When balanced, your immune system's inflammatory response will save your life. Injuries and infections are healed with the power of balanced inflammation. Conversely, when your immune system is unbalanced, it is a perpetual fire, affecting every cell of your body.
Imbalance breeds destruction. Just as the earth's climate is changing, an unbalanced immune system is turning against itself in the form of heart disease and autoimmunity. As above, so below.
What happens in an inflamed body?
Your brilliantly designed immune system has two basic aspects to it called TH1 and TH2. Technically speaking, these are two types of white blood cells that help ward off the body's intruders. Like a seesaw, for a healthy immune system to protect against viruses and bacteria, we want those two to be balanced.
When you have inflammatory-immune spectrum, conditions such as autoimmune thyroid disease (Hashimoto's or Graves ), diabetes, inflammatory bowel diseases, allergies, eczema, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis, that seesaw is unbalanced with either TH1 or TH2 dominance.
One of the reasons for this immune imbalance is a lack of T Regulatory (Treg) cells. Tregs bring balance to your immune system!
My goal as a functional medicine practitioner is to get to the root cause of inflammatory health problems. Here are my seven tips to bring immune balance to calm inflammation:
1. Assess your immune system.
I run immune labs on my patients such as a TH1/TH2/TH17 dominance test to check for low Treg levels.
2. Heal your gut.
Around 80 percent of your immune system is in your microbiome!
A University of Madrid study found that an unhealthy gut led to decreased Treg levels, leading to food intolerances, allergies, and inflammation.
A study published in Molecular Medicine found that a probiotic blend of different lactobacillus increased Tregs!
My article on gut health lists my other favorite gut-healing foods.
3. Optimize your vitamins A & D.
Vitamins A and D are needed for optimal Treg levels. I suggest getting your nutrient levels tested so you can dose appropriately.
Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin, so it's no surprise that getting out in the sun will also increase Treg!
You also can use food as medicine to help get these essential immune vitamins.
4. Have more sex!
Not that you needed another reason but having sex (and falling in love) is one of the best ways to increase your oxytocin levels. Peer-reviewed research found that increased oxytocin brings Treg levels up too!
5. Consume more cinnamon.
Less exciting than sex, of course, but a study in the Journal of Immunology found that sodium benzoate, a metabolite of cinnamon, increased Treg. Yum.
6. Sip on some jasmine green tea.
I am a sucker for green tea. Significant increases in Tregs were observed in the spleens and lymph nodes of mice treated with EGCG from jasmine green tea.
Drink several glasses a day to get the best therapeutic benefit.
7. Try this super-simple smoothie.
Add 1 teaspoon of each of these to a base of coconut milk, three handfuls of greens, and frozen berries, and voilà, you've got yourself a grade-A, Treg pumper-upper. You're welcome.
If you want more of my science nerd tips to fight inflammation naturally, read "What I Tell Anyone Who Struggles With Inflammation."