Natural Health Blog | Strengthen Immune System & Dietary Supplements

Date: 10/09/2006    Written by: Jon Barron

Transplants and Building The Immune System



Hi, I love your products and educational materials. My father is 74 and had a kidney transplant about 2 years ago. He takes medication to supress his immune system. How does taking immune boosting products affect him? Is this advisable?


Immune boosting supplements would be contraindicated.

Unfortunately, one of the results of many medical procedures is that they are "subtractive." That is, if you opt for them, they "subtract out" other options. If you have had a transplant, for example, and are on immunosuppressant drugs, your doctor now controls your supplement agenda. You must check with your doctor before you take anything since supplements that would normally be beneficial might now be harmful.

Natural healing options, on the other hand, tend to be additive. You can use changes in diet, in addition to neutraceuticals, in addition to herbal supplements, etc. If used intelligently, the use of one does not obviate the use of the other -- but in fact reinforces it.

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    Submitted by EMMA LIM on
    September 4, 2008 - 7:29pm

    Hi! You mentioned that ""If you have had a transplant, for example, and are on immunosuppressant drugs, your doctor now controls your supplement agenda. You must check with your doctor before you take anything since supplements that would normally be beneficial might now be harmful.""
    My Mother-in-law had total knee replacement 4 5years ago and underwent a revision last 3 months ago. Now she is not under medication and her surgeon said supplements are not harmful. But since she still feels some pains (arthritic & rheumatic), tingling & numbness from time to time of the day, besides the maximum dosage of systemic enzymes (almost 2 years of Vitalzym) & Krill oil she is currently taking, what supplements would you like to recommend to her from your product lines?
    I am new to your web site and has just subscribed today and I was also about to place order of Zyflamend from NewCharter and Glucosamine, chondroitin & MSM combination until I come across your web site. I wish you can help us. Thanks

    Submitted by Gary Somerville on
    March 26, 2009 - 1:35pm

    As a kidney transplant patient, I relate personally to your comments, especially about checking with the doctor on things. As a followup on this issue of building the immune system, I have been very interested in your comments about pathogen killers. I have wanted to take advantage of these, but have not done so since I am very careful not to take anything that would increase my suppressed immune system. But I read recently where Dr. Jonathon Wright stated that with respect to olive leaf extract ""in combination with echinacea, it packs a ""one-two"" punch, since olive leaf directly kills germs, and echinacea boosts the immune system."" I was hoping you could offer additional insight on this aspect of olive leaf extract.

    Submitted by Jon Barron on
    March 27, 2009 - 3:46am

    For someone who has had an organ transplant, pathogen destroyers such as olive leaf extract, oil of oregano, garlic, and grapefruit seed extract make much more sense than immune boosters. They work by directly killing pathogens in your body -- not by ramping up your immune system. For more information on how antipathogens work, click here.

    Submitted by Sarah on
    March 20, 2015 - 2:14pm
    San Diego , California

    Jon - Grapefruit seed extract is contraindicated in transplant patients - it affects the liver and can mess up their meds and cause a lot of problems. I myself am a transplant patient and studying the use of Olive Leaf Extract, but it can stimulate a process called phagocytosis, an immune system response in which cells act like little Pac-Man, ingesting harmful microorganisms and foreign matter. Phagocytes are, from what I can tell, something they wish to suppress to keep immunity down and prevent transplant rejection - so stimulating them would not be safe. I am planning to ask my doctor on that, tho - to be sure.

    Submitted by Nichole Jefferson on
    February 5, 2016 - 8:00pm
    Des Mones , Iowa

    Sarah, did you get an answer to this? I am a transplant patient as well and looking to add herbal supplements.

    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    February 8, 2016 - 7:26pm

    Grapefruit seed extract is not the same thing as grapefruit juice, which can indeed be contraindicated for anyone taking medications. Also, the dosages involved with grapefruit seed extract are far, far less than when you drink grapefruit juice or eat whole grapefruits. You’re talking one or two drops VS 8 oz. However, since 2011, Jon stopped recommending grapefruit seed extract for a different reason--it is now pretty much impossible to find food grade grapefruit seed extract. What is being sold as food grade is most often industrial grade. In any case, as always if you are under a doctor’s care or taking medications, consult with your doctor before taking any supplements.

    Submitted by Jon Barron on
    September 5, 2008 - 4:03am


    For obvious legal reasons, we cannot diagnose or prescribe on this website -- merely provide information. That said...

    A knee replacement is not a transplant. The same rules do not apply. You are not subjected to a lifetime of immunosuppressant drugs so, as your mother-in-law's doctor indicated, using supplements is not necessarily a problem. You might want to check out the blog at And you also might find useful.

    Submitted by Patrick on
    August 23, 2007 - 2:12pm

    I just had a BTA test which revealed that my kidneys and adrenals are severely stressed. The thyroid is also under some stress. Everything else checks out pretty well. I'm hoping you can give some guidance on some supplement options for this (I am on the baseline of health program for about a month)?

    Submitted by Diana Seay on
    August 16, 2014 - 10:56am

    Hi, I had a kidney transplant in November 2013. I remember being told that I can't take anything herbal, no herbal tea, no herbal remedies. No problem, I never have. But I have been getting a few warts. I read that oregano oil will remove them. You are supposed to mix olive oil and oregano oil and put it directly on the wart a couple of times a day. Do you think something like this would affect me in any way? Thanks for any information.

    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    August 19, 2014 - 6:07pm

    You absolutely need to check with your doctor before using any treatment, but it is unlikely that he/she would have a problem with a topical treatment that has no impact on the immune system.

    Submitted by Sarah on
    March 20, 2015 - 2:16pm
    San Diego , California

    Yes, the transplant meds do cause wart outbreaks sometimes, I just go to the dermatologist and have them frozen or burned off - they don't respond well to other methods since we are immunosuppressed. I also can get shingles often since transplant, and disorders of the oil glands in the skin, plus more frequent pre-cancerous issues - especially on the face. Be sure to link-up with a good dermatologist and go to them with any skin concerns - transplant recipients are prone to them no matter what we do.

    Submitted by oren on
    August 25, 2016 - 10:30am
    louisiana , Louisiana


    I'm hopeful someone can help me out. I am a 17 month renal transplant recipient, and now have a gout flare up. I want to know if anyone knows if " celery seed " would be a safe alternative ?. I would like to hear from anyone who has used it with a renal transplant.

    Thank you

    Submitted by NARD HARRIS on
    April 2, 2019 - 11:28am
    DOUGLASVILLE , Georgia

    I've used apple cider vinegar and wild cherry juice and healed up in 2 days.

    Submitted by Trudy on
    December 4, 2016 - 12:57am
    Calgary Alberta ,

    I have RA and take Humeria Methatrexate and plaqenil , I was wondering if it is safe to take oil of oregano. I have concerns it is an immune booster, can you please give me your opinion

    Submitted by BaselineFoundation on
    December 8, 2016 - 5:32pm

    Oil of oregano isn’t really an immune booster. It’s a pathogen destroyer. That said, if you are taking medications, you should talk to your doctor before using any supplements.

    Submitted by Lindsey on
    August 6, 2018 - 6:47pm
    New jersey , New Jersey

    Hi, I am a kidney and pancreas transplant patient on immunosuppressants and would like to know if there are any transplant patients here with experience taking olive leaf extract or colloidal silver?

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