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Adherence to the Mediterranean Diet Associated with Lower Risk of Psoriasis

Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin condition that results in itchy and dry patches of skin on the sufferer. Affecting around 2 to 4% of

Photo by Flickr user  Mysi Ann (https://www.flickr.com/photos/mysiann/1638705074)
Photo by Flickr user Mysi Ann (https://www.flickr.com/photos/mysiann/1638705074)

Western populations, psoriasis has many risk factors, including family history, diet, obesity, stress, and alcohol consumption patterns.

Various vitamins and other individual dietary components such as Vitamins A, E, C, D, and other fatty acids have been studied for their potential benefits for psoriasis risk, though the influence a particular diet as a whole (like the Mediterranean diet) is much less known.

A new study published in the Journal of Translational Medicine examined associations (if any) between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and severity of psoriasis in Italian adults.

62 patients admitted to the Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery at the University of Naples Federico II in Italy were recruited for this study. 42 men and 13 women made up the participant pool, with an average age of 50.2 years (+/-10.5yrs). A control group consisting of 62 age-, gender-, and BMI-matched healthy individuals were used as controls.

Adherence to the Mediterranean diet was determined using self-reported questionnaires.

Severity of psoriasis was determined by physician diagnosis, and given a standardized Psoriasis Area and Severity Index score (PASI). C-reactive protein (CRP) and body composition were also determined for each participant.

Important Findings:

  • A higher number of psoriasis patients reported lower adherence to the Mediterranean diet compared with healthy patients.
  • PASI scores were significantly and positively associated with percent fat mass and CRP levels.
  • PASI scores were significantly and negatively associated with Mediterranean diet adherence.
  • Within the Mediterranean diet, extra virgin olive oil and fish consumption were independently able to predict PASI scores.

According to the researchers, this is the first study to examine the relationship between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and severity of psoriasis.

Photo by Flickr user  Mysi Ann (https://www.flickr.com/photos/mysiann/489536302)
Photo by Flickr user Mysi Ann (https://www.flickr.com/photos/mysiann/489536302)

The results of this study suggest that strong adherence to the Mediterranean diet lowers one’s risk and severity of psoriasis. In particular, regular consumption of extra virgin olive oil and fish predicted the severity of psoriasis in the study participants, with greater severity affecting those that did not consume much.

Finally, patients with greater fat mass and higher C-reactive protein levels had significantly greater psoriasis severity than those with less fat mass and lower CRP levels.

Source:

Barrea, L., Balato, N., Di Somma, C., Macchia, P.E., Napolitano, M., Savanelli, M.C., Esposito, K., Colao, A., and Savastano, S. 2015. Nutrition and psoriasis: is there any association between the severity of the disease and adherence to the Mediterranean diet? Journal of Translational Medicine 13:18 doi:10.1186/s12967-014-0372-1