Mediterranean Diet May Slow Progression of Psoriasis

Spanish scientists advise psoriasis sufferers to consider following a healthy eating plan such as the Mediterranean diet.

By Mary West
Sep. 4, 2018 10:29 UTC

A new study indi­cated that fol­low­ing the Mediterranean diet (MedDiet) may reduce the sever­ity and slow the pro­gres­sion of pso­ri­a­sis. The researchers believe the anti-inflam­ma­tory prop­er­ties of the diet are respon­si­ble for the ben­e­fit.

With results of pre­vi­ous stud­ies and these find­ings, we should not hes­i­tate to advise peo­ple with pso­ri­a­sis to con­sider a healthy eat­ing plan such as the MedDiet.- Céline Phan, Paris Est Créteil University

The Mediterranean diet has been shown to reduce chronic inflam­ma­tion and have a pos­i­tive effect on the risk of meta­bolic syn­drome and car­dio­vas­cu­lar events,” wrote the authors. Because pso­ri­a­sis is a chronic inflam­ma­tory con­di­tion, they the­o­rized the diet would have a ben­e­fi­cial effect on it.

Psoriasis affects between 1 to 3 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion. It’s char­ac­ter­ized by itchy, red and scaly patches of skin. The con­di­tion can be painful and lead to joint prob­lems, thus impair­ing the abil­ity to per­form every­day activ­i­ties. As pso­ri­a­sis has no cure, the goal of treat­ment is to man­age symp­toms.

The research pub­lished in JAMA Dermatology involved an analy­sis of data from the NutriNet-Santé pro­gram, an ongo­ing obser­va­tional study launched in France in 2009.

The data­base included more than 35,000 par­tic­i­pants of a mean age of 47.5 years.

Based on answers from a pso­ri­a­sis ques­tion­naire, the indi­vid­u­als were cat­e­go­rized into three groups: pso­ri­a­sis-free, non-severe pso­ri­a­sis and severe pso­ri­a­sis.

To mea­sure adher­ence to the MedDiet, dietary data was used to cal­cu­late MEDI-LITE scores, which range from 0 for no adher­ence to 18 for opti­mal adher­ence. In addi­tion, infor­ma­tion was col­lected on health and lifestyle fac­tors such as gen­der, age, body mass index (BMI), smok­ing habits, car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, phys­i­cal activ­ity and depres­sion symp­toms.

Results showed that 10 per­cent of the par­tic­i­pants had pso­ri­a­sis, with approx­i­mately one-fourth of the cases being severe. A sig­nif­i­cant inverse rela­tion­ship was found between the MEDI-LITE scores and severe pso­ri­a­sis, which meant the higher the adher­ence to the MedDiet, the lower was the risk.

Those with the high­est MedDiet adher­ence scores were 22 per­cent less likely to have severe pso­ri­a­sis com­pared to those with the low­est scores. According to the researchers, the results merit fur­ther stud­ies to estab­lish the asso­ci­a­tion between diet and pso­ri­a­sis.

Aside from the dietary link, a tie was noted between pso­ri­a­sis sever­ity and other fac­tors, includ­ing smok­ing, heart dis­ease, phys­i­cal activ­ity lev­els, BMI, dia­betes, high blood pres­sure, high triglyc­erides and depres­sion.

The MedDiet is rich in fruits, veg­eta­bles, whole grains, fish and extra vir­gin olive oil. These foods have sig­nif­i­cant amounts of com­po­nents with anti-inflam­ma­tory prop­er­ties, such as dietary fibers and antiox­i­dants,” lead author Céline Phan from Paris Est Créteil University told Olive Oil Times.

We can­not assume from this obser­va­tional study that fol­low­ing the MedDiet will reduce the risk of pso­ri­a­sis; how­ever, it high­lights an inverse asso­ci­a­tion between the MedDiet and the sever­ity of the dis­ease. With results of pre­vi­ous stud­ies and these find­ings, we should not hes­i­tate to advise peo­ple with pso­ri­a­sis to con­sider a healthy eat­ing plan such as the MedDiet,” she added.


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