What is the autoimmune protocol?
The autoimmune protocol is a version of the Paleo diet (no grains, legumes or dairy) where a person also avoids the following:
What is the theory behind the autoimmune protocol?
The autoimmune protocol was derived from the recent research indicating that autoimmune disease stems from a problem with intestinal permeability (or “leaky gut”), instead of the commonly assumed infection that resulted in autoimmunity. Simply put, when a person has leaky gut, irritation in the gut lining causes the tight junctions in the intestinal barrier to let unwanted molecules (food, toxins, bacteria) into the bloodstream. All the foods avoided on the autoimmune protocol are those that have been shown to irritate the gut or cause increased permeability in the gut.
Do I have to go on the autoimmune protocol forever?
Some people feel best when they stick to the autoimmune protocol 100%. For some, the relief of symptoms is worth the difficulty of adhering to the diet strictly. Some people use the autoimmune protocol as a type of elimination diet by doing it for a period of time (I recommend at least a month) and then reintroducing foods slowly to test them. Some people are never able to tolerate certain foods on the excluded list, but may be able to tolerate some of them in small quantities. All of these things are dependent on how the person feels – obviously if a person is very ill, and being on the autoimmune protocol makes them feel better, they will do their best to sick to it. On the other hand, some people do well on the autoimmune protocol for a period of time, and then through the reintroduction of certain foods find their tolerance limit of them. This person may be able to stick to the autoimmune protocol most of the time, never eat some of the restricted foods but be able to tolerate some foods on the list on occasion and still feel good in the long run.
There are other dietary modifications that those with autoimmune disease can investigate – among them are the GAPS diet, SCD diet and low-FODMAP diet. I will provide information on these in future posts.