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WHAT IS PSORIASIS?


Psoriasis is an itchy and uncomfortable chronic inflammatory skin disease. It can occur anywhere on the skin from the scalp area to the genitals and down to the feet. It is not contagious and is caused by a number of factors such as stress, distress, diet and infections.

Psoriasis affects 1% of the population is the result of skin cells that have gone into overdrive, reproducing a thousand times faster than normal. The rate at which cells divide is controlled by a complex balance between two compounds: cyclic adenosine monophosphate (AMP), and cyclic guanidine monophosphate (GMP). Higher than normal levels of GMP cause cells to divide too quickly. Higher levels of AMP reduce the rate of cell replication.

However studies have shown that a reduction in levels of both these compounds causes cells to divide too quickly again suggesting that the key to normal replication must be a balance between the two.

The main problem as with many skin conditions is that conventional treatment does not deal with the possible causes of the condition it merely attempts to suppress the external symptoms. A more comprehensive approach is to address the problem from the inside and out.

SYMPTOMS:

It is characterized by the typical dry red patches and silvery scaly skin on various parts of the body. The patches are actually skin cells that have divided too quickly but have not shed off like normal skin usually does. The most common places of occurrence are scalp, ears, elbows and knees. In certain cases, the entire body can be covered. It has been observed that the condition intensifies in colder months and improves during the warmer ones. At times, the skin clears up totally but this remission is only for a short while and the sores return. Psoriasis can affect all ages, both sexes equally but is more prominent in those aged between 15 – 35 years of age.

The different types of psoriasis have varied appearances. From thick plaques of red scaly raised patches that crack and bleed to small, flattened bumps. It is more evident in places prone to rubbing or use especially during stress and trauma. When extreme, the discomfort and pain affect sleep and make routine work virtually impossible. There are essentially seven kinds of psoriasis:
Plaque psoriasis (psoriasis vulgaris): seen as scaly patches with a white silvery scaly covering - called psoriatic plaques that can itch, burn, bleed and crack.
Flexural psoriasis (inverse psoriasis): this looks like smooth inflamed patches of skin found in skin folds.
Guttate psoriasis: These appear as many small round (teardrop-shaped) spots on the trunk, limbs, and scalp.
Pustular psoriasis: raised bumps that are filled with non-infectious pus (pustules) appearing on any part of the body
Nail psoriasis: typically seen as discolouring under the nail plate, lines going across the nails, thickening of the skin under the nail, pitting, loosening and crumbling of the nail.
Psoriatic arthritis: is the inflammation of joint and connective tissue of psoriasis sufferers
Erythrodermic psoriasis: widespread inflammation and exfoliation of the skin over most of the body surface.

WHAT CAUSES IT?

First seen in 35 AD, it is one of the oldest recorded diseases in medical history. Though the exact cause of psoriasis lies undiscovered till date, there are certain triggers that have been identified.

Genetics: in case a parent has been affected by this illness, their offspring are more prone to acquire it.

Faulty immune system: since the skin cells rapidly multiply, it is theorized that there is some sort of a fault in the immune system.

Stress: stress has a negative impact on the whole body including the digestive system and the skin, and can cause inflammation to occur.

Medical conditions such as digestive disorders ( an unhealthy colon and a build up of toxins in the gut for example), the presence of HIV/AIDS, bacteria, viruses, liver and kidney problems, multiple nutritional deficiencies and yeast/fungal gut infection have all been linked to psoriasis.

Candidiasis is a probable trigger for psoriasis. It has been observed that patients of this skin condition have a higher incidence of Candidiasis (yeast) in their bowels.

Poor utilisation of fats can trigger skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. It has been observed that people with these skin conditions seem to have an inability to metabolise fats properly and therefore have low levels of good fats in their blood.

Alcoholism, smoking, trauma, surgery, depression and low self-esteem can all cause or aggravate psoriasis.

Certain medications can also act as triggers: anti-malarial drugs, beta-blockers and heart medication, Corticosteroids, Indomethacin (non-steroidal medication used to treat arthritis and other inflammatory conditions) and Lithium (used to treat manic depression and other psychiatric conditions) have been known to aggravate psoriasis in those with previous history.

DIET & LIFESTYLE:

Psoriasis is as yet an incurable illness. Those who suffer from it tend to face a lot of pain – physically and mentally. However, with the right precautions and care, this pain can be greatly lessened.

Liver Detox - the liver is the organ in your body that helps to get rid of excess hormones and toxins, so a 'liver detox' can be very helpful. Have a hot drink of water (or herbal tea) with fresh lemon every morning as you rise, and consume plenty of raw foods and fresh fruit and vegetables. Include fresh juices in your daily diet, particularly ginger and garlic juiced with carrot and beetroot, celery, apple, lemon or lime. You may like to consider looking for books with dietary guidelines designed specifically to cleanse the liver.
• It is extremely important to eat a balanced and healthy diet and drink plenty of filtered or purified water and herbal teas. Ensure your diet is rich in fibre and is made up of 50% raw fruits and vegetables to keep the colon healthy. Where possible have plenty of fatty fish.


Do not consume citrus fruits, red meat, dairy products, fried food, processed foods and junk food, fizzy drinks, wheat, coffee and tea, white flour baked goods, and sugar – these will all worsen the condition.

• Since yeast infection in the gut or Candidiasis, is a known trigger, try and avoid foods such as alcohol, baked goods, cheese, mushrooms, vinegar, soy sauce, fermented foods, and pickles. Sugar and yeast sustain and ‘feed’ fungal infections.

Record outbreaks - This will help in avoiding the possible reasons or seasons of the problem. Identifying the triggers – This can aid in avoiding an outbreak.

Avoid smoking and drinking - these can aggravate existing psoriasis and inhibit the treatment measures.

Reduce Stress - This is one very essential measure since more often than not stress is the main trigger. Ensure you get a good night’s sleep to help remove stress and tension from your life.

Exercising regularly - this can keep the mind fresh and the body active not to mention the relief it brings to the joints.


THE CONVENTIONAL APPROACH:


The current treatment of psoriasis can be classified into
• Topical (applied to the skin) – creams, moisturizers and lotions for mild form of the disease.
• Phototherapy (light, usually ultraviolet, applied to the skin) – usually used in moderate to severe psoriasis. Phototherapy is a long drawn process and involves multiple trips to the clinic and may increase the risk of skin cancer.
• Systemic (taken orally or by injection or infusion) – Moderate, severe or disabling psoriasis
Topical medications include topical corticosteroids, vitamin D analogue creams, topical retinoids , moisturizers, coal tar, anthralin, and others.

These are symptomatic approaches and so may or may not be effective temporarily. Moreover they may have side effects and they do not deal with the internal causes of the condition.

COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES:

Since allopathy has yet to devise a cure for psoriasis, more and more people are turning to an alternative approach.

Climatotherapy - treatment by living in a particular climate. The Dead Sea is one of the most popular locations for climatotherapy. The use of Dead Sea salts in partial or full baths to psoriasis patients has proven effective by showing a reduction in symptoms.

This is again dealing only with external symptoms however.

Taking steps to boost the immune system, support healthy skin, digestion and liver health are important for many skin complaints.


SUPPLEMENTS FOR HEALTHY SKIN, IMMUNITY & DIGESTION:

Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acid:

Ultra EPA omega 3 (£18.50 for 1 month supply) and Starflower Oil omega 6 (£6.90 for 1 month supply) are essential fatty acids. The body cannot produce these fats so they are essential to everyone and they are particularly important for healthy skin. It is easy to be deficient in omega 3 as dietary sources are limited and do not provide therapeutic doses.

Take 4 of the Ultra EPA capsules a day and 1 Starflower Oil capsule a day. This will provide 2140mg of EPA and 204mg of GLA. Many high street brands have far lower doses and are not guaranteed to be free from contaminants. These doses can then be reduced over time. Allow at least three months for proper absorption. 

Vegetarians and vegans can take a Flaxseed Oil with ‘MegaGLA’ - see Essential Fatty Acids

Skin Supplement:

Ultra Skin Plus (£18.35 for 1 month supply) is a specially formulated skin supplement with glucosamine and MSM as well as therapeutic levels of vitamins A, B's, C, E & zinc and selenium - all of which are important for healthy skin and tissue. It is essential to ensure that you get good levels of all the main nutrients required for healthy skin. It is common for example to be deficient in zinc and zinc is also important in the metabolism of fatty acids.

Directions: take two tablets daily. Includes:
Vitamin A - needed for healing the skin and boosting the immune system
B Vitamins - for protein metabolism which is essential for healing and repair
Biotin – an important B vitamin for healthy skin and hair
Zinc - important for healing and strengthening the immune system
MSM - organic sulphur helps maintain healthy skin and connective tissue
Vitamin E - speeds healing and increases oxygen intake to the skin

Vegetarians can use the Ultra Skin formula with the option of adding vegetarian MSM separately - see Hair Skin & Nails

Probiotics:

Bio-Acidophilus £17.95 (16 billion per daily dose - 1 month supply) - a daily high dose probiotic supplement is essential for a healthy digestive system and to boost immunity. 80% of the immune system relies on the strength of the digestion.

Each of us has around 100,000,000,000,000 bacteria in our intestines. That is 10 times the number of cells in our body, and can weigh around 1.5 kg! This 'microflora' consists of both friendly probiotic bacteria and bad pathogenic bacteria that co-exist in a complex ecosystem. Having a healthy balance of probiotics over pathogens plays an important role in digestion and immunity. However the balance of bacteria in the gut is fragile and can easily be disrupted by everyday factors such as stress, age, medication (e.g. antibiotics), environment and diet.

Sufficient numbers of good bacteria are essential for a healthy digestion and daily probiotic supplements replenish the levels of good bacteria in the gut. Higher dose probiotics such as ‘Bio-Acidophilus Forte’ and ‘Ultimate Flora 50 Billion’ are also available at Probiotics

Digestive Enzymes:

PolyZyme Forte
– a Maximum Potency Formula. An effective broad spectrum digestive enzyme complex derived from plant sources designed to digest all the elements of foods - carbohydrates, fats and proteins - leading to more efficient digestion and absorption. Per capsule, Polyzyme Forte is two to three times more potent than many animal based enzyme products. Take one with each meal and another two capsules in between meals.

Liver Support:

We have several different liver support supplements but one of these is Liver Tone Complex which is a liquid formula and is designed to be taken long-term if required.

ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS:


Hair Skin Nails

Digestion

Immune Support

Cleanse Detox & Fibre

 

SKIN CARE:

Silver-MSM Psoriasis Lotion was developed as a non-chemical natural skin care product to maintain healthy skin renewal in psoriasis and relieve its soreness and itchiness. Deeply nourishing, moisturizing and soothing the skin at the same time, Silver-MSM Psoriasis Lotion is non-occlusive, has detoxifying properties and is suitable for all skin types and areas.

It is available as a 30ml trial size and then 100 and 200ml bottles.

We also have a complete range of natural skin care products for highly sensitive and allergic skin - see Special Care Face and Special Care Body

Please contact us for specific advice if you need any help

 

NB. This information is in no way intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you are unsure as to the suitability of any of the products or recommendations with regard to your condition please consult your doctor. If your doctor does not approve of complementary medicine it may be helpful to find one who does.

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