lost 30% of its mass, 50% by the time we are 65.
Why does viruses such as COVID or the flu hit seniors harder than our youth?
Whenever a new flu or covid variant hits, seniors suffer the brunt of the attack. As the thymus shrinks, it loses capacity to quickly teach white blood cells how to handle a new variant. Nor can other parts of our immune system stamp out armies of trained white blood cells to put down a new virus before it becomes symptomatic or kills the host.
Is there a relationship between the thymus and COVID-19?
Peer reviewed literature links mitochondria dysfunction to increased risk of hospitalization and death from COVID as well as to long haul symptoms. As we age, mitochondria dysfunction slows down energy production and slows down the rate we can make and teach new T-Cells.
Can Vaccines Help?
Vaccines speed up the teaching process. Vaccines force the thymus to train T-Cells what to look for prior to actually getting infected. Once trained, our bodies hold an inventory of various white blood cells that are ready to be called on if that specific virus is detected. If infected, time matters. The goal is to overwhelm the virus before it overwhelms us.
With time, however, the inventory drops, reducing the probability that the vaccine can protect us from a real infection. Booster shots helps rebuild that inventory.
Are vaccines and boosters enough?
Vaccines and boosters shorten the immune system's response time by insuring we have an inventory of trained T-Cells at hand. However vaccines don't help with our ability to pump out more of these cells.
Can we stave off the decline?
Scientific research into aging and the immune system has blossomed. Most of the investment starts with the premise that something has broken and the healthcare system will fix this for a fee. 18% of GDP and rising.
Here are examples of different ways science is "fixing" what is wrong with us.
New vaccination approaches such as MRNA are being developed in record time. Not fast enough to prevent COVID from killing millions but perhaps fast enough to prevent killing 100s of millions.
Genetic manipulation tries to repair inherited primary immunodeficiency disorders.
Colony stimulating factors (CFS) may help offset the damage chemotherapy does to our ability to make white blood cells.
Regenerative medicine is trying to replace human cells, tissues, or even whole organs to regain normal function.
We believe prevention is more powerful than a cure.
We power our bodies using mitochondria found inside every cell to make energy. Unfortunately the chemistry that the mitochondria uses to power us up has a toxic side product called reactive oxygen species ("ROS" aka oxygen radicals). 600M years ago, nature invented a powerful antioxidant called astaxanthin that mitigated ROS. Without astaxanthin in our diets, ROS can damage the RNA in the mitochondria reducing our ability to make energy (mitochondria dysfunction) and stamp out white blood cells in quantity. ROS also can oxidize and damage cell DNA causing cancers and mutations, and deplete micronutrients that are vital for immune system health.
Unfortunately, when we centralized animal production, we removed astaxanthin from the diets of animals and in turn removing astaxanthin from our diets. Modern diets allow ROS to wander freely smack in the middle of every cell in our bodies and wreak havoc. We are "rusting" from the inside out. Our healthcare system is investing in replacing the rusty parts vs. preventing rust from forming in the first place.
How to I stop or slow down degeneration of my thymus?
If you want your thymus to hang around and function well after puberty, consider eating a daily diet od 4 oz of wild caught salmon or one egg that was raised from a farm that has chickens running around eating bugs or 4 oz of wild shellfish.
Can't do that? Consider taking astaxanthin supplements. Adjuvia Immune System Booster contains astaxanthin in a highly bioavailable form plus 7 micronutrients critical for metabolic health and immune system function. Adjuvia Immune Booster is derived from all natural algae and yeast and contains no GMOs.