Does your psoriasis improve on a paleo-diet?

by 10170 · July 07, 2013 at 05:01 PM

I'm looking for people who know and/or have experienced changes in their psoriasis with a paleo diet/lifestyle.

I've been having a little bit of psoriasis around the elbows and knees for some 7 years. I was generally healthy and fit, and was eating a 'normal' european diet, when it started. Stress does not seem to infuence this.

Since going paleo (1,5 years ago), I've definitely seen the psoriasis improve, and last summer it was completely gone. This winter it has returned, but really in little amounts.

I'm interested in what other people have experienced, and what specific dietary/lifestyle changes brought improvement, or made things worse.

I've found that sunlight surely is important! I've been taking (orally) Vit D for 2 months, and I think this works, but am nor sure yet. I don't use cortisone (it's not that bad), and I don't use the Vit D ointment, because I want to 'measure my status'.

My jury is still out on the dairy thing. Butter is no problem at all, but milk (which I drank in huge amounts all my life) does seem to cause some internal discomfort, and maybe some increased psoriasis. So now I'm on a very low dairy regime (occasional bit of yoghurt and cheese), but still use high amounts of butter.

Does anybody has some advice, some experiences? Literature and references would be nice to.



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20 Replies

15324 · March 08, 2010 at 11:37 AM

Psoriasis is discussed here. Basic points: vitamin D, healthy gut flora, decrease inflammation, all of which paleo should help with.

578 · March 08, 2010 at 11:21 AM

Hi Pieter,

I had very mild psoriasis (more like a perpetual dry-ish patch of skin) on my side, which has gone away in the past month of going primal. Other than the normal paleo requirements, here are my changes:

  • Higher amounts of fish, and a fish oil supplement, in my diet. Butter used, but no other dairy. No soap, no shampoo (sorry, don't know if it's kosher to link to my own stuff)

I think I'd attribute most of the change to my no-soap regimen, though. It's a blessing considering it's still winter weather in Norway - no dry skin.

439 · January 20, 2011 at 09:07 AM

I suffer from inverse psoriasis, which manifests itself by red, shiny, inflamed and sore patches of skin in the folds of the body (ie where thigh meets pubic region, under the arm or the fold of a breast). I also itch like a mad thing, and I mean itch constantly, non-stop and without end during winter, because of the cold (I also live in Northern Europe, so it gets COLD here). I personally have found that all the dietary changes in the world have made no difference, even thought I take fish oils and mega doses of D3 - the only thing that's helped has been a half-dose every day of Mark Sisson's Damage Control Master Formula, which he sells on his site. It's #*(king expensive, but as I said, I only take one packet a day, which spreads the costs over two months istead of one, which helps - but it does mean I can get as cold as I like in winter and I never itch. I would pay the world for that!

10170 · January 17, 2011 at 04:05 PM

from Loren Cordains Paleo Diet Newsletter (november 13 2009):

Although no clinical trials to date have tested the efficacy of treating psoriasis patients with the Paleo Diet, a substantial amount of evidence exists to indicate that it would be therapeutic. I have previously shown how diet may be linked to the etiology and promotion of rheumatoid arthritis via a process of 3-way molecular mimicry in which the immune system mistakenly attacks self tissue because of antigens leaking through from the gut2. I believe a similar situation may exist for psoriasis patients. Here’s why: There is no doubt that psoriasis is largely a cross reactive T-cell mediated disease3 involving environmental agents that elicit the disease in genetically susceptible individuals. The major genetic determinant of psoriasis is the major histocompatibility complex with the HLA-Cw*0602 allele showing the strongest association4. As we pointed out in our recent paper2, peripheral activation of T-cells in the gut likely underlies many autoimmune diseases, including psoriasis. Dietary lectins from cereals such as wheat (wheat germ agglutinin -- WGA) or from beans phytohemagglutinin (PHA) increase intestinal permeability and allow intestinal pathogens and the lectins themselves continual peripheral immune system stimulation2. Psoriasis patients show increased intestinal permeability5 and gluten free diets improve disease symptoms in psoriasis patients6,7. Elevated inflammatory cytokine (INF-gamma, TNF-apha, IL-2) are hallmarks of psoriasis8 & both WGA and PHA stimulate overproduction of these cytokines in peripheral mononuclear cells2. WGA, PHA and PNA (peanut agglutinin) all rapidly cross the intestinal barrier and appear in plasma in physiological concentrations within 1-3 hours after ingestion2,9. I believe that by eliminating all grains, all legumes (peanuts are legumes) and dairy products and by increasing the n-3 content of the diet10, many patients with psoriasis may have amelioration or remission of disease symptoms. Increased dietary vitamin D or sunlight exposure may also prove therapeutic11.

1745 · March 08, 2010 at 03:16 PM

I was able to cure my psoriasis at around age 16 by strictly not eating anything with added sugar- no desert foods whatsoever, except maybe after really intense exercise. This sounds simple, but I am still the only one I know that never eats desert. This probably also meant other improvements in my diet like I was eating mostly real food, etc. I ate a lot of "healthy whole grains" back then (no white bread) and maybe a piece of fruit a day, and was definitely not low-carb and was not paleo.

Recently I have had some dry (psoriasis?) skin which I am certain is from stress and no sun. Now that I am de-stressing it is healing.

Perricone has successfully treated skin conditions with diet for a long time. He says they are caused by inflammation and the general solution is: reduce stress, increase omega-3, and get rid of sugar. Of course you can do even better than his advice by going more paleo (he thinks saturated fat is bad, etc).

400 · March 08, 2010 at 11:44 AM

Beside other issues I´ve psoriasis + neurodermatitis. Nearly symptom free with keto diet. Most important in my case: lots of n-3, good fats (ghee/red palm) amounts depending on skin dryness (eating proper fats = best cream). No fruits + nuts + bacon + pork stuff. Alcohol is also a trigger. I also take zinc, selenium and D3. Good gut flora is also important; pre-/probiotics.

20 · May 24, 2012 at 06:34 PM


I am 32 years old and have had psoriasis since I was 21. This was the first year where I accepted the use of rx creams for my psoriasis. I noticed little improvements and not that great. Since I was 21 there has only been one year in which I was psoriasis free throughout the winter. I was 24 and in the military. First let me say this story combines the end of one winter and full next year winter. I went down to Yuma Az. in the April with very bad psoriasis from that winter, I live in New England and within two weeks and this was wearing pants and long sleeve shirts all the time my psoriasis completely cleared as well as warts on my hand had disappeared. The next winter I was in Iraq, and I never got psoriasis. I was very stressed out, the temperature would get down below freezing, the water for showers was diluted in chlorine. I know the dessert does wonders for my skin, the dry heat, with lots of sunshine probably helped, as did my diet. I only drank bottled water over there, I ate a diet high in fish, meat, veggie, and fruit. I drank tea and not coffee. I exercised whenever I could to stay sane, I was in the best shape of my life. I took protein and amino supplements. My life style in my earlier years had been very bad. I was overweight, drank excessively, smoked a lot of cigarettes, and ate horribly. I had always blamed this for my psoriasis. Now I am smoke free, alcohol free, still over weight but with quitting the drinking I think I will be better. I am going to try the paleo style as I believe in this diet.I cannot argue it. With psoraisis it is triggered for different reasons from person to person. I struggle everyday with mine and it has had a major impact on my life. Try as many things as you can and stay positive. You are all my brothers and my sisters and I hope you all the best as we deal with this disease everyday.

198 · May 05, 2011 at 10:53 AM

Nope. I have very palm and sole psoriasis, and very mild on my elbows and head. I've been on paleo for about a year, and psoriasis hasn't changed at all. My ulcerative colitis improved significantly though.

10170 · January 17, 2011 at 03:53 PM

I hope this is allowed, but I want to point to Robb Wolf's forum. Some interesting ideas on psoriasis there:


2297 · September 27, 2011 at 06:22 PM

Have you considered testing for celiac or gluten intolerance?

related research here:


10 · July 23, 2011 at 09:12 AM

Hi, I can say , that moving 1 year ago on diet - my own one : no crap food, lots vegs, fruits, proteins, improved my psoriasis dramatically. I just about starting paleo what is not difficult, as already my eating is almost paleo. Anyway, my condition never been as good as it is now.

77342 · May 09, 2011 at 01:27 AM

Two years ago some chronically appearing patches on my shoulders caused me to visit my doctor. He diagnosed it as atopic exzema and prescribed an ointment - triamcinolone, a synthetic corticosteroid (if you must know) which cost me $30. The ointment would cause my symptoms to abate but the outbreaks would flare up again after a few weeks. It's lately occurred to me that I haven't had to get the ointment out for over a year. Is this a miracle? No. Is it a paleo cure? I eat dairy so no, not in the strict sense. Might it be the sardines, the salmon, the krill oil, the absence of wheat and the favoring of fat over carbs? Who knows. But something's working.

55 · May 08, 2011 at 10:08 PM

I'm 24 - had guttate/plaque psoriasis since early childhood. I've had some bad flareups - the worst my dermo had ever seen.

Had never been completely clear until the last 6 weeks when I've stuck to a rigid paleo diet.

I do eat: lots of eggs;lots of animal fats; lots of vegetables;lots of fish;a little dairy (only milk in coffee)

I don't eat: anything from a packet; sugar; legumes; grains (of any description);

For me, paleo seems to do the trick :)

3747 · May 05, 2011 at 12:58 PM

Hi Pieter! I have had great luck with paleo and psoriasis. I had it on my scalp and a little on my face. I don't do dairy, and really limit nuts, but the thing that seems to make it flair up the most is alcohol. One beer and it's back. If I stick to strict no-dairy paleo, it's like I never had it.

4888 · May 05, 2011 at 09:32 AM

My psoriaisis flared up badly shortly after starting paleo, but I amn sure that it was because I was able, for the first time in YEARS, to stop inhaled steroids and prednisone pills for Asthma.

Once the asthma was gone and steroids stopped, I had the biggest flare up of psoriaisis that I have had - one very large weeping patch on my leg was particularly nasty. I had to go to the GP who gave me a steroid ointment. That helped clear it away - but over the months that followed, keeping to fairly strict paleo eating, I have stopped using the oint,ent and the patches are almost gone.

So my view is , yes, paleo is a great way of treating it.

10 · May 05, 2011 at 07:42 AM

The Paleo Diet eliminates refined or processed foods which seems to be a major trigger for Psoriasis. Coffee, Alcohol, and Nicotine also seem to be major triggers. I personally have found that a water fast, in which I have nothing but pure spring water for three straight days and nights causes a major remission in many of my Psoriasis patches, including the really stubborn ones. I then find that I can maintain this remission with a Paleo type diet. I can't say I'm strict Paleo, but I do try to eat only natural foods and vegetarian fed meat and eggs as well as wild caught fish. I hope this helps anyone looking for a natural way to keep their Psoriasis under control.

70 · January 18, 2011 at 01:02 AM

I had moderate psoriasis. Mine started clearing up after I went paleo. Now most of it on my body is gone except for a few tiny spots. I think increased sun exposure this past summer + Vit D supplements this winter made the most difference for me. I still have scalp psoriasis but that's gotten better even though I quit using any medication on it.

2483 · July 07, 2013 at 05:01 PM

At the ripe age of 52 I was diagnosed with severe palmo-plantar psoriasis. Eliminating trigger foods (dairy, gluten) helped my condition immensely. Going complete Paleo helped it even further. But it does take time for the body to dial back the inflammation and for the skin to heal. One must be very patient in order to fully reap the rewards.


0 · July 07, 2013 at 04:00 PM

Hi, Thank you all for sharing! I've had psoriasis for the last 32 years. Never got any improvement exept light therapy 20 years ago but I stopped that after a couple of weeks as it is not good on the long run. Since three weeks I am on paleo and to my pleasant surprise psoriasis is getting better. It's too soon to jump to conclusions but it's encouraging to read that I'm not just imagining this and other people had the same experience. I am not sure what triggers it but I know I used to be very fond of cheese and ate lots of it. How is your psoriasis doing meantime?

0 · June 26, 2013 at 03:37 AM

Hey all,

Just want to share my story. I'm a 28-yo female who inherited psoriasis from my mother's line. My mom had psoriasis on-and-off into her mid thirties and cured it by getting tons of sun. My psoriasis is on my scalp mostly, with patches on my forehead, torso, back and elbows. My torso/back psoriasis mostly tracks my bra-line. Essentially, clothing can irritate my skin (and/or the chemicals in the clothes or laundry detergent, perhaps) and then p seems to develop. My psoriasis also started spreading in my early 20s. I relate this to university-induced stress, which has not abated (still in school, higher studies).

With this in mind, my diet growing up was not so great. I loved sugar and garbage (but was never overweight). For the last three years, I have eliminated added sugars. I basically eat a whole foods diet. I went paleo last year, however, and my psoriasis got much worse, especially on my scalp. I wonder if I was doing something wrong? I think part of the problem for me was weight loss. I notice that whenever I induce fat-burning my scalp psoriasis gets worse (eg day after an intense workout/caloric deficit). Sun helps. As far as I can tell wheat makes no difference. Not sure what to do. This is genetic, perhaps different from wholly diet- (i.e. epigenetic-) induced psoriasis (e.g., smokers, overweight folks seem to have found improvement).

Any thoughts? I grew up eating a rural Italian diet (lots of wheat and beans). I continue eating wheat in the form of cracked wheat, cooked. I also love tomatoes.

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