Patients with psoriasis often turn to dietary changes in hopes that it will improve their condition, but data regarding the benefit of specific diets for the disease is inconclusive, according to an article in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Eleese Cunningham, RDN, of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ Knowledge Center Team in Chicago reviewed several studies from the existing literature that focused on diet as a way to manage psoriasis. Specifically, she focused on data presented during the 2011 Food & Nutrition Conference & Expo that summarized a Medline literature search spanning 61 years.
The search included studies about effectiveness of diets or dietary supplements in managing psoriasis symptoms and yielded nearly 230 articles, including topics such as obesity and a gluten-free diet.
Of note, a 2013 Danish study evaluated weight loss among obese patients with psoriasis and improved quality of life in patients with psoriasis. The researchers found that the 27 patients in the obese group who followed a low-calorie diet and lost nearly 34 pounds in 16 weeks had improved psoriasis symptoms and quality of life compared with the 26 obese patients in the control group who didn’t lose weight.
Regarding gluten-free diets, study data suggest that the wheat-free diet may improve symptoms in some patients with chronic autoimmune diseases, including psoriasis, but the National Psoriasis Foundation (NPF) has stated that evidence is not definitive.
If a clinician suspects a patient has gluten sensitivity or celiac disease, they refer the patient to a registered dietitian nutritionist to evaluate the patient and determine if a gluten-free diet is best, according to Cunningham.
“For the client with psoriasis who does not also have celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, it is not advised to follow a gluten-free diet,” Cunningham wrote.