Psoriasis & Gluten
Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition that affects people of all ages. This chronic disease can be highly debilitating, both physically (due to intense itching and pain) and socially (with many sufferers feeling embarrassed about their disfigurement). It is an autoimmune disorder where the immune system attacks healthy cells in the skin. Patients may have different severities of psoriasis, from mild to severe and more progressive cases called psoriatic arthritis. However, a gluten-free diet provides significant relief from this skin condition.
Gluten and psoriasis: An unsolved link
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley. The main biological functions of gluten are to give an elastic texture to the dough (hence the term 'glue'). A lectin called agglutinin is present in gluten which can cause damage to intestinal walls. Some people have an autoimmune disease called celiac disease, characterized by damage to the small intestine lining. When a person with celiac disease eats gluten, it results in an immune response. It causes the body to attack and destroy villi (finger-like projections) responsible for nutrient absorption from food. It significantly compromises their diet as they can no longer digest many foods. They experience symptoms such as diarrhea, weight loss, abdominal pain, and nausea.
Psoriasis is also an autoimmune disease. And in most psoriasis patients, celiac disease is also prevalent, which can lead to gluten intolerance. It is because the exact autoimmune immunological mechanism that causes celiac disease also makes you susceptible to psoriasis.
Researchers have found that most celiac disease patients who consume gluten exhibit worsened psoriasis symptoms compared to those who have adopted a strict gluten-free diet. (Source: Medical News Today)
How does gluten cause inflammation?
Gluten causes inflammation in the body by stimulating an immune response. A gluten-containing diet promotes intestinal permeability (a leaky gut). A leaky gut can lead to many adverse health issues, including autoimmune disorders like psoriasis. Autoimmune diseases occur when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks its tissue, causing chronic illness. The action of gluten leads to two major pro-inflammatory pathways: activation of B cells and pro-inflammatory cytokine release from T cells.
Benefits of a gluten-free diet:
A gluten-free diet is now considered the 'first line of defense' in the management of psoriasis. Let’s see why a gluten-free diet works well for psoriasis.
Reduces intestinal permeability: Patients who practice a strict gluten-free diet may experience improvements in gut health and less specific inflammation associated with psoriasis and other autoimmune conditions.
Improves nutrient absorption: Gluten is present in many foods such as pasta, bread, cereals, cookies, cakes, pastries, etc. When you eliminate these items from your diet, you will get better absorption of nutrients into your bloodstream. Thus, you absorb more vitamins and minerals naturally.
Reduces sugar cravings: Gluten can be addictive, especially in those who have celiac disease.
For optimum results, the diet must eliminate all sources of gluten, including hidden foods like sauces and condiments that contain flour as an ingredient. It means taking a look at your medications and supplements as well. Sometimes, gluten is used in the manufacturing process without being listed on the label.
A gluten-free diet can also help to reduce itching and flare-ups of psoriasis.
There are many different types of psoriasis (plaque, inverse, guttate, etc.) but most respond well to a gluten-free diet.
How can homeopathy help?
Homeopathy is a constitutional treatment and gives holistic healing by treating the person as a whole. It involves individualizing remedies based on the patient's characteristic symptoms, intolerances, nature, and temperament. Symptoms like physical sensations in the skin, a bloating feeling after eating certain foods, aggravation from cold winds/weather change, etc., may act as starting points to understanding your condition better. The homeopathic doctor customizes a specific remedy that is suited to you, giving relief from psoriasis naturally without any side effects. Homeopathic treatment for psoriasis can also prevent symptoms that occurred due to gluten.
You can visit Dr. Batra’s® clinic for proper guidance regarding your diet and homeopathic treatment for psoriasis and gluten intolerance. Our doctors can suggest diet changes, supplements for gluten intolerance and psoriasis. You can book your appointment with us today!