August is Psoriasis Awareness Month
Guest Blog By: Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist, Caylee Clay, RDN CDN
Living with psoriasis is a force to be reckoned with. It's hard to even know where my psoriasis story begins. Does it begin in February 2014, which was the last time I was free of plaque psoriasis? Or before February 2014, when my psoriasis would just come and go? Does the story begin with my parents and grandparents, who in hindsight I now recognize may have had undiagnosed psoriasis?
February 2014 is a watershed moment for me, as it was the last time, I took a round of antibiotics. Soon after those antibiotics were finished, my psoriasis flared up like never before. Even though I have come awfully close to being psoriasis free since then, I haven't been able to shake it completely. Before 2014, I was actually able to completely get rid of my psoriasis by following a gluten-free diet. For some members of my family, their psoriasis seems to come and go depending on their stress levels and recent food choices.
These personal experiences paired with my professional role as a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist has led me to the conclusion that the root cause of psoriasis can be found in the gut. As a medical professional, it's my opinion that the complex interplay between our intestines, microbiome, genetics, diet, and immune system will one day provide a scientific explanation for how and why psoriasis develops, plus what we can do to reduce or maybe even cure psoriasis. The connection between our skin and our gut is clear with other skin disorders as well, such as acne and eczema.
However, at present we live in a time when modern medicine claims no known cure for psoriasis. And so, it is of tantamount importance that we care for the incredible skin we do have. Marked by psoriasis or not, this is still the same skin that protects us non-stop, day in and day out. Whether we're gently removing our psoriatic skin, keeping it moisturized, or just trying to not be in pain, treating our outer envelope with love and attention remains a top priority.
What we use to care for our skin matters even more than you might imagine, too. Some of the products we apply topically on our skin can be absorbed straight into the bloodstream, bypassing the liver and other natural detoxification pathways. In some cases, topical application can allow more of a product to enter your blood than if you swallowed it! Choosing companies with a commitment to sourcing certified organic and natural ingredients is one way to help guide yourself towards safer skin care products.
Another aspect of the Forces of Nature Psoriasis Relief formulation that I appreciate is that it is homeopathic. I’ll never forget an appointment I had with a gastroenterologist about a year ago, who I was asking about the connection between my gut health and my psoriasis. He told me, if I was in search of true healing, to look beyond modern-day Western medicine. He told me I was more likely to find the answers I was searching for by delving into Eastern medicine or other “alternative” forms of healthcare. I felt a deep appreciation that, first, he had the humility to acknowledge that he didn’t know the answer to my question and, second, point me in another useful direction.
Although you should always be concerned about possible negative side effects of any medication or health product you use, it’s my opinion that Western medicine has left us psoriasis suffers with little choice but to strike out on our own in a different direction. While Western medicine has provided some temporary solutions to our psoriasis woes, treatments such as topical steroid creams or immune-suppressing drugs simply are not long-term solutions. While there is much more research to be done in the future to better understand the full potential and appropriate applications of homeopathy, there is current research demonstrating its use in treating psoriasis (see sources list).
If you also suffer from psoriasis, I salute you. As you rise out of bed each morning and resolve to go at it again for yet another day, I salute you. Whether your day is marked by pain, funny looks, or the wish that skin replacement surgery existed, I salute you. Yet - as difficult as it is, I encourage you to be kind to your skin. Even though it may cause you suffering, know that it is doing the best it can. Your amazing skin still helps to protect you from injury and infections, it helps regulate your body temperature and fluid balance, it produces vitamin D, and it is your largest organ. Even if you find yourself frustrated with your skin, I challenge you to find reasons to appreciate it, too. Know that self-acceptance is a vital part of any journey towards recovery and healing.
Hashimoto’s Protocol: A 90-Day Plan for Reversing Thyroid Symptoms and Getting Your Life Back by Dr. Izabella Wentz, page 96-98
Caylee Clay, RDN CDN is a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist who specializes in autoimmune disease, and lives with psoriasis herself. As 80% of the immune system resides in the gut, Caylee works with her clients to improve their intestinal health, microbiome diversity, and dietary quality plus identify possible food sensitivities, providing a logical pathway to reducing autoimmune disease symptoms and severity. For appointments, please email email@example.com.