Dear Dr. Jennifer,
I'm TTC while dealing with an autoimmune disease -- and am seeing a reproductive immunologist for that. I have elevated Natural Killer cells and cytokines, a clotting disorder, hypothyroidism and a history of early miscarriages. Before being diagnosed with these immune issues, I had been taking a long list of supplements to help with my fertility, endocrine system and general well-being. I'm realizing now that some of the herbs that I'm taking are "immune boosters" and are probably having an impact on my immune system that I don't want -- in boosting my immune system, they may be increasing the activity of my Natural Killer cells. At the same time, I know that some of these herbs may be "immune modulators", meaning they will actually help regulate and normalize my overactive immune system and thus calm it down. I would like to be able to find out which is doing what.
My reproductive immunologist doesn't have any answers for me, and neither does my acupuncturist (as she has only studied Chinese herbs). Would you be able to point me toward any credible information sources where I can find out what impact these herbs are having on my immune system? My husband has suggested that I simply stop taking all of my supplements for the time being until we get my immune system calmed down enough to hold on to an embryo. But, I don't like the idea of throwing the baby out with the bath water -- I'd like to be able to continue taking whatever is doing good and not harm.
Here's what I'm taking in the herb department:
A formula containing Red Clover, Red Raspberry Leaf and Nettle
Ho Shou Wu / Fo Ti
Chaste Tree / Vitex
Shatavari (this one is supposed to be good for autoimmune problems)
Chinese herbs that change according to my cycle (and my acupuncturist is working on finding formulas for me that won't increase Natural Killer cell activity)
If you have any suggestions for websites, databases or books where I could look these up, I would be grateful!