YOUNG ADULT PROBLEMS: PSORIASIS

Psoriasis is a skin disease that is characterized by the development of red patches that are covered over with silvery-white scales. The disease affects the scalp and extensor surfaces of the elbows and knees mostly but can appear anywhere on the body.

The skin grows from a basal cell at the bottom of several layers of cells. These basal cells multiply in psoriasis up to 1,000 times faster than they should. The resulting higher layers cannot shed off quickly enough and the characteristic appearance results. There are two chemical complexes called cAMP and cGMP that inhibit or encourage cell proliferation, respectively. An imbalance caused by a decrease of cAMP or an increase of cGMP results in excessive cell growth.

There are many factors that can imbalance these chemicals. Certain proteins and toxic compounds from bacterial and yeast metabolism in the bowel are known to inhibit cAMP, or increase cGMP respectively. The proteins and toxins responsible are derived from unbalanced bowel flora or digestive incapabilities and are an essential factor in treating psoriasis.

Toxins are normally broken down by the liver and any deficiency in liver function will cause or encourage psoriasis. Alcohol and smoking are particularly straining on the liver, as are most drugs. Several studies have shown the damaging effect of alcohol and cigarettes on psoriasis cases.

Deficiencies in certain oils, amino acids and zinc have all been shown to cause psoriasis. Increased levels of insulin and glucose also seem to have an effect.

There is evidence that stressful events may trigger psoriasis and certainly stress is an important factor in most skin conditions because adrenaline and other catecholamine levels affect the amount of blood flow to the skin.

There may be some connection to an autoimmune syndrome (the body attacking itself) because an arthritic condition may be associated with psoriasis. Nails may become characteristically pitted due to fluctuations in the growth rate of the nail bed.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The association with bowel toxicity is well documented. It is necessary to remove animal fats, refined sugars and sweetness in general and yeasty or fungal foods such as bread and mushrooms.

Weight-reducing diets automatically cut out refined foods and may be beneficial.

Regular bowel motions are necessary to keep the colon cleansed and increased fibre and water intake is essential.

Oily fish such as salmon, herring and mackerel should also be added into the diet along with one teaspoonful of linseed oil per foot of height.

Learn a meditation technique and increase exercise to a substantial level.

Ultraviolet light from sunshine is beneficial. Ultraviolet B is a preferred treatment although ultraviolet A (PUVA therapy) is offered by orthodox treatment centres. The PUVA therapy may be associated with side effects.

Vitamin D, liquorice, comfrey and chamomile-based creams or lotions have been shown to be beneficial. Try one at a time and note any benefits.

Localized heat through electric pads or ultrasound may be effective. The following supplements should be taken in divided doses with food per foot of height: folic acid (lOOug), beta-carotene (2mg), vitamin E (lOOiu), selenium (40ug), eicosapentoenoic acid (Ig) and zinc (5mg before bed). All of these should be administered daily for one month and if improvement is noted remove one supplement each ten days, starting with the vitamin E. If any deterioration is noted, add back that compound and see if you can isolate the particularly active supplement. Discuss with a nutritionist the foods that may be absent in your diet that contain any culprit.

The herb Sarsaparilla taken as a dried root should be used (Ig per foot of height in divided doses throughout the day).

Milk thistle could be taken. Take twice the advised dose on any product recommended by your local healthfood store or herbalist.

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