Tips For Managing Psoriasis10/08/2022, Benjamin Wellman, Clinical Physiologist
Psoriasis is an immune-mediated disease (characterised by inflammation caused by dysfunction of the immune system) that causes inflammation in the body. There may be visible signs of the inflammation such as raised plaques (plaques may look different for different skin types) and scales on the skin.
Worldwide it has been shown to impact 3% of the population, it shows a lower prevalence in Asian and some African populations, and up to 11% in Caucasian and Scandinavian populations.
When compared to healthy subjects, psoriasis individuals can exhibit hyperlipidemia (high blood cholesterol levels), hypertension, coronary artery disease, type 2 diabetes, and increased body mass index.
Within this chronic autoimmune disease, immune cells attack the skin, causing visible and uncomfortable lesions.
The underlying inflammatory response speeds up skin cell growth. As a result, this production in skin cell growth causes a build-up on the surface of the skin, which turn into psoriasis plaques and scaly bumps. This can also cause joint inflammation, one in three people with psoriasis may also develop psoriatic arthritis.
Cytokines are the primary agents that cause this immune response, if left poorly controlled the body’s levels of inflammatory cytokines increase.
Increasing your intake of high anti-inflammatory sources can help reduce these symptoms such as:
- Turmeric & black pepper
- Berries (Blueberries, blackberries, etc.)
- Oily fish (Salmon, Mackerel, Sardines)
- Green tea/Matcha Tta
- Broccoli, peppers, omatoes
- Dark chocolate
It is also important to consider your exposure to environmental toxins which will drive inflammation and agitation. This would be to start replacing creams, face/body washes, and wash powders that include no Sulphates, Parabens, or other toxic chemicals.
Here are some psoriasis-specific body washes:
- Cetaphil gentle skin cleanser.
- CeraVe hydrating cleanser.
- Aquanil cleanser.
Evidence has shown that the gut microbiota plays an important role in immune response and can affect distant organ systems, including the skin.
This is displayed within the pathogenesis of psoriasis as it can be provoked or exacerbated by an abundance of specific pathogens, types of bacteria, viruses, and fungi within the gut. This interaction between skin and microbiome can be due to an increase in inflammatory mediators, metabolites, and intestinal barrier permeability.
Restoration of the microbiome through dietary changes is a positive preventative strategy to reduce the inhibition of immune responses within the gut and suppress inflammation to reduce psoriasis symptoms.
The use of probiotic food and drinks might be beneficial to help with bacterial diversity within the gut (Kombucha, Tempeh, Kimchi, Sauerkraut, and Kefir).
A variety of different brightly coloured fruits and vegetables to help promote gut bacterial diversity, i.e. think of the rainbow. Try to include blue, purple, green, red, yellow, etc fruits and vegetables.
Nutritional influences can help improve inflammatory markers and therefore suppress the immune response.
- Saturated fats (Sausages, pies, fatty cuts of meat, eggs)
- Dairy products (Cream, cheese, butter)
- Refined sugars (Chocolate, confectionary, biscuits, cakes, bread)
- Red meats
- Smoking or alcohol
- Poly/Monosaturated fats (Omega 3 supplementation, oily fish, avocados, walnuts)
- Vitamin D supplementation
- Vitamin B12 supplementation
- Selenium (Protein from fish, organ meats such as liver, eggs)
- Dietary fibre (Beans, legumes, pulses, vegetables, whole grain products)
- Vitamins A, C, E (Carrots, oranges, grapefruits, bell peppers, etc.)
- Reducing gluten
The international journal of dermatology (2018) demonstrated that in 31-88% of cases, patients report stress as being a trigger for their psoriasis. There was also a reported a higher incidence of psoriasis in subjects who had a stressful event the previous year, suggesting stress is one of the main drivers of psoriasis flare-ups and symptoms.
Learning techniques to relax and break the stress cycle:
- Physical exercise – Finding a hobby within an activity
- Deep breathing
- Tai chi
- Strong emotional support system through friends/family
If the above strategies aren’t helping, then you should contact your GP who may want to refer you to a Rheumatologist as they specialise in Psoriasis treatment.
If this blog has got you interested in starting your wellness journey call our wellness advisors at 020 7843 3597 or enquire here.
|About The Author|
Ben is a Clinical Physiologist at Viavi Health Strategy, based on Harley Street London. Prior to joining Viavi’s London Health operation, Ben worked in the Applied Sports Technology, Exercise, and Medicine research sector, working with Team Novo Nordisk, a leading global healthcare company. Earning a master’s degree in Clinical Physiology has helped him gather expertise in clinical data analysis and he uses this within his role in helping clientele optimise health and wellbeing.