There is strong evidence to suggest that psoriasis is an immune-mediated disorder and the role of the immune system as the cause for psoriasis is a major topic of research by pharmaceuticals. While research takes time to conclude and be reviewed, there are safe, natural supplements that have proven successful in case studies.
Immune response and psoriasis
Inflammation is the natural response of your body’s immune system to injuries and harmful things that enter your body. The cells of our immune system immediately travel to the site of irritation and cause inflammation. This includes a widening of local blood vessels that result in an outflow of fluid and immune cells into surrounding tissues.
In normal circumstances, the inflammation disappears after the immune response process has removed the irritation – in other cases such as with psoriasis, the inflammation continues without being able to resolve what it came to do. This then leads to a reaction where an excessive amount of skin is produced. How lovely of our body to try its best to help in such a way – but no thanks!
The immediate need of anyone with psoriasis in the meantime, is to soothe the skin and to reduce or remove the inflammation. In the absence of any solid knowledge of cause or cure for psoriasis, it would be safe for psoriatics to rely on food and food supplements as their form of medicine to improve our quality of life.
Here are some successfully tested foods or food additives that have been recorded as being beneficial to psoriasis.
Omega-3 Fatty Acid
One of the most popular anti-inflammatory foods are those high in omega 3 fatty acids such as cold water fish, sardines, tuna. For vegetarians, cold pressed flax oil or raw ground flax seeds are a good source of Omega 3 oils.
Surprisingly, most western world adults and children are deficient in Omega-3 fatty acid and the body cannot produce this oil, making this an important food or supplement.
The omega 3 fatty acids lower triglycerides and, at high levels, lower cholesterol. The anti-aggregatory, anti-thrombotic and anti-inflammatory properties of omega 3 fatty acids have been confirmed in medical journals as early as 1998. The conditions that benefit from omega 3 include:
• coronary heart disease
• other autoimmune disorders, and
If you have psoriasis, it is vital that you maintain your Vitamin D levels, as this is a potent immune modulator, making it very important for the prevention of autoimmune diseases, such as what psoriasis is considered to be.
The World Health Organisation Report on Psoriasis, along with many other peer reviewed reports, considers Vitamin D to be important for immunomodulatory effects in psoriasis, but unfortunately 80 percent of psoriatics in winter, and 50 percent in the summer, are vitamin-D deficient.
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is necessary for the production of vitamin D in the skin and is the best natural source of vitamin D. There are also small amounts of vitamin D in some foods such as fish and eggs but it is difficult to gain enough vitamin D from diet alone. Most people only get five to 10 per cent of their vitamin D from food.
The health experts at Victorian Government’s Better Health Channel warn that UV radiation from the sun is also the main cause of skin cancer. Taking a balanced approach to sun exposure can help make sure you get enough vitamin D while minimising your skin cancer risk.
For vitamin D to be produced, your skin must not be covered with clothing, however, prolonged sun exposure will not increase vitamin D levels further, but will increase the risk of skin cancer. Solariums should never be used to boost vitamin D, as they emit dangerous levels of UV that increase the risk of skin cancer.
Daily exercise also assists with the body’s production of vitamin D.
Magnesium has an important role in complimenting vitamin D as it converts vitamin D into its active form. Magnesium also activates enzyme activity that helps your body use the vitamin D. In fact, all enzymes that metabolize vitamin D require magnesium to work. Magnesium is also important for the proper function of calcium.
While I personally find that the pure powder form of magnesium chloride tastes a lot like licking a vehicle engine, I mix it with coconut oil and apply it directly to my skin where it is intended to do its job. I have found over 6 months that the combination of coconut oil and magnesium powder soothes and smooths the skin.
What works for me
The eat, soak and slap routine is a three-part plan that I have personally found to benefit my psoriasis during times of extreme weather and stress. Upon this I have also added nutritional and lifestyle guidelines that are easily incorporated. This routine is simple and cheap to follow and as with all other things I share from my research and own experimentation, please check with your physician if you are on medication, currently ill or are pregnant or breastfeeding. Natural supplements have the benefit of being absorbed by your body without the complexities experienced by synthetic drugs, however I want to make sure that you only ever benefit from the information provided by Psoriasislife.
Here’s the plan:
- Eat foods rich in omega 3 fatty acids or take a supplement, to reduce the inflammation that causes swelling and redness
- Soak up the sun to get your weekly intake of vitamin D, taking special care to monitor your UV exposure to avoid skin cancer
- Slap on a lotion of coconut oil and magnesium powder – the lauric acid in coconut oil has anti-inflammatory properties, smooths the skin and carries the magnesium so that you never need to taste it.
WHO Psoriasis Info Sheet 3 February 2016
Alternative Medicine Review Volume 12, Number 4 2007
I’m itching to hear from you when you try this, and of course, wish you the very best outcome.