According the autoimmune related diseases association, 50 million people have an autoimmune disease, that is one in five people.
There are two stars of the immune system that we are going to look at. The TH-1 and TH-2 pathways. TH stands for T-helper cell. The TH-1pathway is the non-specific immunity. That means that it is not specific in what it kills. It protects us from any organism that is an invader. There is no time needed for this pathway to protect us from antigens.
The TH2 pathway is the specific immunity. Which means that it deals with specific antigens and in doing so it takes time for the assault to take place. This is why it takes several days for the common person to fight a cold.
With this basic knowledge let me explain how these two pathways are relevant to a person with an autoimmune disease.
Lets say a person has Hashimoto’s, which is an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid. Through clinical experience and research that person has a high probability of being TH1 dominant. What that means is their TH-1 pathway is more active, it’s in the battle more than the TH-2 pathway.
Now that same person reads that echinacea is great for the immune system and starts taking some, but instead of feeling better the person feels worse, ie. more hypothyroid symptoms.
What happened? What happened is although echinacea is great for the immune system, it is not good for a person that has their TH-1 pathway dominant. Why? Because echinacea is a TH-1 stimulator. This particular person needs to increase the deficient pathway which is the TH-2 pathway. They need to take nutritional compounds that will stimulate the TH-2 pathway and help balance out the two pathways.
There is more to the story than this. Remember, I just took two star performers of the immune system. Just like any good play there are a lot more characters involved.
For more information about the immune system and health in general call our office today.