The Autoimmune Disease Series: Five Naturopathic Strategies for Psoriasis
Overview: Psoriasis is a common skin condition caused by excessive proliferation of keratinocytes (skin cells) due to improper stimulation from the immune system.
Goals of Naturopathic Strategies:
Calm the immune system via immunomodulation
Reduce intestinal permeability and dysbiosis as potential contributors to autoimmunity (1.)
Help restore normal skin integrity
1. Find and remove triggers of autoimmunity & inflammation
Including but not limited to an inflammatory, processed diet high in saturated animal fat, gluten, dairy, refined grains and sugar, lack of exercise, regular exposure to harmful and toxic substances like mold and harsh cleaners, excessive daily stress, chronic infections, presence of genetic SNPs affecting proper metabolism of nutrients and toxin clearance, sleep deprivation, poor sleep quality, hormone imbalances, lack of proper hydration, and more.
2. Heal the gut
Intestinal permeability and poor gut flora can contribute to psoriasis by creating inflammatory conditions that lead to hypervigilant immune cells and autoimmunity. In addition to removing triggers of inflammation, the best evidence for reduction of psoriatic plaques is a plant-based, gluten-free diet (2.) (Organic, lean animal meat is okay!) Other considerations for healing the gut involve glutamine, to directly repair gut cell integrity (3), and a quality probiotic, to correct dysbiosis (4.)
Immunomodulation: Refers to influencing immune cells to mature into anti-inflammatory T-regulatory cells, rather than pro-inflammatory Th17 cells (5.) Substances that upregulate T-regulatory cell activity and reduce Th17 cell activity include (6) :
3. Omega 3 fatty acids from fish oil (EPA/DHA) (7)
Found to decrease inflammatory mediators that are found in high amounts in the skin of people with psoriasis
4. Vitamin D (8)
Helps to control and mediate keratinocyte maturation and proliferation
5. Selenium (9)
Has been show to decrease oxidative stress that is highly prevalent in psoriasis and other autoimmune conditions
Wondering about doses? When it comes to supplementation in autoimmunity, frequency, duration, and amount is highly dependent upon the individual and their condition severity. For example, very sensitive individuals often have to start with a very low dose, however, RDA of certain vitamins and minerals can be considered "the bare minimum," as in the case of the RDA of vitamin D, 400 IU. Please consult with your doctor regarding a safe dose for you!
Want to learn more about what Naturopathic medicine can offer for psoriasis?
Make an appointment, sign up for our newsletter, like us on Facebook, and more by clicking the button!