Psoriasis is a skin condition where there is over activity in the cells which produce keratin resulting in increased blood flow, inflammation and an excess of dead skin resulting in scaly areas. The exact cause is unknown, although the tendency to contract psoriasis is stored in a person’s genes, it is by no means certain that it will ever develop.
However, exposure to certain stimuli (such as a streptococcal infection in the throat, alcohol, medicines and local irritation) or damage to the skin, may cause an outbreak of psoriasis in persons who have this genetic predisposition. As with other skin conditions, it tends to worsen during times of stress and in the winter months.
Psoriasis vulgaris is the most common form of psoriasis, the first signs of an outbreak are:
- red spots or patches.
- the patches grow bigger and become scaly.
- the upper scales fall off in large quantities, while the lower layers of scales are firmly fixed.
- when the scales are scraped off, a number of small, bleeding points can be seen underneath.
Psoriasis of the nail often appears as small indentures in the nails. The outbreak can be so severe that the nail thickens and crumbles away.
Flexural psoriasis occurs in skin folds (flexures). Red, itchy plaques appear in the armpits, under the breasts, on the stomach, in the groin or on the buttocks. The plaques are often infected by the yeast-like fungus candida albicans.
Guttate psoriasis is a variant which primarily occurs acutely in children and young people due to a streptococcal infection of the throat. Drop-like, scaly patches appear on the entire body. In many cases, the condition disappears by itself after a few weeks or months.
In a proportion of people with psoriasis there is involvment of the joints causing arthritis which may be severe in the hands. In extreme cases it can become so widespread that it covers 90% of the body.
Nutritional Supplements that could help. (Refer to the individual supplement for cautions in use.)
|Supplement/Herb||What it does||Dosage|
|Omega 3 Fatty Acids||Patients with psoriasis were generally found to be very deficient in omega 3 fatty acids which help to control the inflammatory processes associated with psoriasis.||700 – 1400mg EPA/DHA per day|
|Celadrin||Celadrin is a complex consisting of various fatty acids and is easily able to penetrate cell membranes, which enhances skin cell membrane health and integrity. Celadrin also appears to inhibit the production of inflammatory compounds such as prostaglandins, a factor that may be of particular benefit to those with psoriasis.||500 – 2000mg per day|
|Zinc and Vitamin A||Zinc is essential for proper integrity and healing of skin, and deficiencies are common in psoriasis sufferers. Zinc is also important for transport and storage of vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A is necessary for skin health and repair, and supplementation lowers levels of toxic compounds known to trigger psoriasis. Do NOT use vitamin A supplements if pregnant unless on the advice of a qualified medical practitioner or ante-natal clinic. If higher levels of vitamin A are required, mixed carotenoid supplements may be used to substantially increase vitamin A activity without concern of toxicity.||15 – 30mg per day|
5000 – 10,000IU per dayMilk ThistleReduces excessive proliferation of skin cells, improves liver function (a major priority in psoriasis) and possesses anti-inflammatory properties.175 – 700mg per dayPsyllium Seed HusksBowel toxaemia is a major causal factor in psoriasis. The combination of insoluble and soluble fibre in psyllium seed husks reduces the transit time of intestinal waste thereby assisting the elimination of toxins.2000 – 5000mg per dayGoldensealThe active components in the herb goldenseal inhibit the formation of toxic compounds which are typically elevated in psoriasis and increase the rate of skin cell proliferation.250 – 1 500mg per dayAloe VeraUse as a cream and apply to the affected area 3 times a day. NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine)As a powerful liver protector, it is helpful in detoxification.as directed
Diet and Lifestyle Factors
Reduce or preferably completely avoid the following foods to help prevent toxicity in the body:
Sugar, which compromises the immune system
Trans fats, hydrogenate fats and fried foods
Increase your intake of:
Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, sardines and herrings as they are a good source of omega 3 fatty acids.
Eat 5 to 7 portions of lightly steamed or raw vegetables and fruit daily
Unsalted nuts and seeds
Identify and address potential food allergens. A simple home blood test kit is available from Food Detective.
Try the Detox and Feel Great programme to kick start your body into better health.
Ultra violet light therapy can help some people, as can being natural sunlight and swimming in the sea. Be careful to limit exposure and do not allow the skin to burn.
Homoeopathic Remedies which may help. (Refer to the individual remedy for guidance on the one that is most appropriate for you.)
- Arsenicum album
- Calcarea carbonica
- Mercurius solubilis
- Rhus tox
Suggested further reading:
- Psoriasis explained