The Wahls Protocol: A Radical New Way to Treat All Chronic Autoimmune Conditions Using Paleo Principles
Fully expanded with new information and updated research, a clear prescriptive guide about how to beat autoimmune conditions using functional medicine and nutrient-rich foods, from a doctor, researcher, and sufferer of progressive multiple sclerosis.
The Wahls Protocol has become a sensation, transforming the lives of people with autoimmune diseases. Now in this fully revised edition, Dr. Terry Wahls outlines the latest research that validates the program and offers new, powerful tools to arm readers and helps them achieve total health.
The Wahls Protocol comes out of Dr. Wahls’ own quest to treat the debilitating symptoms she experienced as a sufferer of progressive MS. Informed by science, she began using Paleo principles as guidelines for her unique, nutrient-rich plan. This book shares Dr. Wahls’ astonishing personal story of recovery and details the program, with up-to-date research she’s now conducting at the University of Iowa.
Split into three different levels, this updated edition allows readers to choose the modified Wahls Diet if they’re new to the regime, the Wahls Paleo Diet if they’re ready to amp up their health, or the more advanced Wahls Paleo Plus Diet if they need more aggressive treatment. They can also incorporate the just-added Wahls Elimination Diet into their plan to pinpoint individual food sensitivities, so their diet is as personal as ever.
With new recipes and content on intermittent fasting and how the protocol impacts the microbiome, The Wahls Protocol is a key addition to the “whole food” revolution, and a deeply moving, results-driven testimonial to the healing power of food.
A Note to the Reader
Preface to the Revised Edition
Part One | BEFORE YOU GET STARTED
Chapter 1: The Science of Life, Disease, and You
Chapter 2: Autoimmunity, Inflammation, and Chronic Disease:
Conventional Versus Functional Medicine
Chapter 3: Getting Focused: Wahls Protocol Prep
Part Two | EATING FOR YOUR CELLULAR HEALTH
Chapter 4: The Wahls Protocol 101
Chapter 5: Mastering the Wahls Diet
Chapter 6: Wahls Paleo
Chapter 7: Wahls Paleo Plus
Part Three | GOING BEYOND FOOD
Chapter 8: Reducing Toxic Load
Chapter 9: Moving for Healing
Chapter 10: What to Know About Drugs, Supplements, and Alternative Therapies
Chapter 11: Managing Stress and Increasing Physical, Metabolic, Mental, and Emotional Resilience
Chapter 12: Recovery
Epilogue: The End of My Story, the Beginning of Yours Wahls Recipes
Appendix A: The Wahls Protocol Complete Food Lists
Appendix B: Nutrient Comparison Tables
Appendix C: Resources
About the Author
PREFACE TO THE REVISED EDITION
MUCH HAS HAPPENED since the first edition of The Wahls Protocol was published in 2014. When I first found myself in the spotlight and under the scrutiny of my professional colleagues, I received a lot of pushback about the contents of this book (and my TEDx talk). Since then the world and the priorities of science and medicine have changed dramatically. Today there is a huge amount of research published about the influence of diet and lifestyle on human health. This is no longer a new or controversial topic. We have gone mainstream. Other concepts have become popular topics of research as well, such as the microbiome and the gut-brain axis, which directly influence human health, and which are largely shaped,
fueled, and influenced by both food and lifestyle.
What has driven this change? To a large extent, you have. It was difficult to get our first paper published, which described the preliminary data on the first ten subjects in our trial who had secondary progressive MS and who, with the implementation of the Wahls Protocol, experienced a statistically (and more important, clinically) significant reduction in fatigue. Now, research like this is hardly unusual, and that is because you wanted to know. You demanded answers. You knew, instinctively, that food and lifestyle influence health. You wanted options beyond the latest disease-modifying drugs. You wanted to take control of your own health.
That has led doctors, scientists, the media, and those who fund research to sit up and pay attention. The National MS Society (NMSS) monitors social media to understand the interests and needs of their constituency—people with MS. When The Wahls Protocol was first published, there was a dramatic uptick in the mentions about diet, exercise, lifestyle, and the Wahls Protocol, which eclipsed all the mentions about all the drug disease-modifying therapies! This ultimately led the NMSS to have a wellness conference, and they invited me to attend. They had 45 scientists and 45 patients with MS (I was a twofer). I urged the NMSS to create a new peer review process for dietary intervention studies since it is a very different
science from drug development. I also urged the NMSS to create resources so patients would know about the Wahls diet, the Swank diet, the Mediterranean diet, and gluten-free diets, including the limited research behind each diet and the potential benefits and risks of each diet.
The NMSS1 did create those educational resources and did make diet and lifestyle interventions for wellness a research priority. They also funded our research lab to conduct a study comparing the Swank diet to the Wahls diet, with a million-dollar four-year grant.2 We will be analyzing the data in 2020 and presenting our results once the analyses are completed. That is because of you.
Since 2014, we have been busy. We have had all of our subjects complete twelve months of the protocol. The second paper was published, which also showed a significant reduction in fatigue and improvement in quality of life. The third paper showed a reduction in anxiety and depression scores, and improved verbal and nonverbal reasoning.3 All this is remarkable.
Next, we completed a randomized controlled trial, but this time, our subjects had relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis only. People were randomized to receive diet instruction right away, or at 12 weeks. We measured clinical outcomes at baseline and 12 weeks and demonstrated that our diet was associated with significantly less fatigue, improved quality of life, and improved motor function.
We recently published another paper that showed our diet increased HDL (“good”) cholesterol and that this was associated with less fatigue in MS patients. A further dietary analysis will be coming in a future paper.
After that, we did a randomized controlled trial comparing the original Wahls Diet to the Wahls Paleo Plus ketogenic diet, to investigate whether the ketogenic version was more beneficial than the original Wahls Diet. The results of this study will be forthcoming in a future publication.
I cannot overstate the significant ways our research has changed research into this area. Other investigators are now talking about our work. Since The Wahls Protocol was published, there have been hundreds of scientific papers about diet and MS published and available on PubMed. Only a few involve actual clinical trials, and most of these came from our lab.
I also have collaborations with other scientists here at the University of Iowa to investigate how our protocol impacts the microbiome and vision function. We are also developing collaborations with MS researchers at other universities who have expertise in lipids, metabolomics, vitamin K and vitamin A, and brain structure analyses. We have more data to analyze and more papers to write.
In addition to my research, I remain committed to public education. I have created a website and newsletters, recorded my lectures, and given lectures around the country. I do webinars, interviews, radio shows, and talk shows. One of the highlights of my career was when I was awarded the 2018 Linus Pauling Award, presented to me by the Institute for Functional Medicine, for my contributions as a researcher, teacher, clinician, and patient advocate.
I have joined the faculty of the Institute for Functional Medicine, teaching dietary approaches to reduce neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration for the IFM advanced practice module on energy. I lecture for the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine. I also work with philanthropists who believe in our mission of testing how a therapeutic diet and lifestyle interventions create health and control neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration. I travel across the country and around the world, teaching the public, clinicians, and research scientists about the use of therapeutic diets and lifestyles to create a more healing environment for our cells.
Many health professionals who had been forced to stop working because of their health challenges discovered my work and restored their health. During that journey, they too have found new purposes.
They have often transformed their clinical practices and have become certified Wahls Protocol Health Professionals. They have shifted the focus of their clinical work toward using therapeutic diet and lifestyle within the realm of their clinical expertise. We have in-person and virtual health professional training programs, which you can also learn about at terrywahls.com.
I also have a small private practice where I complete comprehensive assessments and provide six months of support to help people implement the recommendations. Details of the types of programs I offer can be found on my website.
And now I can offer you a revised, updated version of The Wahls Protocol. This edition is full of new information, including new scientific developments, further understanding of old concepts, more references to more new research, and more things you can add to your Wahls Protocol arsenal. I’ve also included some new recipes, new testimonials, and my assessment of what is new and important in the world of health and wellness. I’ve also expanded many of the discussions in this book to apply to people with chronic diseases other than MS, as I meet and learn about people using the Wahls Protocol to resolve a wide variety of health challenges. Even if you read this book before, it’s worth another look now so you can keep up with the latest developments and tools available for you.
We are very optimistic about the future. We have just recently published four papers with one more under review. All are about the role of diet in multiple sclerosis. Three analyze data from our previous studies. The others look at how diet composition may influence MS-related symptoms and disease activity. And other scientists are now also making the case that diet and lifestyle factors impact the risk of developing autoimmune issues, including MS.
I could not have done any of this without my Wahls Warriors behind me. We will always have more to learn, but the more we learn, the more you can benefit, and the more you can benefit, the more the world changes. Our epidemic of health is spreading—it’s contagious, indeed, and I can only hope that someday, the knowledge that food, movement, and lifestyle are the most important factors for health will be the standard of care in every doctor’s office and every clinical trial the world over.
This revised edition is my thank-you. I want to take you along with me into the future. No matter what else is happening in the world, I have hope because I see how far you have come, how much more you demand, how dedicated you are to change—and how that has changed the world for the better.
About the author:
Terry L. Wahls, M.D, is a clinical professor of medicine at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine in Iowa City. She has made it her mission to spread the word about the Wahls Protocol through the book, her lectures and seminars around the globe, her website, The Wahls Research Fund, and her Wahls Protocol Seminars for the public and health professionals. Dr. Terry Wahls lives in Iowa City, Iowa, with her wife and daughter. Her son, Iowa state senator Zach Wahls, is the author of the New York Times bestseller, My Two Moms.
Reviews about the ebook The Wahls Protocol
- Rob Art:
I admit it’s very likely that the only reason I even heard of Dr. Terry Wahls in the first place was that I have MS. This is a shame. I believe I have a responsibility to help spread the word and get the information out there. Even though I’m definitely NOT grateful for having this disease, I truly believe my loved ones, future children and I obtained the most valuable information we have come across as a consequence of my MS. I promise this is not an overstatement. I started following an early, basic version of the Wahls Protocol the day after watching Dr. Wahls’ TEDx Talk last October. I explored her website, read and listened to countless interviews, and read her first book Minding my Mitochondria- and in November 2013 I started a more strict approach to diet and lifestyle based on her recommendations. It was hard for my wife to live with these changes and have to put up with my new dietary limitations, but I did it anyway. I have to admit I did NOT really feel anything different at this point. In March 2014 everything changed. The Wahls Protocol was finally released (I had pre-ordered since November). I gave the book a first read in less than 24 hrs and immediately had ten times more information. In this book, Dr. Wahls goes into detail about every aspect of the dietary and lifestyle changes she recommends, which includes supplements, exercise, electrical stimulation, meditation, etc., and she details three different versions of the Wahls diet so anyone can find a level they can learn to live with.This is where it gets interesting. I actually convinced my wife and my mother to read the book and follow different levels of the protocol with me for one month. Just to give it a test drive. It has been three weeks today, and the results have been noticeable:
– I have RRMS and am still in the early stages of the disease so when I’m in remission, which is 90% of the time, I have no symptoms. Or so I thought! It turns out, I actually DID have fatigue issues and brain fog! These things have probably been developing slowly inside me for years so I didn’t even notice them until I was gone! In ONLY three weeks I have felt a real change and am honestly amazed at how different I feel. I know it sounds hard to believe, but you have to try before you judge. I have been on the Wahls Paleo (i.e. intermediate level of the diet).
I personally haven’t completely applied the principles of this book The Wahls Protocol, but I have liked the changes I did make. I found out about it from my daughter-in-law. She has MS, and doing this diet — she does the Paleo level— has totally changed her life.
She can work now, and at a job where she’s on her feet the whole time, sometimes until midnight, whereas before she could do very little and it could take months to bounce back from a relapse.
At one point she was even getting special shots for knee pain at $800 a pop so she could even walk. Those are completely unnecessary now. She’s always been pretty, but she’s glowing now.
My son no longer has to take care of her in the way he had to before and even though he has no health problems, he’s felt better eating this way, too. I just can’t say how grateful I am to Dr. Wahls for making this available.
Well written, well documented, and extremely interesting – a must-read for everyone with chronic health issues. Or everyone who works with conventional medicine and thinks diet and lifestyle is just a cute add on in treatment buy ebook The Wahls Protocol.
- Med Adbib:
Unfortunately, conventional medicine has a systematic yet academic view of autoimmune diseases like MS which jeopardize the health of many people due to the misunderstanding of the scientific facts described by terry, and her book The Wahls Protocol, as well as her personal story, are in my opinion the ultimate proof of the veracity of this conclusion, I am grateful for having bought it before taking a risk using drogues, the protocol and the lifestyle presented will have a positive impact on the situation of any individual suffering from MS even those with an advanced state, and as multiple sclerosis patients my self, I am now living my life to the fullest by means of the protocol so I highly recommend it to all MS patients.
I bought this book The Wahls Protocol as I have a chronic autoimmune condition and doctors can’t help much without filling me with dangerous tablets which I always refused. I’ve been controlling symptoms with diet but felt I needed to be more strict and get more knowledge about what helps and what doesn’t. This book helped me a lot. Very easy to understand even for people without medical knowledge, very well structured, and interesting. Doesn’t seem that you are reading a medical book or anything. I read it in a week on my holidays. Everyone should read this book The Wahls Protocol and try to follow the diet as close as possible even without an autoimmune condition. I’m glad I bought it and wish I have done it sooner. Many people wouldn’t need medication if they practiced a good diet. Everyone must read this book but especially if you have autoimmune, cancer, diabetes, asthma, vascular conditions, cardiac conditions, fertility problems, and undiagnosed conditions. I’m the cooker in the house and very slowly and progressively will put everyone on this diet (don’t say anything) 😉