For the last several years at Autoimmune Wellness we’ve marked the start of the New Year with a “State of AIP Address.” Today is the first time we are doing it as a brand new decade begins, which makes this address feel important! It’s an opportunity to introduce all the new members of our community to the roots of AIP (read more at The History of the AIP Movement), plus review the prior year and discuss potential areas of growth for the future.
We are doing our best to embody the concept of servant leadership (something we truly believe in, not just something we say!) as we continue to work to strengthen the AIP movement and potentially influence the future standard of care for those newly diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. The best way to do that is by making sure you, our community, know where we have recently focused our energy and where we are planning to pour it in the future. As before, this yearly post will serve that purpose, giving you a chance for input and ensuring AIP arrives as a mainstream option with your needs out front.
Thanks for being here with us! We always love your feedback and this year we are running our survey so you can help shape this movement (and as our thanks for giving us some feedback, you’ll be entered to win a big giveaway!).
So, what happened in the AIP movement in 2019?
The results of our 2018 AIP Hashimoto’s Study were published.
In record breaking time (just 10 months from idea to publication!), the results of the second-ever medical study of the Autoimmune Protocol were published by the journal, Cureus. All of you helped us fund that research produced in conjunction with our medical director Dr. Rob Abbott, so we made sure the journal we published with made it free for everyone to read. If you’d like to read the full article now, you can find it here. (It’s best read on a desktop vs. your phone.)
The AIP Hashimoto’s study found an online diet and lifestyle program facilitated by a multi-disciplinary team can significantly improve health related quality of life and symptom burden in middle-aged female subjects with Hashimoto’s. While the results in thyroid hormones were complicated by many participants decreasing medication doses and weight loss, the study’s findings suggest that AIP may decrease systemic inflammation and modulate the immune system as evidenced by a decrease in mean hs-CRP and changes in white blood cell (WBC) counts. Additionally, improvements seen in quality of life and participants’ symptom burden as well as markers of immune activity and inflammation, mean that further studies, for longer duration and in larger populations are warranted, as statistically significant changes with thyroid function and antibodies may be seen with a bit more time utilizing AIP.
The results of our 2018 AIP IBD Survey Study were published.
In summer 2018 Dr. Gauree Konijeti (the same gastroenterologist who we partnered with on the first-ever AIP study in 2016) reached out to see if she could get our help to survey those with IBD in the AIP community. Dr. Konijeti and her team wanted to find out how using AIP had impacted patients with IBD (Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis) over a longer time frame than we had studied originally. They were especially curious to know what their reintroduction process had been like, and frankly, we were too!
A total of 78 people submitted surveys. They had a mean age of 39.4 years and a mean IBD duration 13.2 years. A large majority had used steroids and 35% were on immunosuppressive drugs when they completed the survey. Here are some highlights on what was found:
- Much like the first AIP IBD study, 73% of the participants perceived achieving clinical remission due to AIP! Yes, you read that right!
- Of those on steroids, 32% reported discontinuing steroids after starting AIP.
- A majority of them started reintroducing foods between 5 weeks and 1 year of starting AIP (only 13% needed longer than 12 months to start reintroduction).
- Not surprisingly to those of us who’ve been utilizing AIP for years and learning about how these foods affect us, nightshades and gluten were the food groups that most patients said they were unable to successfully reintroduce.
To learn in-depth about the study methods, measures, analysis, and results, you can access the full article here.
We got EVEN more research funded and executed!
In the 2018 we met Lucy Mailing, PhD at the Ancestral Health Symposium and she asked us if we could do a study in 2019. Knowing our community wants research and would support fundraising for it, we confidently told Lucy, yes!
As soon as 2019 began, we started to put plans in place to collaborate on a medical study focusing on the impact of AIP on eczema and psoriasis. Doctor’s Data, in a partnership led by Dr. David Quig, generously supplied discounted laboratory testing, plus Lucy had already secured grants and other forms of funding, but we needed to crowdfund the remaining $8,000 to pull off our study for $20,000 total (which is lean for medical research!). Our amazing, supportive community helped us pull it off in a matter of weeks. Thank you again!
In September 2019, we enrolled 34 people with eczema or psoriasis who met the criteria for the study and they began the process of transitioning to AIP through Angie’s program, SAD to AIP in SIX. It is too early for results, but we are definitely looking forward to seeing the published study sometime this year! (And yes, we are pestering Lucy to hurry!)
Mickey released her newest cookbook, The Nutrient Dense Kitchen.
Since publishing her first cookbook devoted to the Autoimmune Protocol (The Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook) in 2014, Mickey realized that the most overlooked and powerful concept when utilizing AIP is nutrient density. So, she went back to her kitchen and developed a brand-new collection of recipes for us and released it in 2019. The Nutrient-Dense Kitchen, naturally, was a huge hit, with Instant Pot recipes, recipes that take 45 minutes or less, one-pot recipes for easy cleanup, plus low-FODMAP, ketogenic/low-carb, and coconut-free recipes. And, meal plans too! She thought of everything and helped us all focus on nutrient density with ease.
We graduated over 100 more AIP Certified Coaches.
The 2019 class of AIP Certified Coaches once again included MDs, NDs, Pharmacists, DCs, RDs, PTs, RNs, PAs, fitness coaches, mental health professionals, NTP/Cs, CHCs, Herbalists, LaCs, and other types of practitioners. We are overjoyed to share that AIP Certified Coaches continue toincorporate AIP into their practices all over the globe. (Looking for a coach? Check out the AIP Certified Coach Directory!)
These practitioners are now part of our growing “army” of AIP-trained professionals, able to make an enormous impact on the chronic illness epidemic. With millions diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in the United States alone, we are still growing this army–we are currently enrolling for our first cohort of 2020 (visit the AIP Certified Coach training page for more details about signing up!).
The AIP community flexed its fundraising capacity!
Through a successful launch of The Essential AIP Resource Library in May and November, we were able to raise over $13,000 for organizations that support the autoimmune community through research, advocacy, education, and real-food access. Over 30 recipe authors, bloggers, and contributors collaborated to bring this high-value, low-cost resource to the community and all of you helped us donate this money with your purchases.
Our favorite rock star doctor landed a huge research grant.
Our friend, Dr. Terry Wahls, who has been an absolutely astounding leader in the autoimmune community both in sharing her personal story battling multiple sclerosis and in conducting research on autoimmune disease, received a $2 million gift from Dr. Howard Urnovitz to support the Wahls Therapeutic Lifestyle fund. Dr. Wahls will be using the money in her current longitudinal study using diet and lifestyle versus medication to help treat multiple sclerosis. We could not be happier for her or more grateful for her work.
What is next for 2020?
We’re launching an AIP research-focused non-profit!
During 2019 we continued to get the word out about AIP medical research, including through a panel discussion at the annual Nutritional Therapy Association Conference with conventionally trained doctors and researchers we’ve partnered with and through a presentation about the AIP Hashi’s study at the Ancestral Health Symposium. This awareness raising has continued to gain the attention of other doctors and researchers, while you, our supportive community, have continued to show us you want to give your money to these efforts. We realized that after several years of kicking the idea around, we are ready to pull the trigger. In 2020 we will be creating a non-profit focused on autoimmune research, the AIP Research Alliance!
We need your help though! Try as we might, we aren’t able to do ALL the things we’d like to do for the AIP community and we need a team willing to help us get this mission off the ground. We are beginning the process of looking for startup volunteers who are able to donate their time and expertise for the initial non-profit creation period.
Even though we know this will require a heavy lift, we think a non-profit focused on securing funding for and spearheading AIP-focused research is ultimately worthwhile to serve the larger autoimmune community through this novel approach. We’d love to have you join us!
We’ll be looking for:
- 501(3)c non-profit creation consultant (guidance on board creation and mission/vision statements)
- Lawyer (initial legal set-up)
- Social Media Marketing Manager
- Web Designer
- Graphic Designer (logo)
- Grant Writer (this position may not be needed until a Phase 2)
- Other (is there another way you’d like to help out?)
Once we’ve narrowed in on a volunteer team, we’ll start the process, hoping to have the AIP Research Alliance up & fully functional by the end of 2020. If you think you can help us fill any of the above temporary roles, you can apply here!
Season 4 of The Autoimmune Wellness Podcast
You may have noticed that last year we had plans to launch Season 4 of The Autoimmune Wellness Podcast, but then it never aired. We promise we did not forget our loyal listeners! It turned out that 2019 handed us both some very big personal challenges, while our professional commitments didn’t let up one bit. We tried to model what we teach all of you and trim back where we could in order to best serve our health. That meant that the podcast didn’t make the cut, but never fear! We’ve got an amazing concept all sketched out and we’re lining up awesome guests to interview for our next season–stay tuned!
There you go! This has been your 2020 “State of AIP” Address! We hope the review of last year and an overview of plans for this year was useful. Whether this is your first “State of AIP” address, your second, or maybe you were around before we started them, we sincerely appreciate that you’re here with us and hope to serve you even better in 2020. Happy New Year everyone!
Now help us decide where to focus our energy!
We are directing our energy with some of your input and we take your contribution to this movement seriously. We would love your input on how we’ve been doing as leaders in the AIP movement and what we can do next. We are taking feedback in the form of a reader survey during the month of January. Best yet, after sharing your feedback with us you’ll be entered into our epic giveaway!