Is psoriasis affecting how you live your life?

pulses-fruit-vegetablesPsoriasis is an extremely common skin disorder and affects men and women equally. The rate of skin cell division in psoriasis is around 1000 times greater then normal skin and, even in uninvolved skin, psoriatics skin cells proliferate 2.5 times faster than nonpsoriatics.
Psoriasis is induced by a combination of genetics (there is a very strong family history link) and environment. The immune system may play a role in psoriasis and it is linked to coeliac and Crohn’s disease.
Although the trigger is commonly unidentified, there are many considerations when dealing with psoriasis:
– incomplete protein digestion or poor absorption increases amino acids and polypeptides in the bowel, where they are metabolised into toxins (toxic metabolites (polyamines) are increased in psoriatics).
– gut-derived toxins are implicated in psoriasis, such as Candida albicans and yeast. A low-fibre diet is linked to increased gut-derived toxins.
– liver function is critical as the liver filters and detoxifies portal blood from the bowel. If the liver is overwhelmed or it’s detoxification ability is decreased, systemic toxin levels increase and psoriasis worsens.
– alcohol worsens psoriasis, it increases toxin absorption by damaging gut mucosa and impairing liver function.
– bile acids normally detoxify endotoxins in the intestines so bile deficiency allows endotoxins to translocate into bloodstream where they release inflammatory messengers that aggravate psoriasis.
– serum free fatty acids are abnormal in psoriatics. Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA improve symptoms because EPA competes with arachidonic acid (arachidonic acid produces inflammatory leukotrienes, which are 250 times greater in psoriatics than normal).
– arachidonic acid is found in animal tissue so limiting intake of animal fats and dairy may be beneficial (trauma releases free arachidonic acid and plaques arise at sites of repeated trauma).
– psoriasis is linked to body mass index so if you’re overweight it may be beneficial to lose some.
– aspirin and NSAIDs may exacerbate psoriasis.
– vitamin A and zinc are critical to skin health and are commonly decreased in psoriatics.
– chromium increases insulin receptor sensitivity and psoriatics tend to have increased serum insulin and glucose.
– vitamin D3 plays a role in immune system regulation and controlling skin cell proliferation and differentiation. People with severe psoriasis have very low serum vitamin D.
– stress – a high proportion of psoriatics have stressful events within a month of their initial episode.
Dietary approach:
– limit sugar, meat, animal fats and alcohol.
– increase dietary fibre, especially vegetables (particularly carrots, tomatoes, red peppers) and fruit.
– eat at least 150g wild cold-water fish (salmon, mackerel, herring) each day.
– normalise weight if necessary and identify and address food allergies if appropriate, particularly gluten.
If you would like to learn more or get help with your skin condition, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Written by

Claudia Williamson Registered Nutritional Therapist DipION, FdSc, mBANT, mCHNC Tunbridge Wells, Kent