Psoriasis & Allergies
So I'd like to tell you about my psoriasis & allergies in the hopes that some of you may find some nugget of it useful or that it will trigger an insight for you to share.
I was lucky in the sense my psoriasis did not appear till my early thirties during a stressful transition period in my life. It first broke out with a bang all over my scalp and I thought I had dandruff. Tried a bunch of shampoos like head and shoulders etc but that didn't stop the snow from falling if you get my drift. Then the plaque started on my shins and little dots here and there. I thought I had a rash so I went to the dermatologist. The first dermatologist I went to was not much help, just saying sorry you have psoriasis, something I was going to have to live with. No discussion of what the triggers might be and how to avoid them etc, just a script for what would be the first in a long of line of increasing strength, yet ineffective steroid ointments. I got the impression that they were more interested in giving out prescriptions and sizing me up for a chin lift or tummy tuck then helping me beat this skin condition.
From what I gather psoriasis has a strong hereditary component and both sides of my family have members who have had it, some very severe. My sister has had it since she was ten and I can remember the smell of all the terrible tar based ointments and shampoos she use to use. We even had a UV light room in a nook of the basement to help her during the winter. She has battled it for thirty years and had hit upon that her diet is the main way for her to control it. She has been vegetarian since her teens but she also went gluten free and that allowed her to clear it and keep it under control. Occasionally she accidentally gets some gluten in her diet, from someone's cooking who tells her something is gluten free not realizing some ingredient has it or by taking a chance when eating out. This would causes a flare up and her long march to clear it starts all over again.
When I told my sister I has been diagnosed with psoriasis she understood what anguish I was in and for the first time I started to really understand what she had been battling since we were kids. I had inherited her UV lights but I am afraid to use them because they cause skin cancer. I have heard that having psoriasis makes you less likely to get skin cancer and there are narrow spectrum UV now. She still uses some ointments to help and was kind and gave me a tube of the vitamin D cream she had found helpful. It was a new product at the time and very expensive but I was disappointed as it didn't seem to be working for me. Following her advice I did have myself tested for a gluten allergy but that came back negative.
I did not revisit the areas of allergies again till I got allergic hypersensitivity this spring. 2012 started out as a bad health year. In early February I slipped on the stairs and injured my back that gave rise to a large painful hematoma. Then in March I got an injury on my ankle while raking wood mulch in the front flower beds. I didn't notice it happened, but the next morning when I woke with a deep pain in my ankle and what appeared to be three bites. I went to my primary and he said it looked infected and prescribed the antibiotic Bactrim to treat it. The wound started to look better, but then the allergic reactions started. After a few days my ankle and hand began to itch. Then the itch began spreading to my legs and arms. Not good!
The doctor said I was probably allergic to sulfa antibiotics and switched me to a different variety, and oh yeah your probably allergic to that Neosporin stuff your always using too. I switched pills and stopped using Neosporin but still the itching never went away. I consider myself a good intuitive problem solver, but a poor time and book keeper and when your dealing with allergen issues this is really what you need to be. You need to be able to associate that action a that exposes you to element e in the time frame t happens with a frequency f that has a high correlation to the symptom s you keep having. A brain that is a master at this type of thinking is rare outside of mad scientist laboratories. To find one capable of exploring this problem from another persons perspective by asking the right questions and who also happens to be a doctor is like winning the lottery.
I am relieved to say I won that lottery in May of this year and saw a brilliant allergist. He had an odd personality in that he continuously talked to himself and seemed frantically distracted as he darted through the office from room to room. But I was intrigued about the conversations I was overhearing him having with patients in other rooms as I was about the one he had with me, eagerly trying to absorb all the variables that I had to offer about my life that might give us an insight about what was going on with my body. He honed in on my psoriasis and began examining all the spots of plaque on my shins, my scalp, and particularly my nails. I was not there for psoriasis, but he was looking at the bigger picture of issues I had never thought related. He was literally trying to connect dots as he scribbled away on a sheet of paper writing out the clues as dots and arrows with possible relationships. He was a cut above any doctor I had met before and I was immediately in awe of how his mind worked. I took a snapshot of my piece of paper for later deciphering when he darted out of the room to look at the results of another patient's skin test. When he came back the conversation of my sisters diet came up and he said many people think they are allergic to gluten when really they are allergic to yeast.
He found a few allergen triggers (alternaria 5 , dust mites 3, and dander 1) from the skin tests but said he did not have a definitive answer for me, the time we had together was too short and the amount of variables was too many, but he did have a prescription. Not a script for a pharmacy, but a life change. Sometimes when there are too many variables to a problem you need to be willing to change them all to find a solution. It didn't matter if some of the changes were not effective to my condition because the overall plan would improve quality of life while systematically eliminating variables to make the situation more manageable and understandable. He recommended starting with the basics, fragrance free olive oil soap, free and clear shampoo, hypo allergenic mattress cover, pillow casings, and detergent. Cleaning the bedroom in the house to a super high standard. Washing bedding on hot and bagging up fabrics we did not wear that shed fibers and might harbor dust mites. Working outwards from there, but always keep the bedroom clean and the door closed to keep the pets out. Getting hepa air filters for the bedroom and one at the lowest point in the home. And most importantly, changing my diet. Completely reducing or removing alcohol and processed food when possible. Eating more greens and fruit, and eliminating categories of items week or more at a time in a rotation and watching for change.
So it has been six months since starting this life change and I have to say I am doing much better with the allergies. Though I have added a trick or two to his advice that also have made a big impact for me. Taking a shower and/or using a hot hairdryer on patches of my skin when it acts up and starts itching. Using a vitamin D foam on my scalp and plaque spots followed by pure shea butter on the plaque after showering to lock moisture in the skin and lock out the allergens. And most importantly, juicing a heavy on the green side of the rainbow of veggies and fruit everyday for breakfast during the week and at lunch during the weekdays. From the garden or farmers market when in season or the grocery store and buying organic when it matters. But in the order of quantity included in the juice I make everyday is kale, collards, celery, carrots, grapefruit, apple, cranberries, pomegranate, lemon, ginger, turmeric, mint, and basil. I swap the pomegranate seeds with raspberries, blueberries, or blackberries depending on what I can find a good deal on, but the rest are almost always in the mix if they are available. I find the juicing is naturally displacing my old food cravings that might have had potential allergen issues. I now pride myself on going to the grocery store regularly and only visiting the produce section before leaving. Who is this guy? I hardly recognize myself with these new health centered routines.
My mom was first to go raw five years ago, lost forty pounds, and now exercises daily. As my mom would say the proof is in the pudding, and by eating raw rather then pudding, I have been watching my psoriasis clear up rather then get worse for the first time heading into winter since it started ten years ago. In the unintended but very welcome side effects my acne and blotchy skins is clearing. My acid reflux which I have had for decades has gone into remission so I don't need to take Prevacid anymore. I have had ADD since a child but now I feel naturally energetic and focused I have stopped talking Adderall for it. I have had a bit of a pot belly but not overweight, never the less my body has been slimming down from 175 to 160 now with my waist size going from 32 to 30. My ideal weight is probably 155 and it would seem if I keep this up I am going to get there. I still have one med that I have a hard time giving up. I now and then use Cordan steroid tape sparingly on the plaque for 12 hours then peeling it off gently to remove it with the top layer of plaque. But when the plaque is completely gone I won't need to do this anymore and that day is quickly approaching. I am really feeling the life change kick into gear now and it feels great.
Last edited by Supa; 12-13-2012 at 03:31 PM.
What a story Supa - and what a journey. I read with interest because my husband suffers with psoriasis as well. I wish you all the BEST!
That's wonderful news!
I wish more people could understand what nutrient dense foods do for the body!
I have been HIGH raw for almost six months and here's my check list:
Allergies - Gone!
Acid Reflux - Gone!
Arthritis Pain - Gone!
Fibromyalgia Pain - Gone!
Diabetes - Gone!
Migraines - Gone!
AND that's with being high raw, not 100%!
I have been reading about your and MysticTree's psoriasis stories and it was inspiring to know that a healthy healing raw diet can work if given a chance. Psoriasis is very emotionally debilitating when you don't find any success at treating it. It strikes at your core self image and depletes your confidence to get past it. There are systemic shots and pills you can take that will clear it temporarily, but that is a band aid at the expense of suppressing your immune system, not a lifestyle change that empowers your immune system to work better.
Originally Posted by DebB
Last edited by Supa; 12-12-2012 at 11:15 AM.
I have had a similar journey with clearing my eczema which came on almost three years ago. I am still working on clearing it completely but compared to where it was in January of 2010, its almost gone. I credit eating a mostly raw food diet and finding foods I was allergic to and eliminating them from my diet. I hope I can figure out what next to get rid of it completely. My mom has psoriasis but she resists my suggestions about diet and its impact so I have let it go. I was glad to hear of your success. Many of your comments apply to my situation. Thanks for sharing!
During the holidays our healthy routine was disrupted with the usual family gatherings and I had not used the Cordan tape for awhile since my psoriasis was much better. Both our families noticed that both my wife and I had lost weight and were looking great. We even brought juice in thermos bottles to help us at least have some healthy options, but it is easy to nibble on a old habit or two when it completely surrounds you. We gave some of them our juice to try and even the sweetest one I made was met with faces that look like the Mr Yuk poison stickers I put on my food in the fridge at work. Real nutrition seems to be an acquired taste that many have lost or have never associated the experience with good memories.
Once again, I am not sure what it was that I nibbled on or perhaps got into while cleaning, but my psoriasis patches got angry red in the days following the gatherings and hitting the spots with the hair dryer and rubbing in shea butter helped soothe them and stop them itching. I have been reading that over using the hairdryer trick can cause Grover's disease (itching for no reason all the time, a hell I am already sort of familiar with), but shea butter on the other hand, is proving to be really amazing stuff. It is anti-inflammatory (very good for itching and auto immunue disorders like psoriasis), an emollient (moisturizer) , a humectant (helps retain water), non-comedogenic (non pore blocking, won't cause acne), and is sun blocking (absorbs some UV radiation). I have been stocking two pure kinds of it, an organic white refined ($12 per 4 oz) and an organic nutty unrefined ($7 per 4 oz). The unrefined retains more vitamins of the shea nut and a nutty odor that is sometimes nice but I don't always want to smell like it.
Our other secret weapon arrived just before Christmas and has now been pressed into service. The lovable oscar the owl ultra sonic humidifier. I also got the water de-mineralizer water plug for him so we don't have to buy distilled water to avoid spraying white mineral dust from the tap water all over the floors. While there are larger fancier devices with fans built in, they look like medical devices rather then a cute animal in our living room that makes visitors smile and comment on. We do have a whole house humidifier on the furnace but I would rather just target the places we spend the most time continuously then the whole house sporadically and indiscriminately. Also since we use the fireplace allot to heat as well, the furnace doesn't run much. The small fan makes sure the vapor is efficiently dispersed in the direction we are sitting and we also turn on a fan in the hallway to blow the humidity from the shower into the main living area. Locking in moisture with shea butter, lip balm, & lotion helps, but keeping the living area humidity in the 30-45% range in the winter helps both my wife's and my eyes, lips, sinuses, and skin from getting too dry, cracking, itching, or worse bleeding; which for me might trigger more psoriasis patches to develop.
The last new secret weapon is my new green wellies in the background. It occurred to me in 20/20 hind sight that had I owned a pair of knee high rubber boots and been wearing them in February while working in the wood mulch, I probably would not have gotten bitten on the ankle and suffered with the allergic hypersensitivity this year. So as I look toward a new year, part of my new resolve will be to not only fortify my body from within with hyper nutrition, but to consistently and effectively protect it from the outside with wonderful things like shea butter, and when working in potentially hazardous spots, with gear like wellies, long sleeves, gloves, and even goggles and a dust mask when necessary. I am not the quick healing spring chicken I used to be, its time I started acknowledging that and as Barney would say, Suit Up!
Last edited by Supa; 12-31-2012 at 05:27 PM.
I'm so glad you are finding solutions. I just wish I didn't have a sensitivity to citrus. I miss lemons in my juice and limes in my salsas. Perhaps I should give them a try since my eczema is so much better. I have a whole house humidifier of sorts on my furnace but I still need a separate one too. Happy New Year!
I will get some Shea butter for bf and see how that helps but I do wish he would go raw again or at least give up foods with gluten in.
Just wanted to update on my healing progress. I know it is frustrating to me to read some stories here that always have a start, sometimes a middle, and rarely an ending.
The psoriasis surface area on my body is continuing to shrink with no new spots appearing since the holidays. My arms, elbows, and hips have now cleared on their own without my direct attention, which I believe is due to the nutrition of two 18oz of morning green and afternoon fruit juices every day. The two larger palm size patches on the my shin have faded into a scattered smaller finger tip size patches. I keep working them with a rotation of treatments depending on what symptoms they exhibit to help the healing. Refined shea butter for after shower skin protection and itch prevention, small patches of Cordan tape for removing plaque, and I have added some Aquaphor to the routine for patches of winter dryness.
While it had been exhausting fighting a losing battle over the last ten years, I am now feeling re-energized having found a lifestyle rhythm that is turning the tide on my psoriasis and my overall health in general. Based on my progress so far I feel about a month away from seeing that last area of psoriasis completely healed. I have noticed improvements in skin tone all over lately, but especially my face. The blotchy patches from old acne have now healed and the enlarged pores on my cheeks and nose have shrunk to normal.
I initially lost weight when I started juicing but then the trend stopped and gradually reversed. I got a little worried at first, but what I came to realize was I was starting to see improvements in muscle mass which weighed more then the fat I lost. In retrospect it makes sense that amazing nutrition plus lifting, transporting, and processing ~60lbs of coffee plus all the other moving about I do daily helps build muscle.
I have found my nails to be like reading a tree ring record of my health. I am happy to say my finger nails are now all new healthy smooth growth with no recollection of the old unhealthy me. But I still have 5mm of my old unhealthy ways left in my toe nails left to grow out before I will be ready for a celebratory mani pedi for this amusing mile marker of my health. If what they say about the body renewing itself every seven years is true, then keeping on this path should help erase the many more of my hidden inner rings of bad health with new strong healthy rings to celebrate each year.
I'll report back when I feel I have achieved more of my health mile markers. The bigger story will be if this lifestyle keeps me healthy and clear through the inevitably stressful adversities that life will throw my way.
Last edited by Supa; 02-13-2013 at 08:47 PM.
WOW! I love reading this Supa - Congratulations! Thank you for the update and here's wishing you continued success. It sounds like you're going to beat this!
So you might have noticed this thread is absent of photos compared to my other ones. This is because psoriasis is not a pretty disease and you become very self conscious about the way it looks. But for posterity I will lift the veil and show you how it currently looks on my shin.
What maybe hard for you to believe is that this looks great to me. Four months ago and for the past 4 years before that this part of my shin had been a solid dark red scaly mess from top to bottom. There are many things that aggravate psoriasis like smoking (I quit a year ago), alcohol (I have cut back to wine and beer on weekends only), and something I had been getting or not getting in my diet which I still can't pin down. Might have been excess salt, lack of vitamin D, or maybe something in the wide spectrum of phytochemicals I now get. Whatever it is it doesn't matter, because the rhythm I am on is what brings it all into focus and heading in the right direction, healing.
Last edited by Supa; 03-09-2013 at 09:08 PM.
Good for you Supa. I have almost cleared my eczema after a three year battle. It came on after a devastating emotional event. I know it was caused by that but aggravated by many things. I just read a book by Joel Fuhrman titled Fasting and Eating for Health. He recommends fasting for clearing Psoriasis. I am doing three day juice fast this weekend and next. Then I am going to try a three day water fast. I hope this will get rid of the remaining bit of eczema. My mom has psoriasis and there is a genetic component as my grandfather had it and one of my uncles has it. Eczema is closely linked. When my eczema first flared up, I had it all over my face, neck, ears and chest. I get up every day and I am grateful that I have worked so hard to clear it up. I have tried so many things I'm not really sure what turned the tide. Hang in there and keep searching!
Supa, I regret that I did not notice this thread, when it was posted, 3 months ago.
Still, better late than never!
Just a quick note, to point out that there are some toxins which may promote skin issues, some of which are capable of overwhelming the bodys detoxification abilities, even during a fast; e.g. mercury. Mercury can also lead to systemic inflammation, which is also relevant.
Anyone with psoriasis or eczema should consider if they have mercury dental amalgams, for example. It's only one, of many, potential causes, of course, but it's a serious one which deserves serious consideration.
There are also other metals, such as cadmium and lead, which hit kidney function very hard, and this, too, may impact skin conditions. You did mention you used to be a smoker; cigarettes are potential sources of exposure to the likes of arsenic and cadmium, amongst a spectrum of other toxins.
Always check liver and kidney function in cases of skin conditions, along with gut health and gut ecology.
When skin conditions seem to run in the family, it is often tempting to jump to the conclusion that it must therefore be genetically-related (and, of course, this is possible), but few people ever consider that it might be an environmental toxin that has affected each member of the family, if they have all lived in the same area (or have all had dental amalgams). Even parasites may potentially be passed on from one family member to another, giving rise to certain health conditions. Then there's epi-genenetics, with a genetic susceptibility which nonetheless reqires a specific trigger, the trigger potentially having been exposure to some environmental, or perhaps dietary element, which may have been consistent for each member of the family that has experienced the skin (or other) condition. For example, on the dietary side of things, it is very common for certain dietary habits to be passed down from one generation to the next, in families. Even toxic cooking utensils may be passed down the generations.
It really is surprising how many factors may be passed down in families, which may have nothing whatsoever to do with genetics, but which members of the family experiencing identical health issues may literally never consider might be the common factor leading to the health issues. It can take some concerted detective work, and few people are motivated or sufficiently aware to undertake this. I must say, although I am not yet convinced by homeopathy as a modality, I nonetheless have huge respect for the homeopathic model of deeply investigating possible background causes for a patient's health condition. A well-trained homeopath is extremely diligent in taking very detailed patient histories and investigating all manner of possible contributory factors. I am glad you found a good 'allergist', as you put it, and I recognise the 'connect-the-dots' approach you described, because it is something I have had to learn myself, in dealing with my own complex health issues, over the years, and consequently, you will often see me urging people, here on RFT, to turn detective and build highly detailed symptom diaries and personal case histories, in order to permit the possibility of eventually connecting some 'dots' from the tome of gathered information.
Anyway, I'm glad you'e experiencing some improvements, Supa. I hope you continue to experience improvement. It is worth noting that since you mention both psoriasis and allergies, very serious consideration should be given to liver function. Check for parasites and for toxins. Again, heavy metals is a big one where liver function is concerned, since some (mercury, for example) are capable of disabling various detoxification enzyme pathways, due to their ability to displace minerals such as selenium, which are essential catalysts for the enzymes to function. Therefore, patients with mercury intoxication of the liver may quite commonly find themselves experiencing single or multiple chemical sensitivities (and even something as ordinarily benign as food is, fundamentally, a plethora of chemicals), in addition to potential chronic systemic inflammation, owing to the many nasty effects of mercury upon immune function, including suppression, aggravation, and bias towards systemic inflammatory response rather than cell-mediated response. Such a scenario is not exclusive to mercury, but I mention it as it is a classic example.
You mentioned your sister being gluten sensitive - gluten sensitivity is common amongst heavy metal-intoxicated patients, and so are yeast/fungal issues (Aine, mentioned here: http://www.rawfoodtalk.com/showthrea...325#post661325 , suffered extreme gluten sensitivity, and candida issues, which subsided following longterm mercury detoxification). I did note your remark that your allergist said "many people think they are allergic to gluten when really they are allergic to yeast." Well, I don't know if your allergist is aware of this, but a common denominator underlying gluten and yeast sensitivity can be mercury intoxication.
Note that heavy metals such as mercury can even be passed across the placenta to the foetus, so even if you or your sister never had post-birth exposure, it does not rule out the possibility of exposure during gestation, if your mother had been exposed to mercury at any time during her life.
I also note that you were prescribed the antibiotic Bactrim and found this worsened your symptoms. There are numerous possible reasons for this reaction, but Bactrim is a sulfonamide drug, and whilst some folks with heavy metal intoxication tolerate sulfa drugs well, others do not. Interesting, at the very least. It's also interesting that patients with poor tolerance to sulfa drugs may also be those who metabolise them slowly (perhaps indicative of compromised liver function) and/or who have immune issues. Are you seeing a potential pattern emerging, here..?
On the basis that there is a chance you may hvae heavy metal issues, I would suggest you avoid consuming greens with fragile essential oil content, such as basil, oregano, mint, thyme, and absolutely definitely avoid cilantro (coriander)! This stuff is potentially extremely dangerous for patients with heavy metal intoxication. If you wish to know why I am saying this, in contrast to the thousands of webpages on the internet, with alternative practitioners extolling the virtues of cilantro and chlorella for mercury detoxification purposes, then I recommend further reading of published works by Andrew Hall Cutler, and, if you feel so inclined, you will find, if you search the threads here on RFT, that I have described the relevant information in great detail in various posts.
To hit the ground running, there is a very informative free podcast available here, which is well worthwhile taking the time to listen to:
I do not mean to imply that you certainly have heavy metal intoxication. I am simply observing that you have described a great many things which, owing to my own experience of heavy metal intoxication, I recognise as strong potential correlates.
Last edited by Arky; 03-09-2013 at 10:14 PM.
I am always glad to read your updates supa! And that the psoriasis is so much better in the past few months is very encouraging. My husband's typically flares this time of year and here is yours getting better!
Heavy metals and radioactive pollution is something I am sadly aware of in the history of my area. St. Louis has a rich history in the development of the polluting processes for creating and then carelessly handling of radioactive materials for the atomic bomb. We probably rank up there with the Hanford Site in DebB's state of WA of cold war messes in that both are located near major river watersheds that service large populations.
St. Louis has the unfortunate distinction of having the dangerous material at a site in its downtown and then later spread around some of its sub-urban areas by the sleazy reprocessing company called the Cotter Corporation of CO. They got the easy to get isotopes they wanted out of the waste and then mixed the rest it with tons of dirt and illegally dumped it in a public landfill on the outskirts of St. Louis that is in the Missouri flood plain, thus creating a monumentally bigger contamination problem.
As far as the hereditary link though, my family are first generation immigrants from England. The members of my family tree that also have bad psoriasis do not sure the same geographic environments. They are all over the globe so I would have to rule out environmental issues that are not global. My sister did not have any fillings when her psoriasis started. My mother and I do have them and bad teeth are apparently very British, so who knows how many of the family have had them.
Last edited by Supa; 03-10-2013 at 11:48 AM.
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