Biohacking Update: 12 months on the Autoimmune Protocol

9 monthsDecember 23rd is our 1-year AIP-iversary!

We started our long-term Autoimmune Protocol one year ago today.

One year ago, Matthew was almost debilitated by a constellation of chronic health issues. Despite all the conventional, alternative & downright weird things we’d tried in our attempts to reverse his autoimmune conditions over the previous five years.

12 months later, we’re elated & discouraged about the progress he’s made.

Reversing Autoimmune

There’s no question Matthew is reversing his autoimmune condition on the AIP. Reversing, slowly. Not curing.

All the experts say the once a body is in autoimmune response, it’ll always be inclined that way.

You can’t cure autoimmune.

But you can reverse it’s effects. Slowly. Through the nutritional & lifestyle hacks known collectively as the Autoimmune Protocol.

Here’s a brief summary of Matthew’s progress after 12-months on the AIP:

symptoms_12 months

And me?

I’ve been on the AIP for 12 months, too. Most of that time a ketogenic version. As a person without an autoimmune condition, I’m loving the results, which I’ve documented in the posts biohacking for peak experience & biohacking for career leverage.

A false start & a rough beginning

We’ve tried a bunch of nutritional protocols in our attempts to heal. From the specific carbohydrate diet to raw veganism, they all left Matthew somewhere on the continuum between worse & unchanged.

2012~2014Our first Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) was for 30 days in the summer of 2013.

We thought 30 days might do it!

When it didn’t, Matthew was pretty dispirited. And fairly hostile about the AIP. I’d been paleo for a couple of years and had experienced the alleviation of all of my symptoms, so I continued to be paleo after our first AIP experiment.

But Matthew insisted that regular paleo made him worse, so he reverted to all his SAD-old ways.

Turns out he was right. A regular paleo diet is insufficient and inflammatory for many people with autoimmune conditions.

A few months after our first AIP, we noticed that Matthew’s psoriasis symptoms had improved.  We traced the remission back to our 30-day AIP.

At the same time, his pain symptoms were getting steadily worse, along with his dependence on narcotic painkillers, which interfered with his ability to function & interact with people.

Then, in October of 2013, he developed inexplicable, debilitating nausea.

After further research, we decided to try a long-term AIP. Or, in truth, I did the research and I decided.

Matthew grudgingly agreed. He was severely compromised at that time & would never have been able to do the protocol, or the research required to find out about it, on his own.

Now he can.

Though this was only a year & a bit ago, it was before Dr Sarah Ballantyne’s book The Paleo Approach was published.

At that time the primary sources of information on the AIP came from the experimental blogs of AIP pioneers who were treating their own autoimmune diseases through nutrition & lifestyle. This movement is still being led by people who are taking their health into their own hands, and taking the time to blog about it.

low-FODMAP & ketogenic variations

It was only a couple of weeks into our long-term AIP, during which time I continued to research obsessively, that Matthew decided to try a low-FODMAP variation. He’s experimented with going off of it during the last year & always ends up back on it. He does better.

Last Spring I decided to experiment with an AIP-compliant version of the Wahls Paleo Plus, the ketogenic version of the Wahls Protocol. I liked it so much I decided to stick with a ketogenic AIP and have continued to experiment with different levels of carbohydrates.

What next?

A long time ago we resolved that we’re just going to keep trying.

Most of the things we’ve tried haven’t worked. Some have made Matthew worse. Occasionally, we have a breakthrough.

The AIP is a breakthrough.

We’re going to stick with it & keep trying new nutritional & lifestyle hacks in our quest for health and well-being.

Previous Biohacking Updates



18 thoughts on “Biohacking Update: 12 months on the Autoimmune Protocol

  1. Wonderful documentation of a gradual healing journey. I imagine it’s these first hand accounts that there inspire people the most.

  2. Good for you both for sticking to it. It`s really hard ( I often fall off the wagon and am always sorry) and discouraging when the results are so slow, but hang in there. I admire your writing, your effort and your honesty and I wish all the best to Matthew.

  3. First off, you both look healthier in the pictures from 2014! Congrats to that and for all your hard work in maintaining your health! Your complexions are much more full of color and energy! Cheers to a healthier new year and feeling even better than you do now!

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  9. Thank you so much for sharing. I wish I had the option to Pinterest this! Since the Wahls Paleo Plus is the most disciplined of all the levels did you ever join a Wahls community or any other groups for accountability and encouragement? If not, besides your determination where do you find the strength to continue each month after symptoms dissipate? Thanks –

  10. This is wonderful. Well done! My son was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis 2 months ago and he’s on a version of the AIP protocol and improving without meds. I know you’ve looked at various things already but you may be interested in and Gary Blier. We’re getting great results with it as it addresses bugs, parasites, and emotional issues. It’s totally natural. I’m not getting anything from mentioning it, it’s just that Gary seems to be helping many people with chronic issues. Good luck and God bless!

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  14. You both look so much healthier in the before and after pictures. I was improving on AIP until I had intense stress during my last semester of grad school. Everything went back to baseline. I have graduated and am hoping to beel better soon. I have been on the elimination phase for 7 -8 months. It only took 2 months to feel good when I started. It is amazing what stress and not enough sleep will do to the body.

    • Absolutely. The autoimmune protocol is a protocol, not just a diet. Stress management & getting sufficient sleep are key elements. I hope you can regain the progress you made previously now that there is less stress in your life.

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