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Psoriasis – More Than Just An Embarrassing ‘Skin Problem’

Written by Wellness Club on February 18, 2010 – 1:12 pm -

We have been getting a number of questions recently about skin conditions – psoriasis in particular, and other psoriasis-like conditions. Well, it turns out that psoriasis is neither simple, nor isolated in terms of your health – read on to find out just how important your skin can be as an indicator of other health problems that you might not even be aware of. Since this is such an important topic, and affects so many folks, Dr. Myatt has assembled her recommendations and created an article to help those who wish to self-treat. This is as close to an actual consultation with Dr. Myatt as you can get without actually being a patient – and we are making it available to HealthBeat News readers first!

For those who wish to view the medical research and references that back up Dr. Myatt’s article and recommendations, they can be found on our website.

 

Psoriasis

 

Do You Suffer “The Heartbreak Of Psoriasis”?

 

Once thought to be little more than an annoying and unsightly skin condition, research now shows psoriasis to be a symptom of much more serious problems.

What is Psoriasis?

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease with abnormally fast production of skin cells (up to 1,000 times normal) accompanied by inflammation.

Rapidly-multiplying skin cells pile up, creating a silvery scale. Skin underneath this scale is typically inflamed, itchy and painful. The condition is not contagious.

Psoriasis, once considered a “skin disease,”  is now recognized as a systemic (body-wide) autoimmune condition highly associated with:

  • cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and stroke (1-14)
  • diabetes and metabolic syndrome (7-15)

Other conditions associated with psoriasis include depression, insomnia/sleep difficulties, COPD, GERD and arthritis.

What Causes Psoriasis?

The precise cause of psoriasis is not known but a number of factors and have been identified:

  • genetic.  About one-third of people with psoriasis have a family member who also has the disease, suggesting a genetic component in some sufferers.
  • high cGMP to cAMP ratios
  • excess inflammation
  • high inflammatory cytokines (immune-regulating communication molecules)
  • auto-immune

In holistic medicine we also consider:

  • incomplete digestion (especially protein digestion).
  • bowel dysbiosis
  • impaired liver function
  • food allergies
  • nutritional deficiencies
  • stress appears to worsen the condition, and stress-reducing practices have shown to be helpful in these cases.

Each individual case of psoriasis should be considered as some combination  of these factors.

Conventional medical treatment:

Topical treatments such as steroid cream can greatly help or even “cure” psoriasis. Unfortunately, steroid cream can cause skin atrophy, stretch marks, spider veins and easy bruising when used long-term. The effects can also become systemic and disrupt hormone levels, contributing to osteoporosis and even psychosis.

Steroid creams don’t work for everyone, and there is often a decreasing effect of treatment with continual use. There can also be serious rebound effects with sudden discontinuance.

Immune-suppressive drugs such as cyclosporin and methotrexate are used, but liver, kidney and blood values must be monitored regularly because of the toxicity of these drugs.

Dr. Myatt’s Holistic Self-Help Recommendations*

DIET AND LIFESTYLE

PRIMARY SUPPORT

  • Maxi Multi: 3 caps, 3 times per day with meals. Maxi Multi contains optimal (not minimal) doses of all essential vitamins, minerals, and trace minerals, including those often deficient in psoriasis.  The most important deficiencies in psoriasis are: vitamin A, vitamin E, chromium, selenium, zinc, and vitamin D.
  • Omega 3 fatty acids: especially EPA and DHA as found in fish oil. Target dose is 1.8grams EPA and 1.2 grams DHA. This can be obtained from: Max EPA: 10 caps per day with meals
    OR
    Maxi Marine O-3: 4 caps per day with meals
  • Maxi-Flavone: 1-2 caps per day with meals. This ultra-potent formula contains herbs which decrease inflammatory cytokines.
  • Vitamin D: additional vitamin D as needed to obtain optimal blood levels. Learn about vitamin D testing here. Optimal vitamin D levels are very important for psoriasis treatment success.

ADDITIONAL SUPPORT

LIFESTYLE / TOPICAL TREATMENTS

  • Sunlight. UVB exposure has long been known to aid psoriasis  This could be due to increased vitamin D production.
    Newer prescription creams for psoriasis include synthetic vitamin D, further showing the importance of vitamin D for psoriasis.
  • Topicals (how to wash and protect psoriatic skin).
    Wash – Use mild, chemical-free soaps and cosmetics. Harsh alkaline soaps can cause further irritation.
    Moisturize – Chemical-free, gentle moisturizers should be applied after every shower or bath.
  • Bathe – baths with baking soda, oatmeal or bentonite clay can be very soothing and detoxifying. Soak for 15-20 minutes in warm water. Do NOT use a bath for cleansing, only for soaking. Be sure that you are using pure, uncontaminated water! If you are unsure about your water quality you may need to consider adding a water filter to your home.
  • Shower – for actual skin cleansing, take a shower. Use chemical-free oatmeal soap, other mild soap or Dove brand bar soap. But please remember, when you’re hot (and your skin’s pores are wide-open), you can absorb toxins from the water. Shower-head filters are inexpensive and reliable.
  • DON’T pick or scratch skin! Psoriatic lesions tend to grow at the site of skin injury. If itching is uncontrollable, use a skin brush to gently exfoliate without causing dermal injury.
  • Drink pure water – A Good Water Filter is a Cheap Investment in Your Health. A reliable, highly-effective under-sink water filter is an excellent health investment, especially when you consider how important water is to health. The human body is about 60% water. That means we can have 60% of our total body weight contaminated with a variety of toxins if we drink lousy water. The highest-rated water filters cost about the same as the cheap junk. Aquasana Water Purifiers  make some of the highest-rated filters at the best prices.
  • Vitamin D Test to rule out sub-optimal vitamin D levels. I recommend this to ALL psoriasis patients.
  • Comprehensive GI Health Profile – to evaluate for bowel toxicity, yeast overgrowth, deficient protein digestion .
  • Food Intolerance Profile – if indicated by this food allergy questionnaire and symptom list.

DR. MYATT’S COMMENTS

  • Diet and balanced digestion / gut function are primary
  • Correcting nutrient deficiencies with supplementation and ensuring optimal vitamin D levels are also very important

ALL psoriasis patients, whether symptomatic or not, should pay special attention to cardiovascular and metabolic risks. I recommend looking at cardio risk factors including the “other” risk factors at a regular interval.

Psoriasis can be challenging, but starting with the basics (good gut, adequate nutrients) often corrects or at least greatly improves symptoms. When natural, corrective treatment is used, improvement in skin lesions can be expected to include improvement associated risks such as heart disease and diabetes.

Topical treatments alone, even when they decrease skin lesions, do not correct systemic risks. Psoriasis should therefore be treated as a systemic disease, not a skin disease.

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Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. No information on this website is intended as personal medical advice and should not take the place of a doctor's care.