4Life is a company aimed at improving immune health using transfer factors, which provide cells with information to fight off illness, according to the company's website. Transfer factors were discovered in 1949 by Dr. H. Sherwood Lawrence, and the company uses these elements in its range of supplements to promote health and wellness. Consult your doctor before adding any dietary supplements to your daily routine.
About Transfer Factors
4Life explains transfer factors by relating them to colostrum, which is the high-protein, low-fat milk mothers make soon after a baby is born that provides the immune-enhancing substances that protects the baby from infection. According to the 4Life website, transfer factors work by providing your immune cells with information that helps them fight off infection, much like a mother's colostrum. In fact, some of the transfer factors found in 4Life supplements come from the colostrum of cows as well as chicken yolks.
4Life Transfer Factor Studies
4Life says it has conducted or commissioned numerous studies on transfer factors to determine their effectiveness. The website notes one study that shows that transfer factors boost natural killer cells by more than 400 percent. However, the study that showed the improvement in the natural killer cells has not been published, and the data collected is not available.
Independent Studies: Transfer Factors
An independent study done on transfer factors and published in Molecular Medicine in 2000 indicates that the science is still very new and that specific peptide sequencing may be necessary to get the desired immune response. A study published in Immunology and Cell Biology in 2003 seems to indicate that early exposure to antigen-specific cells may improve immune health and hypersensitivity. However, both of these studies were animal studies, and human trials need to be conducted before claims can be made.
Things to Consider
The science on transfer factors is still evolving. While 4Life offers scientific data to back up its claims, it's important to do your own research to verify the information. Manufacturers of supplements are required to provide data to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that their supplements are safe, but they do not necessarily need to provide data that they are effective, according to Harvard Health Publications. Although the supplements industry is FDA-regulated, the regulations are not strictly enforced, says Harvard. Consult your doctor before taking any dietary supplements.
- 4Life: Our History
- 4Life: Transfer Factors
- HealthyChildren.org: Colostrum: Your Baby's First Meal
- 4Life: Studies and Patents
- Molecular Medicine: Transfer Factors: Identification of Conserved Sequences in Transfer Factor Molecules
- Immunology and Cell Biology: Il-4 From Th2-type Cells Suppresses Induction of Delayed-Type Hypersensitivity Elicited Shortly After Immunization
- Harvard Health Publications: FDA Needs Stronger Rules to Ensure the Safety of Dietary Supplements