How To Reverse Psoriasis Naturally
In my sophomore year of high school, I got this annoying little patch of rough skin on my scalp. I put lotion on it. I changed my shampoo. I washed my hair right after I got out of the swimming pool.
And yet it persisted.
I went to the dermatologist and he examined the spot closely.
“Stop braiding your hair when it’s wet,” he instructed me. “Make sure your hair is dry when you go to bed.”
Oh. Can do.
I left with some medicated ointment and a resolve to purchase a blowdryer. I followed his instructions, yet that damn spot stuck around. And it continued to grow.
Over the years, the spots kept increasing in breadth and in itchiness. Sometimes I would not notice them at all, and sometimes they would be excruciatingly itchy and tight.
Right after the birth of my fourth child, I remember sitting in Bible Study Fellowship and feeling like I was going to scream because my whole scalp felt like it was on fire. I thought there might be a nutritional component even way back then and took a mental catalog of my diet.
That morning, I had eaten 4 scrambled eggs with some cheese, just like I was used to doing every morning. It had probably been a good two months that I had been eating the same thing for breakfast, day in and day out. I was low carbin’ it after the baby.
The next morning, I opted out of my protein-packed breakfast and had some oatmeal with raisins instead. And my scalp didn’t feel so fiery. So I repeated the process for a few more days, and it seemed as though the crown of fire that encircled my head had actually started to subside. Like, my head was not as itchy and flaky.
So I started searching online for more information and in one of the psoriasis forums on the web, someone recommended this book.
I read Dr. John Pagano’s Healing Psoriasis book cover to cover, and then I read it again. It fascinated me to think that the foods I was eating were either contributing to my psoriasis or actively healing it.
I was eating a lot of eggs and cheese and lettuce wrapped hamburgers because I wanted to get plenty of protein and also keep to a paleo-esque diet. This was before I was trained as an FDN, but I had been adhering to a primal-type diet for quite some time after reading a bunch of nutrition books from people like Cordain, Shanahan, and Sisson.
Pagano was warning me against the inflammatory effects of eggs and cheese and showing how a psoriatic’s intestinal walls were leaky and permeable and needed to be built back up again through cleansing and support.
Psoriasis is the external manifestation of the body’s attempt to throw off internal toxins. To put it more succinctly, the skin is doing what the bowels and kidneys should be doing. The skin is not designed to remove waste matter to any great extent, but due to the toxic overload produced by a leaky gut, it acts as a back up system and takes ont he task of removing toxins, hence the rash, irritations, and lesions.
Dr. John Pagano, Healing Psoriasis
Psoriasis is associated with an increased risk of cardiometabolic disease, gastrointestinal issues, kidney issues, hyperlipidiemia, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and increased Body Mass Index. Metabolic syndrome is two times more frequent in psoriasis patients (source).
Psoriasis is autoimmune in nature, and has a strong hereditary component. Remember my sweet mama’s lifelong Type 1 Diabetes affliction? While I thankfully did not inherit that issue, I’ve still got the autoimmune issues of psoriasis and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (Hashimoto’s in remission!). There is an overactivity of my immune system that is driven by inflammation, of which I am constantly aware of.
Factors that Increase Psoriasis Flares
The microbiome of a psoriatic is out of whack to begin with, but the following things increase the likelihood of an outbreak:
high saturated fat
The turnover of the epidermal layer usually happens every 28 days but with psoriasis, it happens every 3-4 days. A psoriatic can form a scale so deep that pee ling it off causes bleeding underneath. This is called the Auspitz sign. Not to be confused, of course, with auspicious.
The Cure is in the Kitchen
Dr. John Pagano has a regimen that has worked to reverse psoriasis in his patients for over 4 decades. This is the plan I followed to reverse my own psoriasis, and it’s what I recommend to others with psoriatic lesions.
Here’s the rub: You have to stay on the diet. Start to stray with wine, cheese, and too many rib eye steaks, and you’re right back at square one. Just keep that in mind if you decide to embark on the plan.
Pagano recommends that his patients start their program with a three day apple diet. This is exactly what it sounds like: you eat nothing but apples for three days. This is designed to clear the bowels and intestinal tract of impacted waste matter. A clean colon is the first step to reversing psoriasis. If you’re sensitive to apples, you can substitute pears, peaches, apricots, prunes, figs, or a mixture of these fruits. Drink hot water with lemon in the morning, and consume at least a gallon of water each day.
He also has his patients take 1/2 tsp of olive oil alone or in water 3-4 times a day or until the body produces a good bowel movement.
Pagano calls the following foods and substances The Deadly Seven and recommends that his patients stay far away from them.
Saturated fats like red and processed meat
Nightshades, especially tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, and spices
This makes sense why my scalp and skin are completely on fire after a fun meal at In N Out- fried potatoes, cheese, tomatoes, ketchup, and two red meat patties. Oh happy tummy but holy angry scalp!
Pagano also has a list he calls The Glorious Seven. These are foods and substances that decrease inflammation and reverse the plaques that characterize psoriasis. Here they are:
Fresh Water (with lemon or lime)
Leafy green vegetables and tubers
Fish, fowl and lamb
Olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice, esp. candida
Whole grain bread* (or gluten free grains like rice or quinoa)
Pagano also recommends gut-healing teas on a daily basis to heal and seal the gut. These teas act as demulcants and tonics and strengthen the intestinal tract, reversing outbreaks and lesions.
The following teas should be consumed on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning:
These are the exact steps I took to reverse my psoriasis, and I’m so grateful to Dr. Pagano for sharing his information. Nutrition is powerful stuff, and those of us who suffer from psoriasis can use nutrition to get rid of the unsightly and frustrating- and itchy!- lesions that can feel unbearable.
I use a lot of these principles in my nutrition programs.
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