Currently the treatments used to treat autoimmune diseases are worse than what little relief they can offer. They are drugs that become increasingly aggressive as they are used, and they do not work to alleviate the root problem and instead just to patch the symptoms. Know what today is called the Autoimmune Protocol, and that more and more people are turning to it for its high efficacy without the need to resort to any aggressive medication from conventional medicine.
Autoimmune disease is an epidemic in our society that currently affects a large percentage of the population and the number is increasing more and more.
But, although genetic predisposition accounts for about a third of the risk of developing an autoimmune disease, the other two thirds come from environment, diet and lifestyle.
In fact, experts are increasingly recognizing that certain diet factors are key contributors to autoimmune disease, placing these autoimmune conditions in the same class of diet and lifestyle-related diseases as type 2 diabetes., cardiovascular disease and obesity.
Autoimmune disease linked to our diet and lifestyle
This means that autoimmune disease is directly related to our food choices and the way we decide to live life.
It also means that we can control and reverse autoimmune diseases simply by changing the way we eat and making more informed decisions about sleep, activity, and stress - and that's some good news!
There are more than 100 confirmed autoimmune diseases and many more diseases that are suspected of having autoimmune origins.
The root cause of all autoimmune diseases is the same: our immune system, which is supposed to protect us from invading microorganisms, turns against us and attacks our proteins, cells and tissues.
Attacked proteins, cells and tissues determine the autoimmune disease and its symptoms.
In Hashimoto's thyroiditis, the thyroid gland is attacked. For rheumatoid arthritis, the joint tissues are attacked. In psoriasis, the proteins within the layers of cells that make up the skin are attacked.
Autoimmunity attacks our own tissues
How is the immune system so confused that it starts attacking our own bodies? It turns out that autoimmunity, the ability of the immune system to attack native tissues, is a relatively common accident.
In fact, about 30% of people will have measurable levels of autoantibodies (antibodies that bind to some protein in our body instead of, or in addition to, a foreign protein, called an antigen) in their blood at any given time.
In fact, this accident is so common that our immune system has several failures to identify autoimmunity and suppress it.
What happens in autoimmune diseases is not only the accident of autoimmunity, but also the failure of the immune system, the stimulation of the immune system to attack and the accumulation of enough damage in the cells or tissues of the body to manifest as symptoms of a disease.
This confluence of events that culminates in an autoimmune disease is the result of interactions between your genes and your environment, a perfect storm of factors that make the immune system unable to distinguish between you and a true invader foreign to your body.
What is the Autoimmune Protocol?
The Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, generally abbreviated as AIP, is a powerful strategy that uses diet and lifestyle to regulate the immune system, ending these attacks and giving the body a chance to heal itself.
It is a complementary approach to the treatment of chronic diseases focused on providing the body with the nutritional resources necessary for immune regulation, gut health, hormonal regulation and tissue healing, while eliminating inflammatory stimuli from diet and style. of life.
Nutrition is balanced in the autoimmune diet
The Autoimmune Protocol Diet provides complete and balanced nutrition while avoiding processed and refined foods and empty calories.
The AIP lifestyle encourages sleep, stress management, and activity, as these are important immune modulators.
Food can be considered to have two types of components: those that promote health, such as nutrients; and those that undermine health, such as inflammatory compounds.
While there are constituents that do not promote or impair health, they are not used to assess the worthiness of an individual food.
Some foods are obvious gains to a health-promoting diet because they have tons of beneficial constituents and little to no health-undermining constituents.
Good examples of these superfoods are high-quality, free-range animal protein, good-quality seafood, and most vegetables.
Other foods have a relative lack of health-promoting components and are full of troublesome compounds. A good example is grains that contain gluten, sugar, and most soy products.
But many foods fall into the amorphous world of gray between these two extremes. Solanaceae, for example. Tomatoes have some exciting nutrients, but they also contain several compounds that are so effective in boosting the immune system that they have been investigated for use in vaccines as adjuvants.
Nutrient-rich foods are the foundation of the Autoimmune Protocol
The biggest difference between the Autoimmune Protocol and other such diets is where we draw the line between allowed foods and prohibited foods to get more health-promoting compounds and fewer harmful effects.
As such, the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol places greater emphasis on the most nutrient-dense foods in our food supply, including organ meats, seafood, and vegetables.
And the Autoimmune Protocol eliminates foods supported by other healthy diets that have compounds that can boost the immune system or damage the gut environment, including nightshades, as we mentioned (such as tomatoes and peppers), eggs, walnuts, the seeds and alcohol.
The goal of the Autoimmune Protocol is to flood the body with nutrients while avoiding any foods that may contribute to illness or at least interfere with our efforts to heal.
The diet or autoimmune protocol is an elimination strategy
AIP is an elimination diet strategy, which eliminates the foods that are most likely to retain our health.
After a period of time, many of the excluded foods, especially those that have nutritional merit, even though they also contain some potentially harmful compounds (but not too much), can be reintroduced.
The AIP is not a life sentence, but rather a toolbox full of strategies to understand how your body reacts to food, lifestyle and environment, and methodologies for healing, given individual health challenges.
A holistic and functional framework is the Autoimmune Protocol
The Autoimmune Protocol is also a holistic approach to health, including not only a dietary framework but also a focus on lifestyle factors that are known to be important modulators of immune function, gut health, and hormonal health.
This includes a strong focus on getting enough sleep, managing stress, and leading an active lifestyle, while avoiding overtraining.
Each of these three lifestyle factors is essential for gut health as they directly influence the gut microbiome: getting enough sleep, managing stress levels, and staying active are essential for a healthy and diverse gut microbial community. to support the growth of key probiotic strains.
Chronic stress and overtraining also increase intestinal permeability. Sleep, stress, and activity are essential hormonal modulators; for example, insulin sensitivity is more influenced by these lifestyle factors than by diet.
And, most importantly, immune function is directly related to lifestyle. Inflammation is triggered by having poor sleep, feeling stressed, being sedentary, and overtraining.
In addition, the regulatory aspects of the immune system are more active while we sleep, and the quality of sleep is related to stress.
Additionally, there is emerging evidence of a strong sense of connection and community when spending time in natural settings, that also contributes to a healthier immune system.
Studies that prove the efficacy of the Autoimmune Protocol
Building on insights from more than 1,200 scientific studies, the Autoimmune Protocol diet is now supported by clinical trial evidence.
In a 2017 study, fifteen patients with active inflammatory bowel disease were assigned to the Autoimmune Protocol through a gradual transition over 6 weeks, followed by a 5-week maintenance phase.
The patients were closely monitored and given access to health training. They also received relevant relevant literature as a resource for the protocol. Clinical remission was achieved at week 6 in eleven of the fifteen participants upon completion of the AIP transition, 73%.
And they remained in remission during the 5-week maintenance phase of the study. All patients, including those who did not achieve clinical remission, experienced a measurable improvement in disease activity throughout the course of the study.
Study of the protocol with patients with Hashimoto's thyroiditis
In a 2019 study of similar design, seventeen women with Hashimoto's thyroiditis were placed on the Autoimmune Protocol by gradual transition over 6 weeks, followed by a 4-week maintenance phase.
Patients experienced a statistically significant improvement in health-related quality of life scores as measured by the 36-item Short-Form Health Survey and the Cleveland Clinical Center for Functional Medicine (MSQ) Medical Symptom Questionnaire.
In fact, the burden of clinical symptoms, as measured by the MSQ, decreased from an average of 92 at the start of the study to 29 after 10 weeks.
This was accompanied by statistically significant reductions in C-reactive protein (a measure of systemic inflammation) and in white blood cell counts.
Wahls Protocol for Multiple Sclerosis
Clinical research studies conducted using the Wahls Protocol in Multiple Sclerosis provide additional validation for the Autoimmune Protocol.
While there are a handful of foods included in the Wahls Protocol (mostly Solanaceae) that are excluded in the Autoimmune Protocol, the two protocols are remarkably similar despite the different philosophies that went into their formulation.
The Wahls Protocol framework was developed with mitochondrial health as its primary goal, while the Autoimmune Protocol framework was developed with immune regulation and gut health as its primary goals.
It happens that the nutrients necessary for mitochondrial health are almost identical to those required for immune and intestinal health, hence the high degree of overlap between the two approaches.
A growing number of clinicians, especially specialists in functional and integrative medicine, are recommending AIP to their patients, adding to the large body of anecdotal evidence supporting the efficacy of the Autoimmune Protocol.
Most exciting is the ongoing clinical research to quantify improvement in specific autoimmune diseases with short-term intervention with AIP, including research in Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
As the results of more and more clinical trials are published, more and more attention are being paid to diet and lifestyle, not as a complementary approach to the management of autoimmune diseases, but as a first-line treatment.
How the autoimmune protocol works
The Paleo autoimmune protocol works by addressing four key areas that are known to make important contributions to chronic and autoimmune diseases.
Drawing on insights from more than 1,200 scientific studies, these diet and lifestyle recommendations specifically focus on:
The immune system (and indeed all body systems) requires a variety of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and amino acids to function normally.
Micronutrient deficiencies and imbalances are key players in the development and progression of autoimmune disease.
Focusing on consuming the most nutrient-dense foods available allows for a synergistic surplus of micronutrients to correct both deficiencies and imbalances, thereby supporting the regulation of the immune system, hormonal systems, detoxification systems, and neurotransmitter production.
A nutrient-rich diet also provides the building blocks the body needs to heal damaged tissues.
The intestinal dysbiosis and leaky gut are key enablers in the development of autoimmune diseases. The foods recommended in the Autoimmune Protocol support the growth of healthy levels and a healthy variety of gut microorganisms.
Foods that irritate or damage the lining of the intestine are avoided, while foods that help restore intestinal barrier function and promote healing.
Lifestyle factors that strongly influence gut barrier health, as well as gut microbial composition, are also addressed in the Autoimmune Protocol.
Due to the relationship between gut health and immune function, the restoration of a healthy gut barrier and a microbiome are necessary precursors to healing.
Regulation of hormones
Insulin is important for hormonal regulation and reproductive health. Hormonal regulation. What we eat, when we eat, and how much we eat affect a variety of hormones that interact with the immune system.
When dietary factors (such as eating too much sugar or grazing instead of eating larger meals farther apart) down-regulate these hormones, the immune system is directly affected (typically boosted).
The Paleo Autoimmune Protocol diet is designed to promote the regulation of these hormones, thereby regulating the immune system.
These and other essential hormones that affect the immune system are also profoundly affected by the number of hours we sleep, the amount of time we spend outside, the amount and type of activity we engage in, and the way we reduce and manage energy. stress.
Regulation of the immune system
Immune regulation is accomplished by restoring a healthy diversity and healthy amounts of gut microorganisms, restoring the gut's barrier function, providing sufficient amounts of the micronutrients necessary for the immune system to function normally, and regulating key hormones that in turn regulate the immune system.
The Autoimmune Protocol diet and lifestyle provide both the resources and the opportunity for immune regulation. Immune regulation combined with tissue scarring explains the reductions in symptoms.
Inflammation is a key factor in chronic diseases
Inflammation is a factor in all chronic diseases, and this is one area where the food we eat can make a big difference.
In some cases, an immune system that is not being properly regulated directly causes the disease; in others, inflammation is simply an element of the disease or a contributing factor in how the disease occurred, but it is always a player and a problem.
What this means is that reducing inflammation and giving the immune system the resources, it needs, as well as the opportunity to regulate itself, can help with every chronic disease.
This is important because inflammation is heavily influenced by what we eat, how well we sleep, how stressed we are, and how active we are. And this is why chronic diseases can respond so positively to changes in diet and lifestyle.
Although food can help with inflammation, it is not the cure completely
Food has therapeutic potential for every chronic disease, but that is not the same as calling food a cure.
Depending on the disease you are struggling with, how long you have had it, how aggressive the disease is, and what confounders you are facing, diet changes can go as far as a complete reversal of your disease, or they can slow its progress. of your illness or simply improve your quality of life.
These are all successes worth celebrating. Good food may not be the miracle cure you're hoping for, but it's pretty powerful nonetheless.
As you embrace the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, your food choices focus on consuming the nutrients to support this healing - foods that provide everything your body needs to stop attacking itself, repair damaged tissues, and get healthy again. - Proteins, carbohydrates, and fats to maintain normal metabolism, build new tissue, and produce hormones, important proteins, and signaling molecules.
And the full range of fat-soluble vitamins, water-soluble vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to eliminate inflammation, regulate the immune system and support the normal functioning of all body systems.
What can be eaten on the AIP diet
· All animal proteins (excluding eggs)
· All vegetables (excluding nightshades)
· Fruits in moderation (preferably those with less sugar when starting the protocol)
· Healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, organic animal fats, etc.)
· Bone broth, organ meats
· Grain-free baking flours (cassava, tigernut, tapioca, coconut, etc.)
What foods should be avoided in the Autoimmune Protocol
· All grains (wheat, oats, rice, corn, etc.)
· All dairy (all dairy of all types)
· All legumes (all beans, such as lentils, black beans, chickpeas, and vegetables such as peas, peanuts)
· Solanaceae family vegetables and spices (tomatoes, eggplant, sweet and hot peppers, cayenne pepper, red pepper, tomatillos, goji berries, etc. and spices derived from peppers, including paprika, white potato - sweet potato yes you can eat-)
· All nuts and seeds.
· Seed-based spices (mustard, cumin, sesame, etc.)
· Thickeners, gums and food additives.
· Low-quality seed oils (sunflower oil, canola oil, soybean oil, etc.
Also, eliminate the following from your diet:
· Potential cross-reactive gluten foods
· NSAIDs (such as aspirin or ibuprofen)
· Non-nutritive sweeteners (all of them, including stevia and monk fruit)
· Emulsifiers, thickeners and other food additives.
Moderate your consumption of the following:
· Fructose (from fruits and vegetables - 20 g is probably the best option)
· Salt (using only unrefined salt, such as Himalayan pink salt or Celtic gray salt)
· High glycemic load fruits and vegetables (such as dried fruits, banana, and taro root); Keep in mind that AIP is not low in carbohydrates.
· Foods rich in omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (such as poultry and fatty cuts of industrially produced meat)
· Black and green tea (up to 3-4 cups per day is fine for most people)
· Natural sugars (honey and molasses are the best option that are organic and without additives)
· Saturated fat (aiming for 10-15% of total calories)
You have to always follow the Autoimmune Protocol
The goal of the autoimmune protocol is to allow the body time to heal and then reintroduce food one by one.
Many follow the AIP diet for 30 days to a few months before starting to reintroduce food, but that depends on how much improvement they have made in their disease.
How re-introductions work in the AIP
When you're trying to gauge your reaction to foods, adding them all back at once is the opposite of what you want to do. Better to go slowly and consciously to avoid overloading your body and take time to see if there is a reaction with any of them.
Here is the step-by-step process for reintroducing food:
1. Follow the protocol for a minimum of 30 days, until you reach a point where you have noticed a significant amount of healing.
2. Eat foods in isolation (don't eat multiple new foods at once) and wait 3 days to assess the reaction.
3. Track your reactions with a food journal. You're looking for things like headaches, mood swings, skin changes, fatigue, bloating, etc.
4. Add foods that work to your rotation and make a table of foods that don't work.
5. Repeat the process.
How to know that you are healing and ready for reintroductions
This answer varies for everyone. These are the two ways you could assess whether or not you are healing:
· A change in your labs / blood tests.
· A noticeable reduction in your symptoms.
The details of this are different for each person and must be addressed individually. Talk to your own doctor or professional about what healing can look like for you personally.
Other important factors to consider besides diet
When it comes to living well with autoimmunity, what else should you consider other than diet? Healing is much more than just a diet. Here are some other factors to consider.
· Stress reduction
· Sleep well
· Natural home and body care products
· To exercise
· Have a community support
· Underlying infections
· Working with a doctor who guides you
There are many different ways that blood sugar (glucose levels in the blood) can be affected and may cause problems with sugar control in people with diabetes. Each person reacts differently to a variety of things that influence blood sugar. People with diabetes should be aware of certain compounds and activities that influence blood sugar levels.