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Food Triggers for Psoriasis

Food Triggers for Psoriasis

Psoriasis is a skin condition characterized by silver-scaled flakes that build up on the surface of the skin. Its occurrence is secondary to immune deregulation which causes immature skin cells deep in the epidermis to reproduce too quickly and move to the surface where they accumulate. The thickened layer of skin is often itchy and unpleasant to the sight. Psoriasis often runs in families and a genetic susceptibility is believed to account for its presence in some cases. Dietary triggers may also be at the root of condition in some people.


Gluten is a protein found in many commonly consumed grains. It is found in wheat, barley, oats and rye. It is more commonly becoming the hidden culprit behind a vast array of diseases, of which show improvement when gluten-laden foods are strictly eliminated from the diet. A 2003 "Acta Dermato Venereologica" journal article describes some cases of psoriasis as linked to dietary gluten consumption. They note that in the 15 percent of the psoriasis population, where gluten sensitivity is of concern, significant clinical improvement was found when this trigger food group was removed from the diet.


Alcohol is a non-nutritive substance that even in moderate amounts, undeniably offers the body little benefit and is often harmful. A recent article, published in 2010 by the "Archives of Dermatology" finds that both the amount and type of alcohol increases the risk of developing and worsening bouts of psoriasis in women. Specifically, non-light beer was found to be a trigger of psoriasis. The article states that beer versus other types of alcohol may be of particular concern because of its common distillation starter -- starch, which also happens to be derived from gluten-containing grains. Additionally, the amounts of alcohol were of concern. The article said that consuming greater than 2.3 alcoholic drinks per week was associated with an increased risk of developing psoriasis and specifically consuming five or more non-light beers increased the risk to almost double.

Saturated Fatty Acids

Psoriasis is noted to affect 2 percent of the Western population, according to a 2002 "British Journal of Nutrition" article. The western population is specifically of concern because of the high saturated fat content in the diet and the presence of saturated fat metabolites, such as arachadonic acid, found in psoriatic lesions. The Western diet is often regarded as inflammatory and similarly, psoriasis is considered an inflammatory condition. While foods high in inflammatory AA such as grain-fed beef and whole milk-fat products from these animals, including butter and cheese, are noted as triggering foods for an inflammatory condition such as psoriasis, the 2002 article noted that omega-3 fats are beneficial in treatment. Omega-3 fatty acids, especially when delivered intravenously, are anti-inflammatory in the face of psoriasis and alter the negative effects of a diet high in saturated fats.

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