T-Helper Cells, also called TH, are lymphocytes that recognize foreign proteins. After the recognition, they produce certain cytokines that determine the activity of the immune system. There are two basic types of TH cells:
- TH1: These cells deal with intra-cellular pathogens.
- TH2: These ones are responsible for erradication of extra-cellular pathogens, such as the ones found in the blood.
In a normal immune system, these cells regulate each other. When autoimmune disease occurs, this delicate relationship is broken and one of them suppresses the activity of the other. The imbalance favours further immune attacks.
Although there are some exceptions, the most common associations can be seen below:
Examples of TH2 diseases (systemic) :
Examples of TH1 diseases: (specific organs):
- Type I diabetes
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Celiac Disease
Despite the association seen above, the majority of AI diseases don’t have a specific dysregulation. Each specific case must be analysed and consequently treated. We strongly recommend doing a TH1/TH2 cytokine predominance blood panel for people with AI diseases as most inflammatory conditions can manifest themselves in different ways.
Using vitamins and nutrients that naturally modulate the balance between TH1 and TH2 or support T-regulatory cell function is much less risky than taking supplements that directly stimulate either one. These are the things that work for both TH1 and TH2 predominant immune systems as they modulate the balance between them:
- Lectin avoidance (diets that eliminate grains and legumes especially) Read Ballantyne’s book.
- Probiotics: both supplements and fermented foods.
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin D
- EPA and DHA (Omega 3)
- Curcumin andBoswellia(in the majority of cases)
We disagree with some health websites in this case, as we consider that experimenting with different stimulants of the immune system may do more harm than good in already complicated conditions such as AI diseases.
There are other interesting T helper cells such as TH17. As Tabarkiewicz says in the abstract of his study: “The end of twentieth century has introduced some changes into T helper (Th) cells division. The identification of the new subpopulation of T helper cells producing IL-17 modified model of Th1–Th2 paradigm and it was named Th17. High abilities to stimulate acute and chronic inflammation made these cells ideal candidate for crucial player in development of autoimmune disorders. Numerous publications based on animal and human models confirmed their pivotal role in pathogenesis of human systemic and organ-specific autoimmune diseases. These findings made Th17 cells and pathways regulating their development and function a good target for therapy. Therapies based on inhibition of Th17-dependent pathways are associated with clinical benefits, but on the other hand are frequently inducing adverse effects.”
There’s not enough evidence to advise any special measure around TH17. We already know that gluten influences multiple regulatory T cell subsets as well as TH17 in mucosal lymphoid tissue. That’s why we absolutely recommend avoiding gluten (and other cereals) when you have an AI problem.