Psoriasis is a chronic condition, but symptoms tend to come and go. It can affect different parts of the body depending on the type of psoriasis, but most commonly it affects the skin, scalp, and nails. Sometimes, as in psoriatic arthritis, the joints are affected. Plaque psoriasis causes extra skin cells to build up on the surface of the skin, forming grey or violet itchy patches and plaques that can sometimes cause considerable pain. Patch size and location vary from person to person and from one outbreak to the next.
There is no cure for psoriasis, and it can be frustrating to find the right treatment. The prescription treatments that are currently available attempt to correct the immune malfunction, reduce inflammation, and slow skin cell growth so symptoms abate. There are several medicines that may help symptoms. Those for the surface of the skin include salicylic acid and corticosteroids. Light therapy and vitamin D may help some people. Lubricating the skin can reduce symptoms. But can biotin help treat psoriasis?
We get biotin from foods such as eggs and avocado, so deficiency is rare, though not unheard of. Signs of biotin deficiency include hair loss and skin rash. That could be why some people think biotin can cure psoriasis or reduce symptoms, but there have been no conclusive scientific studies to prove this. Biotin supplements are considered harmless for just about everyone, so there’s no reason not to try them for psoriasis. Make sure you check with your doctor first, especially if you’re pregnant or planning to have a child in the near future.
Biotin is a B vitamin (B-7), but it’s also sometimes called vitamin H. It supports healthy cell growth and helps our bodies metabolize fats. Biotin has been shown to stop baldness in limited cases, and to help smooth brittle fingernails. A 2015 study indicated that biotin could also help slow the progress of multiple sclerosis.
There is no recommended daily intake of the vitamin, although 30 mcg/day is generally considered to be adequate for the average adult.
Other supplements could help psoriasis symptoms, but be wary of claims that anything will cure psoriasis — so far, the condition is incurable. However, here are some supplements to try:
Vitamin D is a component of two psoriasis prescription medicines, Vectical and Dovonex, which are applied to the skin. There is limited research on the effectiveness of taking or applying vitamin D for psoriasis. Most of us get enough vitamin D from our diets in eggs, fortified milk, and fish. You can ask your doctor for a blood test if you think you may have a vitamin D deficiency.
Curcumin is a chemical in the bright yellow spice turmeric. Curcumin a variety of health benefits, including treating irritable bowel syndrome and reducing blood sugar. In tests in mice with psoriasis, it was shown to inhibit the growth of skin cells. You can get curcumin in dietary turmeric, or take it in capsules as a supplement. Unfortunately, there is not an established amount known to relieve symptoms.
Omega-3 fatty acids
According to the National Psoriasis Foundation, some people with psoriasis are deficient in omega-3 fatty acids. These are healthy fats found in salmon, some nuts, and vegetable oils. You can also take them in supplement form, which many Americans already do. They have been shown to support thinking and brain development, as well as to reduce inflammation.
In addition to being uncomfortable, having psoriasis can be frustrating. It’s important not to give up hope that you can keep your symptoms under control. Finding the right combination of treatments might take some adjusting, but it can be done. Talk to your doctor about any supplements that you’re interested in trying.