Our modern information age is at once awesome and terrible:
Awesome: Science and academia are no longer just for Ivory Tower elites. Anyone, just about anywhere, can read, interpret, and provide constructive criticism of research, nearly as it is being published.
Terrible: The human tendency to form tribes and to attack anything that is not part of their tribes’ doctrine is put on steroids in the largely anonymous online world. New ideas are seldom analyzed for mechanistic merit. They are looked at through the lens of “consensus” which often seems to be a kind of Orwellian NewSpeak amounting to: Industry influence and Academic Inertia that cock-blocks curiosity and common sense.
The online world is an interesting balancing act of Citizen Scientists doing N=1 self experimentation (which ideally then drives review paper, pilot studies and Randomized Controlled Trials, RCT’s) juxtaposed with folks who make absolutely outrageous claims that defy the Laws of Nature.
There is absolutely a need for vetting, but curiosity has been replaced by a smug attitude generally wrapped in august trappings called “skepticism.”
In the past 20 years of suggesting that the Ancestral Health model might have much to offer, it’s been interesting to observe the nearly religious fervor on the parts of both supporters and detractors of various ideas.
Science does inch along and in the video below I look at a paper recently published on the Autoimmune Paleo protocol.
It is NOT the end, it’s the barest of beginnings, but it is quite promising.
In addition to unpacking that research I do my best to place it in the proper context of where the AIP approach is with regards to scientific investigation. I use the Mediterranean Diet as an example of how this process occurs and make a bit of an interesting discovery along the way. I also recently interviewed the study authors and you can check out that podcast here.
tl;dr? (or in this case didn’t watch? Here are some juicy take-aways:
1-This pilot study looked at people with active (medically documented) gastrointestinal disease with and AVERAGE of 20 years.
2-The 6 week pilot study saw all participants not only finish the trial, but they also experienced complete remission in disease symptoms.
3-The misapplication of the Mediterranean Diet concept may be at least partially implicated in the increase in non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
Joey Daoud says
Thanks Robb for sending me down a late night internet rabbit hole.
So a few things – first, really enjoyed your video and highlighting this study. I’ve had CD for 11+ years and your description of treatment is right on point.
It starts with an immunosuppressant drug. Then if things get worse up it to a biologic. Possibly surgery. Fingers crossed one of those solutions will solve everything. Or at least buy you some time between each step. Diet advice? If you eat it and it aggravates you, don’t eat it.
A few years ago I changed my lifestyle, starting with exercise and then nutrition. Your book played a large role. I dropped about 30 pounds, got in great shape. But that wasn’t enough to stop Crohn’s symptoms from returning (I never did a strict 90 day AIP, not sure it was designed at that point).
I got on Humira (in addition to azathioprine, which I’ve been on since being diagnosed). The pain cleared up. I’ve been in full remission for about 3 years.
I live an active lifestyle. I eat paleo-ish about 70% of the time. But I’m still on a lot of medication.
So when I watched your video describing this study, that was the first question that popped into my head – are the subjects on medication or are they trying to handle their symptoms through diet alone?
Looking at the study, nearly half were on a biologic. I can’t tell how many total were on any form of medication because of the way they did the table (or I could be missing something), but I’d bet it’s over half.
So there’s a lot of factors at play here besides the AIP. And this is a problem I run into myself. Am I in remission because of my lifestyle, because of Humira, or both?
It’s hard to self experiment because the consequences are severe. I don’t have much middle ground with my symptoms – I either feel 100% or my small intestine gets so inflamed I get full blockage and spend a week in the hospital. It’s very hard to tell what’s going on inside.
I’d like to see more overlap between lifestyle as treatment and getting off traditional drugs, because I’m sure most people that have IBD have been told their drug treatment is indefinite.
Matt Otto says
Joey, this looks like an old post but I thought I’d chime in. I just got out of the hospital for a bowel obstruction caused by my hernia surgery several years ago. As a way of getting rid of inflammation so I can heal from this I’ve gone on the AIP. I’m already Paleo… This decision was a no brainer for me because the pain I went through before the paramedics picked me up was the worst I’ve ever experienced and I don’t ever want to go through it again.
So my question is this, why on earth would you not try a strict AIP for 30 days? What do you have to loose and how could it be worse than UC?
Secondly, have thought that perhaps the inconsistency in your recovery is caused by the medication your on and not the diet intervention?
If your still taking immune suppressing medication how is your body ever supposed to take over the healing process once you eliminate the inflammatory influences?
– food for thought?
Brandy Urbanik says
Joey I have the same questions. I have had UC for 25 years and been on numberous medications including a 3 year stint of prednisone, AWFUL. I am currently doing well but have cleaned up my diet AND also take the biologic Remicade. I often wonder what if I stop taking the remicade and rely on diet alone. It never worked in the past but I never stuck with a strick diet for a long period of time because doctors always insist that diet and IBD are not related. I also had never tried the AIP without medications.
Like you mentioned I have been told the drug treatment is indefinite. With biologics we run the risk of not being able to take them again if we stop for a long period of time because our bodies can develop antibodies against the medication.
While I feel well now I worry about the long term effects these biologics could have on my body.
I realy like Paleo,but my cholesterol went sky up.I was on statin medication and stop it when
started PALEO.I have been treating hypothyroidism for 15 years ( I am 67).I did detox,took out silver filings from my teeth, I do not eat : shugar,wheat,dairy,What could else do to lower my cholesterol?.Excuse my English,it is not my mother tongue.
For some great info on thyroid related issues, check out this free ebook from our friend Chris Kresser https://chriskresser.com/thyroid/
Getting the thyroid issues in check may help. You could also play around with things like eating lower amounts of saturated fat to see what effect it had.
The High Cholesterol Action Plan is really good http://highcholesterolplan.chriskresser.com/.
I have had UC since a kid. I was on the medications, pentasa or asacal, (allergic to sulfa) next an immunosuppressant but I had horrible side effects with it. Biologic’s were just being discussed as a solution but it wasn’t official yet. I was at the point of surgery. That was my last option. I figured, what do I have to loose other than my colon? I’d started to become ok with that thought verses pain and sickness. But not before I stopped all of the medicine. Funny, the medicines had the same side effects as the condition. I used elimination to figure out gluten was an issue. I’m not Ceiliac but I definitely have allergic reactions. I stopped eating gluten. It was completely cleared in a year. I’m not saying do what I did. It’s just how it played out for me.