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Diet and Psoriasis: Habits, Interventions and Perceptions Among Patients

Diet is an environmental factor that may be of interest to patients with chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis. Certain lifestyle behaviors can be modified to affect the experience of a chronic condition, and diet is one behavior that is relatively easy to change. There is scant literature on the effects of popular dietary regimens, such as a Paleolithic diet, vegetarian diet, or gluten-free diet for patients with psoriasis. Due to this knowledge gap, it is difficult for patients and clinicians to discuss the topic of diet, and given the links between psoriasis and cardiometabolic disease, it would benefit patients to engage in such discussion.

A recent study surveyed patients with psoriasis to better understand the role of dietary modifications in the management of psoriasis. Questions sought to determine nutrient intake in psoriasis patients compared to population controls, to identify popular dietary interventions among psoriasis patients, to understand how patients perceived the influence of those interventions on psoriasis improvement, and psoriasis patients’ views on the role of diet in managing psoriasis. Over 1,200 patients completed the 61-question survey.

The results showed that compared to the general population, on a daily basis patients with psoriasis consume more fruits, vegetables, and legumes and less sugar, whole grain fiber, dairy products, and calcium. More than half were able to identify some triggers that made their psoriasis worse, including: sugar, alcohol, tomato, gluten and dairy. In addition, items that improved psoriasis included dietary supplements, fruits and vegetables, water and fish. Most patients had attempted to remove or add something to their diet to improve their skin condition. Patients most frequently tried to remove alcohol, gluten, and junk food. Patients reported positive effects when they added fish oil/omega-3, fruits and vegetables, oral vitamin D, probiotics, and organic foods to their diets. About 40% had tried a specific diet, most commonly a gluten free diet, a Paleolithic diet, or low carbohydrate diet. Patients that tried a specific diet lost weight and reported improvements in their skin condition.

Though many had tried changes in diet, more than half had trouble sticking to a diet, and even less discussed their diet with their dermatology provider. The authors note that the majority of respondents report the motivation for attempting dietary modifications is to improve overall health. The authors suggest that physicians can use this opportunity to encourage dietary changes with the intention of benefiting both skin and the cardiometabolic risk factors associated with psoriasis. They note that more research is needed to validate which dietary interventions have effects on chronic skin conditions.


Byline: Martha L. Sikes, MS, RPh, PA-C

Posted: June 14, 2017

Source: Springer Link
Adapted from the original article.

[Image: Shutterstock]

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