Psoriasis and nutrition
If you suffer from psoriasis you would know how helpless it can make you feel. One of the most basic ways to fight the disease is to regain control of your life through tweaking your diet. In this article I will discuss what is now known about making dietary modifications which can assist in treating psoriasis.
But first I would like to admit that despite recent research on the subject, the jury is still out because at the moment there’s limited evidence that supports the notion that diet has any major impact on psoriasis. However, many people who suffer from the condition are adamant that changing their diets has helped in finding some relief. However, it goes without saying that losing excess weight and improving the levels of blood sugar and cholesterol is good for you even if it does little for your skin or joints.
I’m sure you’re aware that notwithstanding the potential benefits which are associated with changing your diet, there is the potential downside of having to spend time energy and often money on something you might not really enjoy. This is something for you to consider before deciding on a course of action. In any event, I recommend that you discuss your different options with your healthcare professional and make sure that you don’t do anything that might actually make things worse.
Generally speaking, there are four main areas you ought to consider before deciding to change your diet:
A 2014 study linked obesity to an increased risk for psoriasis. Researchers found that a higher body mass index (BMI) is linked with an increased risk for developing psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, as well as an increase in the severity of the disease. Please note that there is a lot of debate regarding the accuracy of BMI measurement for fatness.
The author of the study, said that obesity may provide the nudge that triggers psoriasis in people who are already predisposed to it. The researchers also found that in overweight individuals, losing weight may improve the effectiveness of treatments. Fat cells secretecytokines, which are proteins that can trigger inflammation, so effectively losing weight is like reducing fuel for the fire.
A United Kingdom based study from the same year also identified a link between weight loss and a decrease in psoriasis severity. This study focused on a "dietary intervention" combined with systemic treatment, including exercise, over the course of 20 weeks.
It became evident that there was a clear correlation between the amount of weight loss and the improvement of psoriasis. Patients who lost more weight experienced a larger improvement in psoriasis. However, even a small amount of weight loss can have a big impact on disease severity.
The long-term impact of a dietetic intervention on psoriasis remains to be explored. But the results of this particular study emphasise the importance of weight loss as part of an overall treatment for individuals who suffer from both conditions.
And if this is not enough…
As well as the improvement in psoriasis severity indicated by these results, there are numerous other things that might encourage obese patients with psoriasis to lose weight. Psoriasis, especially if severe, is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular illness and mortality. Weight loss reduces cardiovascular risk factors (e.g. hypertension, diabetes and high cholesterol). In addition, obesity may reduce the healing effect of different medications.
We know that fat is an inflammatory tissue, so maintaining a healthy weight—and reducing overall body fat—may result in a reduction in systemic inflammation. Even more so, there is evidence that this may, in turn, help with improvement in symptoms of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. We all have to eat to survive, so we might as well eat those foods that might benefit our health.