The semi-good news for all of us who suffer from psoriasis is that you are not alone, since it affects around 7.5 million of us here in the USA. The bad news is that even though psoriasis is commonly considered to be little more than an irritating skin affliction, research shows us that it can lead to psoriatic arthritis, heart disease, Crohn’s disease, and cancer, so it is not something to be taken lightly.
Not to mention that it’s deemed to be incurable. And don’t even get us started on all the cures that are meant to get rid of psoriasis. It seems, after all, that many psoriasis treatments involve dubious ingredients of like steroids, petroleum jelly, or some sort of pharmaceutical nonsense which you don’t know whether to blindly trust, or just take to the toxic waste dump and be rid of.
But you do need something to at least alleviate the symptoms of pesky psoriasis – and preferably something natural that won’t go on to cause a list of other side effects.
Enter probiotics, which can not only help you clear up your condition, but also comes with a bevy of other health benefits – rather than unpleasant side effects. Better yet, these beneficial bacteria are natural, and are essential not only in reducing the inflammation which causes psoriasis, but for digestion, healthy hormone balance, and overall bodily health.
How Probiotics Help Psoriasis
As many of us already know, probiotics are the beneficial bacteria which live in us, on us, and around us, and without them, we couldn’t so much as digest our food, or have a healthy immune system.
However, our modern lifestyle has us deficient in these crucial microorganisms. This is due to most of us not living in environments such as farms or ranches where contact with friendly microbes is more common than in urban areas, and there is also our overuse of sanitizers, disinfectants, and antibiotics.
One of the many problems with this deficiency is, since probiotics help control inflammation-causing bacteria by stimulating our immune-regulating T-cells, chronic inflammation can be the result. Since psoriasis is caused by inflammation, low levels of gut bacteria can leave us vulnerable to it.
Plus, probiotics play a role in other aspects of skin health, such as warding off acne, healing wounds, skin rejuvenation and strengthening the skin’s (and body’s) overall immune health. This is due not only to probiotic’s abilities to help reduce inflammation, but in controlling other, less desirable bacteria which can take over in the absence of probiotics.
But Which Probiotic Strain Should I use for Psoriasis?
There are trillions of strains of bacteria forming ecosystems inside of us, and each of us has our own body chemistry which may support different varieties of microorganisms. In fact, it has been noted that the types of bacteria in us may be likened to a fingerprint, in that no two are identical.
However, different bacteria also affect different conditions, such as studies showing that Lactobacillus, B. bifudum, and L. Acidophilus are effective in treating acne.
And, while using just any probiotic to improve your gut flora may be better than nothing, some strains do better with skin conditions like psoriasis than others, including:
Bifidobacterium bifidum. Perhaps the most commonly known probiotic strain, B. bifidum is essential for skin health, since it plays a key role in maintaining a strong immune system. B. bifidum works to control unwelcome bacteria varieties in the gut, which not only helps digestion, but boosts the body’s immune response against inflammation and allergies.
Lactobacillus plantarum. L. plantarum helps the body produce L. lysine, which is an amino acid which supports calcium absorption and hormone production, and is also key in supporting a positive immune response to guard against inflammation. This not only protects us against psoriasis, but has anti-aging, digestive, and immune health benefits as well.
Lactobacillus acidophilus. Also one of the more well-known probiotics due to its long association with digestive health-particularly for those who have trouble digesting dairy products. L. acidophilus is also an immune booster, which helps produce a healthy response to inflammation and associated skin conditions.
Lactobacillus rhamnosus. L. rhamnosus gets antibodies to ward off infection and inflammation. This helps it boost the immune system, as well as guard against inflammation.
How to Take Probiotics for Psoriasis?
To start taking probiotics for psoriasis, you don’t necessarily need to add another supplement to your stash.
Instead, you could go the more pleasurable route of adding another dish to the table. Cultured foods can be a simple – and tasty – way to add bacteria to your diet. Try some yogurt, raw sauerkraut, kefir or kimchi, although be sure to buy non-pasteurized, cold-processed products, since heat kills bacteria.
Some manufacturers, i.e. yogurt, also list strains of bacteria on their packaging, which helps in assuring you that the product does contain live bacteria. However, even if it doesn’t, you should be able to identify a sour smell and taste in most cultured products, which also indicates that the bacteria are alive.
You can also go out and play in the dirt for your probiotics, which may not be too practical for most of us city-dwellers. However, if you have a garden, you are in luck, since soil can also be a rich source of probiotics, and there are few more satisfying ways to get them. Lower your grocery bill, beat psoriasis, AND fresh veggies to enjoy? Done!
Finally, taking a daily probiotic capsule is the easiest – and most consistent – way for us to get our microbes. When looking for a good probiotic, remember to look for a variety of strains, including some bifida and some lactobacillus.
You may need to try a few different companies and products before finding which one works best for you overall, but look for a product with at least 6-billion count. You should also only buy a product which is perishable. Look for a time stamp or use-by date, which helps to ensure the product is fully potent and live. Finally, look for a dark glass container, since light can also kill bacteria.
Last Notes on Probiotics for Psoriasis
Lay off the cleaning supplies, they’re making you unhealthy! Seriously, most of us do a little more sanitizing than we really need to, which is only understandable, since we want to keep ourselves and our families healthy and safe.
However, by over-using hand sanitizers, counter disinfectants, and other anti-bacterial products, we aren’t just killing off the bad guys, but the good guys as well. Plus, many sanitizers are endocrine disruptors that can cause such conditions as rashes and eczema – hmmm, could this have anything to do with your psoriasis?
But, even if sanitizing agents aren’t what are causing your psoriasis, they are likely getting in the way of healthy probiotic populations, so stick with soap and water – it really is the best way to clean. Better yet, stick to a natural soap that’s good for psoriasis.