Posts filed under Skin Disorders

Psoriasis, Arthritis, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease

For several years the same prescription medications used to treat psoriasis have been used to treat multiple forms of arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn's and ulcerative colitis. Without more information, an inquisitive mind was left simply wondering why a drug used for a skin disease would be effective for seemingly unrelated arthritis or inflammatory bowel diseases. More recently researchers have been illuminating multiple connections between inflammatory skin and joint disease and inflammatory gut disease. First, scientists found overlapping genes suggest broad autoimmune association between psoriasis and other autoimmune diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Type 1 Diabetes, Celiac Disease. Other researchers later quantified concomitance between chronic inflammatory gut and autoimmune diseases via shared genetics and shared pathogenesis. Yet despite shared treatments, shared genes, and shared pathogenesis, along with published conclusions in the British Journal of Dermatology that "diet plays a role in the aetiology and pathogenesis of psoriasis", almost all American dermatologists still tell their patients that psoriasis has nothing to do with diet nor the gut.  

Think again.

John Hopkins' Integrative Medicine and Digestive Department estimates that 70% of the cells that comprise the body's immune system are housed in walls of the gut.  And the University of Michigan's Integrative Medicine Department has published its own Healing Foods Pyramid. Built upon a plant-based, whole foods diet, and effective for the prevention, management, and reversal of chronic inflammatory disease, suggestions from this top ranked medical school are highly consistent with those in the British Journal of Dermatology for diet and psoriasis.  

Those of us with psoriasis are at higher risk for life threatening diseases like heart disease. It is notable that the dietary recommendations made by the University of Michigan offer therapeutic value for all of our concomitant diseases, not just psoriasis.  Psoriasis medications treat only the symptoms, they come with enormous price tags and have horrific side effects.  These dietary recommendations are affordable for people worldwide and they deliver the promise of a longer, healthier life for all.

In my clinical opinion, sufficient evidence exists to connect inflammation at the skin to inflammation in the gut, and diet directly impacts inflammatory pathways throughout the body. The only missing piece of the puzzle is not more research, doctors, drugs, products nor supplements.  The missing piece is you. Only you can decide if you will give your diet a chance to be your medicine.

Posted on July 11, 2014 and filed under Skin Disorders.