Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.
Bovine spleen, predigested spleen extract, raw spleen, spleen, spleen concentrate, spleen factors, spleen peptides, spleen polypeptides, splenopentin, tetrapeptide tuftsin, tuftsin, tuftsin (L-prolyl-L-arginine), tuftsin (Thr-Lys-Pro-Arg), water-soluble spleen extract.
The spleen is an organ that removes worn-out red blood cells and platelets, produces certain types of white blood cells, and destroys bacteria and cellular debris. Spleen extract primarily comes from the spleens of cows or pigs.
The primary use of spleen extract is after surgical removal of the spleen. Some studies show that spleen extract may stimulate the immune system. However, high-quality studies are lacking.
Some concern has been raised about the safety of spleen extract, as it is made of animal spleens, and it is generally advised to avoid spleen extract from countries where bovine spongiform encephalitis (BSE or "mad cow disease") has been reported.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
No available studies qualify for inclusion in the evidence table.
*Key to grades:A: Strong scientific evidence for this use; B: Good scientific evidence for this use; C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use; D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work); F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.
Antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antioxidant, bleeding disorders, cancer, celiac disease, common cold, Crohn's disease, dermatitis herpetiformis, emotional disorders, fatigue, flu, graft-versus-host disease (prevention), HIV/AIDS, Hodgkin's disease, immune function, kidney inflammation, leprosy, leukemia, low blood platelets, lung conditions, lupus, quality of life in HIV patients, radiation side effects, rheumatoid arthritis, sarcoidosis, sickle cell disease, spleen disorders, supplementation in preterm and very low birthweight infants, ulcerative colitis (inflammatory bowel disease), vasculitis (inflamed blood vessels).
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Adults (18 years and older):
There is no proven safe or effective dose for spleen extract in adults.
Children (younger than 18 years):
There is no proven safe or effective dose for spleen extract in children.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid with known allergy/hypersensitivity to spleen extract or its components, including tuftsin.
Side Effects and Warnings
There is insufficient available evidence on the adverse effects of spleen extract.
Tuftsin, found in spleen extract, may affect bleeding. Caution is advised in people with bleeding disorders or taking agents that affect the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
Use cautiously in people with Hodgkin's disease, leukemia, or lupus, due to immune effects.
Use cautiously in people using agents that affect the nervous system.
Use cautiously in people using pain relievers, as tuftsin may enhance the perception of pain.
Use cautiously in children or during pregnancy or lactation, due to insufficient available evidence.
Avoid in people with immune disorders or in those taking agents that affect the immune system, as spleen extract or tuftsin may stimulate the immune system.
Avoid spleen extract from countries where bovine spongiform encephalitis (BSE or "mad cow disease") has been reported.
Avoid with known allergy/hypersensitivity to spleen extract or its components, including tuftsin.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
There is a lack of available scientific evidence on the use of spleen extract during pregnancy or lactation.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
Interactions with Drugs
Tuftsin, found in spleen extract, may affect bleeding and may interact with agents that affect the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants ("blood thinners") such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, anti-platelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).
Spleen extract may also interact with agents that affect the immune system, agents that affect the nervous system, antibiotics, anticancer agents, antifungals, or pain relievers.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Tuftsin, found in spleen extract, may affect bleeding and may interact with herbs and supplements that affect the risk of bleeding. Some examples include Ginkgo biloba, garlic, and saw palmetto. Numerous other agents may theoretically affect the risk of bleeding, although this has not been proven in most cases.
Spleen extract may also interact with antimicrobials, anticancer herbs and supplements, antifungals, antioxidants, herbs and supplements that affect the immune system, herbs and supplements that affect the nervous system, or pain relievers.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Agrawal AK, Gupta CM. Tuftsin-bearing liposomes in treatment of macrophage-based infections. Adv.Drug Deliv.Rev. 3-30-2000;41(2):135-146. View Abstract
Corazza GR, Zoli G, Ginaldi L, et al. Tuftsin deficiency in AIDS. Lancet 1-5-1991;337(8732):12-13. View Abstract
Kaur J, Khare S, Bhutani LK, et al. Enzyme immunoassay of phagocytosis stimulating tetrapeptide "tuftsin" in normal and leprosy sera. Int.J.Lepr.Other Mycobact.Dis. 1991;59(4):576-581. View Abstract
Khare S, Bhutani LK, Rao DN. Quantitative assessment of tuftsin receptor expression and second messenger during in vitro differentiation of peripheral blood derived monocytes of leprosy patients. Mol.Cell Biochem. 1997;171(1-2):1-10. View Abstract
Khare S, Bhutani LK, Rao DN. Release of reactive nitrogen intermediates from the peripheral blood-derived monocytes/macrophages of leprosy patients stimulated in vitro by tuftsin. Lepr.Rev. 1997;68(1):16-24. View Abstract
Kubo S, Roh MS, Oyedeji C, et al. Effect of tuftsin on human Kupffer cell. Hepatogastroenterology 1998;45(24):2270-2274. View Abstract
Lewis CJ. Letter to Reiterate Certain Public Health and Safety Concerns to Firms Manufacturing or Importing Dietary Supplements that Contain Specific Bovine Tissues. 11-14-2000.
Naim JO, Lanzafame RJ, van Oss CJ. The effect of anti-tuftsin antibody on the phagocytosis of bacteria by human neutrophils. Immunol.Invest 1991;20(5-6):499-506. View Abstract
Nishioka K, Wagle JR, Rodriguez T, et al. Studies of human granulocyte phagocytosis stimulation by tuftsin. J.Surg.Res. 1994;56(1):94-101. View Abstract
Otsuka T, Niho Y. [Congenital familial tuftsin deficiency]. Ryoikibetsu.Shokogun.Shirizu. 1998;(21 Pt 2):67-69. View Abstract
Owais M, Ahmed I, Krishnakumar B, et al. Tuftsin-bearing liposomes as drug vehicles in the treatment of experimental aspergillosis. FEBS Lett. 7-12-1993;326(1-3):56-58. View Abstract
Paulesu L, Di Stefano A, Luzzi E, et al. Effect of tuftsin and its retro-inverso analogue on the release of interferon (IFN-gamma) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF-alpha) by human leucocytes. Immunol.Lett. 1992;34(1):7-11. View Abstract
Trevisani F, Castelli E, Foschi FG, et al. Impaired tuftsin activity in cirrhosis: relationship with splenic function and clinical outcome. Gut 2002;50(5):707-712. View Abstract
Zoli G, Corazza GR, D'Amato G, et al. Splenic autotransplantation after splenectomy: tuftsin activity correlates with residual splenic function. Br.J.Surg. 1994;81(5):716-718. View Abstract
Zoli G, Corazza GR, Wood S, et al. Impaired splenic function and tuftsin deficiency in patients with intestinal failure on long term intravenous nutrition. Gut 1998;43(6):759-762. View Abstract
Copyright © 2013 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.
March 22, 2017