Are You Th1 or Th2 Dominant? Effects + Immune Response

Are you Th1 or Th2 dominant and why is this so important to know?

Are You Th1 or Th2 Dominant? Effects + Immune Response
Jan 13, 2019 · 9 min readCan you see the importance of a well balanced immune system?

To help us understand what’s happening on the outside, we first have to look on the inside. For this exercise lets split your immune system into two. We’ll call the first half Th1 and the second half Th2. We’ll then look deeper at the one that applies to YOU.

But first, let's simplify what Th actually means …

Th, is an abbreviation for T-helper cells which form part of the immune system. Their job is to recognize and destroy any foreign microorganism that can cause disease. Th1 cells typically deal with infections by viruses and certain bacteria.

They are the body’s first line of defense against any pathogen that gets inside our cells. Th1 cells tend to be pro-inflammatory. Th2 cells on the other hand typically deal with bacteria, toxins, and allergens. They are responsible for stimulating the production of antibodies. Th2 cells tend not to be inflammatory.

But what does that mean and why is this so important to know?

While it may sound complicated on the surface, it’s really not. Both work sides of the immune system are working together, think of them as a kind of tag-team.

Depending on the threat level, sometimes Th1 does more of the work and Th2 may play a lesser role. As the threat changes, roles are quickly switched. Once the threat has been neutralized the two stand down and return to equal balance.

This is how a well-balanced immune system should work. But there’s a problem, can you see it?

In an ideal situation, neither Th1 or Th2 is displaying a more dominant position. However, in some people, a prolonged pattern of either Th1 or Th2 dominance occurs and this is where health problems begin.

Knowing whether your immune system is Th1 or Th2 dominant plays an important part in the wellness puzzle. Not least because it allows you to figure out which is the best course of action to take (and which you should avoid!).

Perhaps now it makes sense why that cupboard full of natural supplements always makes you feel worse. Anything that boosts one side of the immune system tips the balance. Remember, balance is your body's preferred state.


So how do we know if we are Th1 or Th2 dominant? That’s a great question and the answer is relatively straightforward. For starters, there is a Th1, Th2 cytokine blood panel test. Your primary healthcare giver should be able to hook you up with the test, failing that, functional doctors usually have a pretty good handle on things.

Th1 cells are part of what’s called cell-mediated immunity, which is an immune response that does not involve antibodies. It does, however, involve the release of various cytokines in response to foreign proteins. Let’s simplify -if this problem was a basic image, this is how Th1 dominance might look.

People who are typically Th1 dominant (but not all) may have delayed food sensitivities, increased brain fog, fatigue, increased lihood of Type I diabetes, multiple sclerosis (although MS can be found in both Th1 and Th2 dominant types), Hashimoto’s, Grave’s disease, Crohn’s Disease, psoriasis, Sjogren’s syndrome, celiac disease, lichen planus, rheumatoid arthritis, and chronic viral infections. Again, these are generalizations and as with any autoimmune condition,it can easily manifest itself in multiple ways.

Being Th1 dominant means the immune system is constantly amped up. A telltale sign of the Th1 dominant person may be a tendency to catch fewer colds. Some reports even suggest lower cancer rates. But the devil is always in the details and as we mentioned earlier balance is super important. The downside of being Th1 dominant is a higher incidence of autoimmune conditions.

Th1 types should beware of any supplement that has the potential to boost the immune system. Why?

Supplements that increase Th1 also increase the problem. For example, natural supplements Echinacea, astragalus, olive leaf, elderberry, and any medicinal mushrooms that are immune-boosting. Be vigilant, because this is by no means a complete list!


Having an immune system that is Th1 dominant is one thing but what happens when things swing the other way? Better hold onto your hat for a second, this is where it gets a little bumpy. Ready?

Functionally, Th2 cytokines have effects on many cell types in the body because the cytokine receptors are widely expressed in numerous cell types.

Th2 cells stimulate and recruit specialized subsets of immune cells, such as eosinophils and basophils, to the site of infection or in response to allergens or toxins leading to tissue eosinophilia and mast cell hyperplasia. I know, right? Who thinks this way?

Let’s look at an image of this instead. Ahhh, isn’t that better?

If we break this down into plain English, Th2 has some pretty beefy weapons called B cells and antibodies. These B cells are great to use in battle as they help produce more antibodies when needed.

Essentially, this means they just keep on going and never run ammo — pretty cool, right?

This is done to ensure there is always enough ammo on hand should any foreign invader ever try to sneak into the body. Also, keep in mind that Th2 cells are anti-inflammatory.

Now, can you see the importance of a well balanced immune system?

Once a foreign invader enters the body it becomes locked in battle with BOTH elements of Th1 and Th2. As the battle rages, the pro-inflammatory process needs to be “cooled down” using anti-inflammatory cytokines; hence it’s a team effort.

It’s really not helpful having one side do all the work because left unchecked, systemic inflammation causes untold damage. When this form of inflammation is allowed to run rampant it can manifest itself in just ANY illness from headaches to cancer.

It’s the driving force behind every illness known to man.

When Th2 gets to be the dominant one, we may be more inclined to get seasonal allergies, asthma, food and drug allergies, and anaphylactic reactions rather than systemic inflammation.

Th2 dominance can also be caused by a variety of issues such as heavy metals such as aluminum, mercury, and lead which are known to lower immune function. When heavy metals are purged from the body, a stronger, clearer-thinking version of YOU comes to the surface.

As an added bonus, heavy metal detoxification helps protects against accelerated aging and sickness.

Okay, what else do we need to know?

When the immune system is shifted too much to the Th2 system, people generally have less inflammation but their potential to develop allergies to pretty much everything increases. It’s the allergens that then begin causing problems.

Other possible diseases linked to Th2 dominant conditions may include Lupus, allergic dermatitis, atopic eczema, sinusitis, inflammatory bowel diseases, asthma, allergies, colitis, and multi-chemical sensitivities. Some reports even suggest an elevated Th2 may increase the risk of certain cancers. Either way, once the immune system gets stuck balance, we lose.

Interestingly, Lyme disease has the ability to throw Th1 balance because Lyme disease creates a state of perpetual Th1 dominance; this, unfortunately, results in constant inflammation, causing an ongoing downward spiral of damage in the body. I know, right? Let’s not go there, instead, let’s focus on solutions.

Because Th1 dominance is pro-inflammatory, we can now see the importance of eliminating all those foods that create inflammation. Foods loaded with preservatives, refined and fried foods, and fast foods all contribute to complicating the problem. But let’s not forget our old friend sugar that can weaken the immune system and tip it balance.

Do you see how food keeps linking all this together? Spices curcumin, turmeric, and ginger along with omega 3 oils are thought to be helpful because they may help counteract inflammation imbalance.


We seem to have covered a lot of ground here in one short read. In doing so I’ve attempted to keep the complex simple; this is what I love to do.

However, the immune system is a vast subject and we didn’t even get a chance to talk about Th17 cells.

In case you are wondering why it’s because they are a subset of activated CD4+ T cells that are responsive to IL-1R1 and IL-23R signaling. I know, right? Just thinking about it gave me a headache too.

However, if the whole Th1, Th2, Th17 concept has piqued your interest then continue reading. Autoimmune conditions are a tricky beast but I find them all rather interesting. If you would to know more, please check out my book in today’s homework section below.


Before we end I’d to briefly mention the lymphatic system. As many may already know it’s a network of tissues and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste, and other unwanted materials.

The primary function of the lymphatic system is to transport lymph, a fluid containing infection-fighting white blood cells, throughout the body. Under each of your armpits (hello again) are more than twenty tiny lymph nodes. These small but highly sensitive lumps that act tiny checkpoints. But there’s a problem, can you see it?

The job of the lymphatic system is an important one as it helps to fight infection. So you have to question the logic of squirting antiperspirant in such a delicate area. Especially when we stop and look at the loooong list of toxic ingredients (which usually includes aluminum). This can cause some people to sleepwalk into illness.

As the name suggests, antiperspirant stops your skin from perspiring by literally clogging it up. Seeing how the skin is the body’s third kidney, it is alive and needs to breathe. With that in mind, perhaps applying an antiperspirant isn’t a smart idea for anyone looking to overcome illness. The irony is the more we overload the lymphatic system the worse B.O becomes.

Un the heart, the lymphatic system has no pump and requires movement to push lymphatic fluid around the body.

This fluid moves best when we move, which is more bad news if we happen to be sitting still most of the day squirting toxic chemicals under our armpits.

The good news is, you don’t need a gym membership to get the lymph moving. Hippocrates said it this way: “Walking is man’s best medicine.”


If walking isn’t your thang, then my final tip for the day is to take a James Bond shower. This is effective at moving lymph and super easy to do. I just know you are going to love this one!

First, hop into a hot shower and relax — feels good, right?

Now at some point simply turn the water all the way to cold and count to thirty, longer if you can stand it. Repeat this three times between hot and cold. This will help push the lymphatic fluid around the body. Doing it every day is no guarantee that you will live longer, but by the end of the week, it may seem it, lol.

What did we learn from this?

The immune system works best when it is in balance. As for the impact on each individual? It really depends on the complex makeup of each person. That said, the body is pretty good at sending out clues.

If you have an autoimmune condition, your body will usually let you know about it. If you aren’t experiencing any noticeable symptoms then the chances are, your immune system hasn’t gone haywire.

If in doubt, it’s always best to get yourself checked out with an informed healthcare provider.

to know more? Check out this book

  • Proven techniques that boost energy
  • How to tackle pain without popping pills
  • What to eat without feeling overwhelmed or confused
  • How to find the root cause of symptoms
  • The importance of sleep and how to do it right
  • How to curb unhealthy food cravings
  • Why parasites and fungi prevent healing
  • Effective techniques that detoxify heavy metals
  • Where to find the cleanest foods (spoiler alert, they aren’t in the organic section)
  • Five essential supplements that promote health
  • How to increase mental clarity

One book, everything you need to know, explained step-by-step. It’s the Swiss Army knife of health books!

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Beyond Th1-Th2 Dominance

Are You Th1 or Th2 Dominant? Effects + Immune Response

If you’ve been researching natural solutions for autoimmune disease, there’s no doubt you’ve come across the theory that autoimmunity is caused by an immune system imbalance, specifically Th1-Th2 dominance.

Many of proponents of this hypothesis conveniently sell products called “immune system modulators” that are designed to bring your immune system back into balance and cure your condition.

There’s value in this hypothesis but let’s look beyond Th1-Th2 dominance.

Immune system modulating products arose from the Th1-Th2 hypothesis in the late 1980’s when scientists observed the cytokine patterns of T-helper cells in mice. The theory was adapted to the human immune system and has since been considered gospel by many practitioners as well as pharmaceutical and supplement manufacturers who specialize in “immune system modulation.”

Experts who agree with this hypothesis will say that anyone with an autoimmune “disease” is either Th1 or Th2 dominant. That means that if we are experiencing an autoimmune response, our T-helper cells are sending out signals, specifically cytokines or interleukins, which drive up the proliferation and activity of either too many T-cells, or too many B-cells.

Some researchers theorize that the over-activation of either pathway can cause an autoimmune attack and that the only way to fix the problem is to dampen the overactive pathway and boost the underactive pathway, to restore the balance between the two.

This is why some practitioners will suggest that their patients with an autoimmune condition get a medical test called a cytokine panel to see which part of the immune system has become “overactive” or “underactive.

” By measuring the Th1 cytokines, IL (Interluekin)-2, IL-3, IL-12 and tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFa), they can determine if you have too much natural killer and cytotoxic T-cell activity. By measuring the Th2 cytokines—IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-10 and IL-13 —they can determine if you have too much B-cell activity.

Once they have determined which pathway is dominant, they will prescribe immune-system-modulating compounds in an attempt to quiet the dominant pathway and boost the underactive pathway.

If one part of the immune system is overacting, then it makes sense to calm it down, right?

Well, yes and no.

As long as we don’t miss the forest for the trees! The question of why the Th1 or Th2 pathway is overactive must still be asked.

For instance, let’s say you have become infected with a chronic bacterial infection, and your immune system is ramped up to fight it.

Let’s say this goes on for years, as in the case of a stealth mycoplasma infection, and your Th1 response is on high alert but can’t kill the infection completely. While it’s trying to knock it out, it starts attacking healthy tissues.

Doesn’t it make sense to find out what pathogen is driving the Th1 pathway to be on high alert and treat that first, or at least at the same time?

Additionally, new studies show that defective T-regulator cell activity due to imbalances in the gut microbiota can lead to an over expression of both Th1 and Th2 pathways resulting in allergies and autoimmune responses. This research makes a clear connection between the health of your GI tract and your immune system!1,2

It’s important to note that not all experts agree with the Th1 vs. Th2 hypothesis. Some suggest that the human immune system rarely exhibits one dominant pathway over the other. In fact, most people with autoimmune disease will flip back and forth from one pathway to the other, depending on what’s “bugging” them at the time.3

The table below shows disorders that some experts claim are related to one dominant pathway or the other:


Effects of the Th2-dominant milieu on allergic responses in Der f 1-activated mouse basophils and mast cells

Are You Th1 or Th2 Dominant? Effects + Immune Response

Although basophils and mast cells share similar phenotypic and functional properties, little is known about the difference in the initial Th2 immune responses of these cells following exposure to proteolytic allergens.

Here, we investigated the mechanisms of Th2-mediated immune responses in mouse bone marrow-derived basophils (BMBs) and mast cells (BMMCs) via stimulation with the cysteine protease allergen Der f 1.

Our results showed that Th2 cytokines were induced from BMBs by active recombinant Der f 1 (rDer f 1 independently with Toll- receptor (TLR) 2 and TLR4. Although both BMBs and BMMCs expressed protease-activated receptors on their surfaces, PAR expression following exposure to rDer f 1 was altered only in basophils.

G protein-coupled receptors in basophils were found to be associated with interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-13 production from BMBs upon Der f 1 treatment.

Secretion of Th2 cytokines from rDer f 1-treated basophils was mediated by G protein βγ and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase γ through the extracellular signal-regulated kinase and c-Jun N-terminal kinase pathways. These findings provide insights into the roles of cysteine proteases in Th2 immune responses, such as allergic diseases, and improve our understanding of the mechanisms of Th2 cytokine production.

T helper 2 immune responses are initiated by activation of primary effector cells, such as eosinophils, mast cells, and basophils. These cells contribute to host defence responses against parasites and play roles in the pro-inflammatory environment in response to allergens1.

Basophils are rarely found in normal tissue; however, they accumulate in sites of inflammation2, where they facilitate secretion of histamine, leukotrienes, and cytokines3. Several studies have demonstrated that basophils are pivotal for Th2 immune responses and rapid generation of interleukin (IL)-4 and IL-13 in both humans and mice4,5.

In addition, basophil-derived IL-4 has been shown to differentiate naïve CD4 T cells into Th2 effector cells, which play key roles in eliciting and maintaining allergic responses6,7. Basophils and mast cells may be derived from common precursor cells, which share similar phenotypic and functional characteristics.

For example, these cells express FcεRI on their surfaces, and both cells are central effectors in Th2 immune reactions8. Despite sharing a number of phenotypic and functional properties, basophils and mast cells exhibit different activities.

Although they play roles in allergic reactions, mast cells are known as the major effector cells in the immediate hypersensitivity reaction, whereas basophils are recruited to inflammatory sites, where they act to enhance the inflammatory process and thus may be associated with the severity of allergic diseases9,10,11,12.

A previous study reported that proteases from helminths and allergens induce the expression of type 2 cytokines from basophils13. Sokol et al.

suggested that basophils are directly targeted by cysteine protease allergens in the absence of IgE-allergen complexes, thereby inducing the production of Th2-promoting cytokines and causing Th2 differentiation in vivo14.

These data imply that the proteolytic activity of allergens is critical for activation of basophils before crosslinking of the FcεRI and IgE-allergen complex.

However, the mechanisms of innate immune recognition of basophils associated with initiation of Th2-biased inflammatory responses via receptors other than FcεRI have not been investigated in detail. Furthermore, except for FcεRI, differences in the immune sensing mechanism of allergen recognition in basophils and mast cells are currently unknown.

In this study, we examined differences in Th2 cytokine production from mouse bone marrow-derived basophils (BMBs) and mast cells (BMMCs) in response to the cysteine protease allergen rDer f 1.

Moreover, we investigated the effects of rDer f 1 on early immune changes associated with allergic reactions.

Our results demonstrated that cysteine protease activity was important for the activation of BMBs and innate immune reactions, which were initiated by activation of G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) and protease-activated receptors (PARs) in basophils but not mast cells.

To determine whether Der f 1 could induce Th2 cytokines from mouse BMBs and BMMC in vitro, we sorted out basophils and mast cells from mouse bone marrow cultures by flow cytometry to a purity of over 97%.

In BMBs treated with proteolytically active Der f 1, expression of transcripts encoding of IL-4 and IL-13 was increased compared with that in unstimulated cells (Fig. 1A). Secretion of IL-4 and IL-13 in BMBs was confirmed by ELISA after stimulation with Der f 1 for 24 h (Fig. 1B).

However, these cytokines were not expressed in BMMCs under the same conditions (Fig. 1C). In addition, the same results were obtained in bone marrow derived mucosal- mast cells and connective tissue- mast cells (Supplementary Figure S1).

We also found that inactivated Der f 1 would not activate BMBs, indicating that proteolytic activity of allergens played a role in basophil activation (Fig. 1A,B).

Taken together, these data showed that proteolytically active Der f 1 directly activated and induced Th2 cytokines independently of IgE antibody recognition of allergens on BMBs, but not BMMCs. In addition, these data implied that the proteolytic activity of allergens was critical for activation of some specific receptors on basophils.

Figure 1

Production of IL-4 and IL-13 in BMBs and BMMCs upon Der f 1 stimulation. (A) Quantitative PCR of IL-4 and IL-13 transcript expression in BMBs 2 h after stimulation.

(B) IL-4 and IL-13 secretion after stimulation of mouse BMBs with Der f 1 for 24 h. (C) IL-4 and IL-13 secretion after stimulation of BMBs and BMMCs with Der f 1.

Data are presented as the mean ± SD of at least five independent experiments (*p


Am I Th1 Or Th2 Dominant?

Are You Th1 or Th2 Dominant? Effects + Immune Response

When a patient is autoimmune, there is usually one ‘side’ of their immune response that is in hyper-response mode. You’ll learn about these two important parts of the immune response and their role in self-destruction. Knowing if you are Th1 or Th2 dominant is CRUCIAL for several reasons but most importantly, it dictates proper care.

It’s absolutely necessary to figure out if a person is Th1 or Th2 dominant because it will dictate what type of nutraceutical protocols that will be most effective for dampening their immune activity.

We know that typical ‘immune stimulants’ Astragalus, Echinacea, Garlic, Glycyrrhizin, Melissa Officinalis, Maitake mushrooms, seem to stimulate the Th1 response.

We also know that things pine bark extract, grape seed extract, green tea extract, Pycnogenol, Resveratrol, and caffeine are things that stimulate the Th2 response.

So if a patient’s autoimmune attack of their joints in Rheumatoid Arthritis, thyroid in Hashimoto’s, myelin sheath in Multiple Sclerosis, etc., is a Th1 dominant response, adding Th1 stimulants will MAKE THEM WORSE! You can effectively aid in balancing a Th1 dominant individual by giving Th2 stimulants and visa, versa.

Vanessa’s Story

Thirteen years ago Vanessa was diagnosed with Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) or Lupus for short. Her problems began long before her diagnosis after the birth of her first child, Ashley, when she was just 18 years old. Lupus is defined as a chronic, inflammatory autoimmune disease.

It frequently affects the skin, joints, kidneys, but, autoimmune diseases do, it affects multiple organs. Symptoms vary from person to person, and may come and go. Since autoimmune diseases are either a hyper-firing Th1 or Th2 response, it is when that system is most active that the person experiences the most symptoms.

This is why patient’s symptoms seem to wax and wane. The condition may affect one organ or body system at first and then progress to involve others. Almost all people with SLE have joint pain, arthritis and chronic fatigue. The joint pain is usually in the fluid filled joints the fingers, knees, and hips.

These joints have joint capsules which are sacs made up of essential fatty acids, prone to accept antigens and therefore common attacks of the immune response.

Vanessa’s youth was troubled; both her father and mother were alcoholics and Vanessa ran away from home at age 16. She bounced in and relationships, got pregnant at age 17 and was unwelcome in an attempt to return home. She had her baby while living at a shelter.

Her increased stress, use of experimental drugs, emotional depression and the accompanying fluctuations that pregnancy brings the Th1/Th2 immune response may all have been contributors to the autoimmune ‘switch’ being turned on.

Her symptoms have gradually gotten worse over time and even though God intervened in Vanessa’s life when she got saved at a youth rally when Ashley was just 5 months old and she now is happily married, the disease has progressed.

Once an autoimmune disease has turned on, there is no turning it off. Traditional medicine had given Vanessa little hope and just prescriptions to fill. She tried multiple medications with some relief but different side effects.

It wasn’t until she found care with a functional medicine doctor who understood the autoimmune process that she began to take the upper hand against her disease.

“It was the first time I ever understood what Lupus was,” she commented, “I thought I was just doomed with a genetic disease that I’d have to live with the rest of my life. The last 3 months since starting care has been remarkable. I feel I have a new life.”

Vanessa’s story is commonplace. Autoimmune patients feel helpless and hopeless; they have basically been given a death sentence by modern medicine with no alternative but symptom suppressant drugs. There is hope, and if you just keep digging and asking better and more pointed questions, you can find the answers; but you just might have to ask different people.

Sometimes the patient’s history will be obvious as to which dominance they are ‘stuck’ in.

If they’ve attempted taking high amounts of Garlic and Echinacea only to feel horribly worse afterward, there’s a pretty good chance they are Th1 dominant autoimmune.

If drinking green tea or coffee takes away the pain of your Gout, the possibility exists that you are Th1 dominant; if it made you feel worse, you may be Th2 dominant. But do NOT rely on this; it is always wise to do the testing!

You have to be very careful stimulating a Th1 or Th2 response. People can’t figure out why they still feel terrible even while taking the boatload of vitamins their nutritionist recommended.

If you are stimulating the dominant, hyper-firing system, you are literally throwing fuel on the fire. Autoimmune patients CANNOT take supplements that have both Th1 and Th2 stimulants.

You are helping the immune system destroy your body! Do the testing!


Science commentary: Th1 and Th2 responses: what are they?

Are You Th1 or Th2 Dominant? Effects + Immune Response

Cytokines are the hormonal messengers responsible for most of the biological effects in the immune system, such as cell mediated immunity and allergic type responses. Although they are numerous, cytokines can be functionally divided into two groups: those that are proinflammatory and those that are essentially anti-inflammatory but that promote allergic responses.

T lymphocytes are a major source of cytokines. These cells bear antigen specific receptors on their cell surface to allow recognition of foreign pathogens. They can also recognise normal tissue during episodes of autoimmune diseases.

There are two main subsets of T lymphocytes, distinguished by the presence of cell surface molecules known as CD4 and CD8. T lymphocytes expressing CD4 are also known as helper T cells, and these are regarded as being the most prolific cytokine producers.

This subset can be further subdivided into Th1 and Th2, and the cytokines they produce are known as Th1-type cytokines and Th2-type cytokines.

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.

The Th2-type cytokines include interleukins 4, 5, and 13, which are associated with the promotion of IgE and eosinophilic responses in atopy, and also interleukin-10, which has more of an anti-inflammatory response. In excess, Th2 responses will counteract the Th1 mediated microbicidal action.

The optimal scenario would therefore seem to be that humans should produce a well balanced Th1 and Th2 response, suited to the immune challenge.

Many researchers regard allergy as a Th2 weighted imbalance, and recently immunologists have been investigating ways to redirect allergic Th2 responses in favour of Th1 responses to try to reduce the incidence of atopy.

Some groups have been looking at using high dose exposure to allergen to drive up the Th1 response in established disease,1 and other groups have been studying the use of mycobacterial vaccines in an attempt to drive a stronger Th1 response in early life.2

An additional strategy is being used to prevent the onset of disease; this involves the study of pregnancy and early postnatal life.

Both of these states are chiefly viewed as Th2 phenomena (to reduce the risk of miscarriage, a strong Th2 response is necessary to modify the Th1 cellular response in utero).

The fetus can switch on an immune response early in pregnancy, and because pregnancy is chiefly a Th2 situation, babies tend to be born with Th2 biased immune responses.

These can be switched off rapidly postnatally under the influence of microbiological exposure or can be enhanced by early exposure to allergens. It is also hypothesised that those who go on to develop full blown allergies may be those who are born with a generally weaker Th1 response, although it is now apparent that babies with allergies produce weak Th1 and Th2 responses.

Some people have suggested that immunisation programmes (and the subsequent reduction in microbiological exposure) are responsible for the increasing incidence of atopy. There is, however, no evidence that immunisation causes atopy.

Moreover, this is not an argument that we should be exposing children to potentially fatal diseases again.

If experiencing native diseases reduces the incidence of atopy, then the task of immunologists must be to develop vaccines that mimic the positive effects of infection.

1. Gereda JE, Leung DYM, Thatayatikom A, Streib JE, Price MR, Klinnert MD, et al. Relationship between house dust endotoxin exposure, type 1 T-cell development, and allergen sensitisation in infants at high risk of asthma. Lancet. 2000;355:1680–1683. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

2. Jones CA, Holloway JA, Warner JO. Does atopic disease start in foetal life? Allergy. 2000;55:2–10. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

Articles from The BMJ are provided here courtesy of BMJ Publishing Group


TH1 and TH2 Immune Imbalance in Relation to Autoimmune Disease

Are You Th1 or Th2 Dominant? Effects + Immune Response

Have you heard of TH1 and Th2 immune cells? probably not! They are extremely important and play a huge role in how our immune system reacts to substances that enter our body.

Before we get into what these immune cells are, I do want to say that this article may seem a little heavy or scientific to a lot of people, but try to digest it as best you can.

As you go through the article, it should become easier to understand and hopefully you can take away the important points easily enough !

What are they?

TH1 and TH2 are elements of the immune system that should be balanced in order to prevent disease. The immune system is highly specialized and determines when something is friend (nutrients) or foe (virus/toxins).

White blood cells (lymphocytes) are designed to attack the bad invaders viruses, bad bacteria, etc. They start off as unspecialized TH0 cells. Then they become specialized and go to the TH1 or TH2 side of the immune system where they are needed.

T-helper cells 1 and 2 need to stay in balance in order for the immune system to function optimally and not become dysfunctional.

TH1 cells enhance immunity to respond to viruses, bacteria inside the cells, as well as yeast, fungi and parasites. TH1 also monitor and control the activity of TH2 cells.

TH2 cells respond to allergic or antibody reactions. They help increase antibody production and when balance, can cause destruction of “self” (autoimmune).

An excess amount of TH2 can decrease cytotoxic T-cell activity and you will not be able to detoxify. TH2 release Interleukin 6 (IL-6) which is a cytokine involved in the inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis.

IL-6 leads to increase osteoclastic activity which leads to increased calcium release from bone into the blood leading to osteoporosis.

How do these immune cells become balance?

TH1 can drop due to high stress levels (HELLO MODERN WORLD!) and too much cortisol. As a result, TH2 increases, which leads to an increased incidence in cancer, allergies and autoimmune disorders.

We live in a FAST-PACED world where everyone is ALWAYS rushing trying to meet deadlines, or working two jobs to feed their families in this over-inflated world.

We get road rage because we are rushing, we feel overwhelmed because our to-do lists have more tasks than we can handle and as a result, our stress levels never come down and neither does cortisol. TH1 cells decrease and TH2 increase leading to a imbalance.

TH1 assists in the activation of suppressor T-cells. Suppressor T-cells are meant to slow down B-cells and cytotoxic T-cells. If the suppressor T-cells are malfunctioning or deficient due to a decrease in TH1, the cytotoxic T-cells may take over and start killing healthy cells (autoimmune).

This leads to increased immune stimulation, followed by a crash and potential for autoimmune disorders. This is why a lot of people find themselves with an autoimmune condition after a traumatic event or stressful event (e.g. a parent or sibling passing away).

They get stressed, TH1 decreases which leads to TH2 dominance.

If you have chronic infection, one tends to dominate the other and then your body can’t attack the foreign invaders properly. There is also TH3 and TH17 but that is for another article because it is quite complex and I don’t want to overwhelm you.

How can you tell which one is dominating? We can go about it a couple ways!

1. Blood tests can be done however they cost money which many of us don’t have

2. Self diagnosis is a great and FREE way to determine if you have an imbalance and which way it is leaning. If you take a supplement that supports TH1, it will push you even more to the TH1 dominant side and you will start to feel worse.

If you take a TH2-pusher supplement and you feel better, then it means you’re TH1 dominant. If you feel worse, it means you’re TH2 dominant.

If you take glutathione with these supplements, it will help to give you quicker results because it pushes toxins the cells.

TH1/TH2 & AutoimmunityHow Prevalent is this imbalance?

From what I’ve seen, TH2 polarization is far more common than TH1 polarization. This can be due to several factors: Systemic overgrowth of problematic yeast in the body (Candida albicans)

-Abundance of viruses (Everyone has them!)

-The never ending amounts of stress which lowers TH1 and therefor favours TH2 polarization

-The over-use of steroids (creams, injections, etc) in the North America favors TH2 polarization

-The lack or probiotics in our diets

-The lack of nutrients in our diet that influence immunity (Zinc, Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin K)

-The prevalence of Intestinal Permeability (leaky gut syndrome) and dysbiosis, which not only creates inflammation but uses up all of your glutathione (which is needed for TH1 immunity).

Symptoms and Diseases of TH2 Polarization:

Here are some symptoms and diseases that are associated with TH2 polarization that can help with self-diagnosis. Remember, TH2 cells command the allergic and anti-parasite side of the immune system so when trying to parasite cleanse, don’t lower TH2 too much!

-Eczema (Atopic Dermatitis)


-Allergies (both airborne and anaphylactic)

-Histamine intolerance


-Frequent ear and sinus infections

-Chronic viral infection(s) – Examples: Epstein Barr Virus (EBV), Cytomegalovirus (CMV), Herpes Simplex 1, 2, and 6, HIV, etc

Mucous in stool *Note: Mucous in stool often means you have a parasite which ends up pushing you into TH2 polarization. In this scenario, suppressing TH2 is not recommended.*

Symptoms and Diseases of TH1 Polarization:

-Sudden, extreme autoimmune flares that seem to come nowhere. Often they will involve a lot of joint of muscle inflammation and pain. TH1 polarization is quite rare especially with autoimmune clients. However, if you’re autoimmune has been in remission and overnight you wake up to a 100% complete flare, it could be due to TH1 polarization.

-However, MOST of my clients with autoimmune disorders who got tested were TH2 dominant, not TH1.

Here is a list of TH1 stimulating compounds:


-Echinacea (often people take this and wake up in a huge flare, and that is because it overstimulates the immune system and should ALWAYS be avoided if you have autoimmune disease)


-Medicinal Mushrooms (Maitake and Beta-Glucans are common)

-Melissa Oficinalis (Lemon balm)

-Panax Ginseng


-Grape Seed Extract

Here is a list of TH2 stimulating compounds:


-Green Tea Extract

-Pine Bark Extract

-Lycopene (found in tomatoes and other red fruits excluding strawberries and cherries and should always be avoided if you have autoimmune disease)

-Resveratrol (found in grape skin, sprouted peanuts, and cocoa)

-Curcumin (found in turmeric)

-Genistin (found in soybeans)

-Quercetin (a flavanoid found in many fruits and vegetables, such as onions, berries and kale and has great anti-histamine effects)

At the end of the day, if you have autoimmune disease, you wan to focus more on TH1 stimulators (except Echinacea) and try to avoid several of the TH2 stimulators caffeine, nightshades, etc.

Of course there are nutrients in both categories that you SHOULD intake daily such as, Quercetin, curcumin, chlorella, Medicianl Mushrooms, glutathione, etc. My intention with this article was for you to understand the importance of BALANCE in the body and the critical effects that stress has on our bodies.

Deep breath (50 times/day), eat nourishing and alkalizing foods and take some TH1 supporting nutrients and you will do great !

Written by: Marla Pietruszko BSc RHN

Instagram: @marlashealthylife