- Microbiome: How your bacteria affects psoriatic disease
- Microbes: Vital to our immune system
- The immune system connection
- Focus on psoriatic arthritis
- Treat the bugs, treat the disease
- How probiotics would work
- A case for patient-researcher partnerships
- What are these “certain bacteria”?
- Enzymes are the agents of change in the body.
- How did I come across these probiotics?
- Here are the probiotic strains included:
- The Natural Balance needs to be restored.
- Prebiotics are the food source for Probiotics
- My Sword and My Shield.
- Can Probiotics Help With Psoriatic Arthritis?
- The Probiotic Plan
- Picking the Best Probiotic to Take
- ‘The Best Advice I Ever Got for Managing Psoriatic Arthritis:’ 17 Tips Patients Are Grateful For
- 1. Get regular massages
- 2. Try CBD oil
- 3. Learn yogic breathing
- 4. Wrap your hands
- 5. Remember that you may need way more sleep than other people
- 6. Take an antacid with your ibuprofen
- 7. Don’t settle for the first drug you try
- 8. Plan a light schedule for injection days
- 9. Find a good therapist
- 10. Take a good probiotic
- 11. Don’t wait to start medication
- 12. Switch up your diet
- 13. Invest in compression gear
- 14. Find a way to move
- 15. Try an SI belt
- 16. Don’t be afraid to change doctors
- 17. Get a genetic test done
- Keep Reading
Microbiome: How your bacteria affects psoriatic disease
The topical medication didn’t really work, she said, but eventually her plaques went away. Then, last August, more than 40 years later, they resurfaced on her scalp. On a friend’s recommendation, she decided to try probiotics.
Sylvia’s not alone in her enthusiasm. Researchers are investigating how the microbes living on and in our bodies — known as our microbiome — could play a role in inflammatory diseases. Their interest is prompting many people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis to think about their own microbiome. Some take probiotics, which introduce new bacteria into the gut. Others eat certain foods to modify their microbiome.
On any given day, you can find thousands of posts about bacteria, probiotics and the microbiome on message boards such as NPF’s online community, TalkPsoriasis.org. Patients share research and trade stories, trying to understand how it all relates to psoriatic disease.
Scientists are wondering the same thing, navigating the field with new discoveries.
“The microbiome in psoriasis is a new frontier,” said Dr. Martin Blaser, the director of the Human Microbiome Program at New York University and author of “Missing Microbes: How the Overuse of Antibiotics Is Fueling Our Modern Plagues.” He hopes that microbiome research will lead to better ways of diagnosing, treating and even preventing psoriasis.
“The outlook is promising,” he said.
Microbes: Vital to our immune system
Microbes outnumber us. Our bodies have about 10 trillion cells each, but we host approximately 100 trillion microbial cells. The gut alone, which includes our stomach and intestines, is home to about three pounds of bacteria. Microbes also are, in some ways, smarter than us. They’re not just taking up space; many actually tell parts of our immune system what to do.
We already know that our immune system targets microbes — that’s how it defends us from harmful pathogens. Researchers now realize that some microbes are actually an important part of our immune defenses, controlling the development of key components of our immune system.
“Microbes have figured out our immune system in ways that we, as scientists, still don’t fully understand,” said Dr. Sarkis Mazmanian, a microbiologist at the California Institute of Technology.
We rely on our immune system to distinguish between microbial invaders that might make us sick and the harmless bacteria that are always inside us, said Mazmanian. Based on this distinction, the immune system decides when and when not to attack. But the immune system doesn’t make this decision by itself.
“Part of the decision-making process is actually controlled by specific gut microbes,” said Mazmanian.
In other words, the bugs are pulling the strings.
“Microbes have learned to flip certain switches in our bodies,” Mazmanian said, explaining that some microbes induce immune cells called T-cells to promote inflammatory responses, and others induce T-cells to suppress inflammatory responses.
That means that microbes contribute to our body’s decision on whether to launch an immune attack.
Dr. Yasmine Belkaid, an immunologist at the National Institutes of Health, described it as an educational process.
“A lot of what the microbes are doing is preparing the cells for subsequent encounters with pathogens,” Belkaid said. “You constantly need these microbes to educate, to stimulate and to control the form of immunity that we’re going to develop.”
The immune system connection
If you don’t get a good education, it’s tough to do your job. That’s why scientists are asking whether immune-mediated disorders such as psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis — when the body misfires and launches an inflammatory response against itself — could be caused by a disturbance in the microbiome.
To understand why the immune system needs microbes, you have to understand what happens to an immune system without any microbes. So scientists remove microbes from mice by raising them in germ-free conditions.
Then they watch what happens when these mice encounter certain germs. Several pivotal studies have found that the immune systems of these germ-free mice don’t work very well.
An experiment involving germ-free mice engineered to have arthritis showed that, if they stayed in germ-free conditions, they only developed mild arthritis. However, when they ingested a certain kind of bacterium, they quickly developed a more severe form of the disease.
From this study, published in the June 2010 issue of the journal Immunity, scientists learned two important things: that throwing our bacteria off-balance can lead to inflammatory disease, and that this disease doesn’t necessarily have to occur where the bacteria are located. That is, bacteria in the gut can trigger inflammation outside the gut.
Scientists can’t create bug-free people to see if they develop immune system disorders. But they can look at the bugs that people with immune system disorders have to see whether any particular microbes might correlate to disease development.
Focus on psoriatic arthritis
Dr. Jose Scher, a rheumatologist at New York University, is exploring whether the gut microbiome of people with psoriatic arthritis differs from that of healthy people. His preliminary findings suggest that people with psoriatic arthritis may have less bacterial diversity, which means they have depleted supplies of some kinds of bacteria.
Blaser’s taken a similar approach to the skin microbiome, analyzing whether people with psoriasis have certain microbes on their skin that might play a role in triggering the disease. His team has identified certain bacterial patterns that seem to be associated with psoriasis.
These patterns signal an imbalance in patients’ microbial communities — what scientists call dysbiosis. The next step is determining whether dysbiosis can actually disrupt our immune systems so much that it causes immune system disorders. To get to the bottom of this, researchers need to track who develops psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis — and which microbes they’re carrying around.
“The best studies, which are the most difficult to do, are studies of people who don’t have psoriasis yet but will develop it,” Blaser said.
These studies, called longitudinal studies, will tell researchers how the people who develop psoriasis are different from the people who don’t, he said.
Scher thinks that longitudinal studies could be particularly useful for psoriatic arthritis.
“This is one disease where the risk factors are pretty well-known,” he said. “If someone has psoriasis, there is a 20 to 30 percent chance that they will develop psoriatic arthritis.”
Treat the bugs, treat the disease
Once scientists identify and understand the roles of the microbes found in people who develop psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis, they could use this knowledge to treat the root cause of the disease.
Therapies that target microbes would offer an alternative to drugs that suppress the immune system. Many medications treat psoriatic disease by disrupting the process that causes inflammation. But, Mazmanian said, some of these medications impair the body’s ability to fight infectious viruses or bacteria.
Instead of completely shutting off inflammation, microbial therapies may be able to balance the pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory functions of our immune systems by restoring bacterial balance, Mazmanian said.
Therapies that balance an individual’s microbiome — by eradicating some microbes or promoting others — may sound a lot like the antibiotics and probiotics we already have. But researchers emphasize that new treatments may be very different.
Take antibiotics, for instance. According to Blaser, patients might one day take antibiotics to treat the specific microbes involved in psoriasis.
“If we found that there are certain organisms that are particularly bad, we could develop new antibiotics to suppress or kill them,” he said. “Not the antibiotics that are on the shelf today, but antibiotics that just target the bacteria we’re interested in.”
How probiotics would work
Probiotic treatments would be designed to have the opposite effect — instead of killing the bad bugs, they would promote the good ones, the ones that reduce inflammation involved in psoriatic disease. But these, too, would be different from what’s on the market now.
Scientists may eventually develop an entirely new class of probiotics, Blaser said, that would be highly targeted to address psoriasis.
Some researchers are already investigating probiotic treatments. A 2013 study published in the journal Gut Microbes found that taking a certain microbe could reduce patients’ levels of inflammatory proteins, or cytokines. However, the study didn’t test enough patients to determine whether it would be an effective therapy.
Blaser cautioned that the probiotics available today in health food stores and pharmacies are largely unregulated and have not been tested for efficacy. Scher, too, warned that while probiotics could one day potentially be an effective treatment, “the emphasis is on the potential.” But he recognized that patients are looking for new options.
A case for patient-researcher partnerships
Sylvia isn’t the only patient who’s happy with probiotics.
Ken Lassesen was diagnosed with psoriasis on his heels about 10 years ago. He tried a topical treatment, but the psoriasis kept coming back. A couple of years ago, he started taking probiotics for a different condition. His heels cleared up — and stayed clear, he said. He credits the improvement to probiotics.
For Tom Agoston, probiotics were more appealing than systemic or biologic drugs.
He’s dealt with psoriasis on and off for years, and when it worsened about five years ago, he explored alternative treatments.
“I began to look at what else I could do besides taking a medication that would suppress part of my immune system,” he said.
Like Lassesen, he started taking probiotics for a different condition but wondered if it would help his psoriasis. Even after a few months, he hasn’t noticed much of a change. But he stays open-minded: “When it comes to a low-risk, sensible alternative approach, my philosophy is, why not try it?”
If patients do take probiotics, they should work closely with their doctor, said Dr. Veena Taneja, an immunologist at the Mayo Clinic.
Lassesen offered the same advice. He and his doctor are partners, he said, debating the pros and cons of different treatments.
“Her role is to flag problems, and my role is to be proactive,” he said. “I do the research and bring her new ideas, and she tries to identify the risks in what I find.”
Close partnerships between patients and doctors will become even more important as research progresses.
“You can see people who are not scientists being completely excited by this topic,” Belkaid said. “The public can really become partners with scientists.”
In fact, it was a patient who inspired Blaser to research the microbiome’s relationship to psoriasis. That patient was his father, who has psoriasis. When his father took a medication for his gout, Blaser said, his psoriasis also cleared up.
After doing some research, Blaser learned that the medication had antimicrobial properties, so he began working to understand how targeting microbes could heal psoriasis.
Today, Blaser is both a patient and a researcher. He’s developed psoriasis on his fingers and legs, he said.
“So I am very eager to improve therapy,” he said.
Editor’s note: Wondering if you are showing signs of psoriatic arthritis? Take a quiz and learn more about PsA.
I have been through dozens of supplements and different types of probiotics in my quest to cure Psoriasis naturally.
When the psoriasis was at it’s worst in summer 2015, I went on the hunt through thousands of capsules, tablets, tinctures, powders and dollars. I was looking for a silver bullet supplementation protocol to add to my diet.
After three years of this hunt, and filling almost an entire trash can with capsules and tablets, this is my conclusion:
Why did the Psoriasis come back worse than the first time?
I was not focused on my gut bacteria health and I had deprived myself of fruit in my healing diet. Now, I am making steady progress and I feel stronger and healthier than I EVER have.
Living probiotics are by far, the most important and powerful supplement to heal Psoriasis naturally.
A disrupted gut microbiota, due to many toxic conditions, is the epicenter of chronic illnesses. With a focus on restoring the proper microbial balance, by introducing certain bacteria species; we can heal the gut wall, remove bad pathogens and regulate the immune system.
What are these “certain bacteria”?
Plant and Soil Based Organisms, aka PSBOs. They are bacteria that produce short chain fatty acids and metabolic enzymes as a byproduct. These metabolic enzymes are crucial in influencing balanced immune system function while also healing the inflamed gut and bowel walls. Metabolic enzymes perform important functions throughout the body such as cell tissue repair, waste cleanup, and even destruction of harmful cells.
Short chain fatty acids directly regulate immune function by improve performance of the t-reg cells of our immune system. These cells regulate the inflammation response from our immune system.
Enzymes are the agents of change in the body.
These specific PSBOs are major players in healing Psoriasis naturally. I’m noticing general health improvements, beyond just my skin clearing up. Some of these benefits are:
- Better digestion
- Easy and scheduled bowel movement
- Better nutrient absorption from the plant foods I eat
- Balanced and lasting energy levels
- Restful sleep
- Improved senses
- Less stress
- Better mood
- Improved attention span
- Improved vision and hearing
- Hair growing fuller and faster
- Nails clearing up
There are three main reasons why these specific probiotics are the most powerful for healing:
- Their Resiliency – They must survive the stomach acid to make it to the Ileum where they thrive and strongly influence immune function. Since they live on and around the plants and deal with all types of weather conditions, PSBOs become very resilient and make it past the stomach acid intact. They are kept in an enzyme-enriched substrate when bottled, so they stay alive and continue to strenghthen. If the bacteria burn up in the stomach acid, then their CFU count doesn’t matter and it leads to bloating, gas and constipation. I have gone through these symptoms a few times in the past on my search for the proper probiotics.
- Their Numbers – PSBOs are in low numbers in the gut now, so they are more influential on our resident gut bacteria. Taking common probiotics, which are already in high numbers in the gut, have much less impact as they lose the territory battle to the indigenous organisms.
- Their Byproducts – As mentioned, they pass on metabolic enzymes, short chain fatty acids along with B12 and other nutrients as byproducts. Like any living organisms, probiotics need to eat nutrients, and remove byproducts. These particular plant & soil based organisms like to feed on plant matter, known as ‘prebiotics’. These are insoluble fibers and complex sugars we cannot digest, but they can. When they consume these nutrients, they create bio-available byproducts that the body can easily absorb and utilize.
Dr. Chris Kresser has an awesome podcast interview with Dr. Justin Sonnenburg discussing the gut microbiota and reversing dis-ease states. I have listened to it a few times and learn more each time. I also suggest Dr Sonnenburg’s book “The Good Gut” which is a short and interesting read on how to improve the health of your gut bacteria community.
A proper gut microbiota balance is the sword and shield to heal, reach full vitality and stay well for good in this modern world which presents many challenges to being well.
How did I come across these probiotics?
Beginning in February 2016 and onward into 2017, I had been reading and restructuring my approach based on two ground-breaking books written by Anthony William called Medical Medium and Life-Changing Foods.
The books discussed “elevated organisms” as the crucial bacteria to consume. These elevated organisms that grow naturally on plants and the soil around them.
I was hunting for a probiotic supplement that followed this idea and in January 2017, a great guy named Randy Upham, the lead biologist and founder of Ozona Organics, came into my life at the perfect time.
He offered to give me some of his liquid probiotics for Psoriasis relief to try. He called them “plant and soil based microbial metabolites“.
He then mentioned others’ feedback who had been using it about 90 days or more. Many folks came back happy to report that their long-term Psoriasis, Eczema, Rosacea and other chronic skin ailments were clearing up! This was in addition to many chronic gut and bowel issues going away as well.
So, in early Spring 2017, I dedicated myself to my PHWarrior Healing Diet, adjusting my approach based on Anthony William’s books and stuck with these probiotics everyday.
I have been using them for a two years and ! My skin is calming, clearing, and the amount of flaking and itching has decreased a lot, I’d say about 90%!!.
I’m still red and pink, but the inflammation is down and the skin is fully clearing. I can tell this is fundamental healing, based on my six years of experience on this natural journey. I have dealt with a myriad of crazy symptoms that deep natural healing brings about.
I’m winning this war, it’s just a matter of perseverance & determination.
I have spoken with about 100 people so far, who have been taking it for at least three months and they are all noticing results. It appears to be working for many Warriors, and there have been no negative side effects reported at all. I have developed a strong rapport with Randy and I trust him. He truly wants to help people heal. I’m SO EXCITED!
Here are the probiotic strains included:
- Lactobacillus intestinalis
- Lactobacillus Gasseri
- Lactobacillus Reuteri
- Lactobacillus Animalis
- Clostridium sp
- Blautia sp
- Mobilitalea sibirica
- Bacteroides acidofaciens
- Barnesiella sp
- Parabacteroides sp
The only other ingredient, is a liquid enzyme-enriched substrate which feeds the organisms, keeping them alive and strong while bottled. This is why no refrigeration is needed and they have a very long shelf life. They are alive and ready for ACTION in the gut!!
“I eat all organic, don’t I already get these organisms then?“
I eat mostly all organic myself. Organics don’t guarantee PSBOs (aka elevated organisms). In most cases they are not present on organics since soaps, handling, refrigeration and processing are all still part of the production cycle.
If you are growing sprouts on your window sill, tending your own garden, picking fruits from trees, or purchasing produce from a farmer you know, then the organisms are still present.
They appear as a very thin white film at the base of the plant on the soil, on the stem and on the leaves, and on the skin of the fruits and vegetables.
I strongly suggest eating organics, to avoid conventional pesticides and herbicides (glyphosate aka Roundup), which are part of the triangular cause of Psoriasis and Eczema. Those poisons are very hard on the Liver and they destroy the pathways good bacteria require.
The Natural Balance needs to be restored.
Imagine a Utopia, where we wander around eating fruits from the trees and veggies from the ground which have elevated organisms living on the skins, leaves and peels. We pass the parts we don’t digest back to the soil that plants thrive on. That’s how animals, humans, plants and bacteria have been symbiotically co-existing for thousands of years.
Humans got by for eons with this balance. Whether you eat the plants, or eat the animal meat that ate the plants, it’s part of that necessary cycle.
This cycle has broken down over the past century. That coupled with the excessive use of environmental poisons, such as herbicides, pesticides, and heavy metals have set the stage for a mass epidemic of generational, chronic illnesses.
We must reverse the dis-ease state and live in a healing state.
The problem in an acidic dis-ease state, is the environment is perfect for pathogenic bacteria and viruses to thrive. They eat indigestible fats, proteins, sugars, heavy metals, herbicides, pesticides, and other environmental poisons which are rotting in the gut.
This process also creates ammonia gas which seeps through the gut wall wreaking havoc systemically, also known as leaky gut syndrome.
These pathogens proliferate and cause flare ups and triggers. They are the guns. We need to kick these bad guys out and restore peace and balance. We need the good guys cut out for the job.
Don’t get caught up in trying to identify triggers and avoid them, remove the guns and the triggers fade away. This is how we get off the carousel of chronic illnesses.
PSBOs are transient. They travel through the entire gut and bowel, helping every inch of the GI tract. Some colonize and some leave with the stool, going back to the soil completing the natural cycle.
Animals feed the soil, the soil feeds the plants, the plants feed the animals (humans). The bacteria are the agents in this cycle. They MUST be consistently present and thriving.
In modern food production and dietary choices, this natural cycle is interrupted, leading to poor lymphatic function, acidic gut and immune imbalances.
So, on that basis, I will take them for the rest of my life to restore and maintain this balance and I’m seeing the results as I go. It’s slow and steady progress, which leads me to summarize that it will continue.
I do plan to have my own garden and eat from my own land when I can afford to do so. That is certainly the long-term goal.
Prebiotics are the food source for Probiotics
Prebiotics are absolutely necessary as well. Prebiotics are mainly insoluble fibers that we cannot digest. They feed PSBOs. So we need to bring prebiotics in through the diet, so they can feed inside of us and produce the necessary byproducts we thrive on along with helping us absorb vitamins and other nutrients. You can take all the vitamin supplements you want, if you aren’t absorbing them, you end up with expensive urine.
Probiotics eat the parts of plant foods we cannot digest and produce crucial byproducts we can absorb. This is symbiosis.
Absorption and Elimination are the name of the game in healing, enzymes are the agents of absorption and elimination. So eat a high raw food enzyme diet (fruit grazing) and probiotics that produce metabolic enzymes. This takes a LOT of pressure off the liver, pancreas, gallbladder and colon, so these key organs can focus on deeply cleansing and repairing themselves.
Focus on prebiotic-rich foods, here is a list of some to eat more of:
- Red apples
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Organic oats and barley
- Chicory Root
- Dandelion Greens
- Jerusalem Artichoke
- Burdock Root
- Jicama Root
- Atlantic Sea Vegetables, I sprinkle Atlantic Dulse on my salads and guacamole, a great source of iodine as well. Get it here -> http://amzn.to/2hVTwTQ
“Don’t genetics have a role to play in chronic dis-eases?“
Genetics play a role in all organisms, bacteria, animals, plants, all living things. Bacterial genetics evolve in hours, where ours evolve in decades.
Environmental poisons, viruses, strep, herbicides, heavy metals, all pass into the sperm, into the womb, into the growing fetus. We genetically pass toxins to children. I feel this is the genetic challenge as opposed to a missing or mutated gene.
Epigenetics is real and genes learn from their environment, which leads to a happy ending, we can influence genetic expression.
My Sword and My Shield.
I have noticed an incredible difference. I’ve been supplementing these particular organisms for a year. I doubled dosage to one fluid ounce on November 1st, 2017, and results really started coming.
Remember, the skin is the tip of the iceberg. It is expendable and it will heal LAST. The internal healing happens first and this takes months, perhaps years. You will notice improvements and benefits internally along the way.
I feel strongly that these PSBOs will minimize the healing crisis episodes for Warriors on their journeys.
I think these probiotics are the sword and shield. They clear out the pathogenic organisms fully (sword), then keep them gone by creating an environment that is not conducive for viruses and bad bacteria to grow out of control (shield).
The same goes for Candida, which is indigenous. We need Candida to digest simple sugars. The issue is, the fungus overgrows due to a surplus of simple, fermented, indigestible sugars being present in the gut and blood.
We must restore the balance. A balance that many of us have never experienced in our lifetime until now, since we were born into the modern food vertical.
My case of Erythrodermic Psoriasis was very severe. I think for those with mild or moderate Psoriasis, the results will show in about 90 days.
Especially if you are committed to the PHWarrior Diet & Lifestyle program.
There are hundreds of others that I work with, whom follow my suggestions and are noticing incredible improvements. Even those who have very difficult and stubborn spots, are seeing them fade away.
These probiotics are the closest thing to a natural cure for Psoriasis that I have found.
I also strongly suggest using the topical probiotics mist as well. Randy just finished this product and it has really sped up my results since I started using it in October 2017. I spray some on all over after baths & showers. I apply one more time directly to Psoriasis each day. .
To save money, you can order more at once and use these coupon codes:
- 3-Pack: phw3pack (10% Discount)
- 6-Pack: oz6pack15 (15% Discount)
- 9-pack: oz9pack20 (20% Discount)
For international Warriors, set up a free account with https://www.myus.com/
MyUS will give you an address in the USA to ship to. They then notify you when it is received and ship the package on to your home country address!
You can then order probiotics and use the US shipping address you get. This saves money and time.
There are many testimonials at the bottom of that page you can read to see others’ experiences and results, which are incredible! This is the only supplement you need to invest in and stick to everyday in my experience.
Here are some notes I have made throughout my experience the past few months with these probiotics.
–UPDATE December 6th, 2017–
I am now starting to see major break ups and clearance in the Psoriasis plaques. The skin is dying at a much SLOWER rate now. My pain levels are at 0, and I’m much more comfortable now. I have been taking one fluid ounce daily for six weeks now and that increased dosage is certainly speeding up results. This mist is incredible as well. Very easy to apply, dries in quickly when I rub it in, and instantly softens the skin. I know I am close now and will keep using this as my #1 supplement. -> https://phwarrior.com/probiotic
–UPDATE November 6th, 2017–
I am just through my 8th bottle. About 2 weeks ago, I increased to 1 fluid ounce daily (twice the dosage suggested on the label), to see if it would pick up the pace on results. Randy and I agree that it wouldn’t hurt, and may really help. Well, I have noticed a LOT less dead skin accumulating, and the over all scaling is slowing down a lot. I have experienced no side effects, so I’ll continue at this amount for now. have also started the topical probiotics mist. I spray on all over after bath & shower. I apply a second time to most affected areas, with a focus on face, neck, ears, genitals. Overall, this probiotic is the most important weapon in my arsenal. -> https://phwarrior.com/probiotics
—-July 1st, 2017—-
I’m through my 6th bottle now, and the results are REALLY starting to happen. I missed 5 weeks in the middle too. I’m noticing general health benefits, beyond just my skin clearing up. I will not lapse again. I’m sticking with this as an ongoing supplement for life.
I have a close relationship with Randy Upham, the biologist and founder of Ozona Organics, who cultures these probiotics and I trust him. -> https://phwarrior.com/probiotics
“I have a terrible case of psoriasis,” writes this week’s House Call. “My doctor is recommending these horrible immune-suppressing drugs and steroids that cause cancer and other problems. What can I do other than to take these drugs?”
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease of the skin that affects over three percent of the U.S. population (that’s about five million adults), and typically involves scaling and inflammation.
Most often, psoriasis results in patches of thick, red (inflamed) skin covered with silvery scales. These patches, sometimes called plaques, usually itch or feel sore. They most often occur on the elbows, legs, scalp, lower back, face, palms and soles of the feet, but they can occur anywhere on the body.
The disease may also affect the fingernails, toenails, soft tissues of the genitals and inside the mouth. Often the skin around affected joints starts to crack. Some people with psoriasis experience joint inflammation that produces symptoms of arthritis, called psoriatic arthritis.
Altogether, it makes for an absolutely miserable experience.
I’ve been a doctor for 30 years and have practiced Functional Medicine for 20 of those years. I’ve witnessed the heartbreak of psoriasis with its scaly, itchy, inflamed, peeling skin that leads to arthritis and joint pain for some people.
During the first 10 years of my practice, before I incorporated Functional Medicine, I struggled with how to treat this devastating condition. Everything I attempted felt invasive or didn’t work. I gave steroids and other creams. Today, conventional medicine’s approach to psoriasis is even worse. Doctors use alpha blockers that cause cancer, suppress the immune system and trigger infections. Oh, and they cost about $30,000 a year.
The problem with current medical thinking is that it treats diseases individually, requiring specific diagnoses and labels like “you have psoriasis.” And then you get the cream, the steroids and other short-term solutions.
But what if you didn’t have to treat diseases specifically or even need to know their names? What if we could take a bigger-picture approach to psoriasis and other problems?
Fortunately, Functional Medicine provides this exact approach. I quickly learned that once I cleaned up a patient’s diet and addressed gut, hormonal and other imbalances, their skin problems would clear up.
Functional Medicine is a hidden movement sweeping across the globe, based on a different method of diagnosing and treating disease. It focuses on causes not symptoms, based on an understanding of the dynamic way our genes interact with our environment, rather than simply treating diseases based on their labels.
This approach becomes a fundamentally different way of solving medical problems, one that allows us to decipher the origins of illness and identify the disturbances in biology that lead to symptoms.
So how does that apply to psoriasis? Well, let me tell you about two patients.
I’ll never forget a four-year-old girl who once arrived in my office with psoriasis from head to toe. She had been suffering since the age of six months. She looked like a red, swollen, inflamed mess.
This poor girl was on immune-suppressing drugs to address her numerous symptoms and ended up in the hospital from a MRSA (staph) infection. Doctors had kept her on antibiotics for a month.
While in my office, this little girl had to use the bathroom. You can imagine my horror when I heard her scream when she urinated because her genitals were inflamed with psoriasis, as well. Just when I thought her suffering couldn’t be any worse…my heart broke for her.
Rather than utilize invasive, potentially harmful creams and other drugs (which clearly weren’t working anyway), I applied the Functional Medicine approach with this girl. I looked at her brief but exhaustive health history. She was born by C-section. She had leaky gut and abnormal gut flora because of a long history of taking antibiotics and steroids that created a yeast overgrowth.
My solution was simple but powerfully effective: Remove the bad and add the good.
We eliminated trigger foods like gluten. We cleaned up the bad yeast with an antifungal. We incorporated anti-inflammatories, healthy fats and supplements like probiotics, vitamin D, vitamin A and zinc to heal her skin. I trusted she would get better even though she was the worst case I had ever seen.
Two weeks later, this little girl’s father called. “Dr. Hyman,” he said, “my daughter’s skin has completely cleared.” My broken heart healed a little bit that day.
Now, let’s look at a patient on the other end of the spectrum. I took this same approach with a 56-year-old doctor who came to see me with psoriatic arthritis. Despite loving his work, he was about to quit his job as a surgeon in a Massachusetts hospital because he was tired, overweight and could no longer operate due to the joint pain . I told him we needed to fix his gut with an elimination diet, get rid of the parasites, and introduce the right nutrients.
Six weeks later, my patient was off his immune suppressive drugs and a long list of other drugs. He had no symptoms. His digestive symptoms went away, his skin cleared up, he lost weight, and he could return to work.
While tempting to label these two patients’ transformations as miracles, they weren’t. Rather, they highlighted the power of Functional Medicine.
Heal Psoriasis with these Strategies
While psoriasis often becomes linked with gluten intolerances, that isn’t always the case. The three biggest culprits are:
- Gluten sensitivities
- Yeast overgrowth in the gut
- Heavy metals exposure
To address psoriasis, I remove these obstacles while restoring the body’s natural balance. It really becomes that simple. Take away the things that cause the problem and add those that ameliorate it.
With that approach, I’ve found these eight strategies can naturally heal psoriasis without steroids, creams and other invasive procedures.
- Eat a whole food, anti-inflammatory diet. Focus on anti-inflammatory foods including wild fish and other sources of omega-3 fats, red and purple berries (rich in polyphenols), dark green leafy vegetables, orange sweet potatoes and nuts. Add anti-inflammatory herbs, including turmeric (a source of anti-inflammatory curcumin), ginger and rosemary to your daily diet. Eliminate inflammatory foods such as refined, omega-6 and inflammatory oils – including: corn, soy and safflower oils.
- Remove food sensitivities. These include gluten and dairy.
- Test for heavy metal toxicity. Mercury and other metals trigger or exacerbate psoriasis.
- Fix your gut. Your gut plays a significant role in skin health. One study found intestinal permeability (or leaky gut) can contribute to psoriasis. Yeast overgrowth, abnormal gut flora and other gut issues can also trigger or exacerbate psoriasis. If you suspect these or other issues, work with an integrative practitioner to optimize your gut health. I often use prescription or herbal antifungals to treat the yeast.
- Use the right supplements. Nutrients like fish oil, vitamin D and probiotics can help eliminate psoriasis. Also consider anti-inflammatory nutrients like quercetin, grape seed extract and rutin. Using UltraInflamX PLUS 360 as a meal replacement also helps many of my patients with inflammation. You can find these and other professional-grade supplements in my online store.
- Exercise regularly. Regular exercise is a natural anti-inflammatory. One study found increased physical exercise along with dietary intervention reduced psoriasis severity in systemically treated overweight or obese patients with active psoriasis. You don’t have to go to the gym, run on a treadmill and pump iron to stay in shape. Just start moving around more. Go for walks with your friends or family. Go out and do some gardening. Play Frisbee in the park with your kids. Pick up a tennis racket and just knock a tennis ball around. Anything you can do to get out and move your body can be considered exercise. So don’t think that you absolutely have to go to the gym to get fit. Just use your body more.
- Practice deep relaxation. Studies show chronic stress can influence the development and exacerbation of psoriasis. The proportion of psoriasis patients who believe stress affects their skin condition ranges from 37 to 78 percent, and researchers believe stress may worsen psoriasis severity and may even lengthen the time to disease clearance. Calming techniques such as yoga, deep breathing, biofeedback, massage or my UltraCalm CD can reduce stress and anxiety to promote relaxation.
- Sleep for 8 hours every night. Studies show patients with psoriasis suffer from more sleep disturbances. While some situations require professional help, you can improve sleep quality and quantity by implementing my 19 sleep tips from this blog.
If you’re looking for a place to get started to eliminate psoriasis, start with food. Try The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet, which is anti-inflammatory and removes gluten, dairy and other food sensitivities. I’ve had patients create amazing, lasting changes to skin conditions and other problems in just 10 days. With this approach you can heal from the inside out with nutrients, not drugs.
While you might also consider working with a Functional Medicine practitioner to address issues like mercury or yeast overload, The Blood Sugar Solution 10-Day Detox Diet makes an excellent way to start.
If you’ve struggled with psoriasis or other skin conditions, what did you find worked best for you? What would you add to my strategies? Share your tips below or on my Facebook page.
Can Probiotics Help With Psoriatic Arthritis?
You may think of bacteria as harmful microbes that cause infection and disease. But the truth is, our bodies are home to trillions of beneficial bacteria that help regulate our digestive systems, ensure proper elimination, and support immunity.
Unfortunately, people with psoriatic arthritis (PsA) have lower levels of “good” bacteria in their gut than people without the condition, according to a study published in the January 2015 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatology.
That’s why some healthcare practitioners recommend that patients increase their consumption of probiotics, the beneficial bacteria found in yogurt and other foods as well as in supplements. A study published in 2013 in the journal Gut Microbes found that the anti-inflammatory effects of probiotics can help combat inflammatory disorders such as psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
Drew Sinatra, ND, a naturopathic physician with a practice called Healthy Directions in Northern California, says that probiotics can help stabilize good bacteria and crowd out harmful bacteria, restore balance in the body, and combat autoimmune diseases like psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.
RELATED: 8 Misconceptions About Psoriatic Arthritis — and How to Gently Correct Them
The Probiotic Plan
“One of the reasons many chronic diseases, including autoimmune diseases, are on the rise is increased intestinal permeability, or leaky gut,” Dr. Sinatra says. “This can lead to immune dysfunction, setting the stage for autoimmune diseases to develop and progress.” (Note: Leaky gut is a concept credited more by alternative-medicine practitioners than by mainstream doctors.)
Probiotics can help set things right. “With any autoimmune disease, I recommend a combination of diet, herbal medicines, and supplements, including probiotics,” Sinatra says. “It can take six months or longer to see big changes, but often symptoms improve within a few weeks.”
Still, Sinatra says, there are limitations in the research supporting the benefits of probiotics. “While studies show that people with certain autoimmune diseases have less microbial diversity, there is no evidence to suggest that taking a probiotic can increase that diversity.”
Plus, he says, “There haven’t been any studies looking at how probiotics affect clinical outcomes or microbial diversity in people taking biologics.” (Biologics are medications that block specific immune-system activity.)
Sinatra says that patients need to talk with their healthcare provider before making a decision to take a probiotic supplement with a biologic.
RELATED: Can Turmeric Help Treat Psoriatic Arthritis?
Picking the Best Probiotic to Take
When you’re searching for a probiotic, look at the label to see the number of colony-forming units (CFUs). “While the optimal probiotic dose remains unknown, it’s generally recognized in the medical community that formulas should contain at least 100 million CFUs to be effective,” Sinatra says. “But doses can be as high as hundreds of billions. And for formulas that list their strength in milligrams, you want to look for one that contains at least 350 milligrams of probiotics.”
There are a number of different kinds of probiotics to choose from. Some people benefit from taking lactic-acid probiotics like Lactobacillus or Bifidobacterium, while others do better with yeast-derived probiotics like Saccharomyces boulardii or soil-based organisms like bacillus. For some people, a combination of all three probiotic types is ideal.
Remember that probiotics sold as dietary supplements are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). To ensure purity, read labels carefully, look for supplements that are rigorously screened for contaminants, and consult with your healthcare team.
‘The Best Advice I Ever Got for Managing Psoriatic Arthritis:’ 17 Tips Patients Are Grateful For
“I tell everyone that psoriatic arthritis is the wreck that happens when two awful diseases — psoriasis and inflammatory arthritis — crash into each other and make one giant dumpster fire,” says Helena B., 37, of Seattle, Washington. “Then everything else in my life, from kids to jobs to vacations, gets caught in blaze. PsA touches absolutely everything in my life.”
Diagnosed in her early twenties, Helena has been dealing with psoriatic arthritis for most of her adult life. And like many of the million other Americans who live with psoriatic arthritis, she says she’s heard everything when it comes to treatments, including medical advice from her doctors to suggestions from internet arthritis forums, counsel from friends, and even tips from strangers. But when it comes to advice, not all of it is created equally. We asked people with psoriatic arthritis to share the best tips they’ve ever gotten about managing this chronic disease.
1. Get regular massages
“When I was first diagnosed a friend gave me a gift card to a massage place, saying it helped her arthritis immensely. It turned out to be one of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten. My massage therapist understands psoriatic arthritis and uses essential oils like lavender to help soften the plaques. She also helps with pain during flare-ups by helping relax the muscles around my joints. Plus, it just feels so amazing.” — Jessie K., 33, Everett, Washington
2. Try CBD oil
“I don’t know what it is but when my scalp gets insanely itchy from my PsA rash, rubbing a little cannabidiol oil on it stops it almost instantly. It’s not the same as pot and can’t make you high if you’re worried about that. My doctor actually recommended it to me.” — Anna K., 50, Salt Lake City, Utah
3. Learn yogic breathing
“My psoriatic arthritis is triggered by stress and I was prone to stress even before I got diagnosed. My doctor told me that learning to manage my stress was my number-one priority in treatment. I tried many things but learning simple yoga breathing exercises has worked the best. I can do them any time, anywhere, and it helps me calm down fast.” — Anna K.
4. Wrap your hands
“One of the best tips I found online was to wrap my hands with ‘coban wrap,’ which is that sticky mesh bandage that the doctor uses after drawing blood. When my fingers are really swollen and painful, wrapping them helps reduce the pain. Be careful not to go too tight though; you don’t want to cut off circulation.” — Mark M., 31, Katy, Texas
5. Remember that you may need way more sleep than other people
“My favorite tip from my doctor was to forget the ‘rule’ that you need seven to eight hours of sleep every night. When you have an autoimmune illness you may need way more sleep than ‘normal.’ Like, during bad flare-ups I realistically need 12 to 14 hours of sleep per night. It’s a lot but when I do it, I find my psoriatic arthritis is so much easier to manage.” — Mark M.
6. Take an antacid with your ibuprofen
“My psoriatic arthritis isn’t super bad and my doctor is just treating it with over-the-counter NSAIDs. But those can cause a lot of stomach issues so he also told me to take an antacid, specifically a proton pump inhibitor, every day. I use Prilosec and it’s made a big difference with my nausea and stomach pain.” — Melinda M., 28, Mesa, Arizona
(Read more about picking the right NSAID for you and about the most common NSAID questions patients have.)
7. Don’t settle for the first drug you try
“My sister-in-law also has PsA and when I got diagnosed the first thing she told me was not to stick with the first medication I tried if it wasn’t helping. It seems like everyone starts on methotrexate but that didn’t do much for me — or her. Thanks to her advice I didn’t try to tough it out and asked my doctor to try something different. It’s taken a few tries but now I’m on a biologic that works great.” — Melinda M.
8. Plan a light schedule for injection days
“I take Humira by injection and it wipes me out. I used to try and just push through it but my best friend, who has rheumatoid arthritis, told me to just empty my schedule for the day I do the injection. It helps me recover faster and I no longer feel guilty about resting.” — Emily B., 26, Denver, Colorado
9. Find a good therapist
“I still have more days than not when I’m in constant pain. I underestimated how much that was affecting me mentally until my best friend — yep, same one! — pointed out that I sounded depressed. She recommended getting therapy and having someone to talk to about this disease has helped so much. I was trying not to overload family and friends with PsA talk so I kept it all in, not to mention I didn’t want them to worry. With the therapist I can tell her anything without worrying.” — Emily B.
10. Take a good probiotic
“I’ve learned that people with psoriatic arthritis tend to get sick more often, especially if you’re on biologics. This means you may get antibiotics more often, which can destroy the good bacteria in your gut. My doctor always gives me a prescription probiotic along with the antibiotic.” — Mahnu S., 37, Washington D.C.
11. Don’t wait to start medication
“When I was first diagnosed with psoriatic arthritis, I was nervous about taking medication to treat it and told my doctor I wanted to try diet and lifestyle changes first. He told me to go ahead and make those changes but to still start the medication because the longer I waited to go on it, the more damage my joints would get and the damage would be irreversible.” — Mahnu S.
12. Switch up your diet
“A friend introduced me to the AIP two years ago. Eating this way is very restrictive but it’s reduced my pain by half. I still have to take meds but my day to day life is almost back to normal. I recommend it to everyone.” — Justin S., 46, San Francisco, California
13. Invest in compression gear
“A buddy I lift with introduced me to compression workout clothing — basically just super-tight spandex long-sleeve tops and pants. Exercise, especially weight lifting, really does help me feel better but I had been avoiding the gym because of the way the psoriasis looks and because of joint swelling. The compression gear helps with both. Sometimes I wear them underneath my regular clothing, it helps with the throbbing in my knees.” — Justin S.
14. Find a way to move
“When I first got diagnosed I really mourned the loss of my old lifestyle. I used to be very outgoing and active and the psoriatic arthritis pretty much killed all that for me. My doctor told me his number one advice was to find a way to keep my body moving, both for my mental and physical health. I had to give up rock-climbing and mountain biking — my poor hands — but I love weight lifting, hiking, and surfing.” — Justin S.
15. Try an SI belt
“Psoriatic arthritis has killed my sacroiliac joints, where my back meets my hips, and pregnancy was the final nail in that coffin. After my baby was born I thought I’d never walk again. My doctor recommended an ‘SI belt’ or ‘splint’ — it’s basically a giant, elastic thing that you velcro tightly around your hips. It holds my pelvis together. I still have to use a walker but I can walk again.” — Helena B., 37, Seattle, Washington
16. Don’t be afraid to change doctors
“I knew I wanted to try biologics but my doctor kept putting me off, wanting me to try everything else first. Finally, my husband told me to just change doctors, that I deserved someone who would listen to me. I took his advice and found a new rheumatologist and that has made all the difference. He takes the time to explain everything and I feel much more confident in my treatment now. Don’t stick with a bad doctor. You deserve better.” — Helena B.
17. Get a genetic test done
“Psoriatic arthritis can run in families and there is a genetic marker you can look for. When I was first having symptoms my cousin recommended I get genetic testing since hers showed an increased risk for psoriatic arthritis. I did and, sure enough, I had the marker. I told my doctor and I think it helped me get the right diagnosis faster. Plus, now I know for when I have kids.” — Melinda M.
- VIDEO: Psoriatic Arthritis Is More than Skin Deep
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- Psoriatic Arthritis Symptoms You Can’t Afford to Ignore