Supplements for psoriasis: 4 options
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition affecting millions worldwide. This condition causes scaly, inflamed, dry skin.
While there is no known cure for psoriasis, various treatments like medications, light therapy, and healthy lifestyle choices can help you manage your symptoms.
Many people also turn to supplements as a natural alternative or complement to traditional psoriasis treatments. Though more research is needed, some studies show promising results.
Vitamin D is an essential nutrient responsible for maintaining healthy bones and teeth.
The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) reports that vitamin D reduces inflammation in the body, cell growth, and immune system function — all of which are important parts of psoriasis.
A 2015 review says vitamin D plays a role in wound healing and maintaining a healthy protective barrier on the skin. Furthermore, a 2017 study has shown that people with severe psoriasis tend to have lower levels of vitamin D in their blood, and supplementing with vitamin D can help improve their symptoms.
Vitamin D supplements may have side effects, such as:
- loss of appetite
Speak with your doctor before taking vitamin D supplements. High doses of vitamin D may lead to excess calcium in the blood, a condition called hypercalcemia, which can cause kidney damage and other serious health problems.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that are important for heart health, brain function, and reducing inflammation. The following foods contain omega-3 fatty acids:
- oily fish
Omega-3 supplements are known for their anti-inflammatory properties and can benefit people with psoriasis.
Some research which includes a 2014 review, suggests that omega-3 fatty acid supplements can help reduce skin inflammation and the severity of psoriasis symptoms.
Omega-3 supplements may cause side effects, such as:
- upset stomach
- fishy aftertaste
People with psoriasis often have nutrient deficiencies, such as low levels of:
- vitamin D
Nutrient supplements may help correct these deficiencies and improve psoriasis symptoms. Research on nutrient supplements for psoriasis is limited, but some studies have suggested they may be beneficial.
Many supplements have anti-inflammatory properties, which may help reduce inflammation and improve psoriasis symptoms. Turmeric contains an anti-inflammatory compound called curcumin.
A 2015 study conducted on 21 people found that taking curcumin supplements while having light therapy (phototherapy) helped reduce moderate-to-severe psoriasis symptoms.
Other anti-inflammatory supplements include:
- green tea extract
- resveratrol, an antioxidant found in grapes
Are some options better than others?
While all the supplements listed above have shown some potential benefits for people with psoriasis, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Some people may respond better to certain supplements than others.
Consider speaking with your doctor before taking any psoriasis supplements, as they can provide personalized guidance on which supplements may be safe and effective for you.
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Many psoriasis treatment options are available for psoriasis. They include:
- Topical treatments: These include creams, ointments, or gels that you can apply directly to the skin. Examples include corticosteroids, vitamin D analogues, and topical retinoids. Topical treatments can be effective for mild to moderate psoriasis.
- Phototherapy: This therapy involves exposing the skin to UV light under a doctor’s guidance or using a special light box at home. Phototherapy can be effective for moderate to severe psoriasis.
- Systemic treatments: These medications are taken orally or by injection and work throughout the body to treat psoriasis. Examples include methotrexate, cyclosporine, and biologics such as TNF-alpha inhibitors and interleukin inhibitors. Doctors usually prescribe systemic treatments to people with moderate to severe psoriasis, where other treatments are ineffective.
- Alternative therapies: These include acupuncture, herbal remedies, and mind-body therapies such as meditation and yoga. While there is limited scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of these therapies, some people with psoriasis find them helpful in managing their symptoms.
Speaking with your doctor to determine the most appropriate treatment plan for your needs is important. Different treatments may be more or less effective depending on the severity and location of your psoriasis and overall health.
The following prescription drugs are among the most common treatments for psoriasis:
- methotrexate (Trexall)
- desonide (Verdeso, Tridesilon, DesOwen)
- betamethasone valerate (Luxiq)
- dexamethasone (Dexonto)
- alclometasone (Aclovate)
- tretinoin microsphere
- sirolimus (Rapamune)
If you need help covering the cost of medications, Optum Perks free Discount Card could help you save up to 80% on prescription drugs. Follow the links on drug names for savings on that medication, or search for a specific drug here.
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disorder characterized by scaly patches on the skin. While there is no cure for psoriasis, various treatments can help manage its symptoms.
However, some people may prefer to use supplements in conjunction with or without prescription drugs. Consider speaking with your doctor to ensure they are safe for you and won’t interact with any other medications you may be taking.
- Barrea L, et al. (2017). Vitamin D and its role in psoriasis: An overview of the dermatologist and nutritionist. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11154-017-9411-6
- Carrion-Gutierrez M, et al. (2015). Effects of Curcuma extract and visible light on adults with plaque psoriasis. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26066761/
- Millsop JW, et al. (2014). Diet and psoriasis, part III: Role of nutritional supplements. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2014.03.016
- Mostafa EZ, et al. (2015). Vitamin D and the skin: Focus on a complex relationship: A review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4642156/
- Muzumdar S, et al. (2022). Nutrition and psoriasis. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.clindermatol.2021.10.005
- Omega-3 fatty acids. (2022). https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Omega3FattyAcids-Consumer/
- Omega-3 supplements: In depth. (2018). https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/omega3-supplements-in-depth
- Psoriasis: Diagnosis and treatment. (2023). https://www.aad.org/public/diseases/psoriasis/treatment/treatment
- Stanescu A, et al. (2021). Oral vitamin D therapy in patients with psoriasis. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13010163
- Vitamin D. (2022). https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/