The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) is a weight-reduction plan that goals to cut back irritation, ache, and different signs attributable to autoimmune ailments, resembling lupus, inflammatory bowel illness (IBD), celiac illness, and rheumatoid arthritis (
Many individuals who have adopted the AIP weight-reduction plan report enhancements in the way in which they really feel, in addition to reductions in widespread signs of autoimmune issues, resembling fatigue and intestine or joint ache. Yet, whereas analysis on this weight-reduction plan is promising, it’s additionally restricted.
This article gives a complete overview of the AIP weight-reduction plan, together with the science behind it, in addition to what’s at the moment recognized about its potential to cut back signs of autoimmune issues.
A wholesome immune system is designed to provide antibodies that assault international or dangerous cells in your physique.
However, in individuals with autoimmune issues, the immune system tends to provide antibodies that, quite than struggle infections, assault wholesome cells and tissues.
This can lead to a variety of signs, together with joint ache, fatigue, belly ache, diarrhea, mind fog, and tissue and nerve harm.
Just a few examples of autoimmune issues embody rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, IBD, sort 1 diabetes, and psoriasis.
Autoimmune ailments are considered attributable to quite a lot of elements, together with genetic propensity, an infection, stress, irritation, and medicine use.
Also, some analysis means that, in inclined people, harm to the intestine barrier can result in elevated intestinal permeability, also called “leaky gut,” which can set off the event of sure autoimmune ailments (
Certain meals are believed to presumably enhance the intestine’s permeability, thereby rising your chance of leaky intestine.
The AIP weight-reduction plan focuses on eliminating these meals and changing them with health-promoting, nutrient-dense meals which can be thought to assist heal the intestine, and in the end, scale back irritation and signs of autoimmune ailments (
It additionally removes sure elements like gluten, which can trigger irregular immune responses in inclined people (
While specialists imagine leaky intestine could also be a believable clarification for the irritation skilled by individuals with autoimmune issues, they warn that the present analysis makes it unimaginable to substantiate a cause-and-effect relationship between the 2 (
Therefore, extra analysis is required earlier than robust conclusions will be made.
The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) weight-reduction plan is purported to cut back irritation, ache, and different signs skilled by individuals with autoimmune issues by therapeutic their leaky intestine and eradicating doubtlessly problematic elements from their weight-reduction plan.
The AIP weight-reduction plan resembles the paleo weight-reduction plan, each within the forms of meals allowed and prevented, in addition to within the phases that comprise it. Due to their similarities, many contemplate the AIP weight-reduction plan an extension of the paleo weight-reduction plan — although AIP could also be seen as a stricter model of it.
The AIP weight-reduction plan consists of two most important phases.
The elimination part
The first part is an elimination part that includes the elimination of meals and medicines believed to trigger intestine irritation, imbalances between ranges of fine and dangerous micro organism within the intestine, or an immune response (
During this part, meals like grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, nightshade greens, eggs, and dairy are fully prevented.
Tobacco, alcohol, espresso, oils, meals components, refined and processed sugars, and sure medicines, resembling non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine (NSAIDs) must also be prevented (
Examples of NSAIDs embody ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, and excessive dose aspirin.
On the opposite hand, this part encourages the consumption of contemporary, nutrient-dense meals, minimally processed meat, fermented meals, and bone broth. It additionally emphasizes the development of life-style elements, resembling stress, sleep, and bodily exercise (
The size of the elimination part of the weight-reduction plan varies, because it’s usually maintained till an individual feels a noticeable discount in signs. On common, most individuals preserve this part for 30–90 days, however some might discover enhancements as early as throughout the first three weeks (
The reintroduction part
Once a measurable enchancment in signs and general well-being happens, the reintroduction part can start. During this part, the prevented meals are step by step reintroduced into the weight-reduction plan, separately, based mostly on the individual’s tolerance.
The purpose of this part is to determine which meals contribute to an individual’s signs and reintroduce all meals that don’t trigger any signs whereas persevering with to keep away from people who do. This permits for the widest dietary selection an individual can tolerate.
During this part, meals needs to be reintroduced separately, permitting for a interval of 5–7 days earlier than reintroducing a distinct meals. This permits an individual sufficient time to note if any of their signs reappear earlier than persevering with the reintroduction course of (
Foods which can be nicely tolerated will be added again into the weight-reduction plan, whereas people who set off signs ought to proceed to be prevented. Keep in thoughts that your meals tolerance might change over time.
As such, chances are you’ll need to repeat the reintroduction check for meals that originally failed the check each on occasion.
Step-by-step reintroduction protocol
Here’s a step-by-step strategy to reintroducing meals that had been prevented throughout the elimination part of the AIP weight-reduction plan.
- Step 1. Choose one meals to reintroduce. Plan to devour this meals just a few instances per day on the testing day, then keep away from it fully for five–6 days.
- Step 2. Eat a small quantity, resembling 1 teaspoon of the meals, and wait 15 minutes to see when you’ve got a response.
- Step three. If you expertise any signs, finish the check and keep away from this meals. If you don’t have any signs, eat a barely bigger portion, resembling 1 half tablespoons, of the identical meals and monitor how you are feeling for two–three hours.
- Step four. If you expertise any signs over this era, finish the check and keep away from this meals. If no signs happen, eat a standard portion of the identical meals and keep away from it for five–6 days with out reintroducing some other meals.
- Step 5. If you expertise no signs for five–6 days, chances are you’ll reincorporate the examined meals into your weight-reduction plan, and repeat this 5-step reintroduction course of with a brand new meals.
It’s finest to keep away from reintroducing meals underneath circumstances that have a tendency to extend irritation and make it troublesome to interpret outcomes. These embody throughout an an infection, following a poor evening’s sleep, when feeling unusually careworn, or following a strenuous exercise.
Additionally, it’s generally advisable to reintroduce meals in a specific order. For instance, when reintroducing dairy, select dairy merchandise with the bottom lactose focus to reintroduce first, resembling ghee or fermented dairy merchandise.
The AIP weight-reduction plan first eliminates any meals which will set off signs for just a few weeks. Each is then reintroduced individually in order that solely people who don’t set off signs can in the end be added again into the weight-reduction plan.
The AIP weight-reduction plan has strict suggestions relating to which meals to eat or keep away from throughout its elimination part (
Foods to keep away from
- Grains: rice, wheat, oats, barley, rye, and so on., in addition to meals derived from them, resembling pasta, bread, and breakfast cereals
- Legumes: lentils, beans, peas, peanuts, and so on., in addition to meals derived from them, resembling tofu, tempeh, mock meats, or peanut butter
- Nightshade greens: eggplants, peppers, potatoes, tomatoes, tomatillos, and so on., in addition to spices derived from nightshade greens, resembling paprika
- Eggs: complete eggs, egg whites, or meals containing these elements
- Dairy: cow’s, goat’s, or sheep’s milk, in addition to meals derived from these milks, resembling cream, cheese, butter, or ghee; dairy-based protein powders or different dietary supplements must also be prevented
- Nuts and seeds: all nuts and seeds and meals derived from them, resembling flours, butter, or oils; additionally contains cocoa and seed-based spices, resembling coriander, cumin, anise, fennel, fenugreek, mustard, and nutmeg
- Certain drinks: alcohol and espresso
- Processed vegetable oils: canola, rapeseed, corn, cottonseed, palm kernel, safflower, soybean, or sunflower oils
- Refined or processed sugars: cane or beet sugar, corn syrup, brown rice syrup, and barley malt syrup; additionally contains sweets, soda, sweet, frozen desserts, and chocolate, which can comprise these elements
- Food components and synthetic sweeteners: trans fat, meals colorings, emulsifiers, and thickeners, in addition to synthetic sweeteners, resembling stevia, mannitol, and xylitol
Some AIP protocols additional advocate avoiding all fruit — each contemporary or dried — throughout the elimination part. Others enable the inclusion of 10–40 grams of fructose per day, which quantities to round 1–2 parts of fruit per day.
Although not laid out in all AIP protocols, some additionally recommend avoiding algae, resembling spirulina or chlorella, throughout the elimination part, as this kind of sea vegetable may stimulate an immune response (
Foods to eat
- Vegetables: quite a lot of greens apart from nightshade greens and algae, which needs to be prevented
- Fresh fruit: quite a lot of contemporary fruit, carefully
- Tubers: candy potatoes, taro, yams, in addition to Jerusalem or Chinese artichokes
- Minimally processed meat: wild recreation, fish, seafood, organ meat, and poultry; meats needs to be wild, grass-fed or pasture-raised, at any time when attainable
- Fermented, probiotic-rich meals: nondairy-based fermented meals, resembling kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, and coconut kefir; probiotic dietary supplements may be consumed
- Minimally processed vegetable oils: olive oil, avocado oil, or coconut oil
- Herbs and spices: so long as they’re not derived from a seed
- Vinegars: balsamic, apple cider, and pink wine vinegar, so long as they’re freed from added sugars
- Natural sweeteners: maple syrup and honey, carefully
- Certain teas: inexperienced and black tea at common intakes of as much as three–four cups per day
- Bone broth
Despite being allowed, some protocols additional advocate that you just reasonable your consumption of salt, saturated and omega-6 fat, pure sugars, resembling honey or maple syrup, in addition to coconut-based meals.
Depending on the AIP protocol at hand, small quantities of fruit may be allowed. This often quantities to a most consumption of 10–40 grams of fructose per day, or the equal of about 1–2 parts of contemporary fruit.
Some protocols additional recommend moderating your consumption of excessive glycemic fruits and greens, together with dried fruit, candy potatoes, and plantain.
The glycemic index (GI) is a system used to rank meals on a scale of zero to 100, based mostly on how a lot they are going to enhance blood sugar ranges, in contrast with white bread. High glycemic fruits and greens are these ranked 70 or above on the GI scale (
The AIP weight-reduction plan usually consists of minimally processed, nutrient-dense meals. The lists above specify which meals to eat or keep away from throughout the elimination part of the AIP weight-reduction plan.
Though analysis on the AIP weight-reduction plan is proscribed, some proof means that it could scale back irritation and signs of sure autoimmune ailments.
May assist heal a leaky intestine
People with autoimmune ailments usually have a leaky intestine, and specialists imagine there could also be a hyperlink between the irritation they expertise and the permeability of their intestine (
A wholesome intestine usually has a low permeability. This permits it to behave as a great barrier and forestall meals and waste stays from leaking into the bloodstream.
However, a extremely permeable or leaky intestine permits international particles to crossover into the bloodstream, in flip, presumably inflicting irritation.
In parallel, there’s rising proof that the meals you eat can affect your intestine’s immunity and operate, and in some circumstances, presumably even scale back the diploma of irritation you expertise (
One speculation entertained by researchers is that by serving to heal leaky intestine, the AIP weight-reduction plan might assist scale back the diploma of irritation an individual experiences.
Although scientific proof is at the moment restricted, a handful of research means that the AIP weight-reduction plan might assist scale back irritation or signs attributable to it, no less than amongst a subset of individuals with sure autoimmune issues (
However, extra analysis is required to particularly perceive the precise methods by which the AIP weight-reduction plan might assist, in addition to the exact circumstances underneath which it could achieve this (
May scale back irritation and signs of some autoimmune issues
To date, the AIP weight-reduction plan has been examined in a small group of individuals and yielded seemingly optimistic outcomes.
For occasion, in a current 11-week examine in 15 individuals with IBD on an AIP weight-reduction plan, contributors reported experiencing considerably fewer IBD-related signs by the top of the examine. However, no important modifications in markers of irritation had been noticed (
Similarly, a small examine had individuals with IBD observe the AIP weight-reduction plan for 11 weeks. Participants reported important enhancements in bowel frequency, stress, and the flexibility to carry out leisure or sport actions as early as three weeks into the examine (
In one other examine, 16 girls with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune dysfunction affecting the thyroid gland, adopted the AIP weight-reduction plan for 10 weeks. By the top of the examine, irritation and disease-related signs decreased by 29% and 68%, respectively.
Participants additionally reported important enhancements of their high quality of life, regardless of there being no important variations of their measures of thyroid operate (
Although promising, research stay small and few. Also, thus far, they’ve solely been carried out on a small subset of individuals with autoimmune issues. Therefore, extra analysis is required earlier than robust conclusions will be made.
The AIP weight-reduction plan might assist scale back intestine permeability and irritation in individuals with autoimmune ailments. Small research report helpful results in individuals with IBD and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, however extra analysis is required to substantiate these advantages.
The AIP weight-reduction plan is taken into account an elimination weight-reduction plan, which makes it very restrictive and doubtlessly arduous to observe for some, particularly in its elimination part.
The elimination part of this weight-reduction plan also can make it troublesome for individuals to eat in social conditions, resembling at a restaurant or buddy’s home, rising the danger of social isolation.
It’s additionally necessary to notice that there’s no assure that this weight-reduction plan will scale back irritation or disease-related signs in all individuals with autoimmune issues.
However, those that expertise a discount in signs following this weight-reduction plan could also be reticent to progress to the reintroduction part, for concern it could deliver the signs again.
This might develop into problematic, as remaining within the elimination part could make it troublesome to fulfill your every day nutrient necessities. Therefore, remaining on this part for too lengthy might enhance your threat of creating nutrient deficiencies, in addition to poor well being over time.
This is why the reintroduction part is essential and shouldn’t be skipped.
If you’re experiencing difficulties getting began with the reintroduction part, contemplate reaching out to a registered dietitian or different medical skilled educated concerning the AIP weight-reduction plan for customized steerage.
The AIP weight-reduction plan might not work for everybody, and its elimination part could be very restrictive. This could make this weight-reduction plan isolating and arduous to observe. It may result in a excessive threat of nutrient deficiencies if its reintroduction part is prevented for too lengthy.
The AIP weight-reduction plan is designed to assist scale back irritation, ache, or different signs attributable to autoimmune ailments. As such, it could work finest for individuals with autoimmune ailments, resembling lupus, IBD, celiac illness, or rheumatoid arthritis.
Autoimmune ailments can’t be cured, however their signs could also be managed. The AIP weight-reduction plan goals that will help you achieve this by serving to you determine which meals could also be triggering your particular signs.
Evidence relating to the efficacy of this weight-reduction plan is at the moment restricted to individuals with IBD and Hashimoto’s illness.
However, based mostly on the way in which by which this weight-reduction plan is believed to operate, individuals with different autoimmune ailments might profit from it, too.
There are at the moment few downsides to giving this weight-reduction plan a attempt, particularly when carried out underneath the supervision of a dietitian or different medical skilled.
Seeking skilled steerage previous to giving the AIP weight-reduction plan a attempt will allow you to higher pinpoint which meals could also be inflicting your particular signs, in addition to be sure that you proceed to fulfill your nutrient necessities as finest as attainable all through all phases of this weight-reduction plan.
The AIP weight-reduction plan might scale back the severity of signs related to varied autoimmune ailments. However, it could be troublesome to implement by yourself, which is why steerage from a dietitian or medical skilled is strongly advisable.
The AIP weight-reduction plan is an elimination weight-reduction plan designed to assist scale back irritation or different signs attributable to autoimmune issues.
It’s comprised of two phases designed that will help you determine and in the end keep away from the meals which will set off irritation and disease-specific signs. Research on its efficacy is proscribed however seems promising.
Due to its restricted downsides, individuals with autoimmune issues typically have little to lose by giving it a attempt. However, it’s seemingly finest to hunt steerage from a professional well being skilled to make sure you proceed to fulfill your nutrient wants all through all phases of this weight-reduction plan.