immune system /autoimmune system

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by jfrustrated, Nov 29, 2005.

  1. jfrustrated

    jfrustrated New Member

    I was reading an interesting thread the other day about boosting the immune system/autoimmune system. I know little technical stuff, but I often take notes and then ask my doc. etc about a topic.

    I asked my naturopath about this thread and she said that the immune system and the autoimmune system are two different systems. Unfortunately, lots of medical people, and product advertising especially, do not distinguish between the two systems.

    A person can have an overactive autoimmune system, but a normal immune system, or any combinations of under/over/normal/weak. Thus there are many possible combinations. Different products affect different systems. Some affect both, some affect only one system. For example, she said, olive leaf extract boosts the immune system, but has no effect on the autoimmune system.

    I know that this information probably makes everything even more complicated, but it might provide some useful information. I know that I shall start looking more carefully and start asking for clarification re. the possible difference/s between the two system.

    Hope that this is of some help. Maybe she is wrong, but she is a very bright little button, and is usually right.
  2. laura81655

    laura81655 New Member

    Good info, but confusing when trying to figure out how to treat fibromyalgia. Some feel it is a compromised immune system, and others feel it is an autoimmune disease.

    What does your Naturopath think? Thanks for posting.

    Laura
  3. bpmwriter

    bpmwriter New Member


    there are two different branches of illnesses that affect the immune system, but as far as i know, there's only one immune system. autoimmune illnesses result from the immune system attacking itself. immune deficiency illnesses result from a weakened immune system where opportunistic infections invade and cause the problems. there's also a difference between supplements that provide immune support and those that are immune boosters, the latter of which are bad for autoimmune illnesses. perhaps that's the distinction the doc was trying to make?

    eddie
  4. tansy

    tansy New Member

    or one that stays switched on, this will produce similar symptoms but not necessarily auto antibodies.

    I was misDx with systemic lupus in the mid 80s, all the signs were there, and when tested I had a high level of DNA binding (lymphocytes) and high ESR. At the time my CD4 and CD8 ratios were even more skewed than before ie my T helpers cell numbers were high and the T suppressor cell numbers low. I was told both supported the Dx of SLE.

    Prednisolone may have helped with some symptoms, but overall made others much worse, both short and long term steroids were bad news. Turns out the test for DNA auto antibodies was negative.

    I quote this because I think it helps to distinguish one of the differences.

    I've had to concentrate on my coagulopathy, inflammation and modulating my immune repsonse, in so doing I have had to be almost as careful as those with recognised autoimmune disorders. Now I am more able to benefit from alternatives that strengthen the immune system but always proceed with care, I know there may be a time when anything that also stimulates the IS will have to be stopped for a while.

    Despite having an IS that goes into overdrive, I have problems with infections.

    Tansy[This Message was Edited on 11/30/2005]
  5. jfrustrated

    jfrustrated New Member

    I know that this whole immune/autoimmune system 'thing' is very complicated. I simply present these ideas for others to think about, research, use or reject as they wish. I am always grateful for further clarification.

    To Laura: my naturopath does not believe that cfs is basically EITHER autoimmune OR immune caused. She believes that cfs is the eventual condition reached when the body finally gives up, after having been subjected to various drivers that cause a build up of problems. In my case, she believes that my basic problems are caused by spleen and liver malfunction and toxic build up.

    To eddie: she definitely said there were two systems. They may interact, but each of them can be affected without necessarily affecting the other. Perhaps she though that that was the best way to explain something very complicated to someone like me, without a medical background. She did talk about the difference between immune support, immune stimulant and immune adaptogen products.