- Tips on Rebalancing an Elevated Th2 Immune System
- When to See a Doctor
- Complementary Approaches
- Additional Precautions
- The Basics
- Inconsistency Issues
- Factors that May Balance the Immune System (Lower Th2)
- Other (Experimental)
- Factors that May Disrupt Immune Balance & Raise Th2
- Addictive/Illegal Substances
- Hormone- and Neurotransmitter-Related (Experimental)
- Seven Ways to Balance Your Immune System: Healing Autoimmune Thyroid Disease May Start with the Immune System / Thyroid Disease Information Source – Articles/FAQs
- Immune Balance. Balancing The Immune System
- What Is Inflammation?
- Damaged Cells
- The Delicate Balancing Act of Immune Balance
- Innate immune system
- Food and Nutrition for Immune Balance
- Some Helpful Lifestyle Tips
- How can you avoid/minimize UV exposure for Immune Balance?
- Things that may increase your sensitivity to the sun:
- And it is an easy entry point to health – and happiness
- Have More Sex And Other Fun Ways To Calm Inflammation + Balance Your Immune System
Tips on Rebalancing an Elevated Th2 Immune System
This post is part of a series about immune balance. It goes over the Th2 response, diseases associated with its overactivity, and complementary approaches – including lifestyle, food, and supplements – that may help keep the immune system in good health.
When to See a Doctor
If your goal is to lower your Th2 response because you have serious allergy-related problems – including asthma and severe eczema – it’s important to talk to your doctor, especially if your symptoms are significantly impacting your daily life.
Your doctor should diagnose and treat any underlying conditions causing your symptoms.
Before we talk about the Th2 system in detail, we’ll outline all the complementary approaches that people can be presented with.
Many people just want the bottom line. That’s why we’ve started off with this list. It includes some mechanisms that scientists are investigating in cells and animals but that haven’t been proven in humans.
- Sun/UVB light  – 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 .
- Probiotics… Decreases Th2: L Reuteri  (probiotic), L. Plantarum  (probiotic), L. salivarius  (probiotic), L. lactis  (probiotic)… Increases Th1: S Boulardii? , L. Sporogenes, L Acidophilus , L casei , Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG , Lactobacillus paracasei , Lactobacillus salivarius , B Longum , L Brevis , L fermentum .
- NAC/Glutathione sufficiency decreases Th2  and increases Th1 .
- Licorice -18/β-glycyrrhetinic acid+LicoA [15, 16]. Glycyrrhizin increases IFNy and decreases the Th2 response [17, 18].
- Gynostemma . This is a Th1 immune stimulant and reduces allergies. Gynostemma is recommended also because it’s a powerful mitochondrial enhancer.
- Ginger or juice the root [20, 21]. 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.
- Reishi 
- Tinospora . This has a clinical trial backing it, with some anecdotal support.
- Quercetin 
- Astragalus  Decreases Th2 and increases Th1.
Anecdotally, people report starting with one supplement at a time to rule out reactions. Aside from any potential effects on Th2 immune dominance, many of these supplements are also thought to strengthen immune defense and may have other beneficial aspects to them.
If you suspect you are Th1 and Th2 dominant, then read this post.
Remember that the existing evidence does not suggest that Th2 dominance causes allergies. Complex allergic disorders always involve multiple possible factors – including biochemistry, environment, health status, and genetics – that may vary from one person to another.
Therefore, you may try the strategies listed above if you and your doctor determine that they could be appropriate. Read through the approaches we bring up and discuss them with your doctor before trying them out. This is particularly important if you plan to take any dietary supplements.
Most of the lifestyle, dietary, and supplement factors listed in this article rely on animal and cellular data. These findings can’t be applied to humans. Clinical research is needed before the safety and effectiveness of any approach listed in this post is determined.
Thus, we’re providing a summary of the existing research, which should guide further investigational efforts. However, the studies listed should not be interpreted as supportive of any health benefit.
Supplements have not been approved by the FDA for medical use and generally lack solid clinical research. Regulations set manufacturing standards for them but don’t guarantee that they’re safe or effective.
Additionally, supplement-drug interactions can be dangerous and, in rare cases, even life-threatening. That’s why it’s so important to consult your healthcare provider before supplementing and let them know about all drugs and supplements you are using or considering.
Dosage may also matter and different doses will have different effects on Th1/Th2 balance. Safe supplement doses should not be exceeded.
Finally, have in mind that none of these strategies should replace what your doctor recommends or prescribes.
To start with, the human immune system is incredibly complex. We have many types of immune cells that are orchestrated by various factors – from our encounter with microbes, to our health status, genetics, mood, and more.
The Th1/Th2 theory is one attempt at understanding immune regulation, and T-Helper 1 (Th1) and T-Helper 2 (Th2) cells are its key players.
This theory dates back to studies on mouse immune cells in the 80s. However, it is still considered controversial and it’s not without limitations and discrepancies. More large-scale human studies are needed to determine its validity .
According to the Th1/Th2 theory :
- Th1 cells drive the so-called type-1 pathway (“cellular immunity”). They are thought to be involved in fighting viruses and other pathogens that enter cells, getting rid of cancerous cells, and triggering delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) skin reactions.
- Th2 cells drive the type-2 pathway (“humoral immunity”). They are hypothesized to increase antibody production and fight invaders that are outside cells. They may be involved in tolerance of organ transplants (xenografts) and of the fetus during pregnancy
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 as well .
The Th1/Th2 theory states that overactivation of either the Th1 or the Th2 pattern can cause disease. According to one interpretation, people’s immune systems often tilt to Th1 or Th2. Similarly, either pathway is thought to down-regulate the other .
One of the reasons why an increase in one may translate to a decrease of the other is because they differentiate from a progenitor or original cell (Th0) and there’s a limited number of these cells.
The Th1 side is seen as more immune-stimulatory, while the Th2 side is considered to be more “immune-deficient.” However, both can produce “inflammation” in certain situations.
this, some studies claim that most substances that decrease Th1 will increase Th2 and vice versa (decrease Th1 will increase Th2), but this isn’t always the case.
Some nutrients – including long-chain omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) seem to improve various inflammatory and autoimmune conditions without any specific Th1/Th2 effect .
Often, it’s uncertain whether a certain nutrient or intervention stimulates the Th1/Th2 immune system or not.
Additionally, many diseases that were previously classified as Th1- or Th2-dominant failed to meet defined criteria. Plus, Th1 dominance can be polarized to Th2 patterns, and vice versa .
The main issue with the whole Th1/Th2 theory, as some scientists have recently pointed out, is that the activity of cytokines and other immune messengers rarely fall into strict Th1 or Th2 patterns. Some cells, non-helper regulatory T cells (Tregs), may influence (and ly suppress) both Th1 and Th2 responses [26, 27, 28].
Factors that May Balance the Immune System (Lower Th2)
We’re providing a summary of the existing research, which should guide further investigational efforts. The studies listed below were mostly done in animals and should not be interpreted as supportive of any health benefit in humans.
Thus, please read through the factors below having all the limitations and precautions mentioned above in mind.
- Kiwi 
- Black rice 
- Rice 
- Rice Bran Oil 
- Cocoa 
- Black Cumin Seed Oil 
- Coffee (in moderation) 
- Bee products: Royal Jelly , Bee Pollen  Propolis, YS Royal Jelly/Honey (may increase Th1 and TNF-alpha) [43, 44]
- Black pepper 
- Prebiotics , FOS and GOS (prebiotics) 
- Adequate intake of vitamin B(6), folate, B(12), C, E, and of selenium, zinc, copper, and iron . These may also support healthy immune defense.
The following factors are theoretical and anecdotal. They aren’t backed up by solid science. We bring them up for informational purposes.
- Vitamin A/Retinol  (IL-4, IL-13)
- Genistein [50, 51]
- Chondroitin sulfate 
- Spirulina  – without increasing Th1
- Oregano oil/Carvacrol 
- Theanine  – decreases a th2 type immune response
- Luteolin 
- Resveratrol 
- Theaflavins  (found in black tea)
- Apple polyphenols 
- Lycopene  (in tomatoes)
- Lutein 
- Fenugreek 
- Baicalin/Chinese Skullcap 
- Rutin 
- Fisetin [65, 66]
- Ashwagandha 
- Ginseng (Asian)  – Seen as mostly stimulating but also regulating. Being researched for affecting TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6, and IFN-γ (produced by macrophages) and raising IL-2, IFN-γ, IL-1α, and GMC-SF (produced by sleep cells).
- Grape Seed Extract [69, 70], but animal studies point to decreased Th1 cells in certain experimental conditions Rheumatoid Arthritis 
- Red Wine Polyphenols 
- The following are thought to increase Th1: Colostrum , Bilberry , Icariin , and Lion’s Mane
- Andrographis 
- Beta Glucans  – found in mushrooms and being investigated for inhibiting TNF .
- Schisandra , Deer Antler Velvet , Chrysin , Burdock root , Cordyceps , Ecklonia cava , Butterbur, Bamboo extract 
- Gallic acid 
- Kaempferol 
- Caffeic acid (found in coffee, green coffee extract, apples, artichoke, berries, and pears, wine) [88, 89]
- Curcumin  – contradictory 
- Epigenetics: mir-27b , mir-128 , mir-135b , mir-155 , mir-340 
The following might lower Th2 but should be avoided because of numerous detrimental health effects: Nicotine , Choline deficiency , and Zinc deficiency .
Factors that May Disrupt Immune Balance & Raise Th2
You can take a peek at this post to learn about factors that may reduce Th1 activity. Not all of those factors will raise Th2 dominance and some are good for general well-being.
It’s always a good idea to avoid unhealthy habits – such as smoking, fast food, overeating, being under a lot of stress, and drinking too much – that can bring your immune system balance. Look to get regular exercise, enough nutrients, sleep, and follow a healthy circadian rhythm.
The following are addictive and/or illegal substances that should be avoided:
- MDMA/Ecstasy [105, 106]
- Ketamine (drug) 
- THC/Marijuana *
*THC may reduce pain in MS and is also being researched in people with nausea, insomnia, and seizures. However, its use remains controversial because of the high risk of addiction, dependence, side effects, and withdrawal syndrome (particularly with non-medical use). The use of cannabis is illegal under federal law in the US.
Hormone- and Neurotransmitter-Related (Experimental)
Have the following in mind first:
- Corticosteroids, hormones, and other medications should only be used with a doctor’s prescription.
- Pregnenolone is an unapproved drug with a high potential for harm.
- Brain chemistry is not something that people can change on their own with the approaches listed blog posts.
Additionally, the following hormonal factors and neurotransmitters are theoretical. They aren’t backed up by solid science. We bring them up for informational purposes.
Human data are lacking.
Scientists are investigating whether the following pathways reduce Th2 patterns in animals and cells: Nrf2 PGE2 , DPP-4 inhibitors , Nitric oxide scavenging , IL-4, IL-2, STAT-6, GATA-3, mir-21 , mir126 [120, 13].
The following supplements are not thought to be immune disruptors. Researchers are investigating whether they can suppress Th2 activity in animals or cells:
Many of these studies had mixed results and human data are lacking. Th1/Th2 theory inconsistencies and limitations may explain these conflicting findings.
Remember, a certain substance can increase some Th2 cytokines and decrease others. It may both suppress Th1 and Th2 or stimulate both systems .
Scientists agree that any attempt to divide the human immune system into two strict Th1/Th2 parts is doomed to fail .
Plus, some of these supplements can be safely used under medical guidance. Some support immune health. Check with your doctor if you’re taking any of the supplements mentioned above.
Seven Ways to Balance Your Immune System: Healing Autoimmune Thyroid Disease May Start with the Immune System / Thyroid Disease Information Source – Articles/FAQs
by Mary Shomon When you have an autoimmune disease, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis or Graves' Disease, you may wonder whether it's a good idea to try to “boost” the immune system.
After all, an autoimmune disease represents an over-response of the immune system to its own organs and cells, so why would you want to give the immune system even more ammunition? When we have an autoimmune disease, it's already clear that we don't have a properly functioning immune system.
Some people erroneously believe that because theimmune system goes into “overdrive” with autoimmune disease, that they have a properly functioning — but overzealous — immune system. Actually, autoimmune disease is a sign that the immune system is already dysfunctional.
People with autoimmune thyroid disease frequently are more susceptible to infection, catch more colds and flus more easily, and take longer to recover. These are all signs that the immune system is not functioning optimally.
So, it's important to do as much as you can to help your immune system work as best as it can. But before we explore some things you can do, let's take a look at how the immune system is supposed to work.
The Immune System in Action
The immune system is what protects us against bacteria, pathogens, microorganisms, cancer cells, and other things that can be danger to our health. The immune system is usually on the alert to foreign substances. In particular, it's looking for “antigens.” Antigens are large molecules (usually proteins) that travel on the surface of cells, viruses, fungi, bacteria, and some toxins such as chemicals and drugs. A properly functioning immune system identifies and then destroys substances that contain antigens. Of course, since our bodies have some cells that are actually antigens, a functioning immune system will learn to recognize “normal” antigens, and not attack them. The body has a number of mechanisms that act as the front-line against antigens. These include your skin, stomach acid (which can neutralize some antigens), mucous (which can trap some antigens, such as inhaled pollen), tonsils, adenoids, coughs, and tears. Internally, we have the thymus gland, the lymph nodes throughout the body, the bone marrow, and also various types of white blood cells, which can atttack antigens when they are detected. In some cases, the response to an antigen is inflammation. For example, when you inhale a cold virus, it inflames your nasal passages. The inflammation process causes the body to release chemicals, which include histamine. The swelling also helps isolate the antigen from contact with body tissues and prevent its movement throughout the body. The inflammatory process and chemicals released also attract white blood cells to destroy antigens or damaged cells. When white blood cells surround and destroy foreign substances the process is called phagocytosis, and the cells are called phagocytes. Phagocytes ultimately die, and end up forming pus. You can develop something called “acquired” or “adaptive” immunity, when the body is exposed to various antigens repeatedly. A particular type of white blood cell called a lymphocyte develops. B lymphocytes — B cells– produce antibodies, that attach themselves to a particular antigen, and act as a flag, making it easier for phagocytes to find and destroy the antigen. T lymphocytes — T cells — attack antigens directly. Different B and T cells are associated with each different antigen. Lymphocytes usually develop the ability to differentiate between the body's own tissues, versus antigens. And, B and T cells actually have a unique ability to remember what is foreign, and what is part of the body, and then multiply those memory cells in order to more effectively wipe out the antigens.
When the Immune System Malfunctions
Sometimes, the immune system does not work the way it should. It may have a response that is not appropriate, it may overrespond, or not respond enough, when it encounters an antigen. It may look at an inherently harmless substance, and react as if it is an antigen. This is what happens when someone has an allergy to something that is otherwise safe for most people, such as, for example, apples, or peanuts. In autoimmune disease, the immune system decides that normal body tissues, such as the thyroid, are antigens, and puts the immune system into action to destroy it. Even in people who aren't already suffering from autoimmune disease, pollution, drug overload, toxins, continual emotional or physical stress, and poor diets can compromise the immune system and make it less effective.
Balancing Your Immune System
There are a number of ways you can balance your immune system, and help return it to proper functionoing. Ultimately, you should be doing this under the guidance of a good holistic or naturopathic physician, who can help identify your unique deficiencies, and devise a customized immune-enhancing program for you. But, here are some general guidelines to familiarize you with the idea of immune balancing.
1. Take Antioxidant Supplements
Dr. Andrew Weil's recommendations regarding antioxidants includes
- Beta-carotene, 25,000 IU a day
- Vitamin E, 400 to 800 IU a day as natural d-alpha-tocopherol combined with other tocopherols.
- Selenium , 100 to 300 micrograms a day
Whiole Dr. Weil recommends no more than about 200 mg of Vitamin C per day, other physicians recommend as much as 2000 milligrams a day to help boost immune function. Note: Dr. Weil advises that you don't take selenium within thirty minutes of taking vitamin C, but rather, take with your vitamin E at your largest meal.
2. Consider Immune Enhancing Supplements
There are a variety of immune-enhancers available, and some of the best known, recommended supplements include:
- Products that contain immune-enhancing mushrooms, such as MGN3 and Grifron Maitake Caps or Extract
- Products with IP6 and Inositol, such as Cell Forte or Cell Mend
- CoQ10 — 100 -300 mg a day
- Camu-camu and Cat's Claw – Amazonian rainforest products that can help combat viruses and build immune response
Some lesser known, lesser-studied products that are also popular with some practitioners and patients for immune enhnacement include:
- Organic Germanium
- Sterols and sterolin products such as Moducare
- Other immune enhancing herbs such as Olive Leaf Extract
3. Improve Your Nutrition and Diet Eat as little processed foods as possible Avoid polyunsaturated vegetable oils and products made from them. (This includes margarine!) When you need to use oils, switch to olive oil. Eat less high-glycemic carbohydrates (white bread, white rice, sugary foods) Reduce dairy, and if you do eat dairy foods, switch to organic versions, and be sure to include yogurt Eat plenty of ocean fish Focus on fresh whole foods as much as possible, such as fresh vegetables, whole grains Try to eat an immune-enhancing food every day. These include garlic, maitake mushrooms, broccoli, and sea greens ( dulse, chlorella, and spirulina). (Note: be careful with too much raw broccoli or sea greens, as they can be goitrogens. Cooking, however, removes most of the antithyroid goitrogenic properties.) Try to avoid pesticides and hormones by choosing organic produce, meats and dairy products whenever possible Be sure to take probiotics of some sort. Either by eating sufficient organic yogurt, or by taking an acipdophilus supplement.
4. Get Sufficient Exercise
Exercise is actually an immune enhancer. It creates immune enhancing chemicals, and increases oxygen, which helps fight antigens more effectively.
5. Practice Relaxation and Stress Reduction
Relaxation techniques are immune-enhancers. A positive mental attitude makes a big difference in how the body fights disease. Creative visualization establishes belief and optimism. Biofeedback or massage therapy to reduce stress.
6. Get Enough Sleep
I can't emphasize enough how sleep is really a basic foundation of immunity. Two people can follow the same exact program, but if one is getting insufficient sleep — and for most Americans, that means less than eight hours a night — they will have reduced immunity against disease.
7. Incorporate Mind/Body – Spirituality into Your Wellness
Whether it's organized religion, prayer, meditation, or mind-body approaches such as yoga or tai chi, your mind and spirit are in communication with your immune system. Having a rounded spiritual sense and positive outlook on life can enhance immunity. A good place to check is Phyl Desy's Holistic Healing site, for good ideas on mind/body/spirituality approaches to wellness.
NOTE: Be sure to consult your own physician regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations with respect to your symptoms or medical condition.
Immune Balance. Balancing The Immune System
Several contributing factors can trigger and perpetuate an autoimmune tendency within the immune system of lupus patients. But what is actually happening in the immune system itself to cause destruction of self-tissue and how can you achieve immune balance?
Just all other systems in the body, it comes down to immune balance and the ability to self-regulate. These are the two primary factors with which the underlying causes are interfering.
Tissue destruction and acute infections cause the immune system to activate and stimulate the production of the immune cells necessary to react and clean up any inflammation that occurs.
When this is a temporary issue, the immune system addresses the inflammatory response and then calms down and regains balance.
But when the stimulus doesn’t go away or the immune system can’t keep up with its job, the inflammatory response doesn’t turn off. This causes chronic inflammation.
What Is Inflammation?
Inflammation is the body’s mechanism for “cleaning house.” On a cellular level, white blood cells increase in the area of the body that is having tissue destruction or an infection.
These white blood cells essentially “eat up” the foreign invaders or the damaged tissues and clear them out into the lymphatics.
If the immune system is effective at cleaning up all the damaged tissues or pathogens, the inflammation stops and the immune system falls back into balance.
Damaged cells and/or pathogens that don’t get cleared from the tissue by the immune system continue to release inflammatory chemicals to provoke inflammation to drive more and more white blood cells into that area.
When tissues are damaged or there is a foreign invader, such as a bacteria or virus, inflammatory chemicals are released in the tissue to signal the immune system to clean up the damage or toxins. The inflammatory chemicals that are released from damaged tissue or in response to pathogens stimulate the immune system. They act as a signal to call in the troops for battle.
This is a normal and essential role of the immune system to protect us.
But when inflammation doesn’t get turned off and the immune system is under constant demand, the troops start to dwindle and the body has a harder and harder time solving this issue, allowing for the problem to not only continue but sometimes exacerbate, leading to an imbalance in the functioning of the immune system.
If your body has too much going on for the immune system to handle this, then inflammation continues and leads to more stress on the immune system as it tries to get rid of the bad things and restore normal function.
Again, inflammation is not the bad guy.
It is a healing mechanism in the body and essential for normal healing and repair, but too much of a good thing is never a good thing, and when inflammation is left unchecked and becomes chronic, it causes damage.
The Delicate Balancing Act of Immune Balance
For simplicity’s sake, let’s picture the immune system a balancing scale where both sides should balance out equally. The two sides of the scale represent the different types of immune cells being produced.
Although many, many more cells are actually involved, for the sake of this explanation, we are going to keep it simple by using Th1 (T helper 1) and Th2 (T helper 2) and Treg (T regulatory cell) to represent the cells of the immune system.
When something inflammatory happens, the immune system is called into action and will temporarily shift focus toward one side of the scale. Your immune system has two parts that each work in different ways: your innate immune system and your acquired immune system.
Innate immune system
Your innate immune system is built to quickly handle and fight off any potentially harmful foreign invaders or substances, whereas your acquired immune system creates “memory cells” to aid in remembering those harmful substances it comes across to better fight them off next time. For example, if you get chicken pox, your innate immune system will recognize that virus as something that is not supposed to be there and cause an attack against it. At the same time, your acquired immune system starts to create antibodies to remember this virus so if it ever encounters it again. If you get exposed to it in the future, your immune system will remember how to fight it off so you don’t end up with chickenpox or shingles. Vaccines work to simulate or stimulate an acquired immunity for the same reason.
Food and Nutrition for Immune Balance
A great place to start when it comes to maintaining food and immune system balance for those suffering from lupus is to remove inflammatory and potentially immune-stimulatory foods from the diet.
Following an elimination diet or an autoimmune paleo protocol can assist in this process. These simple dietary changes can make a positive impact on your immune system’s ability to function well and can help support immune balance.
You can read more on this and other topics on our blog page.
Some Helpful Lifestyle Tips
- Smoking or vaping nicotine is toxic. These habits lead to increased inflammation, oxidative stress, and immune system irritation.
- Incorporate regular, consistent exercise into your life, but make sure not to overdo it.
Overly strenuous exercise can perpetuate leaky gut and contribute to stress in the body.
- Incorporate daily stress management techniques. Daily stress management is crucial for both healing and maintaining remission.
Chronic stress is pro-inflammatory, meaning it contributes to immune system overactivation and leads to flares of the disease. Considering this, you should make it a priority in your life to learn how to cope with stress and avoid as many external stressors as possible.
- Get plenty of sleep. Sleep deprivation can elevate inflammation and cause further damage to your immune system.
Sensitivity to the sun can be devastating for those struggling with lupus. It can be exhausting to have to plan your day around avoiding the sun or suffer the consequences.
The sun’s UV rays can cause skin damage and trigger an immune flare-up and symptoms.
In sun-sensitive individuals, sun exposure can mean painful sunburns, rashes, aches and pains, and fatigue even after short stints in the sun.
How can you avoid/minimize UV exposure for Immune Balance?
How to minimize UV exposure?
- Cover up! Wear a hat, long sleeves, an umbrella, and gloves.
- Avoid the sun between 11am-30pm when the sun’s rays are the strongest.
- Use a daily natural broad-spectrum sunscreen on all exposed skin.
- Be aware of the effects of indoor lighting as indoor fluorescent lights can also create problems in some sensitive people. Don’t be afraid to discuss lighting options, etc. with your employer.
- Be aware of things that may increase your sensitivity to the sun.
Things that may increase your sensitivity to the sun:
- Certain drugs can contribute to or increase photosensitivity, such as certain antifungal drugs, antihistamines, oral contraceptives, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs ibuprofen and naproxen), antibiotics, oral diabetes drugs, diuretics, and tricyclic antidepressants. The same is true of the herbal remedy St. John’s wort, which is taken for depression, anxiety, and PMS.
- Consuming foods celery, dill, fennel, figs, lime, parsley, and wild carrots can increase sun sensitivity.
- Topical scents and essential oils bergamot, bitter orange, lavender, lemon verbena, musk, rosemary, and sandalwood can make your skin more reactive to the sun.
- Check skin care products for ingredients such as glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and Retin-A. Each of these agents strips the outer layer of the skin. They make the skin more sensitive to the sun. Plus, the chemical benzoyl peroxide, which is in many over-the-counter acne products, can cause photosensitivity.
The supplemental herb Polypodium leucotomos may help with skin protection to reduce symptoms or flares with sun exposure. This plant extract has been shown to protect against free radical damage in the skin what can occur from UV exposure.
It is vitally important for sun-sensitive people to supplement with oral vitamin D to ensure adequate amounts for immune support and immune balance.
Vitamin D is arguably the most important vitamin for those with autoimmune disease. Most people – with or without autoimmune issues – are deficient.
They do not get enough vitamin D from their diet or lifestyle to help support the very important role it plays when it comes to health.
- Stop indulging in electronics late in the evening. We need to quiet our minds in the evening, so it can do its job and let us float off into sleep. Modern electronics TV, computers, and smartphones certainly do not help, beeping and ringing sometimes all night. On top of the sounds and distraction, our brains have evolved to produce the sleep hormone in response to darkness. This allows us to naturally feel sleepy after sunset, and wake at or near sunrise. The light in our electronic screens greatly disrupts melatonin production.
- The next easy solution is resting or sleeping in your bed in your bedroom. Falling asleep in front of the TV or on your couch is simply poor sleep hygiene. It’s terrible for your body and your health. And make sure your mattress and pillows are super comfortable and great for your body. An uncomfortable pillow can ruin your night – and your day!
- Morning Sunlight.Get out and be in the daylight as soon as possible after you wake up each morning. Morning sunlight has a bigger effect on sleep than almost any other variable. In the morning, if we get bright light exposure, our brain turns on a timer. It says, okay, 14 hours after this is time to sleep, and you’re ready to have a good deep refreshing sleep cycle after you start that whole process. The magic number seems to be about a half an hour of exposure within an hour of waking. Just being outside, even if it’s overcast or anything, there’s so much more light intensity. (One pitfall is just living in areas or at times of year – or lifestyles – where you’re just not getting up with the daylight. In those cases, it’s worth having a lightbox. You can get units from Amazon in the $100 price range.)
One of the fastest ways to restore health and help you feel better almost immediately is to get more sleep. In fact, it is also one of the simplest keys to unlocking more energy.
And it is an easy entry point to health – and happiness
Dr. Tiffany Caplan & Dr. Brent Caplan
PS: Have fun exploring the creative and flavorful recipes in Dr. Caplan’s cookbook “Lupus Friendly Recipes to Calm the Fires of Inflammation.” These delicious recipes are great support for lowering inflammation due to lupus or other autoimmune disease symptoms.
PPS: Self-care is so important, and an essential component of conquering autoimmune disease. This is why my wife; Tiffany and I created the “Simple Self Care for Autoimmunity” e-book. This guide provides 8 simple and effective ways to practice self-care you can start today! It’s our gift to you! Download it now at no cost!
Have More Sex And Other Fun Ways To Calm Inflammation + Balance Your Immune System
I am so excited for you to read my brand new book, The Inflammation Spectrum.
You will discover how inflammation is at the core of most common health woes and exists on a continuum: from mild symptoms such as weight gain and fatigue on one end, to hormone imbalance and autoimmune conditions on the other.
How you feel is constantly and dynamically being influenced by every meal. Every food you eat is either feeding inflammation or fighting it. Because no one else is you, the foods that work well for someone else may not be right for your body.
At heart, The Inflammation Spectrum is about learning to love your body enough to nourish it with delicious, healing foods. Its insightful quizzes and empowering advice will put you on a path toward food freedom and overall healing. Learn more here.
by Dr. Will Cole
The bad news: A fatal heart attack happens every 60 seconds and 50 million Americans live with an autoimmune disease. In other words, inflammation is an epidemic. The good news: When balanced, your immune system’s inflammatory response could save your life.
Inflammation has the power to help heal injuries and infections.
The monkey wrench in this well-oiled machine is chronic inflammation, which doesn’t subside when its job is done and rages uncontrolled, doing more damage than good and potentially affecting every cell of the body.
The result could be heart disease, autoimmune disease, or worse, but a forest fire, inflammation begins as a slow uncomfortable burn you may not realize needs your attention until it’s too late.
What happens in an inflamed body?
Your brilliantly designed immune system contains two types of white blood cells that help to fight off intruders viruses and bacteria, called TH1 and TH2. Technically speaking, these are two types of white blood cells that help ward off the body’s intruders. a seesaw, TH1 and TH2 need to balance each other, as if on a seesaw.
When the seesaw gets unbalanced and either TH1 or TH2 become dominant, you fly right off and into the inflammatory autoimmune spectrum, and become at a much greater risk for conditions such as autoimmune thyroid disease (Hashimoto’s or Graves), diabetes, inflammatory bowel diseases, allergies, eczema, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
One of the reasons this can happen is because of a lack of T Regulatory (Treg) cells. Tregs bring balance to your immune system, the kid who stands in the middle of the seesaw with a foot on each side, keeping the whole thing level.
I run immune labs on my patients such as TH1/TH2/TH17 dominance test to check for low Treg levels.
If yours are low, give Treg cells a helping hand, bring better balance to your immune system, and help to calm inflammation with these VIPs (Very Important Prescriptions):
1. Have more sex!
Not that you needed another reason, but having sex (and falling in love) is one of the best ways to increase your oxytocin levels. Peer-reviewed research found that increased oxytocin brings Treg levels up.
2. Heal your gut with delicious natural food.
Around 80 percent of your immune system exists in your microbiome, so keep that part of your body as healthy as possible and your immune system will benefit.
A University of Madrid study found that an unhealthy gut led to decreased Treg levels, leading to food intolerances, allergies, and inflammation.
A study published in Molecular Medicine found that a probiotic blend of different lactobacillus also increased Tregs. My article on gut health lists my other favorite gut-healing foods.
3. Optimize vitamins A & D.
Get and take supplemental A and D because Treg cells need vitamins A and D to function properly. But to really maximize vitamin D production you need to get out in the sun. Remember, vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin, so it’s no surprise that getting out in the sun will increase Treg. And when that isn’t an option, use food as medicine to help get these essential immune vitamins.
4. Spice up your cuisine with cinnamon.
Maybe it’s not quite as exciting as sex, of course, but cinnamon makes for good comfort food, and a study in the Journal of Immunology found that sodium benzoate, a metabolite of cinnamon, increased Treg. Yum.
5. Tea-off with jasmine green tea.
I am a sucker for green tea and fortunately for me (and all you other tea-sippers), significant increases in Tregs were observed in the spleens and lymph nodes of mice treated with EGCG from jasmine green tea. Drink several glasses a day to get the best therapeutic benefit. (I’ll join you.)
6. Savor a super-simple smoothie.
Black cumin seed oil, curcumin, astragalus, cat’s claw, and cocoa all have been shown to have a positive effect on Tregs. So why not add them to a delicious smoothie? Add 1 teaspoon of each of these to a base of coconut milk. Throw in three handfuls of greens, frozen berries, and voila, you’ve got yourself a grade-A, Treg pumper-upper. You’re welcome.
If you’ve d these tips, check out my article to find more of my science nerd tips to fight inflammation.
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