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Psoriasis: Nutritional Considerations

  • Fasting, low–calorie diets, and vegetarian diets have all been shown to reduce the symptoms of psoriasis.

    Part of the effectiveness is likely explained by weight loss. Obesity is significantly more common in patients with psoriasis than in control subjects. Recent evidence indicates that severely overweight individuals have nearly twice the risk of developing psoriasis.

    These dietary adjustments may also be beneficial by decreasing inflammation.
  • Essential fatty acids: Patients with psoriasis may demonstrate a deficiency of omega–3 fatty acids, which act to decrease inflammation, and elevations of omega–6 fatty acids, which increase inflammation.

    Some studies have found that supplementation with omega–3 fatty acids improves the effectiveness of psoriasis treatment. Although long–term controlled trials are necessary to determine whether supplementation with omega–3 or omega–6 fatty acids is a useful treatment, patients would do well to increase dietary intake of healthful foods with omega–3 fats, such as walnuts, flax seeds, or flax seed oil, and decrease intake of foods with high concentrations of omega–6 fats, such as meat, eggs, and milk.
  • Alcohol avoidance: Excess alcohol intake is an important risk factor for psoriasis. In alcohol abusers, the disease often remits when they quit drinking and recurs upon resumed alcohol use. Even in light to moderate alcohol users, alcohol consumption is correlated with worsening symptoms.
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