Seven Steps To Improve Psoriasis
The precise cause of this skin condition is as yet unknown but it affects about 1 in 40 people making it the most common skin disease.
Psoriasis is an auto-immune condition which means that the immune system is on high alert, pumping out inflammatory chemicals.
Inflammation can lead to an acceleration in the rate of skin cell reproduction causing the familiar raised, red, scaly patches of skin that can be so distressing to live with. Factors that may play a part
Genetics: It tends to run in families that's true but genes need to be activated by lifestyle choices or environmental factors and we have a lot of control over those, see below for how.
Stress: High levels of stress appear to be a common factor.
Meat and dairy: Contain a fatty acid called arachidonic acid which can make psoriatic lesions swell and redden so avoidance of these foods may reduce symptoms.
Gluten: High levels of anti-gluten antibodies have been reported in psoriasis suffers and many have found a reduction in their symptoms once gluten is excluded from their diet.
Food intolerances: Can cause a chain reaction in the gut leading to heightened inflammation and promotion of psoriasis. Common offending foods are wheat, dairy, eggs, yeast, citrus fruits and nuts. If you suspect you may be reacting to some foods, a simple finger-prick blood test may help to reveal whether food intolerances are making your symptoms worse.
Beer: A study found that women who drank more than 5 beers a week were almost twice as likely to develop psoriasis than women drinking similar amounts of other alcoholic drinks. Scientists suspect that it is the gluten in the beer rather than the alcohol that may be to blame.
Refined foods/junk food: Deliver very poor levels of the essential nutrients needed for regulating inflammation and skin cell growth such as the vitamins D and A.
Candidiasis: A yeast infection that can cause gut lining damage leading to food intolerances and that can then extend beyond the confines of the gut and affect other areas of the body including the skin and spark conditions such as psoriasis.
High sugar foods and drinks: Promote inflammation and worsen symptoms while at the same time delivering poor levels of the necessary nutrients.
7 steps to improve psoriasis
1. Diet - adopt an anti-inflammatory diet click here to watch '5 steps to cut inflammation'
2. Food intolerances - avoid any known food intolerances and if you're not sure click here for details on how to arrange a blood test
3. Support your liver - follow the anti-inflammatory diet above and avoid processed foods, fast foods, sugar, alcohol, chemical and pollution exposure.
4. Keep hormones especially oestrogen balanced - by following the steps above.
5. Deal with Candida (yeast infection) - the best way to check if you have a yeast infection is to fill out this questionnaire
6. Genetic disposition (runs in family) - genes need a trigger so avoid high alcohol intake, smoking cigarettes, high stress and excessive sun exposure
7. Natural supplements that may help - Dr Briffa recommends two natural agents that often help to relieve psoriasis symptoms and these are:
Essential fatty acids (EFAs) - a tablespoon of cold-pressed flaxseed oil daily
The herb Mahonia aquifolium (Oregon grape) - teaspoon of the tincture, three times a day or it is also available as a cream or lotion for topical application.