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Spleen extract

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • Bovine spleen, D-Arg4, hydrolyzed spleen extract, Leu1, [Leu1]tuftsin, L-threonyl-L-lysyl-L-prolyl-L-arginine, [L-3,4-dehydroproline3]-tuftsin, predigested spleen extract, raw spleen, spleen, spleen concentrate, spleen factors, spleen peptides, spleen polypeptides, splenopentin, tetrapeptide tuftsin, Thr1 psi[NHCO](R,S)Lys2 modification, tuftsin, tuftsin (L-prolyl-L-arginine), tuftsin (Thr-Lys-Pro-Arg), water-soluble spleen extract.

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • The spleen is a fist-sized organ located under the lower left side of the rib cage 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 extracts is after a splenectomy, or removal of the spleen. Preliminary studies indicate that spleen extract may stimulate the immune system in conditions such as HIV/AIDS (1;2;3;4;5), leukemia (1;6;7), leprosy (8;9;10), Crohn's disease (11), and sickle cell disease (12). However, there are no high-quality clinical trials currently available on the use of spleen extract.
  • Some concern has been raised about the safety of spleen extract, as it is made of animal spleens, which may be infected with prion diseases. Although there are currently no available reports of diseases such as bovine spongiform encephalitis (BSE, or "mad cow disease") attributed to the consumption of spleen extract, the United States Food and Drug Administration still cautions against use of any animal organ extract. It is not clear how the processing of spleen extract affects the transmission of these diseases.

Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

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.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

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.

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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.