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Natural Ways To Modify Costimulatory Molecules

Written by Joe Cohen, BS | Last updated:

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Some people may need to decrease both Th1 and Th2. Read on for natural hacks to decrease inflammation, from supplements to lifestyle.

“It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease. Hack away at the inessentials.”
– Bruce Lee

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I realize many people just want the bottom line. Here it is:

All of these can be combined, but start by taking one at a time for a few days before you start stacking.

Supplements/Methods To Decrease Both Th1 and Th2

Supplements that increase IL-10 will decrease both kind of T cells [12].

Decreasing Inflammation By Inhibiting CD26, CD40, CD80, CD86, MHC

CD26, CD40, CD80, CD86, and MHC are molecules on T helper cells, dendritic and other immune cells. These proteins are stimulatory and activate T helper cells [37]. Decreasing them should help inflammatory conditions regardless of Th1/Th2 dominance.

The more these costimulatory signals cause the division of T cells, the more likely they are then to become ‘dormant’ [38].

By inhibiting these molecules, you also inhibit the maturation of dendritic cells [39]. When these cells mature they become harmful.

Interleukin-10 has (1) immunosuppressive effect and (2) immunostimulatory effect. It down-regulates the expression of Th1 cytokines, MHC class II antigens and co-stimulatory molecules on macrophages.

There’s lots of contradictory information on zinc, but overall I am for supplementation unless you’re eating a lot of organ meat. Zinc has been shown to be beneficial in animals with higher than RDA levels and is especially important for the elderly [72]. Zinc is also a good cancer preventative [73]. Too much isn’t good, though.

Supplements That May Balance Th1/Th2 Immune System

  • Grape seed extract [74]****Contradictory [75] – probably balancing
  • Pine bark [76] – likely has the same effect as GSE
  • Eleuthero/Siberian ginseng. A study shows it decreases cytokines that create Th1 and Th2 cells in healthy people [77], but a cellular study shows that it increases cytokines that are released by Th2 cells [78]. It’s probably immune balancing.
  • Baicalin/Chinese Skullcap [36]
  • Rooibos [79]. This has mixed effects and probably balances Th1/Th2
  • Tribulus [80+81]

Be Wary: Supplements/Methods That Increase Both Th1 and Th2

  • Thyroid hormones [14]. I can confirm this through experimentation. When my thyroid hormone levels are higher, the inflammation I get from the foods I’m intolerant to goes up 2-3 fold.
  • Elevated IGF-1 [82]. IGF-1 is elevated by insulin secretion and amino acids like BCAA’s, leucine, methionine, lysine, and tryptophan [83]. Contradictory
  • Dairy (Bovine serum albumin, β-Lactoglobulin) [84]
  • Ozone [85]
  • Asian Ginseng [86] – Mostly stimulating, but also regulating. Ginseng has many compounds in it and the effects are complex and depend on dosage and other factors, but it seems to increase both systems in response to many types of immune challenges, even innocuous ones.
  • Tulsi [87]
  • Tocotrienols [88]
  • Bacopa [89]
  • Rhodiola [90]
  • Echinacea [89]* – contradictory, probably only increases Th2.
  • Tart Cherry [91]
  • Aloe [92] – (increases IL-1, IL-6, and TNF-α in cancer cells)
  • Almonds – specifically the skin [93]
  • Asparagus Racemous [92]
  • Licorice [92] – but eventually downregulates it because of glucocorticoids.
  • Goji Berries [94] (increases IL-12, TNF, IL-1b, Nf-kB, AP-1, CD40, CD80, CD86 and MHC II)
  • IFNy [95] (increases MHCII)
  • Lauric acid, (CD40, CD80, CD86) [96]

About the Author

Joe Cohen, BS

Joe Cohen, BS

As a kid, Joe suffered from inflammation, brain fog, fatigue, digestive problems, mood and other issues that were poorly understood in both conventional and alternative medicine. Frustrated by the lack of good information and tools, Joe decided to embark on a journey of self-experimentation and self-learning to improve his health--something that has since become known as “biohacking”. With thousands of experiments and pubmed articles under his belt, Joe founded SelfHacked, the resource that was missing when he needed it. SelfHacked now gets millions of monthly readers. Joe is a thriving entrepreneur, author and speaker. He is the CEO and founder of SelfDecode. His mission is to help people gain access to the most up-to-date, unbiased, and science-based ways to optimize their health.


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