Psoriatic arthritis (PSA) is an autoimmune disease that affects not only the skin but also the joints. A vegan diet for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis can alleviate the symptoms and give those affected more joy in life.
In the following, we will show you what a vegan diet means and how it affects your health in case of psoriatic arthritis. Even if you “only” suffer from psoriasis, this type of dietary change can also help you.
Vegan nutrition as therapy for psoriasis?
When people affected by psoriasis rummage through the net, they come across countless methods of treatment against PSA. With the amount of information available, patients quickly lose track and are often overwhelmed.
We often forget one of the simplest and most effective methods, namely nutrition. In addition, anyone can implement this method immediately and with only a little discipline, without any problems.
Many people affected by psoriatic arthritis and psoriasis, in general, are convinced that a purely vegetable-based diet has significantly alleviated the symptoms of their skin disease. This applies to both psoriasis on the skin and psoriasis arthritis, as psoriasis involving the joints is called.
With a vegan diet, you avoid any kind of animal product. In short, meat, eggs and dairy products are taboo and are removed from the diet.
As with all psoriasis treatments, the motto is “it may help, but it also may not”. The advantages of changing to a vegan diet are obvious. You don’t have to eat any harmful substances; you should not usually experience any side effects and you can start fighting your psoriasis immediately.
Of course, it is unfamiliar at first and a big change when you have been used to eating meat, eggs and dairy products all your life. However, as soon as you start to notice the first positive effects, the change in your diet will be the key to success.
It is not yet scientifically clear whether and to what extent nutrition has an effect on the symptoms and course of psoriasis.
How does the vegan diet affect the body?
Nutrition influences our health both positively and negatively. For example, it can promote inflammation. But it can also counteract this and prevent further inflammation.
The influence of our diet on the human organism is often underestimated. Scientific findings show that a conscious and healthy diet can have a positive effect on various diseases. Especially in the case of chronic diseases such as psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, a targeted diet influences the patients’ symptoms.
You can find a comprehensive overview of the topic of nutrition for psoriasis in our article “Diet for psoriasis – what can I do? LINK”
In connection with a plant-based form of nutrition, one unsaturated fatty acid, in particular, should be emphasized: arachidonic acid. This is well-known for the fact that it promotes inflammations in the body. Similarly, it causes inflammation of the skin and worsens inflammatory joint illnesses such as psoriatic arthritis.
Arachidonic acid is exclusively contained in animal foods, in particular
- Eggs and
- High-fat dairy products.
As part of a vegan diet, you will only ingest a small amount of arachidonic acid. At the same time, a vegan diet can also lead to a lack of vitamins, minerals and proteins.
It is important to ensure a sufficient supply of antioxidant vitamins and secondary plant compounds. Fruit and vegetables as well as healthy vegetable oils are especially important for those affected by psoriasis.
Change to vegan nutrition for psoriasis
There is hardly anything that we humans do without a reason. People play sports because they want to lose weight or they get their driver’s license because they finally want to drive a car. All these are reasons why we do things.
Often the motivation is related to a desire or a pain that is so great that we have to change something in our lives. The killing of animals is certainly one of the most common reasons that someone decides against an omnivorous diet and becomes vegan.
People affected by psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis primarily want to improve their skin and joints. I think these two reasons are sufficient to try a vegan diet.
In addition, it is not difficult to become vegan from one day to the next. Nevertheless, it is up to you to decide whether you want to change your diet gradually or whether you prefer a more radical change.
Make sure that you continue to get enough vitamin B12. By avoiding animal products, the intake is significantly reduced. You can easily counteract this with a dietary supplement.
On the Internet, you will find many places such as Facebook groups, blogs and articles where you can find helpful tips, testimonials and like-minded people. You will also find a large selection of books about vegan nutrition. Take the time to get a comprehensive picture of this topic.
It is important that you are satisfied with your new lifestyle. Nothing is worse and more counterproductive than frustration. If the change to veganism is too much for you or if you rush into it, it will be difficult to achieve your goals and not “relapse”.
You can slowly change to the vegan lifestyle and reduce your consumption of meat and fish bit by bit. As soon as you see the first improvements in your skin and joints, the motivation will follow on its own.
It’s best to discuss the topic with a dietician or your trusted doctor and give it a chance. As often is the case, you simply have to find out for yourself what is good for you and what has a positive influence on your body and your health.
Vegan diet for psoriasis arthritis – go as far as you feel comfortable…
A vegan diet can help you with your psoriatic arthritis and also with “normal” psoriasis. This is shown by numerous testimonials from people who have tried it and are still swear by being vegan. Of course, this is not the case with everyone.
As with all recommended diet forms for those affected by psoriasis, there still isn’t sufficient data that supports the vegan diet form. The result can range from zero impact to complete resolution of symptoms. Very much in line with the motto: everything can, nothing must.
On the other hand, it should be mentioned that the conversion to veganism is no witchcraft. Therefore, you should definitely consider trying it. Maybe it will help you…
Share your experiences and maybe even your personal success story with us in our Facebook group.
FAQ on vegan nutrition for psoriasis
How to switch to a vegan diet?
Switching to a vegan diet can be done gradually or abruptly – the decision often depends on your discipline and conviction. Your doctor or a nutritionist is a good place to start if you want to make a well-thought-out and promising long-term change to a vegan diet. Your intake of vitamin B12 should be considered – dietary supplements can help here.
Does vegan nutrition help with psoriasis?
Our diet influences our health and the development and course of various diseases. These include chronic diseases such as psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. In particular, removing the unsaturated fatty acid arachidonic acid, which can promote inflammation, from our diet has a positive effect on the human body in a vegan diet. Arachidonic acid is found in animal foods such as meat, sausage, eggs and high-fat dairy products.
What is Psoriatic Arthritis (PSA)?
Psoriatic arthritis is one of the most common accompanying diseases of psoriasis. In this form of autoimmune disease, the inflammation affects not only the skin, but also the cells of the joints, ligaments and tendons. Consequently, inflammatory swollen joints or entire limbs such as fingers are affected. The hands, knees, feet or even the spine are most frequently affected.
Find all sources
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- Barrea, L et al. (2016): Environmental risk factors in psoriasis: The point of view of the nutritionist. 22. Juli 2016, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4962284/
- Dahm Christa, Kalesse Christel, Keyßer Gernot, Reichelt Christiane (2016): Die richtige Ernährung bei Rheuma. Deutsche Rheuma-Liga, Bonn, S. 4-14.
- Kjeldsen-Kragh, Jens (1999): Rheumatoid arthritis treated with vegetarian diets. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol.70: S. 594 – 600.
- Lau, K. (2013): Ernährung und Hautkrankheiten, in: Jochum, Frank (2013): Ernährungsmedizin Pädiatrie, Springer, S. 359-367.
- May, Brandon (2016): How Can Diet Affect Psoriasis? Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 12 Dec. URL: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/314664.php
- Rittenau, Niko (2018): Vegan-Klischee ade!: Wissenschaftliche Antworten auf kritische Fragen zu veganer Ernährung, Ventil Verlag.
- Schneeberger, Ruth (2014): Bessere Haut, bessere Figur, bessere Laune, Süddeutsche Zeitung, abrufbar über: https://www.sueddeutsche.de/leben/vegane-ernaehrung-nicht-fisch-nicht-fleisch-1.1905127-2
- Sebök, Marianne (2016): Schuppenflechte “Ade” – Genesung, die von innen kommt: Meine bewährten Rezepte für eine gesunde Haut, Unimedica
Bernd is one of the founders of Simply Psoriasis. He has been suffering from psoriasis for more than 20 years, but sees the chronic skin disease with more composure than a few years ago (which was a hard work). Nevertheless, he is very keen to make psoriasis easier and more socially accepted.