Are you one of the estimated 50 million Americans living with an autoimmune disease? If so, you may be interested in this podcast. The Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, otherwise known as AIP for short, is a food plan designed to remove the most common inflammatory triggers in our diets, and provide maximum nutrient density to help reduce inflammation and restore gut and immune health to our bodies.
While this protocol has been around and available for several years, it is just now being studied in formal clinical trials. Last year, a study was done with people suffering from IBD – Inflammatory Bowel Disease – both Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis. These conditions can be devastatingly life-altering for people and there are often no satisfactory treatments within traditional medicine. This study, although small, was a positive nod towards the power of a functional approach to treat people with IBD.
Most recently, another small study with people living with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (autoimmune low-thyroid) was conducted, and this study also found significant improvements in people’s symptoms and quality of life by changing from a “SAD”, or Standard American Diet, to the AIP over the course of 10 weeks. It is NOT just a diet, however – there is a whole-person approach which they discuss in the podcast.
One of the lead creators of the study and an innovator in the world of AIP is Angie Alt. Her story is inspiring, and her resources are very helpful. My favorite cookbook right now is The Nutrient Dense Kitchen by Angie’s friend and colleague Mickey Trescott.
Personally, I have had some success with my own autoimmune diseases by following the AIP. Not perfect resolution, and not perfect adherence either, but I can speak to the empowerment I felt in making lifestyle choices that create maximum nourishment for my body. There are definitely other approaches, and we don’t suggest that the AIP is right for everyone – but for those of you who are motivated to learn more about how to use food as medicine for your own autoimmunity, this podcast and these resources can give you some powerful inspiration and ideas. Its exciting to us that there is growing interest in the healthcare community as well as a growing recognition that food truly can both harm and heal us.
Why might food be a problem with autoimmunity? In Functional Medicine, we believe that autoimmune disease can arise from a confluence of these three factors:
1) Genetic predisposition
3) Digestive disruption
We’ve been writing recently (and will continue to…) about Leaky Gut. We believe this is often connected to the development and perpetuation of Autoimmunity. So one of the mechanisms by with the AIP “may” be helpful is that it removes foods that we have unknowingly (in most cases) developed a sensitivity to, perhaps due to Leaky Gut. If we remove many common food triggers and load the body up with nutrient dense foods (this is a very simplified explanation) – this can result in reduced inflammation and improved digestion. We can’t change our genes, so the two modifiable factors of inflammation and digestion are now being addressed. Empowering!
As I said, the diet alone is insufficient. Stress and environment play such a tremendous role in our inflammatory process – these must also be addressed. That’s another blog post. Or sign up for Mindful Mondays to create community around managing stress with mind/body practices.
Hope you find this podcast informative and inspirational! Important Disclaimer. This blog does not constitute medical advice. It is essential that you work with a licensed health care provider to manage your autoimmune disease.
If you’d like some more information about how Healthy Connections can help you manage your autoimmune disease, please contact us. We’d love to support your healing.
To Learn More, Enjoy podcast: EPISODE 126: HASHIMOTO’S AIP MEDICAL STUDY