What Natural Remedies May Help My Psoriasis? A Q&A with Dr. Truong
This Q&A is part of a series highlighting frequently asked questions, answered by a healthcare professional in our community.
We asked: “What natural remedies for psoriasis actually work?”
Allison Truong, M.D.: There are some small studies that suggest certain natural psoriasis remedies may be helpful: turmeric, vitamin D, aloe vera, and fish oil.
As of recently, there is limited data on natural remedies for psoriasis relief. There are few small randomized controlled studies—which are the gold standard in the scientific world on natural remedies and psoriasis. Here’s what we know about these potentially promising options.
Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. The helpful active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. In a small study, 4.5 grams of curcumin taken daily by mouth helped reduce flares from psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis in some people. It’s not yet entirely clear whether turmeric supplements are helpful for psoriasis and at what dose is required. More research is needed.
If you’re interested in seeing whether turmeric is helpful for your symptoms, you can find turmeric in some foods, such as curries and golden milk.
Some small studies suggest that taking vitamin D in addition to using standard medical treatments for psoriasis may further help relieve psoriasis symptoms. However, it’s important not to overdo vitamin D intake, as too much can cause electrolyte imbalances and kidney issues in some people.
Rather than taking vitamin D supplements, the safest way to get vitamin D is to spend about 10 to 15 minutes in natural sunlight. It’s best to seek sun exposure in the morning before 10 a.m. to avoid the sun’s most harmful rays. And remember to wear sunscreen as sunburns can increase the risk of skin cancer over a lifetime.
Some research suggests that topical aloe vera can help reduce redness and scaling from psoriasis. Gel from the aloe plant can be applied to the skin and is generally well tolerated without any serious side effects. Results on the effectiveness is still controversial, but as long as you do not get a rash from aloe, it may be worth trying.
A 2020 review of 18 randomized control trials suggests that fish oil, taken by mouth, may have beneficial effects on psoriasis—but only when combined with other treatments. Fish oil may also help prevent psoriasis comorbidities (co-occuring conditions) such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic disease. Talk to your doctor about what dosage they recommend if you’re interested in trying fish oil.
What Else Should I Know?
Certain psoriasis medications don’t react well with supplements. To be safe, before starting any supplement or natural remedy, be sure to discuss its use with your dermatologist or primary care provider.
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