Psoriasis is a skin disease marked by inflammation all over the body and dense, scaly patches. Some studies suggest that dietary choices can improve or worsen disease severity. While the immune system plays a key role in causing 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 intake 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 can be helpful.
In this article, we explore the available evidence supporting the use of vitamins in the management of psoriasis.
Vitamins and psoriasis
Psoriasis can be an uncomfortable and persistent condition. However, certain 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 body 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 preventing or treating 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 excellent 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 can help improve psoriasis symptoms by reducing this overproduction.
Applying retinoids to the skin can reduce plaque psoriasis inflammation. The body absorbs topical vitamin A creams more slowly than oral vitamin A supplements, resulting in fewer side effects. Vitamin A supplements can help psoriasis. However, it is always best to consume nutrients from food.
Practitioners sometimes treat psoriasis with light therapy. The therapeutic effect of sunlight lies in its ability to help the body produce vitamin D. This is a powerful hormone that plays a role in hundreds of metabolic reactions. A 2013 study showed that the use of oral and topical vitamin D preparations improved symptoms of psoriasis. Another more recent study showed that taking or applying supplemental vitamin D with a steroid cream gives more favorable results than taking vitamin D alone.
Antioxidants can 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 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 vitamin E supplements by mouth on the advice of a qualified doctor. Pumpkin seeds and spinach are two good sources of vitamin E.
Other Nutrients for Psoriasis
Vitamins aren’t the only types of nutrients that can help reduce psoriasis symptoms.
Omega-3 fatty acids, commonly found in fish and flax seeds, glucosamine and chondroitin, and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) may 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 from processed foods alongside conventional treatments.
Prevent psoriasis flare-ups
The cornerstone of psoriasis treatment is prevention. Avoiding certain triggers can keep psoriasis from showing up. 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, as 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 the colder months to keep the skin moist and prevent flare-ups.
Light therapy may also be part of the treatment.
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