This is part three in my series on inflammation. Start with the first post here to have a better understanding of this topic. Read the second post for an introduction to T helper cells, and the four ways that naive T cells can mature: Th-1, Th-2, Th-17, and T-reg cells.
A brief visual review of the four ways naive T cells can mature:
This post I dig into Th-2 dominance. I see many patients whose immune expression is weighted towards, or dominant in a Th-2 response.
One thing to wrap your mind around is that Th-1 and Th-2 are oppositional. You need your immune T helper cell pendulum to swing to Th-1 when needed and then swing over to Th-2 when needed. If your pendulum is stuck in Th-2, it cannot swing to Th-1:
Why you need a Th-1 response
A Th-1 response deals with tiny pathogenic microbes inside your cells. This means viral and bacterial infections of all types, anywhere in your body, whether chronic like Epstein Barr or Herpes, or temporary like a cold, flu, sinus infection, or pneumonia. A Th-1 response fights bladder, lung, and vaginal infections. It also fights Candida, mold toxins, Lyme, intestinal amoebae like Giardia, and all infections that are microscopic. A Th-1 response mounts an appropriate attack against all of these unwanted pathogens.
Why you need a Th-2 response
You need a Th-2 response to deal with inflammation in your hollow spaces and cavities. This includes your lungs, nose, sinus cavities, GI tract, vagina, and bladder. (Th-2 also deals with larger parasites such as worms.)
However, you need your Th-2 response to calm down once the inflammation is resolved.
What if Th-2 is unresolved and stuck?
This is a common situation! A Th-2 immune response puts out certain immune messenger cytokines that signal inflammation, and the biggie is interleukin four (IL-4). If you have chronic inflammation in any hollow space cavity, your immune pendulum can get stuck in a Th-2 response, with a constant output of IL-4 which continuously signals more inflammation in hollow spaces.
These are your hollow spaces….
- Lungs: asthma, wheezing, pleuritis, bronchitis, histamine, frequent respiratory infections
- Nose and sinus: irritation, allergies, frequent colds or sinus infections
- Gut: food intolerances, colitis, Crohn’s, frequent small bowel bacteria or fungal (as in candida) overgrowth, leaky gut
- Bladder: frequent infections, irritation, interstitial cystitis
- Vagina: irritation, frequent bacterial or yeast infections
One way to verify if you are Th-2 dominant is if your eosiniphil count is higher than 1% of your white blood cells. This is taken on a basic CBC with diff (a Complete Blood Count with differential).
Takeaways about Th-2 dominance
With any of the situations above (chronic inflammation in hollow spaces and cavities), and chronically elevated IL-4, here are the downsides:
- You get stuck in Th-2 dominance and cannot move OUT of these chronic inflammations.
- You are susceptible to infections that you cannot fight since you cannot mount a fighter Th-1 response! Your pendulum cannot swing to Th-1 if it’s stuck in Th-2 with high IL-4.
- Furthermore, if you take natural anti-inflammatories like turmeric, without quieting Th-2, you run the risk of deepening your Th-2 dominance! It’s normally fine to take these if you also dampen Th-2 (instructions below). Do you feel worse if you take curcumin or turmeric, or does it do nothing? This may be why.
This is important for you if…
- You can’t get rid of infections like SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth), Lyme, Candida, Herpes outbreaks, Epstein Barr, shingles, mold sickness, chronic sinus infections, and chronic vaginal or bladder infections. Remember, if you are stuck in Th-2 dominance, you cannot mount a Th-1 response to fight these microbes!
- You are stuck in inflammation of your gut, lungs, nose, sinus, bladder or vagina: food intolerances that won’t quit, a leaky irritated gut, relentless allergies, histamine intolerance, mast cell activation syndrome, or an irritated vagina or bladder.
- A combination of both of these – chronically infected AND inflamed.
What to do about Th-2 dominance?
It’s more simple than you think. While you are treating your specific infections or symptoms of inflammation, also:
FIRST AND FOREMOST, use things that chill out, or down-regulate the Th-2 response. This includes:
- The herbs Perilla and Astragalus
- The supplements NAC and quercetin
- This supplement called Th-2 Modulator
- The supplement Oxymatrine
ALSO inhibit things that ramp up a Th-2 response. These include:
- The supplement OPC
- Grapefruit seed extract
- Designer antioxidant red fruit supplements like acai, mangosteen, goji, etc. Fresh fruit is fine.
LASTLY you can promote Th-1, which is especially desirable in cases of infections. This will come in the next post, soon.
I welcome your input below,