What Is The Autoimmune Protocol and Does It Really Work?
Updated: Jun 7
Since the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) is an extremely restrictive elimination diet, it can be difficult to implement. Some studies have shown positive results with curtailing symptoms related to autoimmune disease, however, inflammatory flare-ups have a number of different triggers. It is important to identify what foods trigger inflammation for you as it is unique to each individual.
What is the Autoimmune Protocol Diet?
The AIP is an elimination diet designed to reduce inflammation in the body by healing your gut. It operates under the assumption that a leaky gut causes food to leak from the intestines into other parts of the body, which triggers the immune system. It recommends that people eliminate different food items for a period of time and then add them back into the diet slowly over time so you can notice how your body responds. Specifically, the AIP allows coconut and olive oil, non-dairy fermented foods, green and black tea, vinegars with no added sugar, herbs, and some honey and maple syrup, along with meats and vegetables. It also encourages the addition of Omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrient rich foods to see if the body can go into remission.
Study Results of AIP for IBD Patients
Dr. Konjeti, Director of the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Program Division of Gastroenterology at Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, California ran a small study on the efficacy of the AIP diet on IBD patients where she analyzed four participants with ulcerative colitis. Before the AIP intervention, each participant had biopsies taken from their mucosa, the outer layer of their intestine. Dr. Konjeti and her team analyzed the RNA to see if there were any changes in gene expression throughout the experiment.
Results of the Study
Ultimately, Dr. Konjeti’s study discovered that the AIP diet did impact mucosal RNA expression in IBD patients. Changes had occurred to 324 genes. 167 genes were downregulated and 157 were upregulated. The downregulation suggests a decreased inflammatory response, and the upregulation could indicate a positive change in how the inflammatory response manifests. The upregulation of transcriptional pathways involved in how inflammation affects mucosal healing indicated DNA repair and cellular healing. More studies need to be conducted but preliminary data demonstrate that adopting dietary elimination through the AIP and consuming more nutrient-rich foods helped manage inflammation and alleviated IBD symptoms for these patients.
If you’re looking for more information on anti-inflammatory lifestyle tips, download the Aila Health app.