Some practitioners recommend the Th1/Th2 Challenge to determine if symptoms are immune related. Doing the Th1/Th2 Challenge is like checking for a gas leak with a lit match. It doesn’t account for Th17.
Are you a woman suffering from an inflammatory fire searching the internet for answers. I often hear from women that they have to be their own advocates for their health. I agree you must be your own advocate.
If you are asking – Am I Th1 or Th2?
You are asking about which Cytokines and Chemokines are more active.
Finding Your Immune Status
For more than thirty years, T-Helper (TH) cells have been divided by immunologists into two functional subsets: T-helper-1 (TH1) and T-helper-2 (TH2). Immunologists have also identified specific groups of chemical messenger molecules called “cytokines and chemokines” that are used to communicate between the cells of the immune system and stimulate eith the TH1 or TH2 system.
When the activity of one subset goes up, it represses the activity of the other similar to a seesaw or teeter-totter. Some practitioners recommend the TH1/TH2 Challenge to determine if symptoms are immune related. In this test, one immune stimulating supplement is taken at a time and a journal is kept of the symptoms experienced. One supplement stimulates the TH1 side of the immune system, and the other supplement stimulates the TH2. The reactions to these supplements are used to determine which side of your immune system is out of balance. However, very few people are strictly TH1 or TH2.
Doing the Th1/Th2 Challenge is like checking for a gas leak with a match.
People with similar symptoms can have remarkably different laboratory results, while people with comparable laboratory results often exhibit widely different symptoms. This leads to confusion and frustration when doing immune challenges. Results from the Neuroscience NEI Gold 5516 for women suffering from Hashimoto’s show how confusing and unpredictable it can be.
You also have to apply some common sense. Common sense would tell you with autoimmune conditions your immune system isn’t working properly. Are you going to trust it to be accurate during a TH1/TH2 challenge?
The TH1/TH2 Challenge does not recognize the TH17 response.
In recent years, a specific T-cell subset, termed TH17. TH17 contributes to the development of diseases such as multiple autoimmune diseases including allergic inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune gastritis, inflammatory bowel disease, Hashimoto’s, psoriasis, and multiple sclerosis. The TH1/TH2 Challenge does not recognize the TH17 response, immune suppression of stimulation. Confusing results occur when different immune status responses are not accounted for as seen in Fig. 1.
It is much better to provoke an immune response in a laboratory setting than suffer the consequences of a failed TH1/TH2 challenge. The Neuroscience NEI Gold (5516) determines the baseline immune status and whether lectins (PHA) or bacteria (LPS) provoke a TH1, TH2 or TH17 response. As seen in Fig. 1 the immune system can fail when provoked (blue color) resulting in a suppressed immune system. Measurement of stimulated cytokines can identify the presence of an excited or suppressed immune status.
Th1-lymphocytes are primarily made in response to microbes that infect or activate macrophages and Natural Killer cells, and in response to viruses.
Th1-type cytokines tend to produce the proinflammatory responses responsible for killing intracellular parasites and for perpetuating autoimmune responses. Interferon gamma is the main Th1 cytokine. Excessive proinflammatory responses can lead to uncontrolled tissue damage, so there needs to be a mechanism to counteract this.
TH2-lymphocytes are primarily made in response to helminths (worms), allergens, and extracellular microbes and toxins. The TH2-type cytokines include interleukins 4, 5, and 13, which are associated with the promotion of IgE (severe allergies) and eosinophils response, and also interleukin-10, which has more of an anti-inflammatory response. In excess, TH2 responses will counteract the TH1 mediated microbial killing action. The optimal scenario would therefore seem to be that we should produce a well-balanced Th1 and Th2 response, suited to the immune challenge.
The purpose of Th17 cells is to clear pathogens, which are not efficiently handled by TH1 and TH2 type of immunity. The induction of Th17 responses must go through three distinct steps: Induction, amplification and stabilization. The stability of Th17 population is only relevant if it is protective against a given pathogen-invader or other kind of insult. If Th17 cells lose their stability they become highly proinflammatory and promote the destruction of your body’s tissues as occurs in autoimmune conditions. In essence, your immune system chooses to sacrifice body tissues by destroying in order to preserve the rest of your body.
The TH-1/TH-2 Challenge as noted in the book “Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms?” was printed prior to understanding of TH-17. The TH-1/TH-2 Challenge may provoke a TH-17 response. The TH-17 destroys tissue rather than allowing it to be inflamed; analogous to a suicide bomber attack that you can not defend against.
We can and do use laboratory testing to determine your autoimmune response. We recognize the impact of autoimmune conditions and the possibility of false positives and false negatives when using such labs. We start by using H.I.S.S.
By utilizing a step-wise approach: Ask questions first. Lab test second. Immune challenges should be done in a laboratory – not your body. The physicians at Wellness Alternatives can determine the most likely scenario involving your immune system without provoking an uncontrolled immune response.
Very few are strictly TH-1 or TH-2 or TH17.
Those with TH-1 dominance creating symptomatology usually feel better with coffee or caffeine. But feel worse with immune stimulators – Echinacea, goldenseal, immune-boosting mushrooms or probiotics. A person with TH-2 dominance creating symptomatology are the opposite. They will feel better with immune stimulators – Echinacea, goldenseal, immune-boosting mushrooms or probiotics and feel worse with coffee or caffeine.
Very few are strictly TH-1 or TH-2. This leads to confusion and frustration when doing immune system challenges. More often than not a person will be both TH-1 and TH-2 with multiple autoimmune conditions, i.e. >80% with Hashimoto’s also have Autoimmune Gastrointestinal Disease. This happens when different autoimmune diseases are actively provoking both sides of the immune system to be overactive and the regulatory part of the immune system can’t regulate either side. When a person has both TH-1 and TH-2 creating symptomatology, they often come into the office saying: “I’m always sick” or “I’m allergic to everything.” When TH-1, they will feel worse with immune stimulators – Echinacea, goldenseal, immune boosting mushrooms or probiotics and feel better with little amounts of coffee or caffeine. Which causes a shift pushing them into an overactive TH-2 response were they will feel worse with coffee or caffeine but feels better with little amounts of immune stimulators – Echinacea, goldenseal, immune boosting mushrooms or probiotics.
This eventually drives them into a place where neither TH-1 nor TH-2 creates symptomatology but both are over reactive and under reactive at the same time. They will happily report, “I never get sick” in addition to “But I know I’m not well.” This is scary because their immune system is no longer able to protect them. They are slip sliding away down the slippery slope of autoimmune diseases because their immune system is too fatigued for any appropriate response. Those that add, “I feel good” are doing Green Allopathy often fall into this category. When we look at their labs they will have low absolute neutrophils (<1800) and lymphocytes (<1500). Some will have only one low – others both. Those with an underactive TH-2 will tell us they feel better with a little coffee, or caffeine but feel worse with moderate amounts of coffee, caffeine – as they are driven into TH-2 dominance. At the same time they also have an underactive TH-1 where they feel better with a little immune stimulators – Echinacea, goldenseal, immune boosting mushrooms or probiotics but feel worse after a time with moderate amounts of immune stimulators – being driven into TH-1 dominance.
Re-regulating the immune system
Rather than supporting either the TH1 or TH2 while ignoring the TH17 dominance. Wellness Alternatives recommends Quieting the Immune system and doing everything we can to not provoke any immune response. Think of it as if you are being quiet after finally getting a cranky baby asleep. You don’t want to do anything to wake it up. In addition to this we support the T-Helper, T-regulatory cells and inhibitory neurotransmitters and cytokines to re-regulate the TH1, TH2 and TH17 immune response.
Now a quick jump back to the antibody story. It has been proposed that antibodies are normally inactive in a healthy individual. It has been said that 60% or more of the action of a healthy immune system is to deal with the leakage of larger food molecules from the gut. There is, after all, a high degree of similarity between various mammalian animal proteins in our diet and those found in our bodies. If our immune system were to attack all instances of these proteins, we would all have arthritis, lupus, and many other autoimmune diseases. Yet, in some people this type of antibody based damage does occur.
Quiet, Don’t Suppress or Stimulate Your Immune System
Taking supplements to stimulate one side because you did a TH-1/TH-2 challenge will only make both sides overactive. Yes, in theory taking supplements stimulating the TH-2 is supposed to control the TH-1 after immune regulation has been achieved. The reason you have an autoimmune disease is largely due to an inability to control your immune response. If the immune regulation was not working before the challenge, chances are very high, it will not work by provoking the other side.
It is ill-advised to provoke an immune system that cannot be regulated.
The physicians at Wellness Alternatives utilize supplement protocols to quiet and re-regulate your immune system. This may involve supporting the regulatory or helper T Cells or the inhibitory cytokines and neurotransmitters. Care must be taken as noted previously as sometimes supporting the regulatory/helper T cells can provoke the inhibitory cytokines and neurotransmitters or vice versa into having an adverse response.
Find out WHAT is the root cause; what initial incident, infection, chronic or otherwise, is provoking and perpetuating this immunological alert status. Then deal with it!
- DO whatever is necessary to QUIET, not suppress or stimulate, your immune system.
- DO rotate your diet.
- DO try to avoid many of the immune stressors in your environment.
- KEEP a diary so you can LEARN what those stressor are! Start comparing them, you may find common ingredients, which are the provoking your immune system. This too, gives you more slack, as you can then use things without those ingredients.
For effective strategies to prevent immune-mediated disorders, including food allergy, it is essential to understand the external variables that influence immunological programming and how they interact with genetic predisposition to disease. Knowing that Autoimmune processes can be arrested if the interplay between genes and environmental triggers is prevented by re-establishing intestinal barrier function. The physicians at WA use the following 4 principles to re-establish the intestinal barrier function.
- Restore the Gastrointestinal Barrier Variables
- Restore the Gastrointestinal Digestive Sequencing
- Restore the Gastrointestinal Terrain
- Re-Regulate the Immune system