Psoriasis
149 Case Studies
92 Member Stories
1516 Research

What causes Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that stems due to rapid buildup of skin cells on the surface of the skin. Psoriasis can be triggered due to the number of reasons, which may include significant comorbidities that include arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, metabolic syndrome, depression, stress, and cardiovascular diseases.

The exact cause of psoriasis is not fully understood. The processes involved in the development of psoriasis as largely understood. Although cold climate and some form of injury can aggravate the problem they cannot be labeled as the cause of disease. The precise cause of psoriasis continues to elude the medical fraternity. However, ongoing research in this field has improved our understanding of this disease to some extent. The recent discoveries point to an abnormality in the functioning of key white cells in the bloodstream triggering inflammation in the skin. Because of the inflammation, the skin sheds too rapidly, every three to four days.


Psoriasis patients demonstrate high interest in the use of diet in their skin condition. However, data is lacking to characterize dietary interventions among psoriasis patients and related outcomes.

Scientific studies in Diet therapy for Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a disease which hampers the quality of life of patients. The extent of the effects of Psoriasis can reach up to chronic diseases such as depression, myocardial infarction, hypertension, etc.


You may have heard or read that one has to change the lifestyle and diet. But many questions remain regarding the psoriasis diet plan. What foods should you take? What foods do you avoid if you have psoriasis? Are eggs bad for psoriasis patients? How can I reduce inflammation of psoriasis?


Let’s take a look at what the research and scientific evidence says. For strict vegetarians, there are Ayurvedic diets and the scientific study that evaluated positive effect on Psoriasis patients [1].  


A scientific survey was conducted in US (a 61-question survey)  to the National Psoriasis Foundation membership asking psoriasis patients for assessing their personal dietary experiences. The data collected from 1206 psoriasis patients was regarding their dietary habits, modifications, skin responses, and perceptions. We can also see what patients who have gone through this phase had to say on how to practice a proper diet for psoriasis.  [2] The data recognized certain triggers and the triggering agents reported were –

Sugar

Alcohol

Tomato

Gluten

Dairy

Meat

Processed foods

Soda

Bread

Beer

Wine

Eggs

Spicy & Sour foods

This survey also reported the dietary items that significantly improved psoriasis.

Dietary supplements

Vegetables

Fruits

Water

Fish

Now we can discuss the dietary removals that might help in decreasing the symptoms of psoriasis.

Junk foods like candy and pastries, chocolate, French fries, potato chips, sweets

Nightshades like tomatoes, eggplant, peppers, paprika, white potatoes

Pork, Red meat, shellfish

Tobacco & Alcohol

White flour foods

High-fat food

Gluten

What is Gluten? Why is it bad for you?

Gluten is a group of proteins – the prolamins and glutelins - and can be found in cereal grains like wheat. It is a common ingredient in foods like bread, pasta, pizza, and cereal. These group of proteins is responsible for the elastic texture of the dough and can result in various gastrointestinal problems for people with celiac diseases. It can cause inflammation and damage to intestinal tracts.


Some people find that certain foods worsen their symptoms or others enhance skin inflammation.

It can be tricky to determine just what is changing your psoriasis symptoms because the condition itself tends to change over time -- with periods of remission alternating with times when your psoriasis gets worse. Studies have found that some people who have psoriasis may also be sensitive to gluten -- a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. In these individuals, avoiding gluten can ease their psoriasis symptoms.

Impact of calories and weight loss

Another popular conclusion about Psoriasis treatment is that weight loss may be a useful preventative and adjunctive therapy for the treatment of psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis. Some patients were given gastric bypass surgery and were obtained with positive outcomes. 4


Counting calories in the diet?

Some recent research shows that a low-carb, low-calorie diet may decrease the severity of psoriasis. In a 2013 study published in JAMA Dermatology, researchers gave participants a low-energy diet of 800 to 1,000 calories per day for eight months. Then they increased it to 1,200 calories per day for another eight months. Participants not only lost weight, but experienced a trend in decreased severity of psoriasis. Researchers theorized that obesity increases inflammation in the body, which makes psoriasis worse. Thus, a diet that results in weight loss could be helpful.


Calorie counting can help patients with psoriasis to an extent. Following an exercise routine and including Kale and Turmeric in diet along with other healthy greens can control weight to an extent. A healthy diet with a good amount of fruits and vegetables, lean protein and whole grains without gluten is a good idea for those looking for weight loss.

Does fish oil stop psoriasis flareups?

According to the Mayo Clinic, a number of studies have shown that Fish oil can improve symptoms of psoriasis. [5] In a 1989 study, participants were put to a low-carb diet supplemented with fish oil for four months. More than half experienced moderate or fantastic improvement in symptoms.[6] 

Can Paleo diet help to control Psoriasis?

A study done in 2017 of a survey done of psoriasis patients reported outcomes links the success in the control of psoriasis with Paleo diet.[2] The Paleo diet is also called a caveman diet or stone-age diet. It constitutes mainly meat, fish, vegetables, and fruit, and excluding dairy or grain products and processed food. But, the Paleo diet for psoriasis has a difference. 


Modifying your lifestyle for psoriasis

Along with other dairy products, processed foods and grains you need to reduce/avoid the following as well.

Eggs

Nuts and seeds

Nightshades like tomatoes, eggplants, pepper, etc.

Caffeine & Alcohol

Summary

Along with dietary feedback from psoriasis patients, you need to follow healthy lifestyle habits as well. Skin diseases are highly exacerbated if you are under stress. Reduce stress by indulging yourself in pleasant activities, meditation, yoga, etc. Sleep at regular hours and for a minimum of 6 hours. Avoid day sleep.

References

References –

1. Mehta, C. S., Dave, A. R., & Shukla, V. D. (2011). A clinical study of some Ayurvedic compound drugs in the assessment quality of life of patients with Eka Kushtha (psoriasis). Ayu, 32(3), 333–339. doi:10.4103/0974-8520.93909

2. Afifi L, Danesh MJ, Lee KM, et al. Dietary Behaviors in Psoriasis: Patient-Reported Outcomes from a U.S. National Survey. Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2017;7(2):227–242. doi:10.1007/s13555-017-0183-4 

3. Tirant, M., Lotti, T., Gianfaldoni, S., Tchernev, G., Wollina, U., & Bayer, P. (2018). Integrative Dermatology - The Use of Herbals and Nutritional Supplements to Treat Dermatological Conditions. Open access Macedonian journal of medical sciences, 6(1), 185–202. doi:10.3889/oamjms.2018.041

4. Debbaneh, M., Millsop, J. W., Bhatia, B. K., Koo, J., & Liao, W. (2014). Diet and psoriasis, part I: Impact of weight loss interventions. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 71(1), 133–140. doi:10.1016/j.jaad.2014.02.012

5. Mayo Clinic : Psoriasis diet: Can changing your diet treat psoriasis? https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/psoriasis/expert-answers/psoriasis-treatment/faq-20058054

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