Psoriasis and Gut Health

I recently came across some research in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care called “The Role of Gut Microbiodome in the Pathogenesis of Psoriasis and the Therapeutic Effects of Probiotics” that I felt was quite interesting and pertinent for our patients for a two reasons.  First, we see a number of patients with psoriasis of the scalp, which leads to temporary hair loss.  I myself suffer from psoriasis.  Secondly, it really reinforced the importance of taking a systemic treatment approach, which I will expand on shortly.

For those that are not familiar with psoriasis, psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that affects up to 7.5 million Americans.  Psoriasis is a chronic disease that most commonly presents as red scaly patches on the skin and psoriasis flare ups come and go.  Unfortunately, there is no cure, but there are ways to manage the flareups when they occur and decrease their likely hood of experiencing them through lifestyle changes.  While psoriasis can occur on all parts of the body, psoriasis of the scalp is one of the most common, with a 2016 paper estimating that 80% of those with psoriasis will have a flareup on the scalp[i].  Psoriasis itself does not cause hair loss, however, it can be quite itchy and when you itch the scalp you can damage the follicle and hair leading to loss.

What the “The Role of Gut Microbiodome in the Pathogenesis of Psoriasis and the Therapeutic Effects of Probiotics” found was there may be link between our gut health and the immune response that causes psoriasis.  When the bacteria in the gut is out of balance, it can cause a condition known as bacterial dysbiosis, which is known to cause chronic inflammatory conditions in the skin.  While we often use treatments that specifically target the affected area, the researchers felt that we should consider treating systemically as well, which in this case would be through targeting the bacteria in the gut with probiotics.

Anyone that has been treated at Medi Tresse knowns that we are strong believers in utilizing a multi-therapy approach that also include systemic treatments that focus on nutrition and gut health.  The health of our scalp and hair are directly affected by the total health of our bodies.  While utilizing treatments like Optimal Platelet Concentration Therapy and Low Level Laser Therapy that directly target the scalp, it is important to support these treatments with a systemic approach through the use nutritional and gut health supplements.  Our bodies are complex and extremely intertwined.  While we are only scratching the surface on the importance of gut health, it is becoming more clear that it plays a strong role in the health of our hair.

Posted by Dr. Mary Wendel

[i] Blakely, Kim and Melinda Gooderham. “Management of scalp psoriasis: current perspectives” Psoriasis (Auckland, N.Z.) vol. 6 33-40. 29 Mar. 2016, doi:10.2147/PTT.S85330