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, leukemia, leprosy, Crohn's disease, and sickle cell disease. 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 (proteinaceous infectious proteins) 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 U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 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.
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.
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.