The creation and maintenance of a healthy immune system demand a significant amount of effort and consistency, majorly because it is an ongoing and multifaceted process. It expects a healthy lifestyle featuring a nutritionally sound diet, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep. These are the general standards set to keep the immune system robust. However, to go beyond these customary lifestyle factors, specific supplements' consumption is also incredibly beneficial, especially those backed by science and research. A 2015 survey states that American consumers had spent about $21 billion on various supplements to encourage a boost in their immune health.
Apart from the regular supplements and multivitamins that mainly comprise the essential minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients, traces of another player in the game have been found. We're talking about something called "Transfer Factors" here. In this piece of information, we will have a detailed look at what these transfer factors are, how they are linked with immune health, and their side effects. Let's get started!
What are Transfer Factors?
Transfer factors are chemicals obtained from animals or humans that have previously acquired protection against a particular disease/infection, which ultimately boosts their immune system. Until now, transfer factors for numerous conditions were composed only in labs for the sake of practical usage. Scientists and researchers are curious about discovering whether transfer factors can transfer their immune powers ahead to those who require it. They are usually delivered in the form of injection shots or taken orally.
How are they different from drugs?
Contrary to most drugs, transfer factors have a minimum risk of developing side effects, except for moderate symptoms similar to flu, which usually occur in the first couple of weeks after taking the dose. Such mild symptoms are short-lived and are observed as indications, suggesting that the immune system responds to the transfer factors' consumption.
What is the relation between transfer factors and immune system health?
Transfer factors are minute particles produced by the immune system and are utilized by immune system cells to coordinate other immune cells' functioning throughout the body effectively. They are employed to reduce the effect of infectious illnesses among people with weak or vulnerable immune systems. These infectious states may cover various bacteria and viruses present in the bloodstream; some of them may include sinus infections, common cold, chickenpox, swine flu, shingles, etc. Apart from these, numerous fungal, yeast, and parasite infections may also be covered.
They also attempt to lower the impact of some common long-term illnesses like diabetes, chronic fatigue syndrome, melanoma, bone and lung cancer, asthma, etc. All these conditions adversely weaken the body's overall functioning, and transfer factors aim at controlling their symptoms by boosting the immune health up to a great extent. However, it is essential to realize that transfer factors may prove useful or ineffective in some illnesses. At the same time, some may not have sufficient evidence to rate its effectiveness.
Are there any transfer factors supplement side effects?
If taken orally
Transfer factors obtained from humans or animals, mainly cows, are likely to be safe among adults. They may lead to fever for some adults. Besides, there are some concerns about the chances of acquiring the mad-cow disease (medical term is bovine spongiform encephalitis, BSE) or some other conditions from certain products that originate from animals. A transfer factor has not transferred the mad-cow illness. Still, it is presumably sensible to avoid animal outcomes, particularly from the regions where the mad cow disease has been detected.
If given as an injection shot into the muscle or under the skin:
While giving a shot to adults, transfer factors are likely to be safe when the chemical has been taken from a human or a cow. Like the above case, some people may catch a fever, while others may sense a swell or painfulness at the spot where the shot was injected. Once again, there are some concerns regarding the likelihood of acquiring the "mad-cow disease" or other conditions from similar animal products. As mentioned previously, the mad cow diseases have not been detected from a transfer factor, but it is still advised to avoid consuming them from places with the disease.
Precautions & Warnings for specific groups:
Among children up to the age of 6 years, if the transfer factor is given in the form of a shot, it is likely to be safe. Whereas, if the transfer factor is to be delivered from a cow source, directly by the mouth, it is expected to be safe for children.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women:
The information that can be wholly reliable is quite insufficient in pregnant and breastfeeding women. Therefore, to avoid any unwanted consequences, it is advised to prevent transfer factors in any form.
Similar to supplements, the complete cure or treatment of any disease is not expected from transfer factors. Despite this, transfer factors specifically still manage to have the potential of boosting the immune system's health in some ways, which may benefit the body in taking care of its overall functioning. Transfer factors still offer no guaranteed results regarding its ability to help people ease their illnesses or guard them against developing new ones.
In a nutshell, transfer factors are linked with the immune system somehow; however, the rate of its effectiveness cannot be commented upon, as there is no sufficient information. Besides, there are fair chances of side effects taking place, as is the case with supplements. In both the forms of obtaining transfer factors with injection shots and by mouth, a similar set of side effects are possible. Besides, there is no guarantee of treating any disease thoroughly. The highest possible outcome is developing a healthy immune system against the illness, which cannot be fully assured as such.