1. What is Transfer Factor?
Transfer Factor is a set of
messaging molecules that convey immune information within an individual's
immune system. Nature also uses transfer factor to carry immune
information from one individual's immune system to another individual.
This in fact is how it got its name: by being the factor that transferred
immunity from one person to another.
2. How was Transfer Factor discovered?
In 1949 Dr. H. Sherwood Lawrence
was working on the problem of tuberculosis. What he was trying to discover
was if any component of the blood could convey a tubercular sensitivity
from an exposed recovered donor to a naive recipient. Whole blood
transfusions could be used but only between people of the same blood type.
Lawrence first separated the blood's immune cells, the lymphocytes or
white blood cells, from the whole blood. Then he broke open the
lymphocytes and separated the contents of the cells into various size
fractions. What he found was that a fraction of small molecules was able
to transfer tuberculin sensitivity to a naive recipient. This is what Dr.
Lawrence called transfer factor.
3. Is blood the only source of transfer
factor? Originally it was. It
was not until the mid 1980's that two researchers came up with the idea
that Transfer Factor may also be present in colostrum. The confirmation of
this discovery was awarded a patent in 1989. Colostrum is now the best
source of transfer factor.
4. What is colostrum? It
is the first milk that a mother produces immediately after giving birth.
5. What prompted these scientists to look
for Transfer Factor in colostrum? Those
who have worked with cattle know that if a calf is not allowed to nurse
from its mother it will most often die within a short time. The calves
would die in spite of an abundance of food. Death in these cases was cause
by infections brought on by the most common organisms. For whatever reason
the immune systems of these calves were not working. Seeing this suggests
that there is some kind of immune information was being transferred from
the mother and her infant. The logical question then became: was it
transfer factor? The answer was a resounding YES!
6. Transfer Factor™ is isolated from
colostrum, what about milk allergies and lactose intolerance? Milk
allergies are caused by the large milk proteins, primarily casein, and to
a lesser extent the immunoglobulins. These proteins are completely removed
from the transfer factor. Lactose intolerance is most common in Oriental
populations; much less so in those of European or African decent. We are
conscience of this concern and remove the lactose from our product.
7. How does Transfer Factor™ compare to
the colostrum products that are on the market now? We
looked seriously at hyperimmunized colostrum and eggs. These products are
good but certain issues must be addressed. First the milk allergy and
lactose intolerance issues as we discussed above. Second the issue of
immunoglobulin or antibody effectiveness. The use of cross species
antibody therapy can be effective in the short run. Long-term use is
ineffective since the recipient develops antibodies to the foreign
antibody thus destroying its effectiveness. Antibody therapy is given
intravenously since oral consumption leads to acid degradation in the
8. Is Transfer Factor™ only good for
newborns? Transfer Factor is
good for everyone who needs an extra immune boost. The three groups who
are most in need of immune strengthening are the young, the old, and
anyone under stress. Almost all of us fall into one of these categories.
We often talk of the baby-boom generation. Most of these people are at an
age where already their immune systems are becoming lax. Transfer Factor
is a way to boost a lagging immune system.
9. Has Transfer Factor™ been
scientifically validated? Since
Lawrence's discovery of Transfer Factor in 1949, there have been over 3000
scientific studies published on Transfer Factor. Dr. Hennen has summarized
a portion of this research in a forty-eight-page booklet for the general
public. This booklet can be obtained from Woodland Books by calling
10. What conditions are responsive to
Transfer Factor™? Transfer
factor preparations have been used to effectively treat a wide range of
diseases. These include bacterial, mycobacterial, fungal, parasitic,
viral, and cancer. It is in part because of AIDS, or more specifically our
frustration in treating AIDS, that transfer factor is experiencing a
resurgence of research interest. In fact a recent international symposium
held in Italy was titled: "Transfer Factor in the Era of AIDS".
11. If Transfer Factor™ is so effective
why hasn't the pharmaceutical industry jumped on Transfer Factor™?
I think that is exactly what we are
seeing in many foreign countries notably China, Czechoslovakia, Germany,
Hungary, Poland, and Japan. In the US transfer factor has had an
interesting history. The idea of transfer factor flies in the face of
conventional immunology. In the 50’s antibiotics were the golden child
of medicine followed in the 60's by steroids like cortisone for
inflammation and the synthetic steroid hormones like ethinyl estrogen and
progestin that were used to create the birth control pill. After an
initial delay transfer factor hit its heyday in the 70's and early 80's.
Results however were inconsistent as researchers dove in sometimes with
more enthusiasm than skill. The key feature that was missing in these
investigations was a dependable assay technique for quality control of the
product. The quality control issue was not resolved until the mid 1980's.
Given that transfer factor is not a single entity, the pharmaceutical
companies had fits to trying to purify the material without losing
efficacy. This force-fit into the single-entity, single-function drug
dogma was disastrous. The next issue that slowed transfer factor research
is the age-old issue of funding. When AIDS hit the popular press
politicians shifted funding into AIDS research but with the focus on
finding the cause and then finding a drug that would cure AIDS. The work
of a few dedicated, but under-funded, researchers and the inability of the
mainstream medical-pharmaceutical industry have combined to again focus
attention on transfer factor as one of the few modalities that is
effective against diseases of viral origin.
12. Are there reasons why we haven't seen
transfer factor as a food supplement before now? Yes,
there are two doors that recently have opened that allow transfer factor
to be effectively marketed now. The first door to open was the passage of
DSHEA in 1994. The provision for structure-functions claims allows the
story of transfer factor to be told without jeopardizing its status as a
nutritional supplement. The second is technical. Transfer factor was
definitely an idea way ahead of its time and it had to wait for technology
to catch up. The processing methods that allow for large-scale extraction
of transfer factor have only recently been perfected and a commercial
product has only been available for the past year.
13. How does one discuss Transfer Factor™
in terms of structure-function claims? Simplistically,
transfer factor strengthens the immune system. But that is simplistic and
could be used to describe a number of herbal products and other
supplements. Let me answer the question by first reiterating that transfer
factor is not just a single entity. Transfer factor is in fact a complex
mixture containing three separate fractions. These three fractions are an
INDUCER fraction, and ANTIGEN SPECIFIC fraction, and a SUPPRESSOR
fraction. Since our immune systems fight the microbe wars for us, let me
use a military analogy to explain these three functions. The inducer
fraction serves as the drill Sargent of basic training whipping the immune
system into shape but not telling them who to go out and attack. The
antigen specific fraction is like a set of wanted posters identifying
critical features of the bad guys. If we were microbes these specific
identifiers would be our fingerprints, mug shots, etc. Similarly a whole
set of transfer factors are made against a single microbe type. Finally
the suppressor fraction is like the politicians who declare an end to the
war and demobilize the troops. Without this action a lot of excessive
damage is done both in war and within ourselves. When our immune system
does not demobilize or overreacts we suffer from autoimmune diseases such
as multiple sclerosis and allergies. Unlike most immune supplements, that
provide the building blocks for proper immune function, transfer factor is
immune intelligence. It is immune information and education that focuses
the immune system keeping it on task and effective. This is a whole new
concept in immune system strengthening.
14. Is Transfer Factor™ FDA approved?
YES, according to Dr. Fudenburg
Prog in Drug Res. 1994, 42, p378. Foods and dietary supplements are
not approved per se by the FDA and food supplements derived from milk
would certainly fall under the category of Generally Recognized As Safe
15. Is Transfer Factor™ safe? YES,
researchers have given huge doses of Transfer Factor™ to
volunteers in an attempt to trigger some sort of adverse reaction. No
negative side effects were observed even with massive doses.
16. Are there any reports about Transfer
Factor™ helping people with cancer? Radiation,
chemotherapy, and surgery are the commonly used conventional cancer
treatments. Both radiation and chemotherapy are highly damaging to fast
growing cells in the body such as the intestinal lining, the bone marrow
and the cells of the immune system. After these treatments persons often
have to be on very strong antibiotics in order to prevent infections. The
use of transfer factor during radiation or chemotherapy protects the
immune system by some mechanism which we do not fully understand at the
present. In cases of surgical removal of certain tumors the use of Transfer
Factor™ as an adjuvant therapy resulted in a consistently higher
17. What about colds? Colds
are viral diseases and transfer factor is used most commonly against viral
conditions. Studies of transfer factor and colds have not been officially
done but interestingly cold relief is a commonly reported side effect of
taking Transfer Factor™.
18. Is transfer factor safe for infants?
Colostral transfer factor was
designed by Nature for newborns. Removal of the milk allergens and lactose
leaves only the essence of the immunological information in the form of Transfer
19. BSE - Mad Cow Disease • Report by Dr. Richard Bennett