Dr. Joni Labbe, Contributor Thyroid Nation

TH1 And TH2 Imbalance 

You’ve finally been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease. That means you’re on your way to taming your thyroid, right? Before you can get your condition under control, you have to understand the role your immune system plays in your thyroid’s health. Hashimoto’s is, after all, an autoimmune condition, not a thyroid disease. As such, your recovery depends on understanding how your immune system works. It all starts with an imbalance between two parts of your immunity: TH1 and TH2 cells.

How Your Immune System Works

Let’s say your immune system is a huge Boston Red Sox fan and hates the New York Yankees. Your immune system attacks Yankees fans on sight. At least, your TH1 cells will. They’re the part of your immune system responsible for subduing any invaders. The thing is, your TH1 cells aren’t too bright. They’re the attack first, don’t even bother asking questions type. So how do they know which baseball fans are Yankees fans? That’s where TH2s come in. TH2s cruise through Fenway Park (AKA your body) tagging anyone in a Yankees ball cap for destruction. As soon as TH1s spot those tags, they attack and destroy.

T-Helper Cells Gone Wild

When your immune system is working perfectly, TH2s set ‘em up, and TH1s knock ‘em out. If you have an autoimmune disease, however, that perfect balance is out of whack. In the case of Hashimoto’s Disease, the result is a full-scale immune system attack on your own thyroid, leading to hypothyroidism, weight gain, fatigue, and all those other symptoms you dread. So how do you know which side of your immune system is out of control?


TH1 Dominance

If your TH1 cells are too active, they’ll simply start attacking anything they think might be a Yankees fan – like an innocent San Diego Padres fan wearing a navy blue Padres hat.

Signs you might be TH1 dominant are:
  • You have other autoimmune diseases such as Type I Diabetes, multiple sclerosis, or chronic viral infections
  • Coffee and other caffeinated foods seem to relieve your symptoms
  • Echinacea seems to worsen your symptoms
Adding these supplements to your personal care may help:
  • Caffeine
  • Green tea extract
  • Grape seed extract
  • Pine bark extract
  • White willow bark
  • Lycopene
  • Resveratrol
  • Pycnogenol

TH2 Dominance

redd-bookIf your TH2 cells are too active, they simply start tagging Padres fans for destruction right alongside Yankees fans. Heck, maybe they start tagging Dodgers and Braves fans too.

Signs you might be TH2 dominant are:
To balance your immune system, these supplements may help:
  • Astragalus
  • Echinacea
  • Beta-glucan mushroom
  • Maitake mushroom
  • Glycyrrhiza (from licorice)
  • Melissa officinalis (lemon balm)

Before You Supplement

While it can be tempting to self-diagnose and treat, it’s important to take the appropriate tests and use supplements only under the guidance of a physician. In some cases, adding these supplements to your diet can actually damage your thyroid further. Need help understanding or treating your Hashimoto’s or other thyroid condition? I can help! Visit to learn how.

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Questions or anything to add about Th1, Th2 or your immune system? We want your thoughts, please. You might just help someone else in need.