How To Rebalance An Elevated Th2 Immune System

Top 13 Recommendations

I realize many people just want the bottom line.  Here it is:

  1. Sun/UVB light. (R) – UVB decreases IFNy in Th1 dominance but increases it in Th2 dominance.  So it’s balancing.  It also decreases IgE responses. UVA in the sun also decreases Th2 dominance. (R)
  2. ProbioticsDecreases Th2: L Reuteri (R) (probiotic), L. Plantarum (R) (probiotic), L. salivarius (R) (probiotic), L. lactis (R) (probiotic)….Increases Th1S Boulardii? (R), L. Sporogenes (R), L Acidophilus (R), L casei (R), Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG (R), Lactobacillus paracasei (R), Lactobacillus salivarius (R), B Longum (R), L Brevis (R), L fermentum (R)
  3. NAC/Glutathione sufficiency decreases Th2 (R) and increases Th1 (R).  1 capsule 2X a day with breakfast and lunch.
  4. Licorice -18/β-glycyrrhetinic acid+LicoA (RR2).  Glycyrrhizin increases IFNy and decreases the Th2 response. (R, R2).
  5. 1 cap Gynostemma (R).  This is a Th1 immune stimulant and reduces allergies.  Gynostemma is recommended also because it’s a powerful mitochondrial enhancer.
  6. 2 caps Ginger or juice the root (R, R2).  Recommended because it has anecdotal support in addition to the research, but also because you can get it everywhere, it has a long history of use and for its multitude of other benefits.   My mother who is Th2 dominant finds this very helpful for her allergies.
  7. 1 cap Reishi  (R).  Recommended because it’s a medicinal mushroom, which has unique health properties.  It works in many ways.  It’s a favorite substance of mine but I don’t take it anymore so that I don’t stimulate my immune system.
  8. 1 cap Tinospora (R).  This has a clinical trial backing it, with some anecdotal support.
  9. 1 cap Quercetin (R)
  10. 3g Astragalus (R) – gotten good feedback with this.  Decreases Th2 and increases Th1.

You should take all of these together, but start one at a time to rule out reactions.  These are the most recommended substances that can help Th2 immune dominance, not only because of their ability to lower Th2 but also because these supplements have other beneficial aspects to them.

These recommendations are solely for people who are Th2 dominant.  If you are Th1 and Th2 dominant, then read this post.

What is Th1 vs Th2?

t-cell-subsets-1

T-Helper 1 and T-Helper 2 cells are different types of immune cells (T cells) that orignate from a single source (Th0).

People’s immune system often tilts to Th1 or Th2.

The Th1 side is more immune stimulatory, while the Th2 side is more immune deficient.  However, both can produce “inflammation” in certain situations.

If you tilt more to one side (most likely), such as Th2 for example, you one to take supplements that reduce that side (Th2) and increase the other side (Th1).

Th2 System

Th1 cells produce mainly the cytokines or messengers IL-12 and interferon gamma and Th2 cells produce mainly IL-4.  (Both types of cells produce other cytokines.)

Most of the time, a substance that decreases Th1 will increase Th2 and vice versa (decrease Th1 will increase Th2), but this isn’t always the case.

The reason why an increase in one usually translates into a decrease of the other is because they arise from an original cell and there’s a limited number of these cells (at least in the short term).

Sometimes, however, both systems are decreased or increased by some factor.

Tregs: The Missing Link To Cure Autoimmune and Inflammatory Disorders” href=”http://selfhacked.com/2014/11/11/treg/”>T regulatory cells  decrease both Th1 and Th2  (RR2).

Lectins can exacerbate Th2-related inflammation, so if you are having issues stick with low lectin foods.

Supplements/Methods to Decrease Th2

Many of the methods to decrease Th2 will simultaneously increase the Th1 system.  You might want to additionally look at the methods to increase Th1, as that will help for decreasing Th2.

Accordingly, you can take a peek at this post to see what you want to stay away from.  Not all the things are bad for Th2 dominance, but they are more likely to be bad. I’ve experimented with all of the following supplements unless otherwise noted. Any supplements listed here can be found in my toolkit.

Recommended Lifestyle/Hormones/Pathways

Inhibiting mTOR is a significant pathway to decrease Th2 Cells.

This is a good picture that shows you the conditions needed for these four T Cells.

Recommended Foods

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Other Recommended Supplements

Other:

Beware of Supplements/Methods That Increase Th2

Although some of these may benefit you, in general, you want to be wary of the Th2 Increasers.

Lifestyle, Hormones, Neurotransmitters:

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Lifestyle: 

  • Circadian Disruption (R)
  • Severe injury (R)
  • Mold, Mycotoxins (R)
  • Diesel exhaust particles (R)
  • Magnesium deficiency (R)
  • Fine-ambient particles (R)
  • BPA (R)
  • Mercury (R) – although other strains increase IFN-γ and mercury causes you to produce antibodies against your own tissues (R).
  • Glutathione depletion (R) by heavy exercise, the sun and reducing cysteine amino acids.
  • Acupuncture (R)

Hormones:

  • Psychological stress/glucocorticoids (R), chronic psychological stress (R),
  • Excess Vitamin D3 (R)
  • IGF-1 (R).  Doesn’t decrease Th1.   Increases TNF and IL-8.  Get this by ingesting protein, especially whey or leucine rich foods.
  • Estrogen (R).  Inhibits IL-12, TNF-alpha, and IFN-gamma, and increases IL-10, IL-4, and TGF-beta. Plant-based foods have phytoestrogens, especially soy.
  • Progesterone (R) – I get this by taking pregnenolone, which converts to progesterone.  You could also get the linked cream for a more targeted approach.
  • TRH (R),
  • Ingesting insulin (R)

Neurotransmitters: 

Pathways:

Nrf2 (R) – the body’s stress response.  Exercise, sun, lipoic acid, broccoli sprouts….PGE2 (R), DPP-4 inhibitors (R), Nitric oxide scavenging (R), IL-4, IL-2, STAT-6, GATA-3, mir-21 (R), mir126 (RR2), 

Foods:

food_271199840

Supplements/Drugs:

shutterstock_362501891

Testing

You can check for Th1/Th2/Th17 dominance with a simple blood test.

Disclaimer and Caveats

Comments

  1. Hi,
    You recommend Andograhis in both Th1 and Th2 dominance. Also, webmd says you should avoid Andographis if you have autoimmune condition. I am confused. Please clarify……

  2. This is a very useful article, but some corrections are needed:

    – The referenced study is about sodium benzoate, not effects of the whole cinnamon. The difference is like between whole fruit and refined sugar.

    – Beeing underweight can be an important reason for Th1 deficiency, because the less fat you have, the less leptin you produce which increases Th1. For such people quercetin is probably not a good supplement, because as you write: “Quercetin inhibits the formation of fat cells and trigger existing fat cells to self-destruct” which sound like a horrible disaster to people who want to gain weight.

    Also worth noting is perilla extract which is used for treating allergies by balancing Th1/Th2 cells.

  3. Dusty

    I think this article would be a lot handier if it explained what it actually means to be TH-2 dominant. Specifically, in a way that can be understood without having to get a degree just to understand the lingo.

    I find it difficult to use this site because often I see chemicals explained as, “[thing I don’t know the function of] promotes [thing I also don’t know the function of] and [another thing I don’t know the function of] while also decreasing [I’ve never even seen this word before]”, at which point the writing moves on, as if what it said is just obvious to everyone except me.

    And I’m an amateur who knows more about neurotransmitters and chemistry than the average person because of all the personal research I’ve done into my condition. Someone who’s completely new to self treating their chronic pain and fatigue would barely be able to use the advice in this site — which is heartbreaking because it would save them so much time if the writers just took some extra time to spell out what they mean.

    I may be wrong about this, but I get the impression that this website is targeted towards the average person who has chronic fatigue and pain issues. At the very least, these are the people who’d benefit most from this website — but they wouldn’t be able to take much away from it if they’re having the same struggles I am.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love this website when it talks about things I know about — I have a few bugbears about the lack of criticism towards the studies, but it looks like it’s content packed otherwise. For everything else, I have to have ten extra tabs open to look things up, and that gets extremely difficult because — ever looked up a word in the dictionary only to have to look up another word just to understand the definition? That happens all the time when I read this site, it’s just multiplying tabs.

    Science is very rarely friendly to outsiders and I think that makes it even more important for articles to be written with the average chronic fatigue sufferer in mind, who don’t really have the ability to pursue a bachelor of science just to be able to properly use and critically evaluate the advice here.

    (PPE — I just looked at the about page and all the writers are scientists? That… explains a lot. If there was one thing I’d love for the writers of this site to do, it’d be to show their article to someone who’s never studied science and ask them to tell the writer what they think it means, and the writer doesn’t publish it until someone ignorant understands it. I feel like there’s so much knowledge on this site that could help me but is inaccessible because I’m not part of the science clique. Because I’m too busy being sick to have a degree in this.)

    • Sha

      Thanks. Everything Dusty posted.

      I wish I can understand most of what’s posted on this site as IMHO it is an awesome website with a wealth of useful info for someone like me who’s trying to figure out how to self treat, but so many terms are foreign to me and every few sentences I had to pause and google whatever the point was and it is very tiresome.

      That said, I still love this site and thanks for sharing all the knowledge here.

  4. Justin

    Both thymus glandular and germanium were helpful in my treatment to kill-off chronic infections– I suspect primarily by boosting Interferon, as well as T-Cells.

  5. Just want to say: I have longstanding CFS and are TH2 dominant but I can’t take probiotics because they cause bacterial overgrowth that presses on my bladder and causes pain. Maybe I also have Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO) but it only acts up if I take probiotics (can’t tolerate yogurt either). I’m always frustrated when I see probiotics recommended for almost everything as if they are good for everyone. Beta glucan and ginseng has been an allies.

    • Trevor Mooney

      Check out Dr. Datis Kharrazian’s work. I have not come across better literature than his book pertaining to the topic of brain function and integrative physiology with clinical application using nutraceuticals and botanicals. Having dealt with my own mystery cfs/immune/neurological dysfunction for the past three years that has essentially relegated me to being bed bound, it has given me immense hope and a path. It is a challenging read to someone without a decent science background, but regardless, his book is fascinating to anyone dealing with this realm of conditions. Even with my education and countless hours on PubMed, it put pieces into place that would have taken me another year to find myself. It is also the best referenced book I have ever seen on the topic. Good Luck:)

  6. JasZo

    Hello Joe, just one short question about increasing TH1/desreasing TH2. You write that all supplements must be taken together, but didn’t mention duration – how long? Lifetime?
    Isn’t better to consume one or two at a time, so you have stimulation longer?

  7. Ole

    Apparently NAC also causes histamine release?

    NAC induced HMC-1 and PBMC toxicity, in terms of reduced cell viability, at concentrations of 100 and 67 mg/mL, respectively. At concentrations below this NAC did not significantly alter HMC-1 or PBMC viability. Paracetamol did not reduce HMC-1 or PBMC viability at concentrations ranging from 0 to 5 mg/mL.

    HMC-1 histamine secretion was significantly increased from basal conditions at concentrations of NAC greater than 10 mg/mL, and PBMC histamine secretion was increased from basal conditions at NAC concentrations over 2.5 mg/mL. Paracetamol did not significantly alter basal histamine secretion over concentrations of 0–2.5 mg/mL in either cell type.

    The effect of NAC-induced histamine secretion was significantly reduced in the presence of paracetamol at a concentration of 2.5 mg/mL in both HMC-1 and human PBMCs.

    Barrett et al. have previously found that NAC significantly increased histamine secretion in a murine mast cell line (PT18) and in human basophils at concentrations of NAC ranging from 10 to 50 mM (200–1,000 mg/mL).15 This effect was strongly influenced by pH and could be reduced, but not completely abolished, by neutralizing the acidity of the NAC solutions used.

  8. Josaphine

    Joe, I have a question I don’t know if you can answer. I have a 9yo child with severe regressive immune responsive autism (meaning if everyone else has an infection, he crashes severely, loses skills, gets frustrated and confused, basically brain on fire). He has often shown improvement with substances that are glutamate receptor antagonists. Several substances that help with glutamate issues are noted in your ‘no-no’ list for people who are TH2 dominant. As my son has severe IgE allergies, asthma, GERD, possible EoE, etc. he is most likely TH2 dominant according to your list, but yet improves on glutamate receptor antagonists. do you have any idea why these glutamate receptor antagonists would increase TH2? Could this be a clue to something I am missing?

  9. s

    A section on this page doesn’t make sense: it is headed, in big red font “Beware of Supplements/Methods That Increase Th2”, but then some of the things in the list that this heads have language that says “do this” (see the IG F one listing, and the progesterone listing).

    No idea what the lists in that section of this page mean – do them or don’t do them.

    • Guy

      indeed, all credential to the work this autor put in his work, great ! but above responce is right, very confuging for the th2 elevated people here because several items are shattered everywhere and doesn’t make sense. There should me be clearity in the above lists. If you put Astralagus in the to do list and later in the increase th2 responce list which looks not logical at all. There is more of this and so I follow ‘ s’ in he or she critical review. But again said, this website is very valuable and finally someone that put references and is doing serieus work.
      Again like here someone else said, there is still work at the th2 side of the website.
      Guy.

  10. Rina

    Hello, I read in many places that Fibromyalgia/CFS are caused by Th2 dominance (is that correct?). LDN is thought to rebalance/reduce the increased Th2. In your list, are you suggesting that LDN should actually be avoided in Th2 dominance cases?

    • Frederik Emil Hanfgarn

      I recently dove into the effect of LDN on Th1/Th2 balance and it is a can of worms. It seems that the dose is the most important part of the effect of naltrexone. Low dose Naltrexone seems to drive the balance towards Th2 dominance, but a higher dose seems to drive it toward Th1. I haven’t consulted my notes on this yet, I just pull this from memory, but it seems clear that Naltrexone is not an easy agent to categorise.

      Anybody else that have information on this?
      It is a bit difficult to find qualified information on this subject, a lot of it is just “health websites” written by people with dubious qualifications.

  11. theresa

    Dear Joseph,

    Hi, I am a thirty one year old female, diagnosed narcoleptic. Recently research made a discovery regarding narcolepsy. It is said that people with the disorder have extra histamine receptors. I find that this explains issues with my health I did not know where related to the sleep disorder. The medication used to help me wake up are not fun. I’m hoping maybe I can regulate my receptors. I will set up an appointment to check my Th1. Th2. Dominace. Do you think this will help my narcolepsy at all? Or do you know what else I could do?

    Thank you in advance for your consideration.
    Sincerely,

    Sleeping in Seattle

  12. Hi Joe, I wonder if you can comment on the fact that you have both Licorice and Astragalus in your top 13 recommendations to promote Th1 and you also have them both on the “supplements/foods to avoid” because they promote Th2 list at the bottom of your post. It seems both can promote Th1 and Th2 in different studies. Thanks.

  13. Hi Joseph, I’m 39 yr old female in Perth, just wanted to say thank you and to everyone who posted. I am TH2 dominant and get horrible viral relapses but my doctor/s, neurologist and even immunologist don’t believe me. Immunologist I saw yesterday seemed to have no clue of EBV relapses and says “not to worry” about TH2 dominance. These viral attacks have become so bad that it now incorporates many severe neurological symptoms even had lumbar puncture as hospital thought I had meningitis. Your site has given me so much hope, thank you so much!

  14. Sarah

    hi – im confused with the last part – supplements: are these good or bad? The structure of the layout implies bad but then you mention some things e.g. licorice that you mentioned first as good? Please reply. Otherwise great job! Thanks, I supposedly have mercury poisoning and am trying to reduce TH2.

  15. groentjes

    I have now idea if I am Th2 or Th1 dominant. I used to have very severe allergies (dust mite, different kinds of pollen) and GERD but when I give up lactose and started eating healthier these allergies slowly lessened and eventually completely disappeared. However, some things that persisted are depression, mood swings, OCD, IBS, joint and muscles pain (especially in my upper legs and wrists-wheat and weirdly probiotics and green bananas seems to increase this), acne (mild), hypoglycemia … I am very thin and I don’t really put on much fat or muscle.
    In my family two diseases are common alzheimer and MS. So I have markers for both Th2 and Th1. I will look for someplace where I can do testing in my country (European). I know I probably should lay of the lectins but I find this extremely hard to incorporate into my lifestyle.

    I have a question. Ever since I was a little I would become very agitated in the sun. This would be so bad that my parents could not take me anywhere on summer days. And now I still have this. I never feel so well during the summer especially when I spend a day in the sun(agitated, unable to think/ confused, depressed, like someone is pinching my brain). I know this sounds weird and when I tell this to people no one (except my parents of course as they made me attentive to the pattern in the first place) believes me. Do you have any clue what this could be ? I am just really curious.

      • groentjes

        yes, I took fish oil supplements for few years. I quit recently and started eating canned sardines (for the omegas and the minerals) but they gave me extreme stomach upset so now I started taking krill oil.

        At the time I had those severe allergies I was on zoloft and birth control. Could those elevate a Th2 response ? (serotonin and female hormones)
        When I went of both of them my allergies went away completely but I experiencing more symptoms of of Th1 dominance (extreme brain fog and intolerant to most foods).

    • Acidic foods increase inflammation and of course increase emotional turmoil. Wheat, Barley and Rye have gluten which contains Gliaden which causes all kinds of health problems especially for those with Irish heritage. If the food wasn’t around 50,000 to 100,000 years ago it is toxic to us in modern life. 1. Meat raised on grains will only cause auto-immune illness because of the proteins being denatured not to mention lack of omega 3s and other nutrients and why smart people only eat wild caught foods. 2. Potassium to Sodium should be 7 to 1, hence why so many have illnesses due to high sodium diets. 3 Toxins cause a lot of chronic inflammation which in one of the 3 greatest ways we age (Chronic inflammation, free radical damage and physical blunt force trauma). We do not age by time. Time is a socially constructed idea. Bleach, grains, pollution in our food and water, auto mobile fluids, and processed sugars are all toxins. As long as one is exposed to toxins the body will continue experiencing chronic inflammation until disease sets in! One must keep toxins out, maintain an alkaline diet and avoid spiking blood sugar levels to inhibit chronic inflammation. a. Eating high pectin fruits; ingesting bentonite clay; ingesting R+ lipoic acid; and drinking green tea are some strategies for removing environmental toxins from the body (they bind with heavy metals etc and etc). b drinking clean water and maintaining a 75% alkaline diet (avoiding grains) will inhibit acidic induced chronic inflammation (if it is made of flour it will cause chronic inflammation). Almonds are alkaline, cashews are acidic. Beef and egg yolks contain arachidonic acid and do nothing but cause aging and grains compound the disease effect. Eat a low glycemic diet (avoid cookies, cakes, cereals, pasta) to not spike your sugar level inhibiting sugar induced inflammation. Most of our crops cause immune responses because of toxins. Nitrate raised crops ( 10-10-10) make great looking crops because of high levels of potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus but contain very little other nutrition. The nitrates in the fertilizer will only cause inflammation and of course brain damage noticeable by about age 45 or 50. Process sugar and saturated fats damage the brain choking off neurons by the thousands and noticeable by about age 30. Because of the EPA being impotent and unable to stop the greedy factory owners from polluting our country, the high levels of toxins in our air and water have become life threatening. SOME RESTAURANTS NOW WARN THEIR CUSTOMERS OF THEIR TAP WATER. When we eat saturated fats, our cell membranes lose cohesiveness and toxins can more easily penetrate our cells. Toxins get in and cause all sorts of damage. Eating fast food next door to your local power plant/factory is a recipe for inflammation and cancer. By now you are getting the point that our modern lifestyle is killing us. Eat lots of fresh organic veggies, grass fed meat, go low sodium, keep out toxins and expel what you can’t keep out and you have a chance of being healthy again someday. Muscle cells flip over about in 6 months. So, from this you know the damage that can be be repaired in your body could take 3 years so start eating right today! Some brain cells do not replicate. Process sugar destroys hippocampal cells and Alzeimers’ is irreversible. It is estimated that 80% of all alzheimers’ cases are due to processed sugar.

    • I have exactly the same problems. I have found out that my muscle pain (also related to fibromyalgia) gets triggered by chemicals (also molds) and electronical radiation such as wifi and dect!

  16. I have tried the top 7 recommendations amongst other things now for about two months. I find reishi and astragalus to be my favorites. This is probably because reishi and astragalus do have one thing in common: they contain small amounts of ß1,3 / ß1,6 glucans. Jarrow Formulas, Beta Glucan product contains at least 80% long, branched ß1,3 / ß1,6 glucans. I suspect that this dosage will be quite amazing for us with elevated Th2. Published tests on yeast based beta glucan have been done with a level of purity of 80% or higher. I’m going to make an order and let you all know. If someone has elevated Th2 and is just starting to get into this stuff, don’t hesitate to start with ß1,3 / ß1,6 glucans. Please share if you find a cheaper product than Jarrow’s with at least 250mg and a minimum of 80% content. Here’s some interesting reviews (reviews on cheaper product with unknown minimum %): http://bit.ly/1vrOPjU and http://amzn.to/1ntWflk

  17. I can confirm that 500mg Resveratrol + 5g leucine gives brutal brain fog and temporary cognitive dysfunction. After a week I tried with 400mg + 5 leucine, same thing. Really sad that I can´t use this combo. However, 22mg doses as listed here seems to work, because I do not get worse. Not sure if I get better either. Going to experiment with slightly higher doses.

  18. I have elevated Th2 and find astragalus root powder and ginger paste (only perserveative is citric acid) to be amazing against brain fog. Probably because they shut down NF-KB as well. However ashwagandha (Now Foods, 450mg) gave me immense brain fog, anxiety and mild depression. Really awful stuff. The half-life seems to be 6 hours+. Tribulus makes me focused and almost euphoric, but I only take it ocasionally, because one builds tolerance pretty fast.

        • Very interesting. Could be the GABAergic effects of Ashwagandha that gives me brain fog then. I used to like Ashwagandha before, I felt that it reduced my cortisol levels and it was when I still had (extremely) high inflammation in my body. Now thanks to our man Joe, my radar is very good. I master this new skill: I instantly know when I am inflamed or not. My mind starts to get pretty sharp.

          • It’s possible. We really are forced to learn our body with histamine intolerance and many of us have become healthier than we were before we got it and it becomes natural almost natural just knowing what to put in our mouth, lol.
            Yes, Joe has helped a lot of people with this site and I really hope it’s appreciated bec I too give lectures and make youtube videos on this condition and find many are not appreciative.

  19. Kristen Silva

    I still can’t tell whether I’m th1 or th2. Maybe both? My WBC are always high. I can’t lose weight point blank period. exercise, any kind, makes me inflamed (weight gain). Plus high insulin and pcos. I do know that cannabis treatment makes me worse, which makes me think th2 dominance, but I don’t know.

    • Nasira

      Kristen- oh, is cannabis a Th2 stimulant? That might explain my headaches when I tried it, much to my dismay!

      I feel like there’s so many things for Th1 dominant to try, and so many things for us Th2 dominant to AVOID!

  20. C.b.

    Joe,

    I thought I was Th-1 dominant based on your blog… I never get sick, am thin, and have brain fog, but when I take Th-1 decreasing supplements like boswellia and andrographis, I develop insulin resistance (fatigue after carbohydrate meals). Do you have any suggestions or have you experienced this in helping others? Thanks.

  21. Layla Bazzy

    Excellent list!! In addition, I found that sunflower lecithin, black sesame seeds decreases Th2. What are your thoughts on Coconut oil for dominate Th2 ?

  22. Joanna

    I’m curious about how you determined that those supplements listed at the top are the best for TH2 dominance

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