Psoriasis is a skin disease marked by inflammation all over the body and dense, scaly patches. Some studies suggest that food choices can improve or worsen the severity of the disease. While the immune system plays a key role in the appearance of the characteristic scaly patches, researchers have often linked psoriasis to diseases that increase the risk of heart problems, called metabolic diseases. The prevention of these diseases requires a balanced supply of nutrients. Certain vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K, are essential for life and well-being. Incorporating vitamin therapy into a psoriasis treatment plan may be helpful.
In this article, we explore the available evidence to support the use of vitamins in management of psoriasis.
Vitamins and psoriasis
Psoriasis can be an uncomfortable and persistent condition. However, some vitamins can help reduce its effects. Major fat-soluble vitamins include vitamins A, D, E, and K. Water-soluble vitamins include B vitamins and vitamin C.
The method of absorption of a vitamin by the organism helps to define the desired effect. The relationship between heart disease, diabetes, and metabolic disease has led some scientists to suggest that nutrient intake plays a role in the prevention or treatment of psoriasis. With the exception of vitamin D, most vitamins can only be obtained through food. The body synthesizes vitamin D after exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun.
Chemical compounds containing Vitamin A, also known as retinoids, are essential for the production of healthy skin cells. Yellow and orange vegetables are often great sources of vitamin A. Yellow and orange vegetables are often excellent sources of vitamin A. Vitamin A is sometimes applied directly to the skin to treat sun damage. In the case of psoriasis, the body produces too many skin cells. Vitamin A may help improve symptoms of psoriasis by reducing this overproduction.
Applying retinoids to the skin may reduce inflammation in plaque psoriasis. Topical vitamin A creams are absorbed by the body more slowly than oral vitamin A supplements, resulting in fewer side effects. Vitamin A supplements can help psoriasis. However, it is always better to consume nutrients from the diet.
Practitioners sometimes treat the psoriasis by light therapy. The therapeutic effect of sunlight is its ability to help the body make vitamin D. It is a powerful hormone that plays a role in hundreds of metabolic reactions. A study by 2010 showed that the use of oral and topical vitamin D preparations improved symptoms of psoriasis. Another more recent study has shown that taking or applying extra vitamin D with a steroid cream gives more favorable results than taking vitamin D alone.
Antioxidants may help treat psoriasis by preventing damage from oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when the levels of disease-triggering free radical molecules and protective antioxidant substances are out of balance. Vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin that also serves as a powerful antioxidant, may be helpful for psoriasis by reducing the action of free radicals. Vitamin C can be obtained through diet, supplements, or both. Foods rich in vitamin C include citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, and berries.
People patients with psoriasis often have low serum levels of selenium, a powerful antioxidant. In one study, vitamin supplements helped improve selenium levels in people with psoriasis. Since vitamin E and selenium are both antioxidants, they may help protect against some of the oxidative stress that occurs with psoriasis. People can take oral vitamin E supplements on the advice of a qualified physician. Pumpkin seeds and spinach are two good sources of vitamin E.
Other nutrients for psoriasis
Vitamins are not not the only types of nutrients that may help reduce symptoms of psoriasis.
Omega-3 fatty acids, commonly found in fish and flaxseeds, glucosamine and chondroitin, as well as methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) can help reduce inflammation and improve skin health. Although the above vitamins are often recommended for treating psoriasis, the most reliable solution is to eat a nutritious and balanced diet, free of processed foods, alongside conventional treatments.
Prevent psoriasis flare-ups
The cornerstone of psoriasis treatment is prevention. Avoiding certain triggers can prevent psoriasis from happening. This can help reduce reliance on over-the-counter drugs and pharmaceuticals.
Here are some prevention tips to keep in mind:
– minimize stress levels
– keep the skin hydrated, because the breakouts are more likely to occur on dry skin
– stay indoors as much as possible during the winter, as the cold weather can dry out the skin
– use a humidifier during colder months to keep skin moist and prevent breakouts.
Light therapy can also be part of the treatment.
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