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Radiant Skin Begins with Your Diet!

You may be surprised to learn that what you eat can drastically affect the condition of your skin. Perhaps you remember a friend or family member warning you back in high school about chocolate and French fries causing acne, and dismissed it as a myth at the time. But in fact, they weren't that far off-base with their warnings! What you eat does impact your skin health, and dietary improvements can often make living with psoriasis, dermatitis, dandruff, eczema, rosacea or severe acne much less trying. At DermaHarmony we firmly believe that good nutrition is a critical component of improving skin health, and if you are struggling to know where to start—check out our sample psoriasis diet plan—we can help!

The USDA reports that at least 40% of Americans routinely consume less than 60% of the recommended daily intake. For selected nutrients, over 80% of us consume less than the recommended daily intake—sometimes called the RDA. Science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom. Current research shows that optimization of the preventative powers of many nutrients requires supplementation at levels significantly greater than the RDA and even the new DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) standards.

Here at DermaHarmony we feel that the RDA and DRI come up short. For this reason, we use a "Blended Nutritional Standard," put together by seven leading nutritional authorities. The Blended Standard is comprised of 39 nutrient categories (17 vitamins or vitamin-like components, 14 minerals, 3 phytonutrient complexes, and 5 additional nutritional factors).

Do you know where your diet falls against this Blended Standard? Odds are that your intakes fall way—and we mean WAY—short.

Vitamin A
7500
IU
Vitamin D-3
350
IU
Vitamin K
180
ug
Biotin
200
ug
Folic acid
400
ug
Vitamin B1
50
mg
Vitamin B2
43
mg
Vitamin B3 complex
75
mg
Vitamin B5
75
mg
Vitamin B6
63
mg
Vitamin B12
300
mg
Beta-carotene
12,500
IU
Coenzyme Q10
45
mg
Lipoic acid
35
mg
Para-aminobenzoic acid
35
mg
Vitamin C
2000
mg
Vitamin E
500
IU
Bioflavonoids (mixed)
555
mg
Phenolic compounds
25
mg
Procyanidolic oligomers (PCO's)
75
mg
     
N-acetyl-L-cysteine
56
mg
L-carnitine
750
mg
Choline
59
mg
Inositol
125
mg
Lecithin
350
mg
Boron
3
mg
Calcium
800
mg
Chromium
275
ug
Copper
2
mg
Iodine
100
ug
Iron
23
mg
Magnesium
450
mg
Manganese
7
mg
Molybdenum
63
ug
Potassium
300
mg
Selenium
150
ug
Silicon
8
mg
Vanadium
75
ug
Zinc
23
mg
     
     

(The Blended Standard—by Phyllis Balch, CNC; Michael Colgan, PhD; Earl Mindell, PhD; Michael Murray, ND; Richard Passwater, PhD; Ray Strand, MD; and Julian Whitaker, MD.)

The bolded nutrients in the above chart have been shown to be deficient in people with psoriasis. In addition, arachidonic acid and leukotrienes often appear to be elevated in the urine of people with active psoriasis. This indicates that omega-3 fatty acids might be beneficial. There is much evidence showing that eating fish or taking fish oil supplements (EPA/DHA) can have an anti-inflammatory effect in psoriasis and other skin condition sufferers.

Healthy Skin Begins with Food Choices

Increased awareness of what you are putting into your system each day is a good starting point in identifying possible pitfalls. The current American diet is typically full of processed and fast foods, hydrogenated oils, high-fructose corn syrup, white flour, refined sugars, and numerous artificial flavorings and colors. The methods of ultra-processing the foods we eat often strip out valuable vitamins and nutrients and replace them with artificial ingredients that may exacerbate already existing inflammatory conditions.

Dr. John A. Pagano, a leading holistic psoriasis researcher, believes that toxic build-up in the body is the cause of psoriasis and other skin conditions. He states that "due to the toxic nature of many of foods commonly consumed and a weak intestinal lining, the individual's blood contains a build-up of poisons." The kidneys and liver cannot keep up with the level of filtration needed to rid the body of these toxins. Other organs such as the skin become the fail-over filter. And this leads to skin outbreaks.

Polyamines (metabolic breakdown products of proteins) are found to be higher in people with psoriasis than in the general population. Michael Murray, ND and Joe Pizzorno, ND believe that incomplete digestion of proteins, bowel toxemia and poor liver function are factors that influence the progression of psoriasis. Digestive enzyme supplementation can help cleave proteins more completely, allowing better uptake and utilization.

Interestingly, those with psoriasis seem also to have a higher incidence of food allergies and sensitivities. The most common food allergens are gluten and dairy. That may not mean you have overt celiac disease or lactose intolerance, but a milder sensitivity harder to identify. If you have psoriasis, you may want to eliminate gluten and dairy from your diet to see how your skin responds. Although fruits and vegetables are recommended, a few such as strawberries, tomatoes, and eggplant can often make symptoms worse and should be avoided. Heavily processed foods, fried foods, soda, caffeine, and alcohol may cause increased inflammation, and they are psoriasis no-no's for sure. If you notice any reaction from other foods, you would do well to avoid them as well.

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables and their juices, plus whole grains may help to alleviate some of the discomfort associated with not only psoriasis, but other skin conditions as well, such as acne and rosacea. In addition to liberal amounts of water, at least eight glasses each day, individuals should aim to fill most of their diet with fresh fruits such as grapes, mangoes and peaches, and vegetables such as cucumbers, squash and lettuce. Very limited amounts of meats and low-fat dairy products, eggs, and olive oil are also suggested. Eating these types of foods is not only beneficial to those suffering from skin ailments, but is also a healthy way for people not currently afflicted to prevent future skin conditions from forming.

In order to receive the most benefit from fresh fruits and vegetables, choose local organic produce as much as possible. Since many fruits and vegetables start losing valuable nutrients as soon as they are harvested, the faster the food gets from the field to your table, the better! It is particularly important to choose organic meats as much as possible, to avoid possible reactions from hormones, antibiotics or other chemicals with which the meat may have been treated. Organic fruits and vegetables are also a good choice when available, since they are grown without the use of harsh chemicals or pesticides that may cause a reaction and add to your body's toxic burden.

Supplementation is Necessary

There is growing awareness that we just can't get enough micronutrients from food alone, given our often imperfect diets, and we need to maintain a healthy digestive tract in order to effectively absorb what we ingest. Current research indicates that vitamins A, B, D and E may prove beneficial to psoriasis patients in easing symptoms. Additional studies have found that many patients suffering from skin ailments such as acne, psoriasis and rosacea are often deficient in these vitamins as well as zinc.

Supplementing your diet with a multivitamin is wise when dealing with skin conditions to help bring added relief. When choosing a quality supplement, pharmaceutical-grade nutrients are the best choice.

How DermaHarmony can Help

You might already eat a fairly healthy diet. Perhaps you choose organic foods, or try to eat the recommended five or more servings of vegetables each day. This makes for a good start, but there may be additional changes that could be made to help ease some of the discomfort brought on by psoriasis. While Dr. Pagano's groundbreaking dietary work to help psoriasis—as mentioned on The National Psoriasis Foundation's website—has helped many psoriasis sufferers, his long-term restrictions may be just too difficult for some to follow.

DermaHarmony can help. In our Shop we offer a dietary guide written by a Deirdre Earls, RD, LD, a nutritionist who used healthy foods to heal her own psoriasis! This user-friendly dietary guide offers realistic food choices for busy, active people. The author of this guide has done the work for you, and can assist you in selecting the best foods to promote healing from within!

Here are some resources for you. Read on for the answers you seek, then give us a call if you would like additional guidance.

 

How We Help

At DermaHarmony, our goals are to educate chronic skin care suffers about dermatology, share what contributes to health and wellness, and support our readers in any way we can. We manufacture and sell two soaps in our store that help with a variety of skin conditions. They're worth consideration if you have a condition that can be helped with pyrithione zinc, sulfur, or salicylic acid.


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bookRadiant Skin Begins with Your Diet!—Reference Documents and Further Reading



Principal Author: M. Smith, DermaHarmony Nurse Practitioner
Date of Publication: 06/27/2006
Updated: 04/03/2017