Psoriasis and the Paleo Auto-immune diet

Last year I posted about diet and psoriasis and the benefits of black seed oil. For a while it helped reduce the plaques, but quite frankly, the stuff is revolting, so for me unsustainable as a treatment.

I’d been following a mostly Paleo diet for a couple of months, and had seen a marked improvement, but not enough-  then in June decided to go all hog and try the paleo auto-immune diet, which basically involved cutting out all grains and seeds (so no nuts, which was difficult for me), no diary, sugar, alcohol, nightshades or eggs and very limited amounts of fruit 20gms of fructose max per day.

The diet was surprisingly easy to follow, meat and veg mainly, which was a bit weird for breakfast, but I got into the habit of making a bit extra for dinner and having the leftovers for breakfast, quick and easy! The thing I missed most was a cup of Marks and Sparks extra strong tea in the morning, but tea and coffee also not allowed. I played with green tea (boring) and fruit teas (generally insipid) and then discovered hibiscus tea. Actually it’s not sold as a tea, but rather sold as loose hibiscus calyces ( the bit that’s left on the stalk after the flower has wilted and fallen off) in all the supermarkets here, and it’s delicious. Strong and tart, and bright crimson, not only does it taste great it has medicinal qualities. It’s used to reduce high blood pressure and also ward off winter colds and flu…..anyway, I digress!

At around this time I also started taking a probiotic supplement, as I’d read a article about all auto-immune diseases being a result of leaky gut, which I thought was a bit far fetched, but thought I’d give it a try.

I did this diet for about 6 weeks and followed it strictly, overall in 3 months I lost about 5 kilos in weight and my psoriasis was all but gone. Then we went to Portugal to buy our quinta, and the diet was out of the window within days – I just can’t resist the wonderful portuguese food, the wonderful bread, potatoes with everything, fantastic wine and so what do you think happened to my psoriasis?

Nothing!

No plaques popping up, no patches of dry skin, nothing. We came back from Portugal after 2 weeks, the proud and happy owners of Quinta da Bem Paz and I didn’t return to the diet, and still no psoriasis. I have kept up with the probiotics and I still take the fish oil supplements.

In December last year I did get one small plaque on my left leg, probably due to the stress of moving our stuff , Tom and the dogs to Portugal and me to a small flat here in Abu Dhabi, but it didn’t spread and cleared up quickly, it’s now at the ‘faint graze’ stage after less than 3 months – my plaques generally take 6 months minimum to get to this level of healing.

So why is my psoriasis getting better? I don’t know. It may be because I’m taking probiotics, it may be that my body needed to detox completely to reverse whatever triggered my psoriasis 3 years ago. I suspect it is a combination of those 2 things, together with the immense relief of finding our dream home and knowing that I’m only going to be here for a short while longer 🙂 🙂 🙂 , just as I suspect it was a combination of adverse things that triggered the onset in the first place. In any event, I’m happy that I no longer feel that psoriasis is a big part of my life, it’s just a tiny spot on my leg, nothing more……

UPDATE 3rd July 2015

4 months later, still have the faint graze-like plaque on my leg, but no new plaques at all. My nails are getting better by the day, they are strong again, rather than crumbly, although don’t look good still so I wear nail varnish everyday ( bit of a pain). I’m still taking probiotic supplements daily, but not restricting my diet. I’m aware that most psoriasis sufferers can have periods of remission, and this may be just that, but I have to give some credit to the theory that psoriasis ( and other autoimmune diseases) are linked to gut problems
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Paleo Diet and black seed oil for Psoriasis

I’ve been eating a Paleo diet for the last 6 weeks in an attempt to control my psoriasis. I know mine isn’t severe, but the patches on my legs make it impossible for me to wear dresses or skirts, so my business wardrobe is halved right now 😦 and I have a patch on my foot which is visible when I wear certain trousers. I also have no fingernails on several fingers due to the psoriasis, which fortunately I’m able to cover with false nails.

I was prescribed methotrexate last year to control the psoriatic arthritis in my finger joints, associated with the psoriatic fingernails, and it did the trick, but after a couple of months I decided the risks outweighed the benefits of chemotherapy and topical corticosteroids. Since then I’ve found that taking fish oil supplements keeps the inflammation at bay, as does limiting the amount of sugar, including fruit.

So I’d been reading up on the relationship between diet and auto-immune diseases, and thought I’d go one step further than just gluten free. I have to say, I find the diet easy to follow, I don’t eat any grains, including sweetcorn, dairy (although have  ‘cheated’ twice with cheese), sugar or sweeteners (although occasionally use honey/agave syrup in recipes) and obviously no processed foods. I’m also limiting nightshades, as I’m convinced that my over use of aubergines earlier this year triggered psoriatic arthritis again, but fortunately I got it under control without medication. I do still eat tomatoes, because I love them, but never more than 1 per day.

So, after 4 weeks of eating strictly paleo and limiting nightshades, my psoriasis had reduced by about 40%, which as pretty good, I’d also lost about 3kgs in weight, and didn’t feet deprived at all. I feel generally healthier and less tired. I’ve made some really interesting dishes so will post some recipes.

Just over a week ago I read an article about the benefits of black seed oil (Nigella Sativa, also called black cumin oil)  for psoriasis, and as it’s abundant here in the Middle East, thought I’d give it a try. I’ve been taking one teaspoon twice a day for 9 days now and I’m amazed at the difference in such a short space of time. The worst plaque on my leg, which measures approx 7cmc x 3cms is now 80% healed! it’s more like a graze than a scab, and all the plaques on my torso have gone, just a faint pink mark where they used to be. I still have about a dozen small plaques on my legs, but they are much better than before and healing rather than erupting. It’s such a shame I didn’t take before and after photos.

I’ve also been experimenting with black seed oil as a topical. I’ve been using homemade body butter as a general moisturiser for months, but have been applying black seed oil for the last 9 days to the biggest plaque (mentioned above) plus the one on my foot and another one on my leg. 2 of these have healed quickly, the third one, no more so than the others on my legs – whilst the plaques on my torso, where I hadn’t used the oil, have gone completely – which would suggest to me that it’s as a dietary supplement that the oil is of most benefit. I’m also very aware that psoriasis can come and go over the space of a few weeks for no apparent reason, so will monitor the progress and update again in a few weeks.