General advice and recommendations from Dr Mark Draper, MBBS, DA,
DRCOG, MFHom, Consultant to the Nature’s Own Group of companies,
for people with Psoriasis.
Psoriasis is a common condition that leads to the formation of red, scaly and
often itchy patches of skin. These are usually on the skin over the elbows,
knees and scalp, but can also occur elsewhere on the body.
The causes of psoriasis are still unclear, although some believe it is an auto-
immune disease. This means that the body's defence systems wrongly
identify normal cells as invading organisms and attack them. Another
possibility is based on the observation that some people with psoriasis have
poor liver function, and so are unable to deal with some of the body's
What is certain, however, is that the red, scaly skin patches result from a
dysfunction in the production of new skin cells. Normally, it takes around 4
weeks from formation of a new skin cell to its death. In psoriasis, the cells
behave like those in healing wounds, maturing very quickly, in as little as 3 to
six days. This increases the turnover of skin cells, leading to the
excessive shedding of dead cells, seen as scaliness. The increased local
blood flow needed to supply nutrients to these fast-growing skin cells makes
the affected skin look red.
Psoriasis: a chronic, non-contagious skin disease, characterised by
inflammation and red, scaly, itchy patches.
1 Dietary changes
People with psoriasis are often deficient in certain essential fatty acids. Simply
adding these to the diet can prove very helpful in relieving the symptoms.
Good dietary sources are oily fish, (such as mackerel and salmon), which
contain the Omega 3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, or flax seeds, which contain
linolenic acid, a substance the body can convert to Omega 3.
As well as increasing your intake of these beneficial fats, psoriasis sufferers
should reduce their intake of the saturated fats found in meat and dairy
products and 'damaged' or processed fats. Cooking at high temperatures or
for long periods can damage fatty acids, so reducing your intake of deep-fried
foods and using fresh oil each time, instead of re-using the
old oil, is helpful. Using good quality vegetable oils, such as olive oil, instead
of animal fats for cooking can also help, by replacing the unhealthy saturated
fats with beneficial unsaturated fatty acids.
The artificial fats used to make margarines and low fat spreads (hydrogenated
fats) are now known to cause problems in some individuals, because their
body is unable to metabolise them effectively. Butter is a healthier alternative,
although its use should be limited to minimise saturated fat intake.
Foods naturally high in phospholipids and PUFAs
The body needs foods that are high in phospholipids to incorporate oils into
the cells of the skin. Modern diets can lack the pulses, beans, nuts and seeds
that contain these nutrients.
Using a ground-up seed mix in the following proportion:
- Flax/Linseed, two parts
- Pumpkin, one part
- Sesame, one part
- (Perhaps) Sunflower, one part
Grind to a powder (like ground coffee), store in the fridge and add one to two
dessert spoons to breakfast cereals or cooked porridge.
Specific foods that can help to relieve psoriasis include rice and leafy green
vegetables. Rice may be effective because of its ability to help cleanse the
body of waste products. The leafy vegetables are rich in folic acid, known to
be effective in psoriasis.
Probiotics, which are substances that promote the development of the
beneficial micro-organisms in the gut, can also help in psoriasis. These are
widely available nowadays.
Water is also important for psoriasis sufferers. You should drink at least 4
pints a day of pure water (not soft drinks). This helps the body to remove
waste products, and also helps to rehydrate the dry, flaky skin.
2 Useful supplements
Fish oil supplements can provide the essential Omega 3 fatty acids DHA and
EPA in a convenient form for daily use. Flax oil, Starflower oil and Evening
Primrose Oil are good sources of linolenic acid, which the body easily
converts to Omega 3.
Folic acid is known to be deficient in psoriasis sufferers, so a folic acid
supplement is also recommended. Taking a good multivitamin supplement
may be an even better alternative, as it can also supply beta-carotene, vitamin
B12, vitamin C and vitamin E, all of which are thought to be helpful in
psoriasis. A vitamin B complex supplement may also be beneficial.
A good quality multi-mineral supplement can also help by supplying the
minerals thought to help with psoriasis: iron, potassium, selenium, silicon,
sulphur and zinc. Please note extra Zinc may be required when the area of
skin affected is large.
Aloe XL Inner Leaf Gel can be taken internally, at a dosage of about one
tablespoon (15ml) daily for 3 days, and doubling every 3 days to a maximum
60-80ml daily. The dose drops back to the previously- tolerated amount if
diarrhoea or urgency occurs.
3 Direct topical treatment
The juice from Aloe Vera leaves, diluted 1:10 in water, has been shown to be
effective in treating psoriasis when applied directly to the affected areas of
skin. It can be applied as often as felt necessary. Aloe Vera is very effective,
providing a rapid, soothing, short-term effect, and also aiding the longer-term
healing process resulting from the recommended dietary
Scalp psoriasis may be greatly improved by using a shampoo containing Tea
Tree oil. Like Aloe Vera on the skin, it provides rapid short-term relief while
the longer-term improvements from the recommended dietary changes take
Suggested Food State Therapeutic strategies
When large areas of skin are affected in an adult for the first two months:
Zinc 15mg with Copper 1mg: One tablet daily
Plus Cytoplex: Two tablets twice daily
Plus Vitamin C Extra: One tablet twice daily
Plus Fish Oil: 5ml daily
After two months, or if the area of affected skin is small.
Foundation Formula 1 or 2 (see Iron useage opposite): Two tablets
Plus Vitamin C Extra: One tablet daily
Plus Fish Oil: 5ml daily, reducing to 5ml three times per
Plus Phytoshield: One capsule daily
Iron or no Iron?
All teenagers and menstruating women tend to benefit from the extra Iron in
Foundation Formula. However, there are certain groups who do not need
extra iron, for instance fully grown men, and post-menopausal women, and
hence Foundation Formula 2 was developed.
Iron status can be measured by your medical practitioners with either a finger-
prick test (for Ferritins) or by taking blood and measuring the Ferritins (Iron
store in the blood in normal people equates to Tissue Ferritins or iron stores
where it matters.) Low ferritins with low saturation of the Iron-carrying proteins
denotes the need for iron.
A man or post-menopausal woman with Iron-deficiency anaemia or low iron
stores should be investigated by a medical practitioner to exclude undetected