Integrative Nutrition Blog

Insights on Autoimmune Health and Inflammatory Conditions

AIP Research

Apr 24, 2024 | Inflammation & Autoimmune Disease

There are a few small studies that investigated the impact that the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) has on autoimmune diseases. I love that this has been studied, because as a dietitian, I’m always looking for research to back up my recommendations. Here’s a rundown of these studies and the results.

AIP & Hashimoto’s

A 2019 study by Abbott, Sadowski and Alt examined the impact of the AIP in a health coaching program with personalized functional medicine care.

The study was designed as a single arm pilot study on women aged 20-45 with hashimoto’s thyroiditis. It was 12 weeks long and consisted of a 2 week washout period in the beginning of the study where the women were screened, answered questionnaires and provided blood samples. They then followed a 10-week intervention that included a 6 week food elimination process to reach the AIP baseline, and then a 4 week maintenance period. Certified health coaches provided virtual dietary guidance and lifestyle education.

There were 16 participants in the study. After the 12 weeks, symptom scores significantly improved (went from high 90s to low 50s). In terms of medication, the goal was to keep the women’s thyroid levels stable. By the end of the study, 6 out of 13 women decreased their medication and one switched to only T4. Three women were not taking medication at the start of the study and they did not need to add it by the end.

Overall, the participants lost weight, saw improved quality of life and almost half saw the need for less medication by the end of the study.

AIP & Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Study 1: Efficacy of the Autoimmune Protocol Diet for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

There have been a few studies on the impact of AIP and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). The first was in 2017 by Konijeti et al entitled Efficacy of the Autoimmune Protocol Diet for Inflammatory Bowel Disease. This was a single arm, open label pilot study with 15 men and women who had active ulcerative colitis or crohn’s disease. The study was 11 weeks long, with 6 weeks of an elimination diet to reach the AIP baseline, 4 weeks to maintain the diet and an additional week for testing. Researchers used the Harvey Bradshaw index or partial Mayo score to determine clinical remission. They also analyzed quality of life questionnaires, lab tests, endoscopic disease activity and changes in steroid use.

The 15 participants had an average of 19 years of disease and all had an active disease at the time of the study and were using biologics, steroids and immune suppressants.

The results of this study were fascinating. 73% of participants achieved clinical remission by week 6, before hitting AIP baseline. They all remained in remission for the remainder of the study. In addition, 1 participant discontinued medication completely, another participant stopped oral medication but continued suppositories, and 2 out of 3 patients stopped steroid therapy.

Study 2: The Autoimmune Protocol Diet Modifies Intestinal RNA Expression in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

This 2019 study was a follow up to the 2017 IBD study. Researchers took the endoscopy biopsies and examined the changes in the mucosal RNA expression from baseline to the end of the study. Five of the participants from the 2017 study had biopsies collected, but there was 1 patient with CD who was excluded from the study.

Researchers found that there was a down regulation (turning off) of inflammatory T-cell mediated responses and an up regulation (turning on) of regulatory T-cell response and function. This means that the AIP diet helped shift the immune system to reduce autoimmune symptoms.

Study 3: An Autoimmune Protocol Diet Improves Patient Reported Quality of Life in Inflammatory Bowel Disease

The last study of note was in 2019 and examined the quality of life impact on IBD patients. This was also an extension of the 2017 study using the same cohort. Researchers found that all participants saw an increase in their quality of life by week 11, and as early as week 3 saw significant improvements in bowel movements, stress, and ability to perform sports. This study demonstrated that the AIP can act quickly to improve quality of life.


Overall, AIP has helped improve the quality of life for 3 specific autoimmune diseases. In addition, it appears that diet alone can alter immune function expression to improve autoimmune disease symptoms. The AIP elimination diet may be an effective tool for helping people live with autoimmune diseases. However, more research is necessary to determine how it can help other autoimmune diseases. If you would like to try AIP but feel like you need additional support, please contact me. As an AIP Certified Coach, we can work together to improve your quality of life. In addition, follow me on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube for more tips to manage your autoimmune disease.

Join my Autoimmune tribe!

Subscribe to get my weekly newsletter, additional content, and promotional offers from The Autoimmune Dietitian right to your inbox.

Blog Archives

Let’s Connect

Get your FREE Ultimate Gut Guide to help heal your autoimmune disease!

Sign up below to download your free guide and join my amazing autoimmune tribe. You will be automatically enrolled in my weekly newsletter full of the latest nutrition Information. Additionally, you’ll be the first to know about recent promotions, nutrition news, and special events. I want to be able to provide you with the information you need to succeed. Let’s do this together!

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.