Paleo for Autoimmune Illness

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Written by: Ann Wendel

I have always been interested in holistic medicine. Even as a teenager, I read and studied many different healing modalities. Given my love of medicine and my participation in competitive sports, it was no surprise to anyone that I became a Certified Athletic Trainer and physical therapist. Over the past 20 years in my healthcare career, I have worked in many different settings. The constants in my career have been interacting with people in pain and using all of my knowledge/skills to assist them in restoring maximum function.

I have a special interest in working with people who experience chronic pain. As happens with many people, it took my own experience to propel me to study and learn more about how to best help this patient population. In 2007, I became very ill with what was later diagnosed as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. This is an autoimmune illness (AI) caused by the body mounting an attack on the thyroid gland in an attempt to destroy it. For those who have not heard of this illness, the thyroid is a major part of the endocrine system. It is a gland that makes and stores hormones that help regulate the heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and the rate at which food is converted into energy. Thyroid hormones are essential for the function of every cell in the body. They help regulate growth and the rate of chemical reactions (metabolism) in the body.

 

It took me 5 years of researching, asking questions, and trial and error to begin to regain my health. At the urging of a colleague, I went gluten free in the fall of 2010. After 2 weeks, I felt so much better that I decided to continue avoiding gluten. As I continued to research, I found information about what was referred to as the “Paleo” lifestyle. I decided to try it in the Spring of 2011. After several months, the majority of my inflammation was reduced, my blood work showed changes in a positive direction, I began going days at a time without taking anti-inflammatory medication, and I was able to slowly begin bodyweight exercises and walking.

After eating this way for a year now, I can say that I am never going back to eating as I did before, and I don’t have “cheat” days because my body cannot handle the effects of foods that lead to inflammation. I am passionate about sharing this knowledge with as many people as possible. The media has picked up on the term “Paleo Diet” and “Caveman Diet,” portraying it as a fad diet used to lose weight and re-enact history. My mission is to sift through the emerging research to find studies to show that there is a scientific basis behind eating this way, and to educate people that this lifestyle may be useful as an adjunct to treating AI. For me and the other 23.5 million Americans living with AI, there is hope for living a better life, based on the way we nourish and move our bodies.

Research has shown a connection between inflammation and AI, as well as a link between modern foods and their far-reaching effects on health. In their 2004 paper titled “Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century,” Cordain et al presented data to show that diseases which are epidemic in contemporary Western countries are rare or non-existent in hunter-gatherer and less Westernized societies. They discussed data showing that Industrial era foods (dairy, refined cereals, refined vegetable oils, and fatty meats from animals prevented from grazing) underlie or exacerbate virtually all chronic diseases of civilization: 1) glycemic load, 2) fatty acid composition, 3) macronutrient composition, 4) micronutrient density, 5) acid-base balance, 6) sodium-potassium ratio, and 7) fiber content.

Other recent research from Ganesh et al (2011) shows that the changes associated with the disease process of autoimmune thyroid disorders (AITD) are brought about by inflammatory cytokines. Cytokines serve as the software that run the immune system. A number of studies have now established that dysregulation of immune cell function causes AI such as lupus, arthritis, thyroiditis, carditits, and diabetes. It is highly likely that cytokine dysfunctions are the first step in the onset of these self-reactive immune responses. (Kalvakolanu, 2011) Additionally, Singh et al (2011) discussed the role of cytokines in the development of autoimmune diabetes (Type 1 Diabetes), Rose et al (2011) studied the sequence of events triggered by infection that lead to autoimmune myocarditis and subsequent cardiomyopathy, and Volin and Koch (2011) provided an in-depth view into the role of pro-inflammatory cytokines in the development of autoimmune arthritis.

The most interesting studies that may eventually provide evidence for correlation of diet as a factor in the development of AI come from the University of Maryland’s Center for Celiac Research headed by Dr. Alessio Fasano: http://www.celiaccenter.org/

Dr. Fasano’s research investigates the increased intestinal permeability which often precedes disease, causing an abnormality in the antigen delivery that triggers the multi-organ process leading to an autoimmune response. Dr. Fasano’s research has shown that once gluten is eliminated from the diet, the intestine resumes its baseline barrier function, autoantibody titers are normalized, the autoimmune process shuts off, and intestinal damage heals itself. He continues to research the possibility that changes in intestinal permeability due to gluten may underlie not just Celiac Disease; but also other AI processes.

These are exciting times for those who struggle with AI, as current research attempts to explain what thousands of people have found to be anecdotally true. As Chris Kresser, L.Ac discussed in a recent podcast http://bit.ly/JhUrFg the issue of intestinal permeability or ‘leaky gut’ has been made fun of for years as pseudoscience. Not to worry, the research surrounding this issue is about to explode due to the fact that the first drug to treat intestinal permeability is being developed. Once “Big Pharma” gets involved, and there is suddenly money to be made from treating this issue, the research to justify it won’t be far behind!

 

References:

Cordain L, Eaton SB, Sebastian A, et al. Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2005: 81(2): 341-354.

Fasano A. Systemic autoimmune disorders in celiac disease. Curr Opin Gastroenterol. 2006; 22: 674-679.

Ganesh B, Bhattacharya P, Gopisetty A, and Prabhakar B. Role of cytokines in the pathogenesis and suppression of thyroid autoimmunity. Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research. 2011; 31(10):721-731.

Kalvakolanu D. An introduction to the special issue on “Cytokines and Autoimmune Diseases.” Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research. 2011; 31(10): 693-694.

Moudgil K and Choubey D. Cytokines in autoimmunity: Role in induction, regulation, and treatment. Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research. 2011; 31(10): 695-703.

Rose NR. Critical cytokine pathways to cardiac inflammation. Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research. 2011; 31(10): 705-710.

Singh B, Nikoopour E, Huszarik K, Elliot J, and Jevnikar A. Immunomodulation and regeneration of Islet Beta Cells by cytokines in autoimmune Type 1 Diabetes. Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research. 2011; 31(10): 711-719.

Volin MV and Koch AE. Interleukin-18: a mediator of inflammation and angiogenesis in rheumatoid arthritis. Journal of Interferon and Cytokine Research. 2011; 31(10): 745-751.

Interesting statistics from the website of the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, Inc.

• The National Institutes of Health (NIH estimates up to 23.5 million Americans suffer from autoimmune disease and that the prevalence is rising.
• Researchers have identified 80-100 different autoimmune diseases and suspect at least 40 additional diseases of having an autoimmune basis. These diseases are chronic and can be life-threatening.

• NIH estimates up to 23.5 million Americans have an AD. In comparison, cancer affects up to 9 million and heart disease up to 22 million.
• NIH estimates annual direct health care costs for AD to be in the range of $100 billion (source: NIH presentation by Dr. Fauci, NIAID). In comparison, cancers costs are $57 billion (source: NIH,ACS), and heart and stroke costs are $200 billion (source: NIH, AHA).
• NIH research funding for AD in 2003 came to $591 million. In comparison, cancer funding came to $6.1 billion; and heart and stroke, to $2.4 billion (source: NIH).

• NIH research funding for AD in 2003 came to $591 million. In comparison, cancer funding came to $6.1 billion; and heart and stroke, to $2.4 billion (source: NIH).
• The NIH Autoimmune Diseases Research Plan states; “Research discoveries of the last decade have made autoimmune research one of the most promising areas of new discovery.”
• According to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Women’s Health, autoimmune disease and disorders ranked #1 in a top ten list of most popular health topics requested by callers to the National Women’s Health Information Center. http://www.aarda.org/autoimmune_statistics.php

http://www.aarda.org/research_display.php?ID=47

http://www.aarda.org/research_display.php?ID=102

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ann holds a B.S. in P.E. Studies with a concentration in Athletic Training from the University of Delaware, and a Masters in Physical Therapy from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. She is a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) licensed in Virginia, a Licensed Physical Therapist, and a Certified Myofascial Trigger Point Therapist (CMTPT). Find out more about her here.

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  1. Whitney
    May 18, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    Thanks I have Hashimotos this gives me hope.

    • Ann Wendel
      May 19, 2012 at 6:30 am

      Whitney – Yes! There is hope. Keep working toward feeling better one day at a time. I post a lot of info on Twitter, Facebook, and my blog, too.
      Ann

  2. Ann Wendel
    May 18, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Thanks for the opportunity, Robb! I hope that the information will help other readers struggling with autoimmune illness.

  3. Kirk
    May 18, 2012 at 11:45 pm

    Hi Anna

    It would be interesting to hear more of your progress regarding how paleo is benefiting your hashimoto’s condition, particular with regard to any accidental exposures to harmful foods. The reason I ask this, is due to my partner also suffering with hashimoto’s.

  4. Brad Fackrell
    May 19, 2012 at 1:05 am

    Congratulations Ann. It’s wonderful when someone can find answers. Thank you for sharing your experience and research. I will be linking to this article in my blog at paleo30daychallenge.com.

  5. deb
    May 20, 2012 at 3:25 am

    Thanks so much for this article. People (including my endocrinologist LOL) tend to not believe me when I tell them that I’m pretty much asymptomatic with my Hashi’s, but my chronic joint pain is gone, I have more energy, I can’t feel my thyroid pressing on my windpipe any more, I’m LOSING weight instead of gaining it – why in the world would I wreck that by having pizza and a beer? It helps to know that it’s not just my own personal experience, but one that others are sharing and finding the benefits of.

    My next endo appointment is due in a month or so. It’ll be interesting to see what the numbers look like this time around. :-)

    Thanks again for sharing your story.

    • Ann Wendel
      May 26, 2012 at 8:32 am

      Deb – You’re welcome! Keep up the good work! Hopefully, you can educate your Endo about how you have done this, so that they can help others do the same!
      Ann

  6. Crunchy Pickle
    May 20, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    I love hearing this as I have been using the paleo diet to stem off the symptoms of Hashimoto’s for two years now. Even though I know it has worked for me I still enjoy the proof that it works for others too!!

    • Ann Wendel
      May 26, 2012 at 8:35 am

      Hi Crunchy! Good to hear from you again – I haven’t chatted with you for a while! It is good for all of us to keep sharing our story, so that others feel a sense of community. It can be very isolating to struggle w AI when no one else around you has the same issues. Keep building the sense of community through your blog!

  7. Erin
    May 21, 2012 at 6:30 am

    Thank you so much for writing this! I’ve been dealing with Hashi’s for five years, and have only recently discovered Robb’s site and the Paleo community. I’ve been on Levothyroxine for about a year, and although it changed my test results, I never experienced a relief from any of the symptoms that go along with the disease. In fact, I kept developing new ones! Three months ago I started breaking out in hives when I went in the sun. I had a minor meltdown at that point, and began Robb’s autoimmune protocol and started feeling better within days. I have a waist and ankles again for the first time in ages; my face isn’t puffy anymore; I can sleep again, and don’t wait up with a racing heart several times throughout the night; and my hair has stopped falling out in clumps.
    Thanks to research like yours and Robb’s, I don’t feel like prisioner in my own body anymore. Thank you for giving me hope!!

    • Ann Wendel
      May 26, 2012 at 8:39 am

      Erin – I’m so glad to hear that you are starting to feel better. It is very empowering to know that you have the ability to get better based on what you eat and drink; as well as managing your sleep, stress and training. I remember the sense of relief I felt when I first implemented the Paleo lifestyle. I feel like I am “me” again now! Pay it forward so that others can learn, too!
      Ann

  8. nosepipe
    May 23, 2012 at 6:57 am

    Hi Erin, I male and I too have been diagnosed with Hashimotos about a year ago and had to terminate my career through just feeling exhausted, horrible and depressed. I spent 6 months researching causes and solutions and seen a private thyroid specialist physician. Levothyroxine makes you feel better for a few months then symptoms come back big time, its a half baked Big Pharma solution. Two big tips:
    1. Replace or combine Armour/NatureThroid with Levothyroxine.
    2. Follow a paleo diet and exercise, I do Primal Blueprint.
    These two things have transformed my physical and mental state completely over a few months.
    Good luck!

    • Ann Wendel
      May 26, 2012 at 8:43 am

      On the topic of medications: many folks do find relief from some of the symptoms of Hashi’s (joint and muscle pain especially) with a combination of T3/T4 meds (Levothyroxine and Armour, for example). As always, speak with your Endocrinologist about any changes in medication. Many of the Endo’s who stay current with the literature are willing to do a combo treatment plan; some of the doctors who are more “old school” may not be. Each person’s experience with meds is unique – so invest time and energy into finding an Endo that is current with research AND listens to you.

  9. John R.M. Day, M.D.
    May 23, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    Way to go Ann!
    Hashimoto’s is our most prevalent AI disorder, and all of the good holistic people are becoming more and more knowledgable about the gluten connection in the AI problem.
    The conventional allopaths remain seemingly clueless, and amble on with their nonsensical prescriptions of Synthroid (which is just T4), a biologically inactive substance in the human unless it can be converted to T3. They are just interested in treating a patient’s TSH levels, it seems.
    I completed general surgery residency at the good old U. of Maryland in Baltimore in 1981. My daily fare was gun shot wounds and urban violence, but I recall being very curious about AI. I was holistically oriented in medical school in the 1970′s when AI was just getting some notice. In the 1950′s, when I grew up in a household of physicians in Alabama, there was no such thing as AI disorders.
    In 2001 I left the gladiator arena of 24/7 surgery in Boulder, CO, to help client patients with a body/mind/emotion/spirit model which I call Haelan LifeStream.
    A few short years later I was taken to school by Loren Cordain, from just up the road at CSU, and I began instructing clients in the 7 principles of the Paleo Diet.
    Prior to that I had studied the now rare and out of print book, “The Paleolithic Prescription, a Program of Diet and Exercise and a Design for Living.” This gem was written by some MD’s and a PhD from Memphis, named Eaton Boyd, Marjorie Shostak, and Melvin Konner, copyright 1988. This text is good to find.
    Thank you for your understanding and your writing to assist in everyone’s understanding. The 100th monkey effect is emerging on the Paleo diet approach.
    I’ll be posting an entry on my website, http://www.HaelanLifeStream.com, on the Paleo theme soon, as well.

    • Ann Wendel
      May 26, 2012 at 8:51 am

      Thanks, John. Nice to see a fellow U of Md healthcare practitioner with an interest in AI! I completed an 8 week internship at Shock Trauma U of Md in 1997 – I was one of the (student) PT’s getting those gun shot and multi trauma patients up and walking. It was one of the best experiences I had as a student!

  10. Marcus
    May 25, 2012 at 7:10 am

    It’s frustrating how little of this taken seriously by doctors and the established medical community. My wife has Multiple Sclerosis (that we control with a Paleo diet) but any mention of this to the neurologist or doctor results in a knowing stare and disbelief in our claims.

    Interestingly, in the MS sphere, whilst there are some known Paleo advocates (Terry Wahls) the biggest diet approach, also non conventional, is the low fat diet advocated by Swank and more recently by George Jelinek at the OvercomingMultipleSclerosis.org site.

    Low saturated fat works for MS, it does, and is not generally accepted and with the Paleo diet not being a low fat diet it would really help for someone to critique the two diets and provide some feedback on why the low fat diet works but why the paleo diet is better.

    My take on this is that the low fat diet with some oily fish, lots of vegetables (and lots of ghastly whole grains) does enough to normalise the omega 6 / 3 balance which in turn down regulates the inflammatory response and in many cases, arrests progression of the disease.

    Still, I am nowhere near able to argue or communicate this point well enough but it would be really great to see Robb or someone else tackle this and provide references so that people with MS could have some clarity on which diet approach to follow.

    Anyhow, great work guys as ever. :)

    • Robb Wolf
      May 25, 2012 at 9:55 am

      I guess I’d just ask: is low sat’d fat protective when folks are still eating a gut irritating, grain based diet? Is that inconsequential when we consider gut health first and foremost? Has the swank diet prodigies the types of changes we’ve seen with paleo? Not as far as I can tell. But your recs are solid! Tinker, share results!

    • Ann Wendel
      May 26, 2012 at 9:01 am

      Marcus,

      Dr. Fasano’s research is an excellent place to start. In his Nov. 2011 paper titled Leaky Gut and Autoimmune Diseases (Clinical Reviews in Allergy and Immunology) he discussed MS and the connection to gluten. This article is available as a free PDF on his website:
      http://www.celiaccenter.org/publications.asp

      Hope that helps!

      Ann

  11. Gigi
    June 23, 2012 at 6:22 pm

    I was diagnosed with RA at the age of 13. At the time I was not aware of how diet affected my illness. I was hospitalized as I could not walk and was given doses of aspirin so high that my blood had to be drawn twice daily to ensure I did not OD (but my doctor never told me I should take it with food). Fortunately, I responded well to that treatment. After about three years, the illness went into remission. About six years later, it resurfaced again (probably caused by the stress of having a baby). I tried taking aspiring again, but found that I had developed ulcers and could no longer take it. I did not want to take the commonly prescribed NSAIDs as I did not want to risk the side effects. After reading about how vegetarian diets could help people with RA, I tried it. I followed a raw vegan diet for a while, followed by a strict low-calorie mostly vegetarian diet (eggs and fish sometimes but no dairy, processed foods, or sugar). After about three years, my illness went into remission again. About ten years later, it resurfaced again (probably due to stress caused by serious family issues). By this time, I had begun eating (on occasion) some “healthier” versions of processed foods, sugar and dairy, so I went back to my strict low calorie mostly vegetarian diet. However, this time I found that it was not working for me. Through an elimination diet, I discovered that certain foods seemed to trigger an autoimmune response (legumes, grains, sweet potatoes). In my quest to find a common link, I discovered that these foods were all inflammatory. After some trial and error, I came up with the following diet:
    Breakfast:
    4 oz of wild salmon baked in generous amounts of raw extra-virgin organic olive oil, lemon, red onions, garlic, ginger, and Serrano peppers.
    Home-made juice from a half bunch of Kale, two apples, lemon, and ginger
    Lunch:
    Romaine lettuce, endive, and avocado salad with raw organic extra-virgin olive oil and lemon
    Snack:
    Dried Organic tart Montmorency cherries (sweetened with apple juice) with organic dried blueberries, almonds, and macadamia nuts
    Dinner:
    Same as breakfast

    I chose the combination of foods above based on nutrient content, calories, and anti-inflammatory rating. My theory was that I could use diet to create an anti-inflammatory environment in my body that would have the effect of NSAIDs without the bad side-effects. The diet kept me free from pain but my energy level dropped. I was a dance fitness instructor and had to cut my classes from five to one per week in order to stabilize my weight on this diet. Now that I am feeling better, I have added whole brown rice (although inflammatory) to my diet because I felt that I need to consume some food that contains a significant source of carbs in order to maintain normal energy levels. I am no longer a fitness instructor but I have returned to a fitness routine that is normal for me (2-3 hours of dance training per day). I have recently begun to read about the Paleo diet and found it interesting that may diet (san rice) appears to be Paleo-friendly. I found your article to be very informative. I had read about the “leaky gut” syndrome theory as it relates to AI, but had never seen it explained in such detail. I look forward to reading more about the research on it and learning more about Paleo. Thank you for your article

  12. Deborah
    June 30, 2012 at 7:39 am

    Oh no; did I hear you say that sweet potatoes (which I love)trigger an autoimmune response? Where can I find a list of autoimmune triggering foods? I have mixed connected tissue disease and I take plaquinel daily.

    • Robb Wolf
      June 30, 2012 at 10:38 am

      SP are generally ok, don’t eat the peel.

    • Gigi
      June 30, 2012 at 8:00 pm

      Sweet Potatoes (unpeeled) seem to trigger an auto-immune response in my body when it is most sensitive, but everyone is different. Animal meat has always seemed to trigger an auto-immune response in my body as well, yet others seem to do fine on it. Just as my illness seems to change each time it returns (affecting different parts of my body), sensitivities can change too (I had never had problems with sweet potatoes in the past). That’s why it was helpful for me to do an elimination diet so that I would know which foods were triggering the response during my latest bout.

  13. Deborah B.
    June 30, 2012 at 7:56 am

    I have been diagnosed with mixed connective tissue disease and I am going on my 12th or 13th missions trip in 2 weeks. Here’s my challenge. We normally pack non-perishable food and snack items to take to work each day. That list of foods include cheese and peanut butter crackers, dried fruit, canned tuna/chicken salad, peanut butter& jelly, cookies, veggie chips, etc. ( all of which are totally non-paleo foods). Outside of what I take with me, I will not have much control over what I am offered to eat in restaurants while in Jamaica. I have been following the Paleo Solution (for autoimmunity) for less than 30 days and need to know what type non-perishables I can pack and take on the missions trip. HELP!!

    • Robb Wolf
      June 30, 2012 at 10:37 am

      Deb-
      I have traveled all over the Caribbean, Central America, Europe etc. if you want to do it you can explain you have a wheat allergy, lern it in french and spanish.

      You should NOT need snacks. Breakfast, lunch dinner gets it. Jerky & nuts works I guess, but you always have fruit etc.

  14. Rebecca
    July 18, 2012 at 3:45 am

    Hi,

    Does anyone know if the Paleo diet helps to manage Hidrandenitus Suppurativa?

    Thanks
    Rebecca.

  15. Anuj
    August 7, 2012 at 11:28 am

    Hello Ann,

    I suffer from Autoimmune Hearing loss. I have lost 90% of my hearing in last one year and I would like to know if “Paleo” diet will help in regaining my hearing. My only other option is Cochlear Implant surgery which I really want to avoid

  16. Marie
    August 26, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    I am on the antifungal diet. Before getting diagnosed with fibromyalgia, RA, and chronic fatigue I started researching my symptoms. By doing two years of research before coming to the antifungal diet and watching Doug Kaufmann on TV I had a little bit of knowledge about what was being said about autoimmune diseases and what your eating. None of the research answered with a 100 percent why does it help and why did I get sick in the first place. When I read Doug Kaufmann’s book The Fungus Link volume one everything just clicked together for me. It’s been almost a year now since I changed my life style, I am 70 pounds lighter and can move and take care of my kids and my wonderful husband. The Fungus Link by Doug Kaufmann changed my life and answered my questions on why and how diet can make such an impact on your health and why we get autoimmune deceases in the first place. I hope this info helps you and other readers. Sincerely, Marie

  17. Mary
    September 4, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Thank you for this article. I also have Hasimoto’s Thyroiditis. Months prior to hearing of the Paleo Diet I had decided to go back to following the blood type diet put out by Dr Peter D’Adamo many years ago. One of the main foods to avoid for a ‘type O’ was wheat. I’ve been gluten free and basically symptom free for several months now. It’s frustrating though when I visit the physicians, they look as though I’m crazy when I tell them about going gluten-free. Hoping they will begin accepting the idea that diet can have as much of an impact on someone with Hashimoto’s as is acknowledged for a disorder such as diabetes.

    • Ann Wendel
      September 24, 2012 at 5:47 am

      Mary,

      Many physicians and other healthcare professionals have never heard of the research that supports the relationship between what we eat and how we feel. For decades it has been passed off a pseudoscience (i.e. “Crazy lady in room 3 thinks she has an issue with gluten even though her bloodwork for Celiac is negative.”)

      My advice is to find a primary care physician or specialist who is at least open to hearing what you have to say, and open to working with you. It helps if we go to the physician with research, because healthcare providers are told that we must practice Evidence Based Medicine at all times, and no healthcare professional wants to believe something that sounds weird if there isn’t any research behind it (sad, but true).

      As I mentioned earlier, Dr. Fasano’s website is a good place to start: http://www.celiaccenter.org/
      and anyone with a computer can search PubMed for articles on a specific topic, and at least see the abstract in most cases.

      As we all keep sharing the research, the medical community will begin to take notice. It’s just going to take time.

      Ann

  18. Martainn
    September 16, 2012 at 11:09 pm

    I’m stupid. I did not believe that a return to eating grains causes such complications. Literally ate two slices of white bread and digestion does not work! For two days everything I eat goes to the toilet. It hurts my stomach and liver. I feel terrible.

  19. Roger M. Wilcox
    October 16, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Your article says that, after several months of being on the Paleo diet, your “blood work showed changes in a positive direction.”

    Since you were diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, was it a reduction in your TSH levels that you were seeing, or was it a reduction in your anti-TPO antibody levels? Or was it a change in something else?

  20. Nikki
    November 25, 2012 at 11:51 am

    In 2010 I was diagnosed with 3 auto-immune diseases in a 5-month period: Type 1 diabetes, Grave’s disease and Celiac disease. Two years later I am struggling to stabilize my health. I follow a strict gluten free diet but I do eat gluten free grains. I just started reading about the Paleo diet and am wondering if this diet would be safe for an insulin dependent type 1 diabetic? Does it contain enough carbs to maintain healthy blood sugar?

    • Christopher
      November 25, 2012 at 12:42 pm

      Yes Definitely. http://robbwolf.com/?s=type+1+diabetes
      A paleo diet can contain as much carbohydrate as you need, and isn’t necessarily a low carb diet (sweet potatoes, yams, winter squash, other starchy veggies and fruits, etc. are all good sources). Being a diabetic, you shouldn’t need a lot of carbs anyway though.

  21. Tyler Thomas
    January 2, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Has there been any research into Stiff Persons Syndrome (SPS) in regards to lessened auto-immune response via paleo? I have recently stopped drinking alcohol (was drinking heavily) and am implementing paleo full force as of recent. Unclear on whether the mechanism of antibody reaction through leaky gut is the same way in which antibodies are created against neurotransmitters as per SPS. THANK YOU!

    • Robb Wolf
      January 3, 2013 at 8:30 am

      Tyler-
      The best i can do is relate that all autoimmune disease appear to have a leaky gut component, that paleo seems to adress this, and we have seen remarkable improvements in a vast assortment of AI diseases.

      • Tyler Thomas
        January 5, 2013 at 1:29 pm

        Robb,
        Thanks for the reply! That’s basically the assumption I had but figured I’d ask just in case anyone knew anything more specific. I think the biggest thing for me will be the intestinal healing due to the fact that my habits were promoted leaky gut directly (alcohol and pizza were my diet haha). I’m just trying to get back to where I was 3 years ago when I was able to work out and didn’t have this ridiculous level of pain and tension. Thanks so much for your work and I’m confident that I will find relief through the absolving of inflammation!

  22. shara
    January 15, 2013 at 7:25 am

    Im wondering if taking replacement hormones like levothyrodixne is counter productive? I’m just worried that i will be stuck on the meds forever because i started taking them in the first place? I have Hashimotos as well as hidradenitis suppurativa and have recently started the paleo diet, i love the principles of paleo and i am excited to start seeing results!!! Thanks for all the information!!

  23. Dana
    January 17, 2013 at 6:33 pm

    I had Hashimoto’s or Graves which ever you want to call it. I had a full thyroidectomy and gained alot of weight. My hair still falls out and I’m tired all the time. My Dr. tests me every 6 months and all my levels she says are good. I can go to the gym every day for hours and not loose more than 5-10 pounds ever. I can’t find any information on someone that has a full thyroidectomy. I take .125mg senythroid daily. If you have any information it would be helpful. Dana

  24. Arthur Andreasyan
    January 20, 2013 at 9:19 am

    Great information here. Ive recently gotten vitiligo from going pescatarian and am thinking of going paleo. Is buckwheat and quinoa ruled out also? Thanks

    • Amy Kubal
      January 20, 2013 at 7:09 pm

      Yes, quinoa and buckwheat are grains and therefore are not part of a paleo eating plan.

  25. Chrystine McDougall
    February 23, 2013 at 12:18 am

    Thankyou for this very informative publication, I suffer from Hashimotos and have done so for over 20 years. I have been in a lot of pain for about 16 years. I will look into the paleo diet for help, not much is done here in Australia for thyroid diseases just blood tests for T4 & only one drug Thyroxine, so this diet might be my only option as nothing else works…so thankyou very much.

  26. Therese
    February 23, 2013 at 8:57 pm

    http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info/
    http://pecanbread.com/p/scdscience2.html

    These might at least help the science part of it and the SCD has been around for over 70 years…….meats, poultry, fish, eggs, veggies, fruit, nuts………no grains or starches…..but, she does give an extensive analysis as to why our guts cannot handle the other foods, especially when you need to heal. Our son has/had an IBD (ulcerated colitis), and after three years of SCD (including fermented foods) he is doing very well as we all are…me-well, hormones in balance, no more arthritis or brain fog, and I personally don’t miss the grains…….we do eat navy beans once in a while though (now)..not sure if the legumes will make it into our diet, we feel better without them……..

  27. Khali
    March 11, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    Very confused, some said i could eat eggs others not. I have Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism. Which is right?

    • Amy Kubal
      March 12, 2013 at 5:38 am

      If you’ve got autoimmune issues eliminate eggs for 1-3 months to see if it affects how you feel!

  28. Rachel
    March 12, 2013 at 1:08 pm

    I was wondering if there was a specific plan under paleo that people with hashimotos typically follow. I have hashimotos and am a newbie to the paleo lifestyle (2 weeks new) I have found several links that outline a specific plan but the food they recommend are not something I could bring myself to eat (kimchi, seaweed, and other fermented foods. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated.

    • Robb Wolf
      March 15, 2013 at 1:34 pm

      Rachel-
      Just keeping an eye on dietary iodine…if you get any significant amount you MUST get adequate selenium…chris kresser may have this on his site.

  29. Gail
    April 9, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    I’ve been on Paleo for 3 months and doing fine, however, last Saturday & Sunday had Quinoa (grains) for the first time since I started. Today, two days later (Tuesday) my ears are so plugged…there is pressure in the ear…and I have hearing loss and noise & buzzing (almost like vertigo). Will this pass? What is your recommendation?

    • Robb Wolf
      April 9, 2013 at 5:10 pm

      Just get back to what was working.

      Experimentation is good! Really gives us solid feedback

  30. Kathy
    May 3, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Robb…have you any info on, someone with hypothyroid should NOT eat raw spinach or raw kale? My daughter has this and we have been blasting (nutribullet) for about 2 months. Our base ingredient IS spinach :(

  31. Deirdra Rogers
    May 13, 2013 at 8:44 pm

    Would your suggestions for an autoimmune diet help fibromyalgia? If not, do you know if any diet choices would?
    thanks.

    • Amy Kubal
      May 14, 2013 at 4:55 am

      YES! Autoimmune all the way!

  32. Lori
    July 4, 2013 at 8:47 am

    I have allergies, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, graves disease and thyroid eye disease, a walking autoimmune nightmare. I started Paleo Jan 9, 2012 and had normal inflammation markers for my RA by April. Over a year later, they’ve remained normal. I had my thyroid radiated in 2007 and take a thyroid medication now. Thyroid eye disease developed in 2011. It’s been mild, but certainly visible (your eyes start to bug out of your head).

    I had my husband take a photo of me the day I started Paleo (Jan 9, 2012) and again Nov 21, 2012. You can see a huge improvement in my eyes. I put the photos up here if anybody wants to check it out: http://rapaleo.momswithra.org/wp/?p=111

  33. Stephanie
    February 23, 2014 at 5:09 pm

    Hi! I have just started looking in to anti inflammatory and/or paleo diets. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, sjrogens and mixed connective tissue October 2013. Since that time I have gained 60 lbs!! My C Reactive Protein numbers are very high. My drs seem unconcerned and just want to give me a diet pill (I take 15 pills a day as it is) or say join weight watchers. I am very concerned-it is not normal to gain that kind of weight in so sort a time. Do you have any advice?

    • Amy Kubal
      February 23, 2014 at 5:55 pm

      I would suggest giving the Autoimmune Paleo protocol a shot. It will help decrease the inflammation and will likely help you normalize your C Reactive Protein and weight. Food is powerful medicine!

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