Psoriasis is a condition in which skin cells build up forming scales and itchy, dry patches. It is thought to be an autoimmune system disease that can be triggered by infections, stress and cold temperatures. There is no cure for psoriasis and doctors are still struggling to understand the disorder in depth. Recent research has pointed toward probiotics as a possible treatment for psoriasis. Given that 80 percent of our immune system is located in our digestive tract, having a healthy gut can be crucial for those suffering from psoriasis.
A recent study, published in the journal Gut Microbes, included three separate randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trials, which assessed the effects of probiotics on one gastrointestinal and two non-gastrointestinal inflammatory disorders. Twenty-two of the patients enrolled in the study were diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, 26 were diagnosed with psoriasis, and 48 patients had chronic fatigue syndrome.
At the beginning of the study, all patients had significantly raised levels of three blood biomarkers for inflammation compared to the controls. The three biomarkers were C-reactive protein (CRP) and the pro-inflammatory cytokines, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-a) and interleukin-6 (IL-6).
During the trial period, which lasted between 6 and 8 weeks, each patient and 22 of the healthy controls received identical sachets containing either the probiotic or a placebo. At the end of the study, researchers found that compared with the controls, all three groups of patients who received the probiotic had significantly lower levels of CRP compared with placebo.
Probiotics have also been shown to strengthen the skin’s barrier function. The skin acts as a physical barrier to protect our internal organs and keep out pathogens and other toxins. Not only are there microflora that live in the human gut, but there is also a skin microbiome, with friendly microorganisms providing protection. Our skin microbiome has been shown to protect against unfriendly bacteria that can contribute to skin diseases including eczema, rosacea and psoriasis.
When searching for the best probiotics for psoriasis, consider supplementation. Some people are sensitive to dairy, so yogurt isn’t a good option. And others just don’t care for fermented foods containing probiotics such as sauerkraut or sour milk. Be sure to look for a high-quality probiotic supplement and discuss this option with your physician.