Treating Psoriasis with Diet and Supplements

Psoriasis is a complex skin disease affecting around 3% of the global population. It causes inflammation and scaling of the skin.

The disease achieves this by altering the way skin grows. Healthy skin goes through a cell turnover every month, but for people with psoriasis, the cells turnover 10 times faster than average. [1]

Medications, being overweight, smoking, genetics, and “dormant” viral infections in the body exacerbate the condition.

It’s important to know that psoriasis is not a condition that can be brushed aside like other skin conditions. If not treated, it can lead to psoriatic arthritis — a more severe inflammation of the joints, which affects almost a third of all people with psoriasis and leads to severely lowered quality of life. [2]

The conventional treatment for severe psoriasis is chemotherapy, just like the treatment for cancer, but this way of treating the disease comes with a very hefty price tag on both health and wellbeing.  For this reason, it is much easier and better to make certain changes in dietary and lifestyle habits and to take specific supplements as an effective and natural way of handling and treating this disease.

Causes of Psoriasis

Although the medical community is still unsure of what causes the disease, it may be due to a weakened immune system that leads a dormant virus in the body to become active again leading to the development of the disease. Conditions that weaken the immune system and cause the wake-up of a dormant virus include:

  1. Faulty dietary habits (diets rich in meat and dairy products and fried foods)
  2. Stress (which also prevents normal growth of cells essential for proper skin health)
  3. Poor liver function (also due to faulty dietary and lifestyle habits)
  4. Overactive immune system (due to the wake up of a dormant virus)
  5. Vitamin D deficiency (that influences gene expression)
  6. Problems with protein digestion (due to a faulty population of bacteria in the gut)
  7. Smoking — since some of the toxins in cigarettes are a food source for dormant viruses, and when stress levels are high, smoking will help a dormant virus become more active. Smoking also reduces immunity.

Symptoms of Psoriasis Include:

  1. The skin is cracked, discolored, and easily bruises or bleeds
  2. Sensitive lesions or loose skin
  3. Plaques of red skin that often have a silver or white crust
  4. Dandruff on the scalp
  5. Nails can detach, and there’s even growth of toenail fungus
  6. Skin problems are mostly on the legs, elbows, scalp, face, lower back, palms, and feet soles. 

Additionally, there are emotional issues and depression connected with the disease because many people who suffer from this condition find it embarrassing.

Best Dietary Practices for Psoriasis

Besides an overall healthier lifestyle with less stress or better ways of coping with stress, more exercise especially regular walks in nature on most days of the week, and maintaining a healthy weight, you will also need to make some dietary and lifestyle adjustments if you want to relieve the symptoms of psoriasis.

  1. Anti-inflammatory foods — As psoriasis is a disease that causes inflammation, your diet needs to be rich in anti-inflammatory foods. [3] These include: fruits and vegetables (especially wild blueberries, cherries, sprouts, asparagus, parsley — and other leafy greens, garlic, ginger, papayas, pomegranates cucumbers, kale ,and sweet potatoes). 
  2. Omega-3 Fatty Acid Rich Foods — including flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts. You can also take plant-based omega-3 supplements. [4]
  3. Antioxidant-Rich Herbs and Spices — thyme, ginger, cumin, sage
  4. Sufficient Vitamin D – Vitamin D is present in mushrooms exposed to the sun, fortified foods or from direct skin exposure to sunlight (see my article on the best way to get sufficient levels of this vitamin here: 
  5. Foods Rich in Zinc — including beans, lentils, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas
  6. Additionally, it’s also wise to concentrate your diet towards foods high in prebiotics (foods that feed a healthy population of gut bacteria). These foods include cultured vegetables, high-fiber whole foods (fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, seeds).
  7. Weight loss — A large study published in 2018 shows that a very effective way to handle psoriasis is to reduce your calorie intake, especially if you’re overweight. Weight loss also reduces stress on the body and eventually will improve your condition. [5]

Supplementation for Psoriasis

  1. Cat’s Claw — helps eliminate viruses from the body — take in liquid form
  2. Lemon Balm — helps eliminate viruses from the body — take in tablet form
  3. Spirulina — helps eliminate toxins from the body — take in powder or tablet form
  4. Licorice root — strengthens the elimination organs of the body — take as a tea to drink throughout the day (unsweetened)
  5. Quercetin and Vitamin C together — eliminate toxins from the body and strengthen the immune system — take in capsule form
  6. B- complex + B12 — strengthen the immune system and provide cells with energy
  7. vitamin D3 – take in liquid form or gel capsules 

These supplement in the links are the exact ones my clients used with significant improvement.

Feel free to comment below and let me know what you liked best about this article.

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Galit Goldfarb

References:

  • [1] Junko Takeshita, Sungat Grewal, Sinéad M.Langan. Psoriasis and comorbid diseases: Epidemiology. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology Volume 76, Issue 3, March 2017, Pages 377-390. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2016.07.064
  • [2] Christopher T. Ritchlin, M.D., M.P.H., Robert A. Colbert, M.D., Ph.D., and Dafna D. Gladman, M.D. Psoriatic Arthritis. March 9, 2017. N Engl J Med 2017; 376:957-970. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMra1505557
  • [3] Sikora, M., Chrab?szcz, M., Maciejewski, C., Zaremba, M., Wa?kiel, A., Olszewska, M., and Rudnicka, L. (2018), Intestinal barrier integrity in patients with plaque psoriasis. J Dermatol, 45: 1468-1470. doi:10.1111/1346-8138.14647
  • [4] Upala, S., Yong, W. C., Theparee, T. and Sanguankeo, A. (2017), Effect of omega?3 fatty acids on disease severity in patients with psoriasis: A systematic review. Int J Rheum Dis, 20: 442-450. doi:10.1111/1756-185X.13051
  • [5] Ford AR, Siegel M, Bagel J, et al. Dietary Recommendations for Adults With Psoriasis or Psoriatic Arthritis From the Medical Board of the National Psoriasis Foundation: A Systematic Review. JAMA Dermatol. 2018;154(8):934–950. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2018.1412