5 Natural, Steroid Free Eczema Treatments You Can Try At Home Today!

5 Natural, Steroid Free Eczema Treatments You Can Try At Home Today!

Feel like you are stuck in the itch-scratch cycle? Have you worked your way through conventional eczema treatments but still haven’t found the relief you were looking for? If you have answered yes to both these questions, you are certainly are not alone.

Whilst conventional eczema treatments can be effective for some, other patients find themselves in a cycle of dependency – in other words – it works when you use it and flares when you don’t. This cycle not only leads to frustration but also concerns about the safety of long term use.

This is why many eczema patients seek a more natural and holistic approach to their skin health.  

Whilst there is no cure for eczema, there are many natural treatment options that can help to support skin barrier health, reduce skin flaring and manage symptoms. Better yet, these treatments are easily accessible, inexpensive and can be started in your own home today!

Try these 5, natural steroid free eczema treatments:

1. Oat soak – a simple and effective way to soothe itch before bed time. Oats contain avenanthramides which have anti-inflammatory and anti-itch properties. Simply put 1 cup of finely blended oats in a muslin cloth and tie it to the end of your bath tap. Let the warm water flow through and you can soak the itch away

2. As cool as a cucumber – Itch is one of the most common symptoms of eczema and can lead to vicious itch-scratch cycle which can be hard to break. Heat can be a major trigger of itch and therefore cooling the skin can make all the difference. Avoid hot/sweaty exercise (moderate is best), hot spicy foods, ‘heated arguments’ and of course, hot showers (opt for warm instead). You can cool your skin with a cold face cloth, a slice of cold cucumber or even add a drop of peppermint essential oil to your daily moisturizer for a cooling, anti-itch effect. Remember to patch test first!

3. Moisturise, inside and out – dry, rough eczema skin types do well with more moisture. This can include drinking plenty of water, using a humidifier in dry climates and frequently applying a gentle moisturizer. We recommend using eczema friendly oils such as castor and emu to help nourish your skin cells.

4. Barrier repair for skin and gut – There is growing evidence supporting the link between gut and skin health. Both require solid barriers and diverse microbiomes to function optimally. Collagen is a protein found in both animal and plant sources and has shown to support skin and gut structural integrity. Drinking freshly made bone broth is a great source of collagen and may help to provide healing support for damaged eczema skin. Read more about collagen and skin health here (https://www.psoriasiseczema.com.au/how-does-collagen-help-skin/)

5. Material matters – Itchy skin is irritable skin and that means that certain clothing and bedding materials are best avoided. Avoid scratchy materials such as wool and cut the tags off clothing where possible. Heavy clothing and bedding will heat up the skin and promote itch. Instead opt for light cotton or silk where possible – who doesn’t love a pair of silk pajamas!

Sometimes the simplest of changes can make the biggest difference!

The Psoriasis Eczema Clinic is a leading Australia clinic offering Complementary and Alternative therapies for the treatment of psoriasis, eczema, acne, rosacea and other chronic skin complaints. For individualised advice on steroid free eczema treatments, book a consultation with one of our practitioners today.  Call (03) 9770 5337.

5 Natural Psoriasis Treatments You Can Try At Home Today

5 Natural Psoriasis Treatments You Can Try At Home Today

Psoriasis is best known as a skin condition however it can also be considered a systemic illness due to the involvement of the immune system, joints, nails and comorbidities such as heart disease, obesity and depression. Most treatments target the skin which can be effective at providing relief. However, for longer lasting results, it is also important to address the internal factors that drive the condition.

Psoriasis can benefit greatly from a holistic approach that takes into consideration the total impact of the condition, including mental, physical, social, emotional and financial wellbeing. This is why diet, lifestyle and other natural psoriasis treatments can play such an important role in the treatment and management of this condition. Better yet, many of these treatments are inexpensive, can be found around the home and are readily available for all to try; so why not start today?!

  • Ditch the fats – obesity is not only a risk factor for psoriasis flares but psoriasis is also a risk factor for obesity. Research has showed that psoriasis patients may have poor tolerance of foods high in saturated fatty acids – such as fried foods, processed foods and high fat animal produce. Instead evidence supports high intake of veggies and fresh fish.
  • Salty skin – If you have psoriasis, then you may have experienced that it often improves with the sun and salt (aka ocean swimming). Another word for this is ‘thalassotherapy’ and you can introduce this into your skin care routine by having an Epsom salt bath 1-2 times per week. Just add 2 cups to your next warm bath and soak away. Helps with stress too!
  • Huff and puff – We know exercise is good for us, but it is especially good for psoriasis. Research has shown that vigorous exercise for up to 3 hours per week can help to reduce the risk of psoriasis. Some examples of beneficial exercises include jogging, dancing, bike riding, walking up hills, aerobics, skipping rope and sports like football and tennis. For those prone to friction and injury as a trigger of their psoriasis, it is best to avoid exercises such as rowing or contact sports.
  • A little ray goes a long way – As we spend more and more time indoors, our skin often misses out on receiving its daily dose of vitamin d, a key player in regulating psoriasis inflammation. To get your daily dose of the sunshine vitamin, aim for 15 minutes of sun exposure on bare skin during low UVB times (mid-morning or late afternoon).  Leave at dawn and get home at dust? No problems – just roll your sleeves up and enjoy your lunch break outside. If UVB is strong, limit exposure to about 5 minutes.
  • Turn wine into water – Psoriasis causes very dry, flaky skin that sheds frequently. Staying hydrated helps to keep your skin hydrated and improves skin barrier function. On the other hand, frequent or excess alcohol consumption has been strongly linked to psoriasis severity as well as association nutrient deficiency, liver damage and obesity. Why not challenge yourself to 4 weeks alcohol free and instead replace it with 2L water daily.   

Sometimes the simplest of changes can make the biggest difference!

The Psoriasis Eczema Clinic is a leading clinic offering Complementary and Alternative therapies for the treatment of psoriasis, eczema, acne, rosacea and other chronic skin complaints. With over 30 years of clinical practice, we are recognized for our effective natural psoriasis treatments Australia wide.

To book a consultation, call (03) 9770 5337.

5 Benefits Of A Holistic Skin Consultation

5 BENEFITS OF A HOLISTIC SKIN CONSULTATION

It can be a daunting experience starting a new treatment.  

 “Will it work this time?”  “How much will it cost?”  “What will I have to change?”

These are all valid questions we deserve to have answered before we commit to a new therapy and practitioner.  Whilst there are no guarantees, knowing what to expect can help make the process that little bit easier and put in place some realistic expectations.

Many patients who decide to take a more holistic approach to their skin treatment often share a similar story of past experience, some of which include;

  • “I’ve tried everything and nothing worked”
  • “I just didn’t feel listened too”
  • “I’m concerned about the side effects”

Whatever the story, the motivation behind taking more holistic approach is to find a safe, effective and natural treatment which takes into consideration the whole person and not just the symptoms.

When it comes to the skin, a holistic approach can have many benefits, including;

1. Getting to the root cause:  Chronic skin conditions can have multiple triggers, including those coming from inside and outside the body.  Addressing the triggers as well as the skin itself, helps to get to the root cause, ensuring longer lasting results

2. A treatment designed for you:  A key benefit of a holistic approach is that it takes into consideration the uniqueness of the individual being treated.  Therefore, instead of a one size fits all approach, treatments can be customised according to your needs

3. Feel listened to: Holistic consultations typically allow for longer appointment times so that a thorough examination can take place and your story can be heard.  After all, you know your body better than anyone and therefore sharing your story can provide key insights for your practitioner

4. Promote healing, naturally:  Holistic treatments typically take a more natural approach, utilizing nutritional, herbal, dietary and lifestyle medicines to not only promote healing but to restore balance and strength to the body’s systems

5. Feel empowered:  A holistic practitioner aims to empower the patient with knowledge, so that they can not only understand the nature of their condition better, but also play a key role in managing, preventing and healing the condition going forward.  Often patients with chronic skin conditions feel powerless and that their body is ‘broken’ or misbehaving in some way.  The alternative perspective is that your body is simply reacting in a protective manner in response to your current environment.  By understanding your body’s needs you can make more informed decisions and take back that control over your health.  

Psoriasis Eczema Clinic is a leading holistic skin clinic Melbourne.  For further enquiries please contact reception on (03) 9770 5337.

When Eczema is NOT Atopic Dermatitis

When Eczema is NOT Atopic Dermatitis

Eczema is a word we associate with images of a red, dry and itchy rash that so many of us experience as children, almost as though it was a rite of passage.  

It is true that eczema is a very common condition that can affect up to 30% of children in Australia. However eczema is not a term used to describe one condition, but a group of conditions that can present with both similarities and key differences.  In fact, the above description most accurately describes atopic dermatitis (also known as extrinsic eczema), which is form of eczema driven by allergy.  Despite 80% of all eczemas fitting into this category, 20% do not.  This eczema type is referred to as intrinsic eczema.

What Is Intrinsic Eczema?

Intrinsic eczema is essentially a form of eczema that is not driven by classic allergens such as dust mite, pollens, grasses and foods.  In contrast to extrinsic eczema, intrinsic eczema often has a later onset, milder presentation, different triggers and a different type of immune response.

What Causes Intrinsic Eczema?

Unlike extrinsic eczema, intrinsic eczema is not associated with a family history of atopy (allergy), such as the atopic triad of eczema, hay fever and asthma.  It is also not linked to the fillagrin gene which has shown to cause skin barrier dysfunction in those with extrinsic eczema.

Some studies have found associations between intrinsic eczema and bacterial colonization, such as Staphlyococcus aureus.  It is therefore possible that intrinsic eczema is linked to imbalances in the microbiome.  

How Do You Know If You Have Intrinsic Eczema?

In addition to meeting the above criteria, those with intrinsic eczema will test negative to allergy tests such as blood tests and skin prick testing. Some studies have also shown that Intrinsic Eczema more commonly affects extensor surfaces (such as the legs and elbows) as opposed to extrinsic which more commonly affects flexures (elbow and knee creases).

How Do You Treat Intrinsic Eczema?

The key differences between extrinsic and intrinsic eczema, highlights how important it is to receive a customised treatment approach as opposed to a ‘one size fits all’ eczema treatment.  Not only does intrinsic eczema have different triggers but it also affects different parts of the body and involves different immune cells.  Taking a holistic, customised treatment approach which recognizes the differences between various types of eczema, will not only help you understand the nature of your condition better, but also help you find a treatment which accurately targets relevant environmental triggers such as diet, lifestyle, microbes, chemicals and more.  

The Psoriasis Eczema Clinic the leading centre for Complementary and Alternative Eczema Treatment –Melbourne.  

Not only do we recognize the difference between eczema types, but we also use our observational skills to customize our topical treatments according to the presentation and body site affected.  Our treatments use natural ingredients which are designed to target the different triggers of eczema conditions and well as relieve the symptoms.

If you are looking for a holistic eczema treatment Melbourne – contact the clinic today on (03) 9770 5337.

Do Keto Diets Help Psoriasis?

Do Keto Diets Help with Psoriasis?

The keto diet is one of the most popular diets for those trying to lose excess fat. It is also well known for its positive health benefits for conditions such as epilepsy, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.  But how does the evidence stack up when it comes to the keto diet and psoriasis?

Given psoriasis is associated with increased rates of metabolic syndrome and obesity, one might assume that any successful weight loss regime is a good one.  However, a recent study has shown this may not be the case when it comes to keto.

The evidence

According to co-lead investigator, Barbara Kofler PhD, it’s all in the types of fats.  A well balanced keto diet rich in long chain triglycerides such as olive oil, fish, nuts and avocado, did not worsen skin inflammation, however it also did not improve the skin. In addition to this, a keto diet rich in medium chain triglycerides such as coconut oil, increased skin inflammation.

The other concern over keto diets and psoriasis is when they are not followed consistently.  High fat consumption combined with substantial carbohydrate consumption was also shown to promote the progression of psoriasis- like skin inflammation as well as spontaneous dermatitis in mice.

Several other studies on diet and psoriasis have also confirmed high fat intake to worsen psoriasis inflammation, such as the amounts associated with the typical Western Diet.

The Verdict

So what is the best diet for psoriasis?  Our PEC nutritionist recommends those with psoriasis to follow a modified Mediterranean style diet with plenty of olive oil, fresh fish and plant foods and less processed foods and animal proteins such as eggs and meat.  Read more about the benefits of fresh fish and psoriasis here

Reference:

  1. Felix Locker, Julia Leitner, Sepideh Aminzadeh-Gohari, Daniela D. Weber, Philippe Sanio, Andreas Koller, René Günther Feichtinger, Richard Weiss, Barbara Kofler, Roland Lang. The Influence of Ketogenic Diets on Psoriasiform-Like Skin InflammationJournal of Investigative Dermatology, 2019; DOI: 10.1016/j.jid.2019.07.718

Craving Chocolate Again? Here’s why…

Craving Chocolate Again? Here’s why…

Many of us have a love-hate relationship with chocolate.  We love it because it lifts our mood and tastes delicious, but we hate it when it causes our skin to flare and adds a few extra unwanted kilos.

Like coffee, eating chocolate can feel like a tricky habit to break.  Before you tackle the task of cutting it out of your daily diet, consider the below reasons of why you may be craving it in the first place.

Hunger

This seems like an obvious one, but perhaps you are just simply… hungry.   Often cravings for quick energy like in sugar-rich chocolate occur when our blood sugar levels are low.  This can occur straight after a big meal, after a period of fasting (eg. after work snack attack), after exercise or even after a stressful situation.  If there is a certain time you are craving chocolate daily, try and preempt this craving by eating a sustained source of energy prior to this time.  Examples include foods high in protein and/or fibre, such as a handful of nuts, a tub of low sugar yoghurt (dairy or non-dairy), a piece of fruit, smoothie or veggie sticks with dip.

Mood Boost

Chocolate can do wonders for your mood-or so you may think.   The combination of refined sugars in addition to caffeine can lead to a quick lift in energy.  Unfortunately, this lift is often followed by a crash.  Chocolate is also a histmaine trigger which can not only stimulate the mind but the skin as well, leading to skin irritation, redness and/or increased itch.  Rather than going for chocolate to lift your mood and energy,  consider these skin-friendly mood enhancing options instead. 

  • Have a warm chai tea
  • Be consistent with daily exercise
  • Watch a good comedy
  • Have a laugh with a friend
  • Eat a diet low in Glycaemic Index
  • Unwind with a relaxing Epsom Salt bath soak with candles and your favourite music

Habit

Are you just used to having chocolate at the same time every day?  Think about when you typically crave the chocolate.  Is it when you are bored at work, when you spend time with your family or when  you have your afternoon cup of tea.  It may not be that you are craving it at all but that you are just used to having it at a certain time each day.  Habits can be changed by being more mindful of the choices you are making and consciously making new, healthy habits in their place.  For instance, if your habit is to come home from work and go straight to the ‘chocolate cupboard’, make it your new habit to get home and unwind away from the kitchen for at least 5 minutes, before going anywhere near tempting foods.  This will give you a chance to take a breath, come back into the present and be more conscious in your decision making. 

Is Chocolate Really That Bad?

At the end of the day, a little bit of chocolate is OK!  It is when it becomes more of a craving and daily habit than a treat and has started to affect your health for the worse that some of these useful tips can come in handy.

Stress & The Effects on the Skin

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stress

It has been established in recent years that the skin is a direct target of psychological stress via a cascade of hormones, neuropeptides, and neurogenic signals (causing nerve hypersensitivity and inflammation). The skin has been shown to be capable of launching its own local response to stress as well by producing many of the same substances that the brain produces, further enhancing the local effect at the skin level when someone is under acute or prolonged stress. It is no surprise that the skin can perceive and respond to stress similar to the brain and nervous system, since the two systems have evolved from the same germ layer during embryonic development.

The main skin cells (keratinocytes), mast cells (involved in allergy type reactions and inflammation), immune cells, and peripheral nerve endings all will have an effect on various cell behaviour and processes within the skin under stress that can lead to skin disruption, premature ageing and disease development.

The skin is rich in nerve endings, so when an individual is stressed the peripheral nerve endings secrete numerous substances such as Substance P and Nerve growth factor that contribute to hypersensitivity, inflammation, and allergic reactions.

Due to the impact of stress related hormones and peptides, and growth factors on the skin, stress can play a role in the development and exacerbation of skin disorders such as Eczema, Acne, Psoriasis, and Rosacea.

Psychological stress activates the autonomic nervous system to trigger release of catecholamines [e.g. epinephrine and norepinephrine] from the adrenal glands, and in situations of chronic stress corticotrophin releasing hormone [CRH] and ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone), mediate a release of glucocorticoids (Cortisol) from the adrenal cortex.

Here is a brief outline of some key stress mediators and the effect that they have on the skin:

Glucocorticoids:

Excess levels can cause atrophy and impaired wound healing by interfering with keratinocyte and fibroblast function. Keratinocytes are the primary skin cells that form the epidermis of the skin, and fibroblasts are responsible for collagen and elastin formation.

This manifests as atrophy and thinning of the skin, increased trans-epidermal water loss related to disruption to the skin permeability barrier, and easy bruising with impaired wound healing.

The skin barrier is also negatively impacted by excess cortisol as this effects the lamellar bodies in the skin cells which are responsible for lipid synthesis; the lack of essential lipids weakens the barrier resulting in dry skin, allergies and sensitivity, delayed healing and infections.

Insulin:

Excess glucocorticoids stimulate Insulin production and lead to insulin excess and Insulin resistance. Elevated Insulin stimulates IGF2 (Insulin growth factor) which increases growth of keratinocytes, and stimulates abnormal keratinocyte growth, (exacerbates Psoriasis and Acne) and increases androgens and testosterone release.

Substance P:

This is neuropeptide released in times of stress. Substance P stimulates sebaceous germinative cells and proliferation of sebaceous glands which results in excess oil production and blockage of the oil ducts and the development of acne. Substance P also activates mast cells, increasing histamine release and itch sensation. Substance P induces vascular permeability and inflammation, which aggravates conditions like Eczema and Rosacea.

Corticotropin Releasing Hormone (CRH):

CRH stimulates release of MSH (melanocyte stimulating hormone) causing hyperpigmentation and blotchy skin.

Catecholamines (Adrenaline, Noradrenaline)

Decrease blood perfusion to skin reducing availability of oxygen and nutrients resulting in poor texture and sallow / pallor. Catecholamines have also been shown to cause immune suppression, interfere with DNA repair and contribute to ageing.

Managing stress

While the effects of stress on the skin are only briefly outlined above, it illustrates the significant impact this can have on individuals predisposed to skin conditions. It is therefore imperative to minimise stress where possible in order to avoid any exacerbation of skin disorders.

There are some straight forward tips to reduce stress such as getting a good night’s sleep, exercising and following some simple dietary guidelines (listed below).

stress_2

Reduce salt intake

Avoid alcohol

Avoid caffeine

Avoid skipping meals

Avoid refined, processed foods.

Avoid high fat foods

Do eat high fibre, low glycaemic index diet

In the following blogs we will present some relaxation techniques that are easy to implement and will have a direct effect in reducing the side effects of stress.

 

References

  1. Dunn, Jeffrey HKoo, John; Psychological Stress and skin aging: A review of possible mechanisms and potential therapies; Dermatology Online Journal 19 (6): 1 University of Colorado, School of
  2. Medicine, 2 University of California, San Francisco, Department of Dermatology 2013 Permalink: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/3j0766hs
  3. Jessica M. F. Hall, desAnges Cruser, Alan Podawiltz, Diana I. Mummert, Harlan Jones, Mark E. Mummert; Psychological Stress and the Cutaneous Immune Response: Roles of the HPA Axis and the Sympathetic Nervous System in Atopic Dermatitis and Psoriasis; Dermatology Research and Practice Volume 2012, Article ID 403908, doi:10.1155/2012/403908
  4. Ying Chen, John Lyga; Brain – Skin Connection: Stress, Inflammation and Skin Aging; Inflammation & Allergy – Drug Targets, 2014, 13, 177-190
  5. Theoharis C. Theoharides, Jill M. Donelan, Nikoletta Papadopoulou, Jing Cao, Duraisamy Kempuraj, Pio Conti; Mast cells as targets of corticotropin releasing factor and related peptides; TRENDS in Pharmacological Sciences Vol.25 No.11 November 2004

The Importance of Adequate Hydration

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“Water is defined as an essential nutrient because it is required in amounts that exceed the body’s ability to produce it. All biochemical reactions occur in water. It fills the spaces in and between cells and helps form structures of large molecules such as protein and glycogen. Water is also required for digestion, absorption, transportation, dissolving nutrients, elimination of waste products and thermoregulation” (regulation of body temperature) (Kleiner, 1999).Hydration fact sheet- facebook (1)

cucumber-salad-food-healthy-37528mineral-water-lime-ice-mint-158821Key Facts 

Up to 2 litres of Water is lost daily due to bodily functions, such as perspiration, respiration, urination and defecation.

Diuretic substances in your diet such as caffeinated beverages, alcohol, high sugar and salty foods will increase water loss from the body.

Water requirements range from 8-10 glasses per day depending on diet and physical activity levels. As we age, we have a diminished sense of thirst and tend to drink less fluid, although water is still required. It is therefore important to ensure we drink an adequate amount of water, even in the absence of thirst.

Water can be consumed from drinking pure water as well as from eating certain foods. Depending on diet, up to 50% of your daily water intake can be derived from foods provided they are high in water content such as fruit, salad, soup and vegetables (i.e. iceberg lettuce and cucumber).

How dehydration impacts your skin condition

Key signs of mild to moderate dehydration include increased sensation of pexels-photo-136871pain, thirst, stiffness, headaches, lack of concentration, fatigue and skin problems.

The skin contains approximately 30% water. “Water intake, particularly in individuals with low initial water intake, can improve skin thickness and density and offsets transepidermal water loss (water lost through the skin surface)” (Popkin, Rosenberg & D’Anci, 2010). Hydration improves skin resiliency, elasticity and texture.

The water content in the skin contributes to important functions of the skin such as the development of a healthy skin barrier. The skin barrier guards the skin from microbial infections and infiltration of foreign substances which can cause skin flare ups.

Water deficiency can also lead to impaired skin processes, which can then worsen skin disorders such as dermatitis, psoriasis, acne and rosacea (Rodrigues, Palma, Tavares Marques & Bujan Varela, 2015).

Key tips to keeping hydrated

Create a routine: If you aren’t used to drinking water on a regular basis, start with four glasses of water a day. One glass on rising, one mid-morning, one mid-afternoon and one on retiring. This eliminates 4 out 8 glasses per day. Once you establish this routine, start adding additional glasses of water throughout the day, for example before meals

Convenience: Keep water with you at all times. Keep a refillable water bottle with you at work, in your car, and to take with you when you go on walks etc. Get used to sipping on water as part of your daily routine. Convenience is key, otherwise if it’s out of sight, it’s often out of mind!

Flavour: If you don’t like the taste of water, there are several ways to make it more enticing. Add some fresh herbs like mint, or fresh fruit, or a very small amount of juice (just enough to add a hint of flavour).

Variety: Mix up your water variety and add in some natural sparkling mineral water.

Eat foods high in water content: Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, in doing so will assist in keeping your body hydrated (this information should not replace any dietary information given by your psoriasis eczema clinic practitioner).

Be aware of cravings: if you are craving salty foods as this can be a signal from the body that you are dehydrated. Try drinking a glass of water before reaching for salty foods.

For more information on the health benefits of water and charts for daily consumption visit: https://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/water

Reference:

  1. Popkin, B., Rosenberg, I., & D’Anci, K. (2010). Water, Hydration and Health. National Institute of Health68(8), 439–458. http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1111/j.1753-4887.2010.00304.x
  2. Kleiner, S. (1999). Water. Journal Of The American Dietetic Association99(2), 200-206. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s0002-8223(99)00048-6
  3. Rodrigues, L., Palma, L., Tavares Marques, L., & Bujan Varela, J. (2015). Dietary water affects human skin hydration and biomechanics. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology4(411), 413. http://dx.doi.org/10.2147/ccid.s86822

Christmas and the Holiday Season with Skin Conditions

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So now the Christmas and New Year holiday season is upon us and for those of you who suffer from a skin condition, this time of the year can be challenging.

We all know that the intake of alcohol can be a trigger for many skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, urticaria etc. It is dehydrating and dehydration impairs the skin barrier. Alcohol also has the potential to weaken one’s immune system, this makes people with skin conditions more susceptible to bacterial infections and injuries, which in turn can trigger and exacerbate their condition.

For those of you who are yeast sensitive, the intake of drinks such as beer and champagne, both of which contain yeast, most certainly will aggravate their skin condition and could cause a major flare up. Those that are gluten sensitive or suffer from Celiac disease also have to be careful with their alcohol intake as some types of liquors e.g. vodka, bourbon etc. may use a starch-source for fermentation and these starch sources e.g. barley contain gluten.

This time of the year can be emotionally challenging, if you are experiencing family or relationship difficulties, you may be experiencing considerable emotional distress, depression and even social isolation. Try to reach out to friends and support groups for support during this time. It is important that you do not isolate yourself and allow your stress levels to escalate.

If tasks such as shopping or getting the house ready cause you stress, then make sure you plan ahead and allow yourself extra time.

Food of course is a big deal at this time of the year. Catching up with friends for barbecues, lunches, dinners at restaurants or at homes is an important tradition and catch up time for all of us.

 Control on what is on the menu is often out of your hands, therefore it is important to choose your food wisely. So avoid all spicy foods or at least keep it to a minimum – if you eat spicy food at one sitting try to avoid another serve for a few days.

Avoid or at least keep to a minimum intake of tomatoes (including chutneys), smoked foods, red and processed meats. Try to select green vegetables, chicken, turkey, fish and moderate all other intake. Remember if you do have a food sensitivity, be it seafood, gluten, yeast, sugar then try to avoid it as much as possible. The golden rule is “If you ate it during one meal wait a few days before having it again”  if you can’t avoid eating it then moderation is key.

If you are eating at the home of family member or friend then don’t be afraid to tell them of your eating requirements. Most people will be only too happy to oblige by either offering an alternative that you can eat or by modifying the dishes that they are preparing.

As mentioned earlier dehydration impairs the skin barrier so drink plenty of water. It is important to try to drink between one and a half litres to two litres of water a day and critical if you are drinking alcohol.  

The most important thing is to try to enjoy your time with family and friends, don’t overdo the alcohol or food intake. Remember moderation and alternatives, drink your water, get plenty of rest. If you find yourself feeling stressed, make some time to chill out, meditate or listen to music.

 So Check List:

  • Drink water
  • Eat Greens, chicken, turkey, fish
  • Avoid tomatoes, spicy, red and processed meats, smoked foods, sugar
  • Avoid your trigger foods
  • Moderate alcohol intake 
  • Keep stress to a minimum, plan ahead & get support 

PSORIASIS and DIET – Part 1

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For many years Dermatologists, General Practitioner’s and many researchers considered that patients who stated that eating certain foods made their psoriasis  worse as being utterly mistaken or delusional. However, over the last several years there has slowly been a change of thought and we are now seeing the results of several recent studies and clinical trials on various nutritional and dietary therapies for psoriasis. And the results have made it clear that diet may influence the health outcome for patients.

A study of some 20,000 eczema and psoriasis patients by the Department of Medical Nutrition, Donau University Krems in Austria, found that the patients showed, besides allergic reactions to foods, an increasing number of pseudo allergic reactions caused by toxic-irritative pollutants (formaldehyde, exhaust particles, food additives, nicotine, wood preservatives, pesticides, heavy metals) which are responsible for the inflammatory process behind the complex symptoms. The Researchers found that 60% of all patients had raised concentrations of circulating immune complexes with food-specific IgE- and IgG responsible for the delayed (Type III) allergic reactions. They found that both in atopic eczema and in psoriasis patients had pseudo allergic  reactions against biogenic amines and had constantly raised serum histamine levels. Previously published results showed significantly reduced DAO activities in  thrombocyte rich plasma of atopic eczema and psoriasis patients explaining their intolerance reactions to histamine, tyramine and octopamine rich foods.1 Diamine oxidase (DAO) is an essential enzyme in the body that breaks down histamine. The body then takes the break-down products (called imidazole compounds) and excretes them through the kidneys into the urine.

Biogenic amines play important role in human body such as: regulation of body and stomach pH, gastric acid secretion, the immune response and cell growth and differentiation. At the same time, amines are important for the growth, renovation and metabolism of every organ in body and are also essential for maintaining the high metabolic activity of the normal functioning and immunological system of the gut. Despite these roles, the consumption of foods with high content of biogenic amines can cause adverse reactions such as nausea, headaches, cardiac palpitation, hot flushes, oral burning, gastric intestinal problems, renal intoxication, rashes and changes in blood pressure. Different biogenic amines can cause different side effects such as: excess tyramine intake could cause hypertension whereas serotonin is a vasoconstrictor. People having deficient natural mechanisms for detoxifying biogenic amines due to genetic defects or due to the intake of antidepressant medicines such as monoamine oxidase inhibitors may experience allergen-type reactions characterized by difficulty in breathing, itching, rash, vomiting, fever and hypertension. 2

Histamine is found in fermented alcoholic beverages, especially wine, champagne and beer,

bacon, salami, luncheon meats and hot dogs,  sour cream, sour milk, buttermilk, sour dough  bread, etc., dried apricots, prunes, dates, figs, raisins, citrus fruits, aged cheese – camembert, brie, blue vein and including goat cheese, walnuts, cashews, and peanuts,  avocados, eggplant, spinach, and tomatoes and smoked fish and certain species of fish: mackerel, tuna, anchovies, sardines.

Psoriasis is considered to be an autoimmune disease and in severe, uncontrollable psoriasis histamine antagonists are of value in reducing disease activity. Histamine formation and release raises the possibility, that histamine is one of the molecules involved in pathogenesis  of autoimmune diseases. 3,5

Tyramine is found in fava beans and tomatoes, broad beans, concentrated yeast extract spreads and bouillons, salamis and mortadella, beer as well as the above foods.

Tyramine, derived from tyrosine, mimics the effects of adrenaline, causing increased heart activity and raising blood pressure. Research has suggested that psychological stress can induce exacerbation of psoriasis. It is further hypothesized that these stress effects on the course and outcome of psoriasis are caused by neuroendocrine modulation of immune functions.4 Excess levels of tyramine releases adrenaline from storage vesicles.4,5 When chronic illness is involved and the body is in a state of chronic stress the adrenal glands begin to work overtime. Over a period of  time the adrenal glands begin to suffer from adrenal fatigue. Impaired adrenal function is associated with the incidence of autoimmune diseases such as skin conditions and arthritis.6

Octopamine is found in green bean, edamame (soybeans), avocados, bananas, pineapple, eggplants, figs, red plums, raspberries, peanuts, Brazil nuts, coconuts, processed meat, yeast as well as the above foods

Octopamine is closely related to the hormone norepinephrine, Researchers studying patients with psoriasis whose psoriasis is associated with increased levels of psychological stress, found that in the psoriasis patients there were significantly increased norepinephrine blood levels compared with non-psoriasis controls. The researchers concluded that there was a positive correlation between the severity of psoriasis and high levels of norepinephrine. 7

There has been a known correlation between Irritable Bowel Diseases such as Crohn’s Disease, Colitis and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS or Leaky Gut), since the 80s. Some researchers have concluded that Psoriasis and IBD are strictly related inflammatory diseases, probably sharing immune-pathogenetic mechanisms. Skin and bowel represent, at the same time, barrier and connection between the inner and the outer sides of the body share similar immune processes which play a key role in maintaining homeostasis and in sustaining pathological processes. 8

 

Solanine is a glyco alkaloid  poison found in species of the nightshade family (solanaceae), e.g. potatoes, tomatoes and eggplant. It can occur naturally in any part of the plant, including the leaves, fruit, and tubers. It is very toxic even in small quantities. Research has shown that the disruption of epithelial barrier integrity is important in the initiation and the cause of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Solanine has been found to permeabilize cholesterol-containing membranes, thus leading to the disruption of epithelial barrier integrity. Altered intestinal permeability is believed by some researchers to play a key role in the initiation and propagation of the inflammatory process in conditions other than IBD.9,10  Solanine and related glycoalkaloids are classified as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors leading to increased levels of neurotransmitters which cause prolonged muscle contractions, pain, tenderness, inflammation and stiff body movement. Swollen joints are a clinical manifestation of synovitis and the acute-phase response act as bio marker of pro-inflammatory cytokine production. Solanine may also induce oxidative stress leading to generation of free radicals and alterations in antioxidant and scavengers of oxygen free radicals. 11 There is the potential for solanine to have an adverse effect on psoriatic arthritis. The percentage of arthritic patients who are sensitive to the solanine family of plants might be significantly greater than 10%. A 1982 study published in the Journal of the International Academy of Preventive Medicine demonstrated significant improvements in over 70% of 5,000 (> 3,500) arthritic patients after having eliminated solanine-containing foods from their diets.12

Also read our blog “PSORIASIS and COMORBIDITIES, PSORIASIS and ALCOHOL and PSORIASIS and WATER INTAKE”.

 

REFERENCES

  • Ionescu JG, Constantinescu R, Constantinescu AT; Personalized Anti-Inflammatory Nutrition For Atopic Eczema And Psoriasis Patients; EPMA Journal (2011) 2 (Suppl 1):S157–S165 DOI 10.1007/s13167-011-0118-6
  • Songül ?ahin Ercan, Hüseyin Bozkurt and Çi?dem Soysal ; Significance of Biogenic Amines in Foods and Their Reduction Methods; Journal of Food Science and Engineering 3 (2013) 395-410
  • Nielsen HJ,Hammer JH.; Possible role of histamine in pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases: implications for immunotherapy with histamine-2 receptor antagonists.; Med Hypotheses. 1992 Dec;39(4):349-55.
  • Schmid-Ott G. et al.; Stress-induced endocrine and immunological changes in psoriasis patients and healthy controls. A preliminary study.; Psychother Psychosom.1998;67(1):37-42.
  • Maintz and Novak N.; Histamine and histamine intolerance; Am J Clin Nutr 2007;85:1185–96
  • Physiology of Stress; Chapter 2; http://www.jblearning.com/samples/0763740411/Ch%202_S eaward_Managing%20Stress_5e.pdf
  • Ionescu G,Kiehl R; Increased plasma norepinephrine in psoriasis.; Acta Derm Venereol. 1991;71(2):169-70.
  • Skroza et al.; Correlations between Psoriasis and Inflammatory Bowel Diseases; Hindawi Publishing Corporation BioMed Research International Volume 2013, Article ID 983902, 8 pages http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/983902
  • Patel B. et al.; Potato glycoalkaloids adversely affect intestinal permeability and aggravate inflammatory bowel disease; Volume 8,Issue 5, pages 340–346, September 2002
  • Shah S. Dietary Factors in the Modulation of Inflammatory Bowel Disease Activity.Medscape General Medicine. 2007;9(1):60.
  • Ayad S.K.; Effect of Solanine on Arthritis Symptoms in Postmenopausal Female Albino Rats; Arab Journal of Nuclear Science and Applications, 46(3), (279-285) 2013 27
  • Prousky J. E.; The use of Niacinamide and Solanaceae (Nightshade) Elimination in the Treatment of Osteoarthritis; Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine Vol 30, No 1, 2015