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Anatomy and Physiology
thymus gland is a pink-grey organ that lies underneath the top of the breastbone. In animals it is known as the sweetbreads.
No one knew much about the thymus until recently. On autopsies
it was noticed that young adults that had died in traumatic accidents often
had much larger thymus glands than those dying from diseases of a chronic
nature, and it was also believed that the thymus ceased to function after
We are just now unraveling the mysteries of this gland. The
thymus processes a type of white blood cell known as a T-lymphocyte. These
T-lymphocytes govern cellular immunity, which means they help cells recognize
and destroy invading bacteria, virus, etc., abnormal cell growth such as cancer,
and foreign tissue.
Experiments done on animals have shown that if the thymus
is removed before birth the baby will accept an organ transplant without rejecting
it (it has lost its ability to recognize foreign tissue). At the same time
that baby will exhibit little or no ability to fight off disease. Also animals
that had their thymus removed would develop cancer rapidly upon injection
of cancer cells into their body, while animals with an intact thymus would
in most cases destroy the cells.
Symptoms of Thymus Dysfunction
A person with an under active thymus gland will be prone to
getting sick often. Infection will be common and will often be chronic and
prolonged. Allergies will also be more likely. Other symptoms include swollen
glands, depression, extreme sweating, and puffiness of the throat. The person
will be a likely candidate for cancer.
Causes of Thymus Dysfunction
1) We talked in the adrenal chapter about how cortisol taken
in the form of hydrocortisone medication, or having an over productive adrenal
gland will cause the thymus and lymphatic tissue to shrink and cause an under active
thymus. The most common causes of too much cortisol production are mental
stress and eating large amounts of sweets (for other causes of increased cortisol
production and side effects of cortisone medication see the adrenal gland
Many times following organ transplant surgery, glucocorticoids
are injected to inhibit the immune response so our bodies won’t have the ability
to recognize and reject the foreign tissue.
2) Chronic or severe acute diseases can overtax the thymus
and it can shrink by 50% in one day.
3) Exposure to toxic chemicals can also shrink thymus tissue.
4) Nerve pressure in the cervical spine can cause thymus malfunction
(see Appendix A).
5) Refined foods (sugar, oil, etc.), alcohol, caffeine, tobacco,
marijuana, all depress thymus function via increased production of cortisol.
6) X-rays striking the thymus can decrease thymus function.
7) Adequate amounts of growth hormone are necessary for development
and function of the thymus. An improperly functioning pituitary can thus alter
thymus function (see pituitary chapter). Also an overactive pituitary secreting
too much ACTH will cause over secretion of cortisol and shrink thymus tissue.
8) It is reported that eating hard cheeses can damage or weaken
Other Indications of Thymus Dysfunction
A weak infraspinatus muscle on manual muscle testing will often indicate a
weak thymus (see Appendix C and figure 7.1). It is the author’s opinion that
when this muscle tests weak when you are ill, the thymus may be depleted and
has a hard time overcoming the disease process. If it tests strong the body
is probably doing a fairly good job of mobilizing to overcome the problem.
Prevention and Treatment of Thymus Dysfunction
1) Avoid caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and refined sweets,
2) Make sure during chest and dental x-rays that your thymus
3) Proper sleep, exercise, diets, and keeping your stress level
down will help keep the adrenals and the thymus functioning properly.
4) Correct any pituitary or adrenal malfunction that may be
occurring (see respective chapters).
5) If you suspect any nerve pressure in your neck (from accidents,
sleeping on your stomach) see a good chiropractor (see Appendix A).
6) Avoid exposure to heavy chemicals and pesticides as much
7) Rubbing a reflex point at the level of the right nipple
underneath the right axilla vigorously for two minutes daily for one week
will be helpful (see Appendix B).
8) Also percussing (tapping) on the breast-bone over the thymus
one-minute daily will help stimulate it.
9) Avoid medications and ointments containing hydrocortisone.
10) Bee propolis seems to have a strengthening effect on the
thymus gland and the immune system in general. The author has found that many
times if children will chew two propolis tablets hourly at the first signs
of a flu or ear infection that it won’t come on.
11) "So don’t be anxious about tomorrow. God will take
care of your tomorrow too. Live one day at a time." (Matthew 6:34 Living