With autoimmune disease, there is often an underlying trauma (physical, emotional) as previously mentioned. There is also commonly a breach of the mucosal integrity resulting in dysbiosis. Dysbiosis is a condition with microbial imbalances on or within the body. Your own ‘terrain’ is so important to consider for microbial balance. Factors such as poor diet, exposure to toxins, medications, and chronic stress can affect your terrain predisposing it to dysbiosis. Dysbiosis might show up in the form of ‘bad’ bacteria, yeast, viruses, fungi or parasites. Correcting this dysbiosis is key in the treatment of AI disease.
In a healthy body, there is a balance between the Th1 (T cell) and Th2 (B cell) parts of our immune system. In virtually every AI disease there is either a Th1(T cell upregulation) or Th2 dominance (B cell up regulation). This theory is not always set in stone but it is a starting point. Th1 dominant conditions include psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, sjogren’s syndrome, lichen planus, celiac disease, crohn’s disease, H. pylori ulcer, multiple sclerosis, autism, hashimoto’s and grave’s disease. Th2 dominant conditions include atopic eczema, allergic dermatitis, scleroderma, allergies, asthma, ulcerative colitis, chronic sinusitus, S.L.E., multiple chemical sensitivity and many cancers. It is important to note whether the AI disease is Th1 or Th2 dominant because knowing that influences your treatment guidelines.
Many therapeutic supplements can promote either Th1 or Th2 thus self prescribing can in fact, work against you because you may unknowingly support the branch of the immune system that is already upregulated. For instance, factors that can induce Th1 cytokines and thus suppress Th2 include garlic, gingko biloba and chlorella. These things would not be ideal if you have a Th1 dominant condition but are better in many cases for Th2 dominant conditions. Since most people have no idea which branch of their immune system is dominant, they can actually make their condition worse by taking over the counter immune boosters. Factors that can stimulate Th2 and thus suppress Th1 dominant conditions include green tea, curcumin, and pycnogenol. These factors are more ideal for Th1 dominant conditions.
All these factors must be taken into account when you are addressing autoimmune diseases. The goal is to optimize balance within the immune system as best as possible. Treating dysbiosis and optimizing bacterial flora is important as is choosing supplements which support the particular branch of the immune system which is out of balance. The Th3 branch of the immune system which we have not discussed can help modulate both Th1 and Th2 and thus restore balance. There are supplements that support Th3 and are safest no matter what branch of your immune system is upregulated. I would love to support you in your journey to find balance. Feel free to book an appointment to discuss these things in person (232-1283). In the next post, I will talk about a diet that best supports anyone with an AI disease.