If you’ve been on a very strict diet like the Paleo diet but not seeing the results you were wanting. You may need to switch to the autoimmune protocol, also known as AIP. What is the autoimmune protocol? The AIP is an elimination diet designed for those suffering from autoimmune diseases.
The AIP is a nutrient dense diet that addresses gut health and a healthy immune system. It removes foods you may be unaware of that are causing harm to your gut. I didn’t realize tomatoes were a problem until I reintroduced them back into my diet. I tested it three times by removing them, waiting, then reintroducing them and each time my face broke out. I was so disappointed!
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is caused by chronic inflammation. Meaning your immune system doesn’t recognize its own proteins from foreign invaders. For example, bacteria, parasites, or viruses. MS attacks the central nervous system, damaging the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerve. To get MS to stop progressing you need to remove the inflammation, starting with the food you eat.
MS is not hereditary, but if you have a family member with MS, it does put you at a higher risk. Researchers have discovered a genetic predisposition to MS. But it doesn’t mean you’re destined for MS. They believe genetics is only 25% of the equation and 75% is environmental factors. Which includes diet, lifestyle, toxins, and infections.
Triggers to MS:
→ Diet (processed foods, refined sugar, refined carbs, food allergies, etc.)
→ Infections (Candida, viruses, bacteria, and parasites)
→ Environmental Toxins (heavy metals, mold, pesticides, plastics, etc.)
→ Chronic Stress
Researchers discovered people with MS have specific bacteria compared to healthy people. There are higher amounts of two “bad” bacteria in their guts that lead to inflammation. They also have a lower amount of one “good” bacteria that help lower inflammation. The National MS Society has granted funds for more research in this area. Wouldn’t it be nice to only need a powerful probiotic to stop MS!
The AIP removes foods that contribute to a leaky gut and helps your body remove inflammation. Not that the basic Paleo doesn’t do this. But it goes a step further by removing other foods that may harm the gut such as nightshades.
On the AIP diet, you’ll also be avoiding foods that may cause further gut irritations. It’s a stricter version of the Paleo diet unfortunately, some people struggle with it. Granted some people can enjoy an egg with breakfast or an occasional bowl of rice. But having MS and trying to stop or reverse the symptoms, you are not one of these people. The nervous system is one of the slowest to heal so you’ll want to do what you can as much as possible. I know, it not fair! But sometimes it necessary to go an extra step to help your body heal.
To help you along you can also read:
Foods eliminated on the AIP Diet:
NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs)
Processed vegetable oils (canola, sunflower, etc.)
Seeds (chocolate, coffee, and certain spices)
Make sure your glucose (blood sugars) are well managed. Avoid common sugar spikes and drops, it’s best to keep your blood sugar even as much as possible. That includes managing stress because stress raises your blood sugar levels. If needed use a glucometer to keep track, you can find them and test strips at any drug store. I took the supplement Berberine by Thorne Research. It helps maintain a healthy blood sugar, digestive issues and supports immune health.
Foods to Include
It’s important to remove foods that are impacting your gut health. It’s also important to include foods that are nutrient-dense. Since most people with an autoimmune disease are likely to have nutrient deficiencies. Eat more vegetables including dark leafy greens, cruciferous, and colored. Also include organ meats, organic produce, quality meats, bone broth, and seaweed. Increase your water intake. I know this is difficult for those with bladder issues but your body needs it to stay hydrated.
Omega-3 fatty acids are extremely important for those of us with MS. It not only promotes a healthy heart but it also promotes a healthy brain and nervous system. Since MS is caused by chronic inflammation it puts patients at a higher risk for heart disease.
Include these foods for omega-3 fatty acids:
- Fatty fish, such as anchovies, herring, mackerel, salmon, sardines, and tuna
- Meats from grass-fed animals
Include vegetables at every meal, including breakfast. Aim for 6-9 cups each day depending on your size. Buy organic as much as possible to avoid pesticides. Or at least buy organic from the Environmental Working Groups Dirty Dozen list. To learn which produce have the most pesticides, read: EWG’s Dirty Dozen List.
Eat a huge variety of cooked or raw produce to get the most nutrients. Due to the sugar content in fruit keep it to a minimum, berries are the best since they are lower in sugar. The only fruit and vegetables not allowed are nightshades like tomatoes and peppers. Eat dried fruits occasionally and in small amounts since they are higher in sugar. I avoided them all together since I’m also fighting Candida overgrowth.
It’s Not Forever
The AIP is not meant to last forever, it’s actually an elimination diet. It’s recommended to wait at least one to three months before reintroducing foods back in. It could even be up to one year that you decide to reintroduce these foods depending on how you feel.
Since you’re trying to heal MS it’s important not to cheat. If you discover any other food sensitivities you need to remove it. It also helps if your family is supportive. My family didn’t eat AIP but they did keep food I wasn’t allowed to eat out of my sight.
A Free Guide!
Join others just like you and start taking charge of your health.
Get MS Wellness Route’s latest articles with extra tips delivered directly to your inbox.
Don't forget to check your spam folder.