Psoriasis is a long-term autoimmune skin disease that presents itself as lesions and red, scaly patches on the skin. These areas may itch and hurt, and they may also be ugly. One of the most prevalent skin illnesses, psoriasis is thought to likely affect more than 8 million people in the US and across the world.
The theme for Psoriasis Awareness Month 2023 is, “access for all.” Only by working together can we raise awareness about this disease which will enable people who have psoriasis to receive the support they require.
Signs and Symptoms of Psoriasis
The most typical signs of psoriasis include thick, pitted nails, itchy, burning skin, dry skin, and red, scaly spots on the skin. Psoriatic arthritis, often known as swollen and stiff joints, can occur in people with psoriasis. Psoriasis’ precise origin is uncertain. However, a mix of genetic components, environmental triggers, and an overactive immune system are likely to be the reason.
Dr Swapna Priya, Consultant – Dermatology, CARE Hospitals, HITEC City, Hyderabad spoke to Zee News Digital about how your gut health can impact skin conditions like Psoriasis and more.
“The Gut-Skin Axis refers to the bidirectional relationship between the gut microbiota and the skin. Emerging research suggests that there is a connection between gut health and various skin conditions, including psoriasis,” says Dr Swapna.
Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune skin disorder characterized by red, scaly patches on the skin. While the exact cause of psoriasis is not fully understood, it is believed to result from a combination of genetic, environmental, and immune system factors.
Link Between Gut Health and Psoriasis
Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain the link between gut health and psoriasis:
Dysbiosis: Dysbiosis refers to an imbalance in the composition and diversity of gut bacteria. Some studies have found differences in the gut microbiota of individuals with psoriasis compared to healthy individuals.
Dysbiosis in the gut may contribute to systemic inflammation and immune dysregulation, which are central factors in the development and exacerbation of psoriasis.
Leaky Gut: Increased intestinal permeability, often referred to as “leaky gut,” can lead to the leakage of bacterial components and toxins from the gut into the bloodstream. This can trigger an immune response that affects distant sites, including the skin. The immune response can exacerbate inflammation and worsen psoriasis symptoms.
Immune System Cross-Talk: The gut and skin share similar immune responses and signaling pathways. Immune cells and cytokines that are involved in psoriasis are also found in the gut. This suggests that immune system activity in the gut can influence skin health and conditions like psoriasis.
Microbial Metabolites: The gut microbiota produce various metabolites that can have systemic effects. Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), for example, are microbial metabolites that play a role in regulating inflammation and immune responses. Changes in the production of these metabolites could impact psoriasis development.
Neuroendocrine Factors: The gut and skin are connected through the neuroendocrine system, which involves the interaction between the nervous system and hormonal signaling. Stress and other psychological factors can influence both gut health and skin conditions, including psoriasis.
While the connection between gut health and psoriasis is being actively studied, it’s important to note that not all individuals with psoriasis have gut-related issues, and not all gut issues lead to psoriasis.
The relationship is complex and likely influenced by multiple factors, including genetics, lifestyle, and environmental exposures.
Dr Swapna mentions, “Research in this area is ongoing, and while there is promising evidence suggesting a link between gut health and psoriasis, more studies are needed to fully understand the mechanisms at play and to explore potential therapeutic interventions that target the Gut-Skin axis.”
Patients with psoriasis interested in exploring the potential impact of gut health on their condition should consult with a healthcare professional before making any significant changes to their diet or lifestyle.