Approximately 25 million Americans suffer from an autoimmune disease. There are more than 80 different autoimmune conditions, which include IBD, rhematoid arthritis, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and more.
These conditions can affect a specific organ as is the case with the pancreas in type 1 diabetes. On the other hand, it can be systemic as it is in systemic lupus erythematosus.
Regardless, symptoms tend to vary greatly. And even if it targets a single organ such as the thyroid, symptoms are widespread.
In today’s videos, we chat about autoimmune disease and the autoimmune protocol.
Video 1: What are autoimmune diseases and what causes them?
In our first video we chat about what happens in autoimmune conditions, the different types, and Dr. Alessio Fasano’s 3-hit model of autoimmune disease. We also discuss how gut health is involved.
If you’d like to check out Dr. Fasano’s model, take a listen to this interview from 2018.
We mention a few risk factors that increase your likelihood for autoimmune conditions. We also discuss the major organ responsible for preventing autoimmune antibodies from attacking our tissues. Futhermore, we talk about the back up system we have in the event they slip out.
Based on this model, working on gut health is paramount to addressing autoimmune conditions. If you haven’t checked them out, we covered intestinal permeability in last week’s video. So be sure to check them out here.
If you’re a little green on your immune system 101, there is an excellent overview from Kurzgesagt. You can check out that video here, where they also mention autoimmunity and how it’s kept in check.
Video 2: Using the autoimmune protocol to address autoimmune disease
In our second video, we discuss the autoimmune protocol, or AIP. AIP is a gut-centric dietary approach for managing autoimmune disease.
We talk about why certain foods are avoided, the 2-step process of elimination followed by reintroduction, and a food commonly consumed on AIP that should be avoided. We also discuss a food you shouldn’t dramatically increase if you’re not eating a lot prior to the diet.
A recent paper found that pork shares a high number of proteins that resemble human proteins attacked in autoimmune conditions. In fact, it shared proteins with 29 different autoimmune diseases.
Interestingly, autoimmune protocol lists don’t typically address pork. In other words, it’s neither listed as “avoid” or “consume”. Therefore, if you are currently doing the AIP, or did it unsuccessfully in the past, you may wan to remove pork.
Red meat may also be problematic for a different reason. But this may come down prior consumption. Neu5Gc,a carbohydrate found in red meat, appears to increase systemic inflammation in humans. You can check out more on that here and here.
However, our microbiome appears to play a role in neutralizing it. Therefore, if you switch to AIP, it’s probably a good idea to not drastically increase it if you weren’t eating much before.
As mentioned in the video, there are anecdotes of people switching to a Carnivore diet and dramatically improving autoimmune conditions. Conversely, there are just as many who went Vegan and did the same.
This is why reintroduction should always follow elimination. There are likely many foods you avoid during elimination that are perfectly fine for you. And for some people, going Carnivore is great for elimination while others Vegan is.
Currently, the only way to figure that out is to eliminate for a period and reintroduce. Personalization is key, and that happens in the reintroduction phase.