Psoriasis, Diet and Food Concentrates

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It has been argued in many cases quite vehemently that diet has no role to play in many of the common dermatological conditions that trouble people. Yet as no surprise to those who use changes in diet to assist skin management a number of studies are now confirming that seen in empirical practice – your food choice and supplement choice influences for the better or worse skin health.[1],[2]

The two papers above are useful summaries of interventions that may add improvement to the skin damage or may mitigate associated disease risk or medication side effects. Clearly as food has multiple points of intervention in human physiology, even those conditions with a high genetic association are also going to be advantageously influenced by the correct management of body health via food and food concentrates.

One of the many difficult to manage skin conditions is psoriasis. Psoriasis is a chronic immune-mediated inflammatory skin disease that affects approximately 1–3% of the population worldwide and significantly impairs patients’ quality of life. Psoriatic skin lesions are sharply demarcated scaly plaques. They are histologically characterized by epidermal changes, inflammatory skin infiltrate, and increased angiogenesis. The pathogenesis of psoriasis is multifactorial and remains not fully elucidated. It is thought to result from the combination of genetic, environmental, and immunological factors.[3]

A recent paper looked at the role of pine bark extract ‘Pycnogenol®’ as an oral supplement used to reduce the symptoms linked to skin inflammation.[4] The results indicated the efficacy of Pycnogenol® supplementation in improving control of the most common clinical aspects of psoriasis and in reducing oxidative stress. Further studies may indicate the possible systemic or local use of Pycnogenol® and its role in controlling side effects and costs of standard management.

This paper built on two earlier papers that also looked at the possible role of pine bark extract as a means of altering T cell expression and inflammation and suggest that at least in some people a well-structured food plan, weight management and the use of pine bark in a supplemental form may add some measurable benefit to the skin quality and reduce some of the associated risks of diabetes and CVD.[5],[6]


[1] Katta R, Desai SP. Diet and dermatology: the role of dietary intervention in skin disease. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2014 Jul;7(7):46-51. View Full Paper

[2] Kaimal S, Thappa DM. Diet in dermatology: revisited. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol. 2010 Mar-Apr;76(2):103-15. View Full Paper

[3] Prinz JC. From bench to bedside-translational research in psoriasis. Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. 2010;24(supplement 6):1–4. View Abstract

[4] Belcaro G, Luzzi R, Hu S, Cesarone MR, Dugall M, Ippolito E, Corsi M, Caporale S. Improvement in signs and symptoms in psoriasis patients with Pycnogenol® supplementation. Panminerva Med. 2014 Mar;56(1):41-8. View Abstract

[5] Bito T, Roy S, Sen CK, Packer L. Pine bark extract pycnogenol downregulates IFN-gamma-induced adhesion of T cells to human keratinocytes by inhibiting inducible ICAM-1 expression. Free Radic Biol Med. 2000 Jan 15;28(2):219-27. View Abstract

[6] Rihn B, Saliou C, Bottin MC, Keith G, Packer L. From ancient remedies to modern therapeutics: pine bark uses in skin disorders revisited. Phytother Res. 2001 Feb;15(1):76-8. View Abstract

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