Dr. Heidi Yanoti, DC – Life Extension Senior Wellness Specialist
August is Psoriasis Awareness Month. According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, 8 million Americans and 125 million people worldwide have some form of psoriasis. That’s 2-3% of the world population, and most have been diagnosed with a simple physical exam. 1-3 Yet so many still suffer with the uncomfortable and sometimes disfiguring symptoms of this chronic skin disease. Skin redness, inflammation, scaliness and itching are hallmarks of this disease.
It is well established that psoriasis affects much more than the appearance of the skin. Besides triggering the development of scaly patches of skin, psoriasis can also trigger inflammation throughout your body, including your blood vessels, which can increase the risk for cardiovascular disease.4
Although psoriasis cannot currently be cured, that doesn’t mean you can’t take measures to relieve symptoms and improve overall quality of life. There are a number of scientifically studied nutritional supplements that may complement conventional treatments to provide symptom relief and improve your overall quality of life.
Supplements for Psoriasis
1) Fish Oil
The omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have been shown to reduce inflammation and improve symptoms of many inflammatory disorders, including psoriasis. The skin rashes in psoriasis have been linked to elevated levels of metabolites derived from a pro-inflammatory factor called arachidonic acid.EPA and DHA have been shown to displace the inflammatory arachidonic acid in skin cells, thereby modulating inflammation in the skin.5 Studies of fish oil supplements for psoriasis have shown significant clinical improvements in redness, hardening, scaling and itching.6,7
2) Vitamin D
We cannot overstate the power of vitamin D: this amazing vitamin is metabolized in the body into an immune-modulating hormone that can modulate inflammation and reduce the rapid growth of skin cells that lead to psoriasis symptoms.8 Research has even indicated that psoriasis sufferers may have genetic variations related to the activation of vitamin D in the body that necessitate higher doses to achieve optimal Vitamin D benefits. Published medical studies show psoriasis symptoms significantly improved in patients receiving high daily doses of vitamin D3.9 Vitamin D3 is an incredibly affordable supplement, studied for a large number of health benefits. Tests to check your vitamin D blood levels are widely available.
The peony plant is known for its beautiful flowers. But what most of us are less familiar with is peony’s longstanding use in Traditional Chinese Medicine to restore immune balance.We know that an imbalance in the immune system is an important cause of the inflammation that leads to psoriasis symptoms.10 Studies show that extracts of the Peony plant give potent support for immune balance and thereby ease inflammation, showing impressive symptomatic improvement even in some of the more difficult-to-treat forms of psoriasis. Substantial clinical improvement, as well as a drop in inflammatory cytokines (blood markers of some aspects of inflammation), have been seen among people using peony extracts.11,12
Pycnogenol® is a pine bark extract from a particular species, the French Maritime Pine, which has been studied for its amazing array of health benefits.13While it has long been accepted that this pine bark extract has skin supportive properties, evidence now suggests Pycnogenol® can significantly improve psoriasis symptoms.14 And since psoriasis is associated with an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, Pycnogenol® may have additional benefits for psoriasis patients: Pycnogenol® is also well-studied in the context of cardiovascular health.15 Thus Pycnogenol® may be an especially supportive option for those affected by psoriasis.
For more information, please visit the Life Extension Psoriasis Health Protocol.
About the Author: Heidi Yanoti earned her doctor of chiropractic degree from Life University. She has been a Senior Wellness Specialist at Life Extension for over 10 years and a lifelong advocate for natural approaches to optimal health. She enjoys sharing this passion with Life Extension customers, helping them achieve their health goals with a focus on promoting wellness rather than treating disease. In her spare time she enjoys, reading, films and desert hikes in her Las Vegas, Nevada, home.
- Mayo Clinic. Psoriasis. Symptoms & causes. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/psoriasis/symptoms-causes/syc-20355840. 3/13/2019. Accessed 8/13/2019. Published 2019. Accessed.
- Korman NJ. Management of psoriasis as a systemic disease: What is the evidence? Br J Dermatol. 2019.
- National Psoriasis Foundation. Statistics. https://www.psoriasis.org/content/statistics. Copyright 2019. Accessed 8/14/2019. Published 2019. Accessed.
- Jindal S, Jindal N. Psoriasis and Cardiovascular Diseases: A Literature Review to Determine the Causal Relationship. Cureus. 2018;10(2):e2195.
- Surette ME. The science behind dietary omega-3 fatty acids. Cmaj. 2008;178(2):177-180.
- Millsop JW, Bhatia BK, Debbaneh M, Koo J, Liao W. Diet and psoriasis, part III: role of nutritional supplements. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014;71(3):561-569.
- Clark CCT, Taghizadeh M, Nahavandi M, Jafarnejad S. Efficacy of omega-3 supplementation in patients with psoriasis: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clin Rheumatol. 2019;38(4):977-988.
- Barrea L, Savanelli MC, Di Somma C, et al. Vitamin D and its role in psoriasis: An overview of the dermatologist and nutritionist. Reviews in endocrine & metabolic disorders. 2017;18(2):195-205.
- Finamor DC, Sinigaglia-Coimbra R, Neves LC, et al. A pilot study assessing the effect of prolonged administration of high daily doses of vitamin D on the clinical course of vitiligo and psoriasis. Dermatoendocrinol. 2013;5(1):222-234.
- He DY, Dai SM. Anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects of paeonia lactiflora pall., a traditional chinese herbal medicine. Frontiers in pharmacology. 2011;2:10.
- Li B, He S, Liu R, et al. Total glucosides of paeony attenuates animal psoriasis induced inflammatory response through inhibiting STAT1 and STAT3 phosphorylation. Journal of ethnopharmacology. 2019;243:112121.
- Wang YN, Zhang Y, Wang Y, et al. The beneficial effect of total glucosides of paeony on psoriatic arthritis links to circulating Tregs and Th1 cell function. Phytother Res. 2014;28(3):372-381.
- Iravani S, Zolfaghari B. Pharmaceutical and nutraceutical effects of Pinus pinaster bark extract. Res Pharm Sci. 2011;6(1):1-11.
- Belcaro G, Luzzi R, Hu S, et al. Improvement in signs and symptoms in psoriasis patients with Pycnogenol(R) supplementation. Panminerva medica. 2014;56(1):41-48.
- Gulati OP. Pycnogenol(R) in Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders. Phytother Res. 2015;29(7):949-968.