Thymus Gland: Moderator of the Immune System

October 30, 2018
If you want to enhance the function of your thymus gland, you have to take care of your diet, get exercise, and manage stress to improve your immune system response.

Historically, the thymus gland has spiritual aspects. For many people, it’s a biological center of power, where the “fourth chakra” is located. And, according to those traditions, it represents the heart and the capacity to love.

The term “thymus gland” comes from the Greek word thýmos, which means heart, soul, and desire.

This organ is also located in a very prominent place. It’s right in the center of the chest and behind the sternum. Therefore, this might be why it’s had almost magical connotations for countless cultures and practices. Of course, these connotations are quite different from the scientific approach.

But is there any truth in all these traditions? Is this small gland really that important for your health and physical and emotional well-being?

Well, considering that it’s a gland, it fulfills a specific and essential purpose for your health. And this also makes it just like all other glands.

In this case, it’s interesting to note that the interior of the thymus gland contains a very important type of cells: the T lymphocytes. Basically, these cells are essential for your immune system. This is why it’s interesting to know more about this prominent gland that’s sometimes so poorly understood.

Does the thymus gland moderate your positive emotions?

A woman with her thumps up.
If you review some of the information about the thymus gland, you’ll find that a lot of it contains a rather unscientific approach.

Some of it is concerned with the spiritual realm, arguing that this is the true function of this gland and making it as interesting as it is important for your health.

To start, the thymus gland doesn’t control your emotions or enhance your happiness. However, it does control your appropriate immune response.

The function of the thymus gland

  • The thymus gland isn’t a single physical structure, but rather an organ formed by two lobes found in the mediastinum, right in front of your heart.
  • What it actually does is receive immature T cells from your bone marrow.
  • In that favorable environment, it creates the mature form of these essential bodies that allow your immune system to respond to foreign cells and pathogens when they attack.
  • It also carries out this process through positive selection, meaning that any T cells which are not suitable will be removed by a type of macrophage.
  • Once the most suitable T cells have fully developed and are functional, they can be released into the bloodstream to eliminate pathogens.
  • Another important aspect is that it activates the B cells to produce more antibodies and store any “memories” about how they have coped with infections in the past.

Read also: 8 Foods to Boost Your Immune System

The thymus gland changes over time

The thymus gland.
Another popular idea about this gland is that it sometimes enlarges or contracts depending on your emotions. However, this isn’t true. The thymus is larger when you’re a child and shrinks once you reach puberty. The tissues are gradually replaced by adipose tissue.

Is this a negative or bad thing? No, it’s just a simple and natural process that doesn’t pose any health risks.

Why not? Well, the T cells that mature are carried out at all times. And they’re an essential process for your immune system response.

What diseases are associated with this gland?

The thymus gland, like any other, can become inflamed, lose its functionality, develop cancer, or form cysts.

Let’s delve deeper into this:

  • Thymus aplasia, or DiGeorge syndrome, is a rare disease when your immune system response is deficient and small cysts appear.
  • With thymic hyperplasia, on the other hand, patients experience the presence of lymphoid follicles within the thymus. This is derived from Lupus.
  • Also, a thymoma is a type of tumor that appears primarily in women. The tumors may be benign or malignant.

How to take better care of the thymus gland

Thymus gland illustration of two blue people.
As you’ve seen, your thymus gland is often misunderstood. However, it’s essential for your well-being and a strong, responsive immune system.

Read on: 7 Problems You Experience When You Have a Compromised Immune System

Below, we want to propose some simple things you can do to enhance its functionality:

  • Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, preferably organic.
  • Ensure your diet is as natural as possible. Avoiding prepared meals that are high in saturated fats, preservatives, refined sugars, etc.
  • Consume foods that are rich in vitamin E, such as avocados and wheat germ.
  • Also, consume fruit rich in vitamin C.
  • Broccoli, garlic, and onions are also very good choices.
  • Consume turmeric.
  • Green tea is also recommended.
  • Opt for fish that’s rich in omega-3 fatty acids.
  • It’s important that you don’t neglect vitamin D.
  • Do soft exercises every day that improve cellular oxygenation and good circulation.

To conclude, leading a healthy lifestyle that also adequately manages stress will undoubtedly keep your thymus healthy.