Biohacking Update: 5 months on the Autoimmune Protocol

Veg5 months in review

On December 23, Matthew & I embarked on the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP).

Matthew is the man I love & he has multiple autoimmune conditions including Psoriasis, Psoriatic Arthritis and an undiagnosed severe dizziness & nausea that developed last fall and doctors think may be Ménière’s disease.

His body has been in autoimmune response since infancy so it’s a tenacious situation.

Matthew’s been on disability leave from work since January 1st, which is (in case you’re wondering) really stressful, as our life, which includes 3 teenaged children, really requires two incomes.

Though I don’t have any health issues that I know of, nutritional biohacking has become my hobby since I went Paleo a little over 2 years ago, and I’m all in for these experiments.

5 months of AIP variations

We’ve experimented with additional restrictions on the AIP over the past 5 months.

After a few weeks on the regular AIP, we first diverged into a low-FODMAP version, which we sustained for a few months until we encountered an AIP reset in March.

Soon after that, I started the Wahls Paleo Plus. Matthew recently joined me in a nightshade/seed/nut-free variation of the WahlsPaleo+ for a couple of weeks, but found that the coconut oil was exacerbating his nausea and he couldn’t continue.

Now he’s just back on a regular AIP, but still sticking with the WahlsPaleo+ format: two meals a day with fasting in between.

After 6 weeks in ketosis on the WahlsPaleo+ I’m hacking a semi-ketogenic variation which is giving me better energy for life & the stamina I need for exercise.

I think I may have found my sweet spot…

Health outcomes at the 5-month mark

Matthew

It’s still unpredictable. It’s not predictable at all. That’s the only thing I can say with any certainty.”

M&M 3Before the AIP reset in March (it involved gluten free toast & macadamia nuts), which occurred after 2½ months on the AIP, Matthew was starting to have some pharmaceutical-free days.

He’d also stopped snoring (weird) and started lucid dreaming, provoking a blog post exploring the possible connection between gut health and psyche health.

After the reset, both Matthew and I got pure again, but his symptoms reverted. Increased pain, increased nausea and resumption of snoring (weird).

It’s taken until now (another 2½ months) for him to begin to regain the progress he had made before the reset.

He has had one pharmaceutical free day (last week) and just recently stopped snoring again.

One improvement that has been steady is his psychological well-being.

Mental health is difficult to measure, but as someone who is always affected by his mood, I’d say that his emotional resilience is markedly improved, and therefore he is better able to manage the pain, uncertainty and stress of chronic illness.

Of course, he’s also been off work for almost 5 months, and it’s entirely possible that the reduction in work stress is partially or wholly responsible for this improvement.

paleo takes timeWe knew that this would be a long-term (perhaps eternal) intervention, but it’s still discouraging sometimes to see such slow progress.

But it’s actually not slower than expected.

It’s completely in line with what other AIPers have experienced. This 6-month update from the Field Notes on Healing blog is one example.

Petra

I recently posted a biohacking update, 40 days on the WahlsPaleo+, but I have a couple of quick things to add.

My decision to adapt the WahlsPaleo+ to include higher carb vegetables after intensive exercise came from a desire for greater physical stamina. Recently I started planning my higher intensity exercise for before one of my two daily meals & including 1 cup of higher carb vegetables (such as turnip or yam) in that meal.

Instantly my energy picked up and I’m back to my previous levels of vigour.

On days when my exercise is mild or moderate (walking or a short happy run-walk) I stick with the Wahlspaleo+ protocol & I go back into ketosis.

Even if a couple of days elapse between higher intensity exercise, my stamina is (so far) easily sustained & my energy is awesome.

The other thing I attribute this improvement to is Upgraded MCT oil, which I’m now taking daily, but it alone on a very low-carb ketogenic diet was not enough for me.

So now I’m in & out of ketosis. I’m still sticking with the 2 meals a day and all other parameters of the Wahlspaleo+. I’m not experiencing any hunger, even when I’m out of ketosis.

Aside from decreased energy & stamina, I also experienced menstrual irregularity as another outcome I am cautiously contributing to the WahlsPaleo+.

Cautiously because I’m a total research nerd and I’m wary of making any assumptions about attribution, but here’s my justification for the suspected relationship:

  • The WahlsPaleo+ diet preceded the irregularity;
  • The irregularity abated after I increased carbohydrates & kicked myself out of ketosis now & again;
  • Intermittent fasting has been linked to disrupted fertility & menstrual irregularities.

On the other hand, I am 43, and it is entirely possible that I’m simply peri-menopausal. Which would be great! All of my offspring are now over 6 feet tall, and I’m really amply sufficient with the assortment of children I have, so menstruation seems like a redundancy. But that’s an aside.

More to the point, my wish is that 5 months from now I’ll be able to write an update to share the news that Matthew’s health is substantially improved.

For reference, here’s an update after 2 months on the AIP.

 

 

14 thoughts on “Biohacking Update: 5 months on the Autoimmune Protocol

  1. Hey Petra,
    I like reading the update for both you and Matt. I feel for Matt…as I have had dizziness and nausea on and off for months and its is finally subsiding as I have totally weened myself from a sleeping pill med I had been taking on and off for years…realized it was a med side effect that can last for up to two years after you stop the med. I took get nausea if I eat too much coconut oil. We are such complex creatures.

  2. Great post! Really interesting so thank you for sharing. You know I’ve also found that excess coconut oil also makes me incredibly nauseous. This is the first I’ve heard of anyone else having this issue. Secondly, when I did my first whole foods detox last year, I immediately noticed lucid dreams as well. So interesting. And finally, mood is huge for me as well. Gluten for ex, makes my outlook negative and processed foods make me anxious. I have two autoimmune conditions that I’m trying to keep at bay. I also am feeling that I’ve left that sweet spot and need to get it back. Probably the best I felt was that 30 day super strict AIP month.

    • Interesting that you felt best after only 30 days on the AIP. I know I definitely feel best eating this way & I don’t even have an autoimmune condition! And I think ‘coconut oil nausea’ is actually quite common. I was able to overcome it by starting small & gradually increasing the amount I was consuming.

      • I need to get back on the super strict AIP detox but have had a few false starts! I’ve largely stayed grain and legume (& nightshade) free ever since February but nuts, eggs, and non-refined sugar is another story!

  3. I really enjoy your posts and following your diet changes. I follow the AIP paleo and also the candida diet. So, I eat very low carb. Anything with sugar causes me problems with my joint pain and other problems. I have . My Dr suspects that I have Menieres disease. I have found that when I eat low sodium, my balance is good and I don’t have ear pain. But even too much sauerkraut gives me problems. About 1 tsp is about all I can tolerate. Thanks for your blog!

  4. Pingback: An Adapted (semi-ketogenic) version of the Wahls Paleo Plus | petra8paleo

  5. Pingback: Biohacking Update: 6 months on the Autoimmune Protocol | petra8paleo

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  7. My husband had two major symptoms. Dizziness and severe nausea. Really couldn’t eat much at all in the end, just broth. Lost 30+ kg. Many investigations. ENT, Gastro- Scopes. All ok. Turned out to be gastroparesis. Raw food, spicy food, fats aggravate it terribly. But now under control. May be too simple but now ok as long as he doesn’t slip up. Enjoy your break from blogging. Love the blog 🙂 Andree

    • I’m so glad your husband figured that out. It’s so difficult to have unidentified, debilitating symptoms. I’m pretty sure Matthew has been checked for Gastroparesis as he’s been scoped every which way, but he’ll double check with his gastroenterologist to make sure it’s been ruled it out. Thanks for the tip! He certainly has taken a lot of narcotic pain medications, which is one of the risk factors for this condition.

  8. Pingback: Biohacking Update: 12 months on the Autoimmune Protocol | petra8paleo

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