Am I TH1 or TH2 or TH17?

In recent years, Doctors have become aware of a specific T-cell subset, termed TH17. TH17 creates Flu Symptoms, e.g. influenza, Morning Sickness, etc. TH17 contributes to the development of diseases such as multiple autoimmune diseases including allergic inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune gastritis, inflammatory bowel disease, Hashimoto’s, psoriasis, and multiple sclerosis.

Some practitioners recommend the Th1/Th2 Challenge to determine if symptoms are immune related. Doing the Th1/Th2 Challenge is like checking for a gas leak with a burning match. It doesn’t account for Th17. Are you suffering from inflammatory fire searching the internet for answers? I often hear from women that they have to be their own advocates for their health. I agree you must be your own advocate.

Inflammation is a general term describing the effects of too many inflammatory cytokines and stimulating neurotransmitters unopposed by too few anti-inflammatory cytokines and inhibitory neurotransmitters.

Finding Your Immune Status

For more than thirty years, T-Helper (TH) cells have been divided by immunologists into two functional subsets: T-helper-1 (TH1) and T-helper-2 (TH2). Immunologists have also identified specific groups of chemical messenger molecules called “cytokines and chemokines” that are used to communicate between the cells of the immune system and stimulate either the TH1 or TH2 system.

How much do you know about the immune system?

TH1/TH2 Challenge

When the activity of one subset goes up, it represses the activity of the other similar to a seesaw or teeter-totter. Some practitioners recommend the TH1/TH2 Challenge to determine if symptoms are immune related. In this test, one immune stimulating supplement is taken at a time and a journal is kept of the symptoms experienced. One supplement stimulates the TH1 side of the immune system, and the other supplement stimulates the TH2. The reactions to these supplements are used to determine which side of your immune system is out of balance. However, very few people are strictly TH1 or TH2.

Fig. 1: Provocation of Unregulated Immune Response

Very Few People Are Strictly TH1 or TH2.

People with similar symptoms can have remarkably different laboratory results, while people with comparable laboratory results often exhibit widely different symptoms. This leads to confusion and frustration when doing immune challenges. Results from the Neuroscience NEI Gold 5516 for women suffering from Hashimoto’s show how confusing and unpredictable it can be.

Immune Status Scale

Many consider the immune system to be always working properly, even with autoimmune conditions. When it is actually compromised and experiencing the effects of too many inflammatory cytokines and stimulating neurotransmitters unopposed by too few anti-inflammatory cytokines and inhibitory neurotransmitters, while being hacking into and disrupted by microbes, bacteria and parasites.

Another favorite is to blame food or something from the environment. While they can and do serve as provocateurs in an Immune compromised individual. Microbes, bacteria and parasites hack into the NEI Supersystem damaging or altering the immune response for their survival resulting in false positive and false negative food antibody test results.

Antibody Testing

The current dogma is that Immune cells are stimulated by Antibodies. They believe as long as antibodies are present, the antibodies are constantly stimulating an immune response. They also are lead to believe the presence of antibodies are from an ongoing infection. Typically, IgG antibodies are produced in the first phase of immune responses. However, the immune response to IgA, IgG, and IgM declines or is terminated along the course of the disease in most patients. IgM antibodies are indicative of an ongoing immune response., Studies have shown the detection of IgA and IgM antibodies in 62% and 61% of IgG antibodies in autoimmune patients, and after 7 years.,

A resolution of the disease is not associated with a decrease in antibodies. Only those with a short disease duration are likely to experience a decrease in antibodies levels. For most autoimmune patients there is no significant change in antibody levels, However, patients with immune calming/quieting treatment, experienced a 20% decline in their antibody levels. Normalization in the levels of antibodies with treatment intervention occurs in less that 7% of patients. The success of clinical interventions in lowering antibody levels (and thus likely minimizing the pathogenic effects of autoantibody binding) appears to be dependent on disease duration. The association of shorter disease duration with greater declines in antibody levels is highly consistent with the growing body of evidence that shows improved clinical outcomes with earlier disease intervention in autoimmunity.,,

Approximately one-half of patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis had positive IgM-RF and/or antibodies on at least 1 occasion, almost 5 years prior to disease onset. More than 50% of autoimmune patients may have positive antibodies upwards of 13 years after disease resolution, regardless of treatment.

Immune Compromised Individuals

In the Immune Compromised individual, the immune response the response will depend on their immune system status. This can be best measured by the Neuroscience Stimulated Cytokine panel. The Immune Status Scale (Fig. 2) is not measurable but represents a means to demonstrate the compromised immune system.

  • Zero is DEATH through an acquired immune deficiency and an incompetent immune system.
  • From zero to 30 denotes an ineffectual immune system activity characterized by extreme weakness with tremendous loss of any immune response in the body.
  • The point 30 denotes approaching death unless an immune response can be stimulated which will give it a higher potential ability to protect oneself.
  • From point 30 to 60, there is immune suppression with a decreasing ability to respond to immune challenges with symptoms of cytokine-induced sickness behavior.
  • Symptoms of cytokine-induced sickness behavior begin appear as the body nears 60. A competent immune system will be able to return the body to above 60.
  • From 60 to 100, we note complete health, with 100being the maximum quality of perfect being.
  • From 100 to 150, we note immune stimulation with symptoms of cytokine-induced sickness.
  • From 100 to 130, there is immune stimulation in response to immune challenges. A competent immune system will be able to return the body to below 100.
  • At 130, we will note symptoms of complete cytokine-induce sickness.
  • At rate 150– death takes place through Septic shock, Anaphylaxis, or Toxic Shock

The immune system can jump from the immune suppressed range to the immune stimulated range during a cytokine storm or when provoked and back again. The tissue producing the immune cells may fatigue contributing to a yo-yo effect of cytokine storms followed by a collapse of the immune response as the tissue recovers.

Cytokines that enhance cellular immune responses, Th1 (INf-?, TNF?, etc.), Th2 (TGF-?, IL-4, IL-10, IL-13, etc.), Th17 (IL-17, Il-21, Il-22, IL-26, G-CSF, TNF?), and Th9 (Il-9) favor antibody responses. Cytokines binding to antibodies create a stronger immune effect.

Cytokine Storms

Cytokine storms may occur in both Immune Suppressed and Immune Stimulated. Chances are you have if you are suffering from Hashimoto’s, autoimmune conditions or a confusing mess of symptoms, you may be experiencing your very own Cytokine Storm season where you will have bad days followed by calm days after the storm and again by bad days. You may have found yourself in the proverbial “up a creek without a paddle” in your autoimmune world.

Cytokine Storms occur when the immune system becomes and remains activated against the immune stimulants beyond the point of being helpful.

Lectin Toxicity Evades Antibody-Based Blood Tests

While it is clear that lectins have the potential to do harm, it must be emphasized that the type of harm they do is harder to diagnose than in classically defined food allergies or sensitivites. In other words, confirmation of intolerance will not be found in antibody, allergy or intestinal biopsy testing because the damage done is a direct cytokine driven response, and not necessarily immune-medicated or only secondarily so.

The diagnostic “invisibility” is why lectin consumption is rarely linked to the ailments that afflict those who consume them. While lectins are not the sole or primary cause of a wide range of disorders, them are a major factor in sustaining or reinforcing injuries or diseases once they are initiated and/or established in the body.

Fig. 3: Four Stimulated Cytokine Test Results
Base: General Overall Immune Response

Blue: Zero to 60– Immune Suppressed or Immunocompromised (Fig. 2)
Red: 100 to 150– Immune Activated or Stimulation (Fig. 2)

As you can see from the Stimulated Cytokine Test results that you can be Immune-Stimulated and Immune Suppressed simultaneously. You may experience symptoms of both a suppressed and stimulated immune system (see Fig. 2).

All had bad reactions with the Th1/TH2 challenge. Why? All have an overactive Th17 immune response. Three have a suppressed TH1 response. One has a suppressed TH2 response. The upper right is immunocompromised. The lower right is immune stimulated to everything. The lower left is a raw vegan over-consuming Soft and Hard Lectins. The upper left TH1 immune system collapses when exposed to bacteria driving straight into TH17.

You also have to apply some common sense. Common sense would tell you with autoimmune conditions your immune system isn’t working properly. Are you going to trust it to be accurate during a TH1/TH2 challenge? Lab testing is the best way to determine your immune status.

The TH1/TH2 Challenge does not recognize the TH17 response, immune suppression or stimulation.

In recent years, Doctors have become aware of a specific T-cell subset, termed TH17. TH17 creates Flu Symptoms, e.g. influenza, Morning Sickness, etc. TH17 contributes to the development of diseases such as multiple autoimmune diseases including allergic inflammation, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune gastritis, inflammatory bowel disease, Hashimoto’s, psoriasis, and multiple sclerosis.

The TH1/TH2 Challenge does not recognize the TH17 response, immune suppression or stimulation. Confusing results occur when different immune status responses are not accounted for as seen in Fig. 1.

Figure 1: Rheumatoid Arthritis

It is much better to provoke an immune response in a laboratory setting than suffer the consequences of a failed TH1/TH2 challenge. Formerly, the Neuroscience NEI Gold (5516) determines the baseline immune status and whether lectins (PHA) or bacteria (LPS) provoke a TH1, TH2 or TH17 response. Unfortunately, it is no longer available. As seen in Fig. 1 the immune system can fail when provoked (blue color) resulting in a suppressed immune system. Measurement of stimulated cytokines can identify the presence of an excited or suppressed immune status.

Are Edible Enemies contributing to poor health and inflammation? Lectins cause a plethora of damage to the body, promoting chronic inflammation and sensitivity. Take the Edible Enemy Quiz to test your knowledge on lectins.

Use the Lectin Control Formula to reduce the inflammatory response that occurs due to lectin consumption. Take two capsules with each meal.


Th1-lymphocytes are primarily made in response to microbes that infect or activate macrophages and Natural Killer cells, and in response to viruses.

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.


TH2-lymphocytes are primarily made in response to helminths (worms), allergens, and extracellular microbes and toxins. The TH2-type cytokines include interleukins 4, 5, and 13, which are associated with the promotion of IgE (severe allergies) and eosinophils response, and also interleukin-10, which has more of an anti-inflammatory response. In excess, TH2 responses will counteract the TH1 mediated microbial killing action. The optimal scenario would therefore seem to be that we should produce a well-balanced Th1 and Th2 response, suited to the immune challenge.


The purpose of Th17 cells is to clear pathogens, which are not efficiently handled by TH1 and TH2 type of immunity. The induction of Th17 responses must go through three distinct steps: Induction, amplification and stabilization. The stability of Th17 population is only relevant if it is protective against a given pathogen-invader or other kind of insult. If Th17 cells lose their stability they become highly proinflammatory and promote the destruction of your body’s tissues as occurs in autoimmune conditions. In essence, your immune system chooses to sacrifice body tissues by destroying in order to preserve the rest of your body.

TH17 and Vaccine-Related Injuries

Mercury or aluminum is put into vaccines to stimulate an immune response the contagious bacteria with the intention of developing immunity to the disease causing microbe. However, if a child is born with an over active TH17 response from the mother during pregnancy. A reaction, small or catastrophic may occur leaving the child impaired or worse. It is important to determine the immune status of the woman prior to or during pregnancy. Dr. Peterson can provide the answers to this.

TH17 is not included in the TH1/TH2 Challenge

The TH-1/TH-2 Challenge as noted in the book “Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms?” was printed prior to understanding of TH-17. The TH-1/TH-2 Challenge may provoke a TH-17 response. The TH-17 destroys tissue rather than allowing it to be inflamed; analogous to a suicide bomber attack that you can not defend against.

We can and do use laboratory testing, with equipment from companies like SciQuip, to determine your autoimmune response. We recognize the impact of autoimmune conditions and the possibility of false positives and false negatives when using such labs. We start by using H.I.S.S.

  • History
  • Information
  • Signs
  • Symptoms

By utilizing a step-wise approach: Ask questions first. Lab test second. Immune challenges should be done in a laboratory – not your body. The physicians at Wellness Alternatives can determine the most likely scenario involving your immune system without provoking an uncontrolled immune response.

Very few are strictly TH-1 or TH-2.

Those with TH-1 dominance creating symptomatology usually feel better with coffee or caffeine. But feel worse with immune stimulators – Echinacea, goldenseal, immune-boosting mushrooms or probiotics. A person with TH-2 dominance creating symptomatology are the opposite. They will feel better with immune stimulators – Echinacea, goldenseal, immune-boosting mushrooms or probiotics and feel worse with coffee or caffeine.

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Very few are strictly TH-1 or TH-2. This leads to confusion and frustration when doing immune system challenges. More often than not a person will be both TH-1 and TH-2 with multiple autoimmune conditions, i.e. >80% with Hashimoto’s also have Autoimmune Gastrointestinal Disease. This happens when different autoimmune diseases are actively provoking both sides of the immune system to be overactive and the regulatory part of the immune system can’t regulate either side. When a person has both TH-1 and TH-2 creating symptomatology, they often come into the office saying: “I’m always sick” or “I’m allergic to everything.” When TH-1, they will feel worse with immune stimulators – Echinacea, goldenseal, immune boosting mushrooms or probiotics and feel better with little amounts of coffee or caffeine. Which causes a shift pushing them into an overactive TH-2 response were they will feel worse with coffee or caffeine but feels better with little amounts of immune stimulators – Echinacea, goldenseal, immune boosting mushrooms or probiotics.

This eventually drives them into a place where neither TH-1 nor TH-2 creates symptomatology but both are over reactive and under reactive at the same time. They will happily report, “I never get sick” in addition to “But I know I’m not well.” This is scary because their immune system is no longer able to protect them. They are slip sliding away down the slippery slope of autoimmune diseases because their immune system is too fatigued for any appropriate response. Those that add, “I feel good” are doing Green Allopathy often fall into this category. When we look at their labs they will have low absolute neutrophils (<1800) and lymphocytes (<1500). Some will have only one low – others both. Those with an underactive TH-2 will tell us they feel better with a little coffee, or caffeine but feel worse with moderate amounts of coffee, caffeine – as they are driven into TH-2 dominance. At the same time they also have an underactive TH-1 where they feel better with a little immune stimulators – Echinacea, goldenseal, immune boosting mushrooms or probiotics but feel worse after a time with moderate amounts of immune stimulators – being driven into TH-1 dominance.

Reregulating the immune system

Rather than supporting either the TH1 or TH2 while ignoring the TH17 dominance. Wellness Alternatives recommends Quieting the Immune system and doing everything we can to not provoke any immune response. Think of it as if you are being quiet after finally getting a cranky baby asleep. You don’t want to do anything to wake it up. In addition to this we support the T-Helper, T-regulatory cells and inhibitory neurotransmitters and cytokines to re-regulate the TH1, TH2 and TH17 immune response.

Now a quick jump back to the antibody story. It has been proposed that antibodies are normally inactive in a healthy individual. It has been said that 60% or more of the action of a healthy immune system is to deal with the leakage of larger food molecules from the gut. There is, after all, a high degree of similarity between various mammalian animal proteins in our diet and those found in our bodies. If our immune system were to attack all instances of these proteins, we would all have arthritis, lupus, and many other autoimmune diseases. Yet, in some people this type of antibody based damage does occur.

Calm & Quiet, Don’t Suppress or Stimulate Your Immune System

Taking supplements to stimulate one side because you did a TH-1/TH-2 challenge will only make both sides overactive. Yes, in theory taking supplements stimulating the TH-2 is supposed to control the TH-1 after immune regulation has been achieved. The reason you have an autoimmune disease is largely due to an inability to control your immune response. If the immune regulation was not working before the challenge, chances are very high, it will not work by provoking the other side.

It is ill-advised to provoke an immune system that cannot regulate itself.

Do not write checks your body cannot cash.

The physician at Wellness Alternatives utilize supplement protocols to quiet and re-regulate your immune system. This may involve supporting the regulatory or helper T Cells or the inhibitory cytokines and neurotransmitters. Care must be taken as noted previously as sometimes supporting the regulatory/helper T cells can provoke the inhibitory cytokines and neurotransmitters or vice versa into having an adverse response.

Find out WHAT is the root cause; what initial incident, infection, chronic or otherwise, is provoking and perpetuating this immunological alert status. Then deal with it!

  • DO whatever is necessary to QUIET, not suppress or stimulate, your immune system.
  • DO rotate your diet.
  • DO try to avoid many of the immune stressors in your environment.
  • KEEP a diary so you can LEARN what those stressor are! Start comparing them, you may find common ingredients, which are the provoking your immune system. This too, gives you more slack, as you can then use things without those ingredients.

For effective strategies to prevent immune-mediated disorders, including food allergy, it is essential to understand the external variables that influence immunological programming and how they interact with genetic predisposition to disease. Knowing that Autoimmune processes can be arrested if the interplay between genes and environmental triggers is prevented by re-establishing intestinal barrier function. The physicians at WA use the following 4 principles to re-establish the intestinal barrier function.

  • Restore the Gastrointestinal Barrier Variables
  • Restore the Gastrointestinal Digestive Sequencing
  • Restore the Gastrointestinal Terrain
  • Calm and Quiet the Immune system
  • Restore the Neurotransmitter imbalance

Concerned about your Health? Call today! 530-615-4083

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