Overview, Meals Checklist, and Information

The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) is a food plan that goals to cut back irritation, ache, and different signs brought on by autoimmune ailments, comparable to lupus, inflammatory bowel illness (IBD), celiac illness, and rheumatoid arthritis (1).

Many individuals who’ve adopted the AIP food plan report enhancements in the way in which they really feel, in addition to reductions in frequent signs of autoimmune problems, comparable to fatigue and intestine or joint ache. But, whereas analysis on this food plan is promising, it’s additionally restricted.

This text provides a complete overview of the AIP food plan, together with the science behind it, in addition to what’s at present recognized about its means to cut back signs of autoimmune problems.

A wholesome immune system is designed to supply antibodies that assault overseas or dangerous cells in your physique.

Nonetheless, in individuals with autoimmune problems, the immune system tends to supply antibodies that, reasonably than struggle infections, assault wholesome cells and tissues.

This may end up in a spread of signs, together with joint ache, fatigue, belly ache, diarrhea, mind fog, and tissue and nerve harm.

A couple of examples of autoimmune problems embody rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, IBD, kind 1 diabetes, and psoriasis.

Autoimmune ailments are regarded as brought on by a wide range of elements, together with genetic propensity, an infection, stress, irritation, and drugs use.

Additionally, some analysis means that, in vulnerable people, harm to the intestine barrier can result in elevated intestinal permeability, also referred to as “leaky intestine,” which can set off the event of sure autoimmune ailments (2).

Sure meals are believed to presumably improve the intestine’s permeability, thereby growing your probability of leaky intestine.

The AIP food plan focuses on eliminating these meals and changing them with health-promoting, nutrient-dense meals which might be thought to assist heal the intestine, and finally, cut back irritation and signs of autoimmune ailments (3).

It additionally removes sure elements like gluten, which can trigger irregular immune responses in vulnerable people (4, 5).

Whereas consultants imagine {that a} leaky intestine could also be a believable clarification for the irritation skilled by individuals with autoimmune problems, they warn that the present analysis makes it unimaginable to verify a cause-and-effect relationship between the 2 (2).

Due to this fact, extra analysis is required earlier than robust conclusions might be made.


The Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) food plan is purported to cut back irritation, ache, and different signs skilled by individuals with autoimmune problems by therapeutic their leaky intestine and eradicating probably problematic elements from their food plan.

The AIP food plan resembles the paleo food plan, each within the varieties of meals allowed and averted, in addition to within the phases that comprise it. On account of their similarities, many think about the AIP food plan an extension of the paleo food plan — although AIP could also be seen as a stricter model of it.

The AIP food plan consists of two predominant phases.

The elimination part

The primary part is an elimination part that includes the removing of meals and drugs believed to trigger intestine irritation, imbalances between ranges of excellent and unhealthy micro organism within the intestine, or an immune response (1, 3).

Throughout this part, meals like grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, nightshade greens, eggs, and dairy are fully averted.

Tobacco, alcohol, espresso, oils, meals components, refined and processed sugars, and sure drugs, comparable to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs) also needs to be averted (1).

Examples of NSAIDs embody ibuprofen, naproxen, diclofenac, and excessive dose aspirin.

However, this part encourages the consumption of recent, nutrient-dense meals, minimally processed meat, fermented meals, and bone broth. It additionally emphasizes the development of way of life elements, comparable to stress, sleep, and bodily exercise (1).

The size of the elimination part of the food plan varies, because it’s usually maintained till an individual feels a noticeable discount in signs. On common, most individuals keep this part for 30–90 days, however some might discover enhancements as early as inside the first 3 weeks (1, 6).

The reintroduction part

As soon as a measurable enchancment in signs and total well-being happens, the reintroduction part can start. Throughout this part, the averted meals are progressively reintroduced into the food plan, one after the other, based mostly on the individual’s tolerance.

The objective of this part is to establish 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 enables for the widest dietary selection an individual can tolerate.

Throughout this part, meals must be reintroduced one after the other, permitting for a interval of 5–7 days earlier than reintroducing a unique meals. This enables an individual sufficient time to note if any of their signs reappear earlier than persevering with the reintroduction course of (1).

Meals which might be effectively tolerated might be added again into the food plan, whereas people who set off signs ought to proceed to be averted. Take into account that your meals tolerance might change over time.

As such, you might need to repeat the reintroduction take a look at for meals that originally failed the take a look at each on occasion.

Step-by-step reintroduction protocol

Right here’s a step-by-step strategy to reintroducing meals that have been averted in the course of the elimination part of the AIP food plan.

  • Step 1. Select one meals to reintroduce. Plan to devour this meals a couple of occasions per day on the testing day, then keep away from it fully for five–6 days.
  • Step 2. Eat a small quantity, comparable to 1 teaspoon of the meals, and wait quarter-hour to see when you have a response.
  • Step 3. For those who expertise any signs, finish the take a look at and keep away from this meals. You probably have no signs, eat a barely bigger portion, comparable to 1 1/2 tablespoons, of the identical meals and monitor how you’re feeling for two–3 hours.
  • Step 4. For those who expertise any signs over this era, finish the take a look at 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 every other meals.
  • Step 5. For those who expertise no signs for five–6 days, you might reincorporate the examined meals into your food plan, and repeat this 5-step reintroduction course of with a brand new meals.

It’s greatest to keep away from reintroducing meals beneath 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 pressured, or following a strenuous exercise.

Moreover, it’s generally really useful to reintroduce meals in a selected order. For instance, when reintroducing dairy, select dairy merchandise with the bottom lactose focus to reintroduce first, comparable to ghee or fermented dairy merchandise.


The AIP food plan first eliminates any meals which will set off signs for a couple of weeks. Every is then reintroduced individually in order that solely people who don’t set off signs can finally be added again into the food plan.

The AIP food plan has strict suggestions concerning which meals to eat or keep away from throughout its elimination part (7, 8).

Meals to keep away from

  • Grains: rice, wheat, oats, barley, rye, and so on., in addition to meals derived from them, comparable to pasta, bread, and breakfast cereals
  • Legumes: lentils, beans, peas, peanuts, and so on., in addition to meals derived from them, comparable to 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, comparable to 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, comparable to cream, cheese, butter, or ghee; dairy-based protein powders or different dietary supplements also needs to be averted
  • Nuts and seeds: all nuts and seeds and meals derived from them, comparable to flours, butter, or oils; additionally contains cocoa and seed-based spices, comparable to coriander, cumin, anise, fennel, fenugreek, mustard, and nutmeg
  • Sure drinks: alcohol and low
  • 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 include these elements
  • Meals components and synthetic sweeteners: trans fat, meals colorings, emulsifiers, and thickeners, in addition to synthetic sweeteners, comparable to stevia, mannitol, and xylitol

Some AIP protocols additional suggest avoiding all fruit — each recent or dried — in the course of the elimination part. Others permit the inclusion of 10–40 grams of fructose per day, which quantities to round 1–2 parts of fruit per day.

Though not laid out in all AIP protocols, some additionally counsel avoiding algae, comparable to spirulina or chlorella, in the course of the elimination part, as this sort of sea vegetable can also stimulate an immune response (9).

Meals to eat

  • Greens: a wide range of greens apart from nightshade greens and algae, which must be averted
  • Recent fruit: a wide range of recent fruit, moderately
  • Tubers: candy potatoes, taro, yams, in addition to Jerusalem or Chinese language artichokes
  • Minimally processed meat: wild recreation, fish, seafood, organ meat, and poultry; meats must be wild, grass-fed or pasture-raised, at any time when potential
  • Fermented, probiotic-rich meals: nondairy-based fermented meals, comparable to kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, pickles, and coconut kefir; probiotic dietary supplements can also 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 purple wine vinegar, so long as they’re freed from added sugars
  • Pure sweeteners: maple syrup and honey, moderately
  • Sure teas: inexperienced and black tea at common intakes of as much as 3–4 cups per day
  • Bone broth

Regardless of being allowed, some protocols additional suggest that you simply reasonable your consumption of salt, saturated and omega-6 fat, pure sugars, comparable to honey or maple syrup, in addition to coconut-based meals.

Relying on the AIP protocol at hand, small quantities of fruit can also 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 recent fruit.

Some protocols additional counsel moderating your consumption of excessive glycemic fruit and veggies, together with dried fruit, candy potatoes, and plantain.

The glycemic index (GI) is a system used to rank meals on a scale of 0 to 100, based mostly on how a lot they are going to improve blood sugar ranges, in contrast with white bread. Excessive glycemic fruit and veggies are these ranked 70 or above on the GI scale (10).


The AIP food plan usually consists of minimally processed, nutrient-dense meals. The lists above specify which meals to eat or keep away from in the course of the elimination part of the AIP food plan.

Although analysis on the AIP food plan is proscribed, some proof means that it might cut back irritation and signs of sure autoimmune ailments.

Might assist heal a leaky intestine

Individuals with autoimmune ailments typically have a leaky intestine, and consultants imagine there could also be a hyperlink between the irritation they expertise and the permeability of their intestine (2, 3, 11, 12).

A wholesome intestine usually has a low permeability. This enables it to behave as barrier and stop meals and waste stays from leaking into the bloodstream.

Nonetheless, a extremely permeable or leaky intestine permits overseas 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 performance, and in some circumstances, presumably even cut back the diploma of irritation you expertise (13, 14).

One speculation entertained by researchers is that by serving to heal leaky intestine, the AIP food plan might assist cut back the diploma of irritation an individual experiences.

Though scientific proof is at present restricted, a handful of research means that the AIP food plan might assist cut back irritation or signs brought on by it, at the least amongst a subset of individuals with sure autoimmune problems (6, 7, 15).

Nonetheless, extra analysis is required to particularly perceive the precise methods during which the AIP food plan might assist, in addition to the exact circumstances beneath which it might accomplish that (2).

Might cut back irritation and signs of some autoimmune problems

To this point, the AIP food plan has been examined in a small group of individuals and yielded seemingly constructive outcomes.

As an example, in a current 11-week examine in 15 individuals with IBD on an AIP food plan, members reported experiencing considerably fewer IBD-related signs by the top of the examine. Nonetheless, no vital modifications in markers of irritation have been noticed (15).

Equally, a small examine had individuals with IBD comply with the AIP food plan for 11 weeks. Contributors reported vital enhancements in bowel frequency, stress, and the power to carry out leisure or sport actions as early as 3 weeks into the examine (6).

In one other examine, 16 ladies with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune dysfunction affecting the thyroid gland, adopted the AIP food plan for 10 weeks. By the top of the examine, irritation and disease-related signs decreased by 29% and 68%, respectively.

Contributors additionally reported vital enhancements of their high quality of life, regardless of there being no vital variations of their measures of thyroid perform (7).

Though promising, research stay small and few. Additionally, so far, they’ve solely been carried out on a small subset of individuals with autoimmune problems. Due to this fact, extra analysis is required earlier than robust conclusions might be made.


The AIP food plan might assist cut 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 verify these advantages.

The AIP food plan is taken into account an elimination food plan, which makes it very restrictive and probably arduous to comply with for some, particularly in its elimination part.

The elimination part of this food plan may make it troublesome for individuals to eat in social conditions, comparable to at a restaurant or pal’s home, growing the danger of social isolation.

It’s additionally vital to notice that there’s no assure that this food plan will cut back irritation or disease-related signs in all individuals with autoimmune problems.

Nonetheless, those that expertise a discount in signs following this food plan could also be reticent to progress to the reintroduction part, for worry it might convey the signs again.

This might turn out to be problematic, as remaining within the elimination part could make it troublesome to satisfy your every day nutrient necessities. Due to this fact, remaining on this part for too lengthy might improve your danger of creating nutrient deficiencies, in addition to poor well being over time.

That is why the reintroduction part is essential and shouldn’t be skipped.

For those who’re experiencing difficulties getting began with the reintroduction part, think about reaching out to a registered dietitian or different medical skilled educated concerning the AIP food plan for personalised steerage.


The AIP food plan might not work for everybody, and its elimination part could be very restrictive. This will make this food plan isolating and arduous to comply with. It might additionally result in a excessive danger of nutrient deficiencies if its reintroduction part is averted for too lengthy.

The AIP food plan is designed to assist cut back irritation, ache, or different signs brought on by autoimmune ailments. As such, it might work greatest for individuals with autoimmune ailments, comparable to lupus, IBD, celiac illness, or rheumatoid arthritis.

Autoimmune ailments can’t be cured, however their signs could also be managed. The AIP food plan goals that can assist you accomplish that by serving to you establish which meals could also be triggering your particular signs.

Proof concerning the efficacy of this food plan is at present restricted to individuals with IBD and Hashimoto’s illness.

Nonetheless, based mostly on the way in which during which this food plan is believed to perform, individuals with different autoimmune ailments might profit from it, too.

There are at present few downsides to giving this food plan a strive, particularly when carried out beneath the supervision of a dietitian or different medical skilled.

In search of skilled steerage previous to giving the AIP food plan a strive will show you how to higher pinpoint which meals could also be inflicting your particular signs, in addition to be sure that you proceed to satisfy your nutrient necessities as greatest as potential all through all phases of this food plan.


The AIP food plan might cut back the severity of signs related to numerous autoimmune ailments. Nonetheless, it might be troublesome to implement by yourself, which is why steerage from a dietitian or medical skilled is strongly really useful.

The AIP food plan is an elimination food plan designed to assist cut back irritation or different signs brought on by autoimmune problems.

It’s comprised of two phases designed that can assist you establish and finally keep away from the meals which will set off irritation and disease-specific signs. Analysis on its efficacy is proscribed however seems promising.

On account of its restricted downsides, individuals with autoimmune problems usually have little to lose by giving it a strive. Nonetheless, it’s doubtless greatest to hunt steerage from a professional well being skilled to make sure you proceed to satisfy your nutrient wants all through all phases of this food plan.

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