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Table of Contents > Allergies > Antibody deficiencies Print

Antibody deficiencies

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Related Terms
  • Antibodies, auto recessive, B-cells, bone marrow, bone marrow transplant, CBC, genetic disorder, immune system, immunodeficiency, inherited disorder, inherited immunodeficiency, leukocytes, leukemia, lymphoma, lymphocytes, malignancy, platelets, pneumonia, red blood cells, T-cells, thrombocytes, thrombocytopenia, tumor, WASP, white blood cells, Wiskott Aldrich syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome protein, X-linked.

Background
  • Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome (WAS) is an inherited, immunodeficiency disorder that occurs almost exclusively in males. The recessive genetic disorder is caused by a mutation in the WAS (Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome) gene, which is an X-linked trait. The gene mutation leads to abnormalities in B- and T-lymphocytes (white blood cells), as well as blood platelet cells. In a healthy individual, the T-cells provide protection against viral and fungal infection, the B cells produce antibodies, and platelets are responsible for blood clotting to prevent blood loss after a blood vessel injury.
  • Individuals diagnosed with WAS suffer from recurrent infections, eczema and thrombocytopenia (low levels of platelets).
  • Before 1935, patients only lived an average of eight months. Today, patients usually live an average of eight years, according to a recent case study. The cause of death is usually attributed to extensive blood loss. However, cancer (especially leukemia) is common and often fatal among WAS patients.
  • The only possible cure for WAS is a bone marrow transplant. However, if a patient's family member is not a possible match for a bone marrow donation, patients may have to wait years for a potential donor. Other aggressive treatments may also increase a patient's life expectancy. For instance, one study found that patients who underwent splenectomy (removal of the spleen) lived to be more than 25 years old. The spleen may harbor too many platelets, and cause a decrease in the number of platelets in circulation. Antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, chemotherapeutic agents, immunoglobulins and corticosteroids have also been used to relieve symptoms and treat infections and cancer associated with WAS.
  • Researchers estimate that about four people per one million live male births develop the disease in the United States.
  • The syndrome is named after Dr. Robert Anderson Aldrich, an American pediatrician who described the disease in a family of Dutch-Americans in 1954, and Dr Alfred Wiskott, a German pediatrician who discovered the syndrome in 1937. Wiskott described three brothers with a similar disease, whose sisters were unaffected.

Author information
  • This information has been edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Binder V, Albert MH, Kabus M, et al. The genotype of the original Wiskott phenotype. N Engl J Med. 2006 Oct 26;355(17):1790-3.
  2. Jin Y, Mazza C, Christie JR, et al. Mutations of the Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome Protein (WASP): hotspots, effect on transcription, and translation and phenotype/genotype correlation. Blood. 2004 Dec 15;104(13):4010-9. Epub 2004 Jul 29.
  3. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. .
  4. St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Inherited Immunodeficiencies: Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome (WAS). .
  5. U.S. Immune Deficiency Foundation. The Wiskott Aldrich Syndrome. .

Integrative therapies
  • Note: Currently, there is a lack of scientific data on the use of integrative therapies for the treatment or prevention of Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome (WAS). The integrative therapies listed below should be used only under the supervision of a qualified healthcare provider, and should not be used in replacement of other proven therapies or preventive measures.
  • Strong scientific evidence:
  • Probiotics: Probiotics are beneficial bacteria and are sometimes called friendly germs. They help maintain a healthy intestine by keeping harmful bacteria and yeasts in the gut under control. Most probiotics come from food sources, especially cultured milk products. Probiotics can be taken as capsules, tablets, beverages, powders, yogurts, and other foods. An increasing number of studies support the use of probiotics as a supplement to antibiotic therapy. Probiotic supplementation during a course of antibiotics has been studied for reducing adverse effects of antibiotics in the intestinal environment. This includes reducing growth of Clostridium difficile bacteria, which can lead to colitis, a common complication of antibiotics, especially in the elderly. Some probiotics may also help prevent the development of antibiotic resistance. In acutely ill children, synbiotics have been linked to greater weight gain and fewer bacterial illnesses after antibiotics are ended. The evidence consistently supports supplementation of antibiotics with probiotics.
  • Probiotics are generally considered to be safe and well-tolerated. Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to probiotics. Use cautiously if lactose intolerant. Caution is advised when using probiotics in neonates born prematurely or with immune deficiency.
  • Good scientific evidence:
  • Ginseng: For more than 2,000 years, the roots of ginseng have been valued in Chinese medicine. Several studies suggest that ginseng may be an effective agent for immune system enhancement. Additional high quality research is needed before a conclusion be made.
  • Avoid with known allergy to plants in the Araliaceae family. There has been a report of a serious life-threatening skin reaction, possibly caused by contaminants in ginseng formulations.
  • Probiotics: Research suggests that probiotics, especially those in milk or food, may be an effective agent for immune system enhancement. However, commercially produced yogurt may not be as effective. More studies are needed, particularly with yogurt, to give recommendations.
  • Probiotics are generally considered safe and well-tolerated. Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to probiotics. Use cautiously if lactose intolerant. Caution is advised when using probiotics in neonates born prematurely or with immune deficiency.
  • Zinc: Zinc formulations have been used since ancient Egyptian times to enhance wound healing. Zinc appears to be an essential trace element for the immune system, but research on the effect of zinc supplementation on immune function is scant and mostly focuses on patients with specific diseases. Zinc gluconate appears to exert beneficial effects on immune cells, improving CD3 and CD4 counts and increasing CD4/CD8 ratios in children. There are relatively few studies that examine zinc levels and the effects of zinc supplementation on the health of the elderly population. Further research is needed before a recommendation can be made.
  • Zinc is generally considered safe when taken at the recommended dosages. Avoid zinc chloride since studies have not been done on its safety or effectiveness. Avoid with kidney disease. Use cautiously if pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Unclear or conflicting scientific evidence:
  • Amaranth oil: Amaranth is grown in Asia and the Americas and harvested primarily for its grain, which is used as a food source for bread, pasta, and infant food. Limited evidence suggests that amaranth may stimulate the immune system when combined with a heart-healthy diet in patients with heart disease and high cholesterol. However, additional studies of amaranth alone are needed to determine if it is effective for immunomodulation.
  • Amaranth is generally considered safe. Avoid if allergic or sensitive to amaranth. Use cautiously with diabetes, low blood sugar, low blood pressure, immune system disorders, or kidney disorders. Use cautiously if pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Arabinogalactan: Arabinogalactans belong to a group of carbohydrates called polysaccharides. When consumed in the diet, arabinogalactan comes from the wood of the larch tree (Larix species) and is approved for use as a dietary fiber by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Early research has suggested that arabinogalactan may cause immune stimulation; however, its effect on immunity in healthy volunteers is not clear. More evidence is needed.
  • Avoid if allergic or sensitive to arabinogalactan or larch. People who are exposed to arabinogalactan or larch dust may have irritation of the eyes, lungs, or skin. Use cautiously in people with diabetes, digestive problems, or immune system disorders, and in people who consume diets high in fiber or low in galactose. Arabinogalactan should not be used during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
  • Arginine (L-arginine): L-arginine helps maintain the body's fluid balance (urea, creatinine), and aids in wound healing, hair growth, sperm production (spermatogenesis), blood vessel relaxation (vasodilation), and fights infection. Preliminary study results suggest that arginine may cause immunomodulation. More studies are needed to confirm these results.
  • Avoid if allergic to arginine or with a history of stroke or liver or kidney disease. Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding. Use cautiously if taking blood-thinning drugs (like warfarin or Coumadin®) or blood pressure drugs or herbs or supplements with similar effects. Blood potassium levels should be monitored. L-arginine may worsen symptoms of sickle cell disease. Caution is advised in patients taking prescription drugs to control sugar levels.
  • Astragalus: In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), astragalus is commonly found in mixtures with other herbs. Western herbalists began using astragalus in the 1800s as an ingredient in various tonics. Astragalus has been suggested as an immune system stimulant in preliminary laboratory and animal research, and in traditional accounts. Reliable human studies are lacking. High quality human research is necessary before a firm conclusion can be drawn.
  • Avoid if allergic to astragalus, peas, or any related plants or with a history of Quillaja bark-induced asthma. Avoid with aspirin or aspirin products or herbs or supplements with similar effects. Avoid with inflammation or fever, stroke, transplant, or autoimmune diseases. Stop use two weeks before and immediately after surgery/dental/diagnostic procedures with a risk of bleeding. Use cautiously with bleeding disorders, diabetes, high blood pressure, lipid disorders, or kidney disorders. Use cautiously with blood-thinners, blood sugar drugs, or diuretics or herbs and supplements with similar effects. Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Beta-carotene: Beta-carotene is a member of the carotenoids, which are very colorful (red, orange, yellow), fat-soluble compounds. They are naturally found in many fruits, grains, oil, and vegetables, including green plants, carrots, sweet potatoes, squash, spinach, apricots, and green peppers. Preliminary research of beta-carotene for immune system enhancement shows mixed results. Further research is needed before a conclusion can be drawn.
  • Avoid if sensitive to beta-carotene, vitamin A or any other ingredients in beta-carotene products.
  • Berberine: In low-quality research, berberine has been shown to significantly increase platelet production in individuals with thrombocytopenia both as a monotherapy and adjunctive therapy.
  • Avoid if allergic to berberine, to plants that contain berberine (Hydrastis canadensis (goldenseal), Coptis chinensis (coptis or goldenthread), Berberis aquifolium (Oregon grape), Berberis vulgaris (barberry), and Berberis aristata (tree turmeric)), or to members of the Berberidaceae family. Berberine has been reported to cause nausea, vomiting, hypertension (high blood pressure), respiratory failure, and paresthesias; however, clinical evidence of such adverse effects is not prominent in the literature. Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Black currant: The black currant shrub is native to Europe and parts of Asia and is particularly popular in Eastern Europe and Russia. There is currently a lack of information in humans on the effectiveness of black currant seed for immunomodulation.
  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to black currant, its constituents, or plants in the Saxifragaceae family. Avoid with hemophilia or in those taking blood thinners, unless otherwise recommended by a qualified healthcare provider. Use cautiously with venous disorders or gastrointestinal disorders. Use cautiously if taking MAOIs (antidepressants) or vitamin C supplements. Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Bovine colostrum: Bovine colostrum is the pre-milk fluid produced from cow mammary glands during the first two to four days after birth. Bovine colostrum confers growth, nutrient, and immune factors to the offspring. Bovine colostrum contains immunoglobulins or antibodies that are released into the bloodstream in response to infections. These immunoglobulins may help improve immune function and may be effective in treating immune system deficiencies. More evidence is required before a firm conclusion can be made.
  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to dairy products. Use bovine colostrum with caution. Toxic compounds, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT), and dichlordiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) have been found in human colostrum and breast milk. Thus, it is possible that these agents may be found in bovine colostrum. Avoid with, or if at risk of developing, cancer. Use cautiously with immune system disorders, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) or if taking medications, such as anti-diarrheal agents (e.g. immodium), insulin, or CNS agents (amphetamines, caffeine). Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Cat's claw: Cat's claw is widely used in the United States and Europe, and it is one of the top herbal remedies sold despite a lack of high-quality human evidence. Preliminary research of cat's claw for immune system enhancement shows mixed results. Further research is needed before a conclusion can be drawn.
  • Avoid if allergic to Cat's claw or Uncaria plants or plants in the Rubiaceae family such as gardenia, coffee, or quinine. Avoid with a history of conditions affecting the immune system (such as AIDS, HIV, some types of cancer, multiple sclerosis, tuberculosis, rheumatoid arthritis, or lupus). Use cautiously with bleeding disorders or history of stroke, or if taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Stop use two weeks before and immediately after surgery/dental/diagnostic procedures with bleeding risks. Cat's claw may be contaminated with other Uncaria species. Reports exist of a potentially toxic, Texan grown plant, Acacia gregii being substituted for cat's claw. Avoid if pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to become pregnant.
  • Copper: Copper is a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods, including vegetables, legumes, nuts, grains, fruits, shellfish, avocado, beef, and animal organs, (e.g. liver and kidney). Copper is involved in the development of immune cells and immune function in the body. Severe copper deficiency appears to have adverse effects on immune function, although the exact mechanism is not clear.
  • Avoid if allergic/hypersensitive to copper. Avoid use of copper supplements during the early phase of recovery from diarrhea. Avoid with hypercupremia, occasionally observed in disease states, including cutaneous leishmaniasis, sickle-cell disease, unipolar depression, breast cancer, epilepsy, measles, Down syndrome, and controlled fibrocalculous pancreatic diabetes (a unique form of secondary diabetes mellitus). Avoid with genetic disorders affecting copper metabolism such as Wilson's disease, Indian childhood cirrhosis, or idiopathic copper toxicosis. Avoid with HIV/AIDS. Use cautiously with water containing copper concentrations greater than 6mg/L. Use cautiously with anemia, arthralgias, or myalgias. Use cautiously if taking oral contraceptives. Use cautiously if at risk for selenium deficiency. The U.S. Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) is 1,000 micrograms for pregnant women. The U.S. RDA is 1,300 micrograms for nursing women.
  • Dong quai: Poor-quality research reports benefits of Dong quai in patients diagnosed with idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP). However, these patients were not compared to individuals who were not receiving Dong quai. Therefore, the results can only be considered preliminary.
  • Avoid if allergic to Angelica radix or members of the Aplaceae/Umbelliferae family (anise, caraway, carrot, celery, dill, parsley). Although Dong quai is accepted as being safe as a food additive in the United States and Europe, its safety in medicinal doses is not known. There are no reliable long-term studies of side effects. Most precautions are based on theory, laboratory research, tradition, or isolated case reports. Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Echinacea: Echinacea is a perennial herb that has been used to treat a variety of medical conditions. Echinacea has been studied alone and in combination preparations for immune system stimulation. It remains unclear if there are clinically significant benefits. Additional studies are needed in this area before conclusions can be drawn regarding safety or effectiveness.
  • Avoid if allergic to echinacea, its constituents, or any members of the Asteraceae/Compositae family (ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, daisies). Use cautiously in patients prone to atopic reactions and in those with hemochromatosis and diabetes. Some natural medicine experts discourage the use of echinacea by people with conditions affecting the immune system, such as HIV/AIDS, some types of cancer, multiple sclerosis, tuberculosis, and rheumatologic diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus). Use parenteral preparations of echinacea(no longer approved for use in Germany) cautiously. Use tinctures cautiously with alcoholic patients or in patients taking disulfiram or metronidazole. Avoid using echinacea in patients presenting for anesthesia. Use cautiously if pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Gamma linolenic acid (GLA):Gamma linolenic acid (GLA) is a dietary fatty acid that is found in many plant oil extracts. Few clinical trials have investigated the effect of GLA on immune responses in healthy human subjects. GLA, as blackcurrant seed oil, may offer some benefits. Further study is required to determine if GLA is beneficial for immune enhancement.
  • Use cautiously with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding like anticoagulants and anti-platelet drugs. Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Goldenseal: Goldenseal is one of the five top-selling herbal products in the United States. Goldenseal is sometimes suggested to be an immune system stimulant. However, there is little clinical evidence in this area. More research is needed before a firm conclusion can be drawn.
  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to goldenseal or any of its constituents (like berberine and hydrastine). Use cautiously with bleeding disorders, diabetes, or low blood sugar levels. Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Licorice: Early study has suggested that recombinant roasted licorice decoction combined with low-dose glucocorticoids may be more effective than glucocorticoids alone in treating idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura. This combination has also shown a lower adverse effect rate than glucocorticoids alone.
  • Avoid with a known allergy to licorice, any component of licorice, or any member of the Fabaceae (Leguminosae) plant family. Avoid with congestive heart failure, coronary heart disease, kidney or liver disease, fluid retention, high blood pressure, hormonal abnormalities or with diuretics. Licorice can cause abnormally low testosterone levels in men or high prolactin or estrogen levels in women. This may make it difficult to become pregnant and may cause menstrual abnormalities.
  • Maitake mushroom: Maitake mushrooms (Grifola frondosa) are fungi that can be eaten. Maitake has been used both as a food and for medical conditions. Beta-glucan extracts from maitake have been studied for immune stimulation. Additional high quality research is needed to make a conclusion.
  • Maitake has not been studied thoroughly in humans, and its effects are not well known. Because it has been used historically as a food, it is thought that low doses may be safe. Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to maitake or its constituents. Use cautiously with low blood pressure, diabetes, or low blood sugar. Use cautiously if taking blood pressure medications, antidiabetic agents, immunostimulants, immunosuppressants, or interferons. Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Massage: The main goal of massage is to help the body heal itself. Touch is fundamental to massage therapy and is used by therapists to locate painful or tense areas, to determine how much pressure to apply, and to establish a therapeutic relationship with clients. Preliminary evidence suggests that massage therapy may preserve immune function. Further research is needed before a firm conclusion can be made.
  • Avoid with bleeding disorders, low platelet counts, or if taking blood-thinning medications (such as heparin or warfarin/Coumadin®). Areas should not be massaged where there are fractures, weakened bones from osteoporosis or cancer, open/healing skin wounds, skin infections, recent surgery, or blood clots. Use cautiously with a history of physical abuse or if pregnant or breastfeeding. Massage should not be used as a substitute for more proven therapies for medical conditions. Massage should not cause pain to the client.
  • Meditation: Many forms of meditation have been practiced for thousands of years throughout the world, with many techniques originating in Eastern religious practices. Preliminary research reports increased antibody response after meditation. Further study is needed to better determine if meditation affects immune function.
  • Use cautiously with underlying mental illnesses. People with psychiatric disorders should consult with their primary mental healthcare professionals before starting meditation and should explore how meditation may or may not fit in with their current treatment plans. Avoid with risk of seizures. The practice of meditation should not delay the time to diagnosis or treatment with more proven techniques or therapies, and should not be used as the sole approach to illnesses.
  • Melatonin: Increased platelet counts after melatonin use has been observed in patients with decreased platelets due to cancer therapies (several studies reported by the same author). Stimulation of platelet production has been suggested but not clearly demonstrated. Additional research is necessary to better understand the role of melatonin in thrombocytopenia.
  • There are rare reports of allergic skin reactions after taking melatonin by mouth. Melatonin has been linked to a case of autoimmune hepatitis. Based on available studies and clinical use, melatonin is generally regarded as safe in recommended doses for short-term use. Melatonin supplementation should be avoided in women who are pregnant or attempting to become pregnant, based on possible hormonal effects. High levels of melatonin during pregnancy may increase the risk of developmental disorders. In animal studies, melatonin is detected in breast milk and therefore should be avoided during breastfeeding. In men, decreased sperm motility and decreased sperm count are reported with use of melatonin.
  • Mistletoe: Once considered a sacred herb in Celtic tradition, mistletoe has been used for centuries for high blood pressure, epilepsy, exhaustion, anxiety, arthritis, vertigo (dizziness), and degenerative inflammation of the joints. A few small trials found mistletoe to be promising as an immunostimulant in individuals with the common cold. Further study is needed to determine if mistletoe is effective for immunomodulation.
  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to mistletoe or to any of its constituents. Anaphylactic reactions (life threatening shock) have been described after injections of mistletoe. Avoid with acute, highly febrile, inflammatory disease, thyroid disorders, seizure disorders, or heart disease. Use cautiously with diabetes, glaucoma, or if taking cholinergics.
  • Qi gong: Qi gong is a type of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) that is thought to be at least 4,000 years old. It is traditionally used for spiritual enlightenment, medical care, and self-defense. There is some evidence suggesting that internal Qi gong may help with treatment of immune deficiencies. However, the evidence is still unclear, and further research is needed to understand how Qi gong may potentially benefit immune function. Based on preliminary study, Chan-Chuang Qi gong therapy may be used to treat leukopenia (low white blood cell count) in breast cancer patients treated with chemotherapy. Further study is warranted.
  • Qi gong is generally considered to be safe in most people when learned from a qualified instructor. Use cautiously with psychiatric disorders.
  • Probiotics: Results are mixed regarding the ability of probiotics to reduce complications of infections from medical treatment. Reduced incidence of infection has been seen in patients treated for brain injury, abdominal surgery, and liver transplantation. Other studies have shown no such reduction in elective abdominal surgery and critical care patients.More research is needed in this area before a conclusion can be drawn.
  • Probiotics are generally considered safe and well-tolerated. Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to probiotics. Use cautiously if lactose intolerant. Caution is advised when using probiotics in neonates born prematurely or with immune deficiency.
  • Reflexology: Reflexology involves the application of manual pressure to specific points or areas of the feet called "reflex points" that are believed to correspond to other parts of the body. Some research suggests that self-administered reflexology may be beneficial for immune enhancement. Additional study is needed in this area.
  • Avoid with recent or healing foot fractures, unhealed wounds, or active gout flares affecting the foot. Use cautiously and seek prior medical consultation with osteoarthritis affecting the foot or ankle or with severe vascular disease of the legs or feet. Use cautiously with diabetes, heart disease, unstable blood pressure, cancer, active infections, past episodes of fainting (syncope), mental illness, gallstones, kidney stones, or with a pacemaker. Use cautiously if pregnant or breastfeeding. Reflexology should not delay diagnosis or treatment with more proven techniques or therapies.
  • Rose hip: Rose hips are the fruits that develop from the blossoms of the wild rose plant. It is unclear if rose hips affect immune function. More studies are needed in this area.
  • Avoid if allergic to rose hips, rose pollen, their constituents, or members of the Rosaceae family. Use cautiously if taking anticoagulant or anti-platelet aggregating agents, anticancer agents, anti-HIV medications, anti-inflammatory agents, antilipemics, aluminum-containing antacids, antibiotics, salicylates or salicylate-containing herbs, or laxatives. Use cautiously in patients who are avoiding immune system stimulants.
  • Shiitake: Lentinan, a constituent of shiitake, has been shown to modulate the immune system in some studies. However, there is currently a lack of reliable human evidence supporting the use of lentinan or shiitake for immunomodulation. Additional study is needed in this area.
  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to shiitake mushrooms. Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Tai chi: Tai chi is a system of movements and positions believed to have developed in 12th Century China. Tai chi techniques aim to address the body and mind as an interconnected system and are traditionally believed to have mental and physical health benefits to improve posture, balance, flexibility, and strength. Tai chi may increase the body's immune response in older adults. For example, patients receiving varicella vaccines and who practiced tai chi showed increased immune responses. Although early study is promising, more study is needed to better determine if tai chi is effective for immune system stimulation.
  • Avoid with severe osteoporosis or joint problems, acute back pain, sprains, or fractures. Avoid during active infections, right after a meal, or when very tired. Some believe that visualization of energy flow below the waist during menstruation may increase menstrual bleeding. Straining downwards or holding low postures should be avoided during pregnancy, and by people with inguinal hernias. Some tai chi practitioners believe that practicing for too long or using too much intention may direct the flow of chi (qi) inappropriately, possibly resulting in physical or emotional illness. Tai chi should not be used as a substitute for more proven therapies for potentially serious conditions. Advancing too quickly while studying tai chi may increase the risk of injury.
  • Thymus extract: Thymus extracts for nutritional supplements are usually derived from young calves (bovine). Preliminary evidence suggests that thymus extract increases white blood cell counts. Additional study is needed to determine if thymus extract is effective for immune system stimulation.
  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to thymus extracts. Use bovine thymus extract supplements cautiously due to the potential for exposure to the virus that causes "mad cow disease." Avoid use with an organ transplant or other forms of allografts or xenografts. Avoid with thymic tumors, myasthenia gravis (neuromuscular disorder), or untreated hypothyroidism. Avoid if taking hormonal therapy or immunosuppressants. Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding; thymic extract increases human sperm motility and progression.
  • Vitamin A: Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin. Vitamin A deficiency may compromise immunity, but there is no clear evidence that additional vitamin A supplementation is beneficial for immune function in patients who are not vitamin A deficient.
  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to vitamin A. Vitamin A toxicity may occur if taken at high dosages. Use cautiously with liver disease or alcoholism. Smokers who consume alcohol and beta-carotene may be at an increased risk for lung cancer or heart disease. Vitamin A appears safe in pregnant women if taken at recommended doses; however, vitamin A excess, as well as deficiency, has been associated with birth defects. Use cautiously if breastfeeding because the benefits or dangers to nursing infants are not clearly established.
  • Vitamin B6: Major sources of vitamin B6 include: cereal grains, legumes (beans), vegetables (like carrots, spinach, peas), potatoes, milk, cheese, eggs, fish, liver, meat, and flour. Vitamin B6 has been shown to be important for immune system function in older individuals. One study found that the amount of vitamin B6 required to reverse immune system impairments in elderly people was more than the current recommended dietary allowance (RDA). Well-designed clinical trials on vitamin B6 supplementation for this indication are needed before a conclusion can be made.
  • Vitamin B6 is likely safe when used orally in doses not exceeding the recommended dietary allowance (RDA). Avoid if sensitive or allergic to any vitamin B6 product ingredients. Some individuals seem to be particularly sensitive to vitamin B6 and may have problems at lower doses. Avoid excessive dosing. Use cautiously if pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Vitamin D: Vitamin D is found in many foods, including fish, eggs, fortified milk, and cod liver oil. The sun also helps the body produce vitamin D. Preliminary human evidence suggests that vitamin D and its analogues, such as alfacalcidol, may act as immunomodulatory agents. High quality clinical studies are needed to better understand the effects of vitamin D on immunomodulation.
  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to vitamin D or any of its components. Vitamin D is generally well-tolerated in recommended doses; doses higher than recommended may cause toxic effects. Use cautiously with hyperparathyroidism (overactive thyroid), kidney disease, sarcoidosis, tuberculosis, and histoplasmosis. Vitamin D is safe in pregnant and breastfeeding women when taken in recommended doses.
  • Vitamin E: Vitamin E exists in eight different forms ("isomers"): alpha, beta, gamma and delta tocopherol; and alpha, beta, gamma, and delta tocotrienol. Alpha-tocopherol is the most active form in humans. Studies of the effects of vitamin E supplementation on immune system function have yielded mixed results. Further research is needed before a clear conclusion can be drawn.
  • Avoid if allergic or hypersensitive to vitamin E. Avoid with retinitis pigmentosa (loss of peripheral vision). Use cautiously with bleeding disorders or if taking blood thinners. Avoid doses greater than the recommended daily level in pregnant women and breastfeeding women.
  • Fair negative scientific evidence:
  • DHEA: DHEA (dehydroepiandrosterone) is a hormone that is produced by the adrenal glands. It is suggested by some textbooks and review articles that DHEA may be effective for immune system stimulation. However, current scientific evidence does not support this claim.
  • Avoid if allergic to DHEA. Avoid with a history of seizures. Use cautiously with adrenal or thyroid disorders or if taking anticoagulants or drugs, herbs, or supplements for diabetes, heart disease, seizure, or stroke. Stop use two weeks before and immediately after surgery/dental/diagnostic procedures with bleeding risks. Avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Lycopene: Lycopene is a carotenoid found in human serum, and skin, liver, adrenal, lung, prostate, and colon tissue. It has been proposed that lycopene and other carotenoids, such as beta-carotene, may stimulate the immune system. However, several studies of lycopene supplements and tomato juice intake in humans do not report effectiveness for immune stimulation.
  • Avoid if allergic to tomatoes or to lycopene. Due to a lack of conclusive data, avoid if pregnant or breastfeeding

Prevention
  • There is currently no known method to prevent WAS. However, individuals can be tested to determine whether they are carriers of the disease.

Types of the disease
  • Common Variable Immunodeficiency (CVID):
  • Overview: Common variable immunodeficiency (CVID), also called hypogammaglobulinemia or adult onset hypogammaglobulinemia, is a relatively common primary immune deficiency. Primary immune deficiencies are disorders that occur because part of the body's immune system does not function properly. These disorders are caused by intrinsic or genetic defects in the immune system. Therefore, individuals who have primary immune deficiencies are born with the disorder.
  • The disorder is characterized by a lack of antibody producing B-cells or plasma cells, low levels of most or all types of immunoglobulin, and recurrent bacterial infections.
  • While the exact incidence of CVID is unknown, researchers estimate that about one out of 50,000 individuals develop the disorder.
  • Although decreased serum levels of immunoglobulin G (IgG) and immunoglobulin A (IgA) are characteristic of the disorder, about 50% of CVID patients also have decreased immunoglobulin M (IgM) levels. In addition, about half of CVID patients experience some T-lymphocyte dysfunction.
  • No clear pattern of inheritance has been observed. In most cases, there is no family history of immunodeficiency. However, when more than one family member is diagnosed with CVID, researchers believe it is the result of autosomal recessive inheritance.
  • Initially, the disorder was called acquired agammaglobulinemia. This name generally applied to patients who developed the immunodeficiency when they were 20-50 years old. However, today the use of the term is discouraged in order to avoid confusion with the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Instead, CVID that develops later in life is now referred to as adult-onset hypogammaglobulinemia.
  • In general, the expected survival rate for male and female patients is 92% and 94%, respectively. Factors associated with fatality include low levels of IgG, poor T-cell responses to antigens, and a low percentage of B cells. Deaths related to CVID are usually the result of lymphoma. Other potential causes of death include right-sided heart failure secondary to chronic lung infection, liver failure, and malnutrition (resulting from gastrointestinal tract disease).
  • Symptoms: The first signs of the deficiency are recurrent bacterial infections, which may occur as early as infancy or as late as the fourth decade of life. Common symptoms include recurrent infections of the ears, bronchi, sinuses, and lungs. Bronchiectasis (widening and scarring of the bronchial tubes) infections of the bronchi are severe. Patients with bronchiectasis may have a regular morning cough that produces yellow or green sputum. Many CVID patients have an enlarged spleen and lymph nodes. Other patients may develop painful inflammation of the knees, ankle, elbows, or wrist joints. Gastrointestinal symptoms may include abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or weight loss. Some patients develop autoantibodies, which are antibodies that mistakenly attack the body's tissues. Autoantibodies can destroy one or more types of body tissues, cause abnormal organ growth, or impair organ function. Autoantibodies commonly affect blood components (like red blood cells, connective tissues, and blood vessels), endocrine glands (like the thyroid or pancreas), as well as muscles, joints, and the skin.
  • Diagnosis: A nephelometry blood test may be performed to diagnose CVID. The disorder is diagnosed after significantly decreased IgG and IgA levels are observed in the patient's blood. Some patients may also have decreased IgM levels. During the procedure, a sample of blood is taken from the patient. Anti-immunoglobulins are added to the blood sample. A medical instrument then measures the movement of particles in a substance that is caused by the interaction between immunoglobulins and anti-immunoglobulins. The test quickly and accurately measures the amount of IgM, IgG, and IgA in the patient's blood. Healthy individuals have 100-400 milligrams of IgA per deciliter of blood, 560-1,800 milligrams of IgG per deciliter of blood, and 45-250 milligrams of IgM per deciliter blood.
  • Treatment: While there is currently no cure for CVID, various treatments may help relieve symptoms and resolve infections associated with the disease. Intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) therapy is used most often to treat CVID patients.
  • Immune globulin may be administered intravenously (injected into the vein) or subcutaneously (injected below the skin). Solutions of 3-12% intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) have been used on a regular basis to maintain a trough level of 400-500 milligrams/deciliter in adults. A dose of 400-600 milligrams/deciliter every two to four weeks is usually required. In patients with structural lung damage, a trough level of 700-800 milligrams/deciliter is generally required.
  • The most common side effects of IVIG include backache, nausea, vomiting, chills, low-grade fever, myalgias (general feeling of discomfort), and fatigue. Adverse effects usually occur within 30 minutes of the infusion and typically last for several hours. Slowing the rate of infusion or interrupting the infusion for a few minutes can help prevent side effects. Adverse effects can be treated with antipyretics, diphenhydramine, or corticosteroids. Although anaphylactic reactions to immunoglobulin concentrates are rare, patients who have IgA deficiency have an increased risk for these effects. Long-term intravenous access is not recommended because it can increase the risk of infection.
  • Patients with chronic sinusitis or lung disease may need long term treatment with broad spectrum antibiotics such as ampicillin (Principen®), tetracycline (Helidac Therapy®, Sumycin®, or Sumycin® Syrup), cephalexin (Biocef®, Keflex®, Keftab®, Panixine®, or Zartan®), trimethoprim/sulfmethoxazole (Bactrim® or Septra®), or ciprofloxacin (Cipro®).
  • Hyperimmunoglobulin E Syndrome (HIES):
  • Overview: Hyperimmunoglobulin E syndrome (HIES), also called Job syndrome, is an inherited immunodeficiency that is characterized by recurrent bacterial infections, skin abscesses, and high levels of immunoglobulin E (IgE). Immunoglobulin (Ig) is an antibody that is secreted by immune system cells to detect antigens (foreign substances like bacteria and viruses that enter the body). Once the antibodies attach to the antigen, white blood cells destroy the antigen.
  • Even though HIES patients have high levels of IgE in their blood, they are vulnerable to infection and disease because other important immune cells do not function properly. HIES patients are born with abnormal T-cells (type of white blood cells) that are unable to produce enough interferon-gamma, which stimulates white blood cells called macrophages to engulf foreign invaders. Consequently, the immune system's response to antigens is delayed.
  • Studies suggest that HIES is a genetic disorder that can be inherited as either an autosomal dominant (AD-HIES) or autosomal recessive (AR-HIES) trait. However, the specific gene involved remains unidentified.
  • HIES is an extremely rare disease, with only 250 cases ever reported internationally. Most individuals are not diagnosed until childhood, or sometimes adulthood.
  • The oldest reported HIES patient was 60 years old. Most patients die by age 20-30 from severe pulmonary (lung) infections and diseases like aspergillosis.
  • Symptoms: Common symptoms of HIES include persistent skin abscesses and infections, recurrent pus in the sinuses, eczema (type of skin rash), itchy skin, and painless skin abscesses (infections). Patients often suffer from recurrent infections such as fungal infections of the mouth and nails, bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, bone infections, and gingivitis (gum disease). Some patients may also suffer from skeletal and dental abnormalities such as scoliosis (curved spine), fractured bones (that often go unrecognized because they cause little or no pain), bone and teeth defects, and late shedding and fractures of baby teeth.
  • Diagnosis: HIES can be diagnosed after elevated levels of IgE are observed in the blood of patients who suffer from the characteristic symptoms. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test is used to measure the level of antibodies in the blood. Patients are diagnosed with HIES if they have an IgE level greater than two standard deviations higher than normal, and they suffer from characteristic symptoms.
  • Treatment: There is currently no cure for HIES. Treatment focuses on resolving the infections commonly associated with the disorder. Antibacterial agents like nafcillin (Nafcil®, Unipen® or Nallpen®), oxacillin (Bactocill® or Prostaphlin®), and ampicillin (Marcillin®, Omnipen®, Polycillin®, Principen®, or Totacillin®) have been used to treat bacterial infections. Antifungals like fluconazole (Diflucan®) and Ketoconazole (Nizoral®) have been used to treat fungal infections. Intravenous immunoglobulin therapy (IVIG) may help to build up the immune system temporarily when patients have severe infections. Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) is made of antibodies extracted from pooled blood donations from hundreds to thousands of donors. The immunoglobulin is typically injected into the patient's vein for about two to four hours a day for two to seven days. The patient usually receives another single dose every 10-21 days or every three to four weeks, depending on the severity of the condition.
  • IgG subclass deficiencies:
  • Overview: Selective immunoglobulin G (IgG) subclass deficiencies are a group of inherited disorders that occur when subclasses of IgG are not produced. There are four subclasses of the IgG class of antibodies: IgG1, IgG2, IgG3, and IgG4.
  • In healthy individuals, the antibody-producing B-cell can switch from one IgG subclass to another. Patients with IgG subclass deficiencies are born with defective B-cells that are do not mature properly, and they are unable to produce different IgG subclasses. This causes an imbalance of the IgG subclasses, with one or more subclasses being deficient. The overall level of IgG may be normal, but individual subclass levels may be higher or lower than normal.
  • Symptoms: Many patients experience no symptoms, while others may suffer from recurrent ear infections, sinusitis (sinus infections), bronchitis, and pneumonia. In rare cases, patients have experienced recurrent episodes of meningitis (infection of the membranes that cover the spinal cord and brain) or bacterial infections of the bloodstream. Lung function impairment and bronchiectasis (widening and scaring of airways) have also been reported in some patients. Some patients develop autoimmunity. When this occurs, cells in the immune system mistake the body's own tissues for an invading substance.
  • Diagnosis: The standard diagnostic test for IgG subclass deficiency is an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) or a radial immunodiffusion test. These tests measure the level of IgG subclasses in the blood. In healthy individuals, 60-70% of IgG antibodies in the bloodstream are IgG1, 20-30% are IgG2, five to eight percent are IgG3, and one to three percent are IgG4. Test results may vary from one laboratory to another. A healthcare provider should also evaluate the patient's response to vaccines. Patients who have IgG2 subclass deficiency often have poor responses to the Pneumococcal vaccine.
  • Treatment: Many patients outgrow their deficiency once they reach adulthood. For those patients who experience persistent deficiencies, antibiotics, intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) therapy, and immunizations may help prevent serious infections and the development of impaired lung function, hearing loss, or other injuries caused by infections. IVIG is made of antibodies extracted from pooled blood donations from hundreds to thousands of donors. IVIG has been shown in some studies to reduce the number of infections and courses of antibiotics in patients who have substantial IgG subclass deficiencies. Doses range from 200 to 400 milligrams/kilogram, given once every three or four weeks.
  • Selective IgA deficiency:
  • Overview: Selective immunoglobulin A (IgA) deficiency is a primary immune deficiency that occurs when individuals are unable to produce antibodies called immunoglobulin A.
  • The B-cells of selective IgA patients are unable to switch from making immunoglobulin M (IgM) to IgA. Healthy individuals express IgM on their B-cells. Once the B-cells come into contact with a foreign substance in the body, they become plasma cells and are capable of producing other antibodies, including IgA.
  • The amount of IgA produced is either significantly reduced or absent. Healthy adults have serum IgA levels that range from 90-450mg/dl, while IgA deficient patients have serum levels of 7mg/dl or less.
  • The disorder is considered selective because all other antibodies (IgD, IgE, IgG, and IgM) are present at normal or increased levels. Other cells of the immune system, including the T-cells and phagocytic cells, are also produced at normal or increased levels. The T-cells and phagocytic cells are responsible for engulfing (destroying) the foreign substances that are bound to the antibodies.
  • Selective IgA deficiency appears to be an inherited disease that is passed down from parents to children. However, the exact genes involved remain unknown.
  • Symptoms: Most patients who have selective IgA deficiency experience no symptoms. Because the IgA antibodies protect body surfaces that are frequently exposed to foreign substances from outside of the body (like the nose, throat, lungs, and intestines), these patients may suffer from recurrent infections of these body parts. Ear infections, sinus infections, and pneumonia are the most common infections that occur in symptomatic patients. However, most infections are generally mild.
  • Allergies, which range from mild to severe, are also common among patients.
  • Diagnosis: A diagnosis of selective IgA deficiency can be made after low or absent levels of IgA are observed in a patient. Healthy adults typically have IgA levels of 100-400 milligrams/deciliter in the blood. The IgA will either be absent or below 7 milligrams/deciliter in patients who have selective IgA deficiency. Immunoglobulin G (IgG) and immunoglobulin M (IgM) will be present in normal levels.
  • Treatment: There is currently no cure for selective IgA deficiency. While many patients do not require any medical treatment, some may need antibiotics to treat infections commonly associated with the disorder. Commonly prescribed antibiotics for ear infections include amoxicillin (Trimox® or Biomox®) and Cefuroxime (Ceftin®, Kefurox®, or Zinacef®). Commonly prescribed antibiotics for sinus infections include amoxicillin (Amoxil®, Polymox®, or Trimox®) and trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, also called TMP/SMX (Bactrim®, Cotrim®, or Septra). Commonly prescribed antibiotics for pneumonia include azithromycin (Zithromax®), clarithromycin (Biaxin®), erythromycin (Erythrocin® or Ery-Tab®), and amoxicillin and clavulanate (Augmentin®).
  • Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) therapy, which is often used to treat other primary immunodeficiencies, should not be used to treat selective IgA deficiency because some patients may develop antibodies to IgA. Once antibodies are created, severe reactions, including anaphylaxis (life-threatening allergic reaction), may occur if the patient receives IVIG.
  • Selective IgM deficiency (SIgMD):
  • Overview: Selective Immunoglobulin M deficiency (SIgMD) is an immune disorder that occurs when patients have low levels of immunoglobulin M (IgM). Healthy individuals typically have 45-250 milligrams/deciliter of IgM in their blood. Patients with SIgMD typically have concentrations of IgM patients that are lower than 40 milligrams/deciliter.
  • Some patients may be born with SIgMD, while others may develop the disorder as a result of another medical condition, such as cancer, an autoimmune disease, or a gastrointestinal problem. Patients who are receiving immunosupressants may also develop SIgMD.
  • Some patients may experience no symptoms, while others may have serious infections. Infants and small children are more likely to develop severe infections that may be life threatening because their immune systems are not fully developed. In older children and adults, SIgMD is usually discovered during the investigation of other conditions, such as autoimmune disease or cancer.
  • SIgMD is a rare disorder. Researchers estimate that less than 0.03% of the general population and about 1% of hospitalized patients have the disorder.
  • Symptoms: Patients may be asymptomatic, while others may experience prolonged or life-threatening infections, especially during infancy. Recurrent infections, including, sinusitis and pneumonia, are caused by bacteria. Patients may also experience atopic or chronic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis (hay fever), wheezing, and/or diarrhea.
  • Diagnosis: A nephelometry blood test may be performed to diagnose SIgMD. The disorder is diagnosed after significantly decreased IgM are observed in the patient's blood. During the procedure, a sample of blood is taken from the patient. Anti-immunoglobulins are added to the blood sample. A medical instrument then measures the movement of particles in a substance that is caused by the interaction between immunoglobulins and anti-immunoglobulins. The test quickly and accurately measures the amount of IgM in the patient's blood.
  • Treatment: There is currently no cure for SIgMD that is inherited. SIgMD that is caused by another medical condition may resolve once the underlying condition is treated. Treatment focuses on resolving infections associated with the disorder. Commonly prescribed antibiotics include amoxicillin (Trimox® or Biomox®), cefuroxime (Ceftin®, Kefurox®, or Zinacef®), amoxicillin (Amoxil®, Polymox®, or Trimox®), trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, also called TMP/SMX (Bactrim®, Cotrim®, or Septra), azithromycin (Zithromax®), clarithromycin (Biaxin®), erythromycin (Erythrocin® or Ery-Tab®), and amoxicillin and clavulanate (Augmentin®).
  • Transient hypogammaglobulinemia of infancy (THI):
  • Overview: Transient hypogammaglobulinemia of infancy (THI) is a temporary immunodeficiency that occurs when patients have low levels of immunoglobulin G (IgG), the most common antibody in the bloodstream. Immunoglobulins are antibodies that help the body fight against disease and infection. Additional types of antibodies, including immunoglobulin A (IgA), may also be low in children with THI.
  • In healthy babies, antibody levels in the blood reach a natural low point when they are between three and four months of age. This happens because babies are no longer receiving IgG from their mothers, and they are unable to produce their own yet. Once healthy babies reach six months of age, their antibodies are produced at a normal rate.
  • In children who have THI, the levels of IgG and IgA levels remain low after six months of age because not enough immunoglobulin is produced. Babies who are born prematurely are at an even greater risk of developing THI because they had less time to build up antibody supplies before birth. There appears to be no correlation between breastfeeding and THI.
  • Researchers estimate that THI affects about 1 out of 10,000 children. However, this number may be higher because some children experience few or no symptoms, and they might not be diagnosed.
  • Symptoms: Symptoms of THI vary. Some children may experience few or no symptoms while others may experience recurrent infections. In general, children who have THI suffer from milder infections that are caused by more typical bacteria and viruses than children with more severe immune deficiencies. Common symptoms of THI include recurrent ear infections or non-infectious inflammation of the middle ear, recurrent bronchitis, frequent sinusitis (infection or inflammation of the sinuses), bacterial infection (like pneumonia), infections of the skin, and meningitis (infection of the membranes that cover the spinal cord and brain).
  • Diagnosis: THI is usually suspected if a child experiences recurrent infections past the age of six months. A blood test can indicate low levels of antibodies in the bloodstream. However, this is a nonspecific diagnostic test because many other immune disorders cause low levels of antibodies. A definitive diagnosis can only be made once the condition has resolved on its own.
  • Treatment: THI will resolve on its own, without treatment. However, THI patients have an increased risk of developing infections and may need antibiotic treatment. Intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) therapy is controversial, but may be beneficial in some patients. IVIG is made of antibodies extracted from pooled blood donations from hundreds to thousands of donors. A qualified healthcare provider should closely monitor the patient's antibody levels several times a year to check for improvement, and to ensure that a more serious immunodeficiency disorder is not present.
  • Most children require antibiotics like amoxacillin (Amoxil®, Amoxil® Pediatric Drops, or Trimox® Pediatric Drops) or cefuroxime (Ceftin® or Zinacef®) to treat bacterial infections associated with THI.
  • There is still debate over whether IVIG therapy is helpful for THI patients because it delays the child's normal antibody formation. There is also the risk of allergic reaction to the therapy. Therefore, IVIG may be more beneficial in patients with severe infections who are not responding to antibiotics. Patients should consult their qualified healthcare providers to evaluate the risks and benefits.
  • Children with THI are given routine immunizations. In general, most children with THI respond normally to vaccines.
  • X-linked agammaglobulinemia:
  • Overview: X-linked agammaglobulinemia is an inherited immunodeficiency that occurs when patients have low levels of all types of immunoglobulin (IgA, IgD, IgE, IgG and IgM) in the blood. Immunoglobulins are antibodies that help the body fight against disease and infection.
  • The disease is inherited as an X-linked recessive trait. This means the mutated gene that causes the disorder is located on the X chromosome. Since males only have one X chromosome, the disorder affects males almost exclusively. If a male inherits the mutated gene, he will develop the disease 100% of the time. Females, on the other hand, have two X chromosomes. Females need to inherit two mutated X chromosomes in order to develop the disease. If a female inherits the mutated gene, chances are the other gene will be healthy because the disease is not common. However, if the female inherits one mutated gene, she is a carrier for the disease and there is a 50% chance that she will pass the gene to each of her children.
  • The mutated gene prevents the B-cells from developing into mature cells. Mature B-cells play an important role in the immune response because they produce antibodies. Consequently, patients with agammaglobulinemia have decreased levels of all types of antibodies in their blood.
  • Symptoms: Symptoms of X-linked agammaglobulinemia may include frequent pus-producing infections, ear infections, lung infections, sinus infections, pneumonia, missing tonsils, missing adenoids, and delayed growth.
  • Diagnosis: A diagnosis of X-linked agammaglobulinemia can be made after low or absent levels of all antibodies are observed in the patient's blood. Patients typically have lower than 200mg/dL of IgG in the blood. IgA and IgM are almost undetectable.
  • Treatment: There is currently no cure for agammaglobulinemia. Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and boosting the body's immune system to prevent future infections. Commonly prescribed antibiotics include amoxicillin (Trimox® or Biomox®), cefuroxime (Ceftin®, Kefurox®, or Zinacef®), amoxicillin (Amoxil®, Polymox®, or Trimox®), trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole, also called TMP/SMX (Bactrim®, Cotrim®, or Septra), azithromycin (Zithromax®), clarithromycin (Biaxin®), erythromycin (Erythrocin® or Ery-Tab®), and amoxicillin and clavulanate (Augmentin®).
  • Intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) is often used to boost the body's immune system. IVIG is made of antibodies extracted from pooled blood donations from hundreds to thousands of donors. The immunoglobulin is typically injected into the patient's vein for about two to four hours a day for two to seven days. The patient usually receives another single dose every 10-21 days or every three to four weeks, depending on the severity of the condition. Treatment is typically administered every two to three weeks for life.

Copyright © 2011 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.

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