Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune condition that targets the skin and joints. Treatments are designed to reduce symptoms by lowering inflammation in the skin and throughout the body.
There’s always interest in things other than medications that may help manage psoriasis. Research has found a possible link between psoriasis symptoms and a higher body weight. Because of this connection, people with psoriasis who live in bigger bodies are often told to lose weight.
This article will explore the arguments for and against weight loss as part of psoriasis management.
Studies have shown that people with larger bodies are more likely to have psoriasis. It’s unclear exactly why this connection exists.
We know that fat cells release
Leptin may also play a role. Leptin is a hormone involved in appetite regulation. It increases the release of inflammatory proteins. Research shows that people with psoriasis and people with more body fat tend to have higher levels of leptin.
High levels of leptin may indicate leptin resistance. Normally, when leptin levels rise, this sends fullness signals to the brain. In someone with leptin resistance, this message no longer works. As a result, the body keeps pumping out more leptin, hoping to get a response. Leptin levels stay high, increasing the number of inflammatory proteins.
Medications may also affect weight. Biologics are a class of medication used to block specific proteins that cause inflammation in psoriasis. They may increase weight gain in some people. Some biologics have been shown to lower leptin levels in the body. This is helpful for reducing inflammation. When leptin levels drop, it can stimulate appetite.
In some cases, medication is
There are a
And weight loss isn’t necessarily a simple, long-term solution. A
The stress of weight stigma can also increase inflammation in the body. Weight stigma
Many people with bigger bodies feel that their health needs are dismissed or blamed on their size. It also prevents consistent follow-up care. We know that psoriasis, or any chronic disease, needs regular follow-up support.
Even when there’s an association between higher body weight and psoriasis symptoms, it doesn’t prove that one causes the other. People of all body shapes and sizes can develop psoriasis.
The reality is that there’s no proven long-term way to lose weight and keep it off. Focusing on weight loss may result in
There’s ongoing interest in whether diet can play a role in reducing inflammation. The Mediterranean diet in particular has been shown to lower inflammation in the body.
A Mediterranean diet isn’t designed for weight loss. Instead, it emphasizes a variety of foods that may help to reduce inflammation to improve symptoms of psoriasis.
A Mediterranean diet includes:
- a variety of fruits and vegetables
- beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds
- extra virgin olive oil as the primary source of added fat
- a variety of whole grains
- fish and seafood as the primary sources of animal protein
The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and seafood and the monounsaturated fats in olive oil help to reduce inflammation in the body.
Vitamin D may be useful as part of managing psoriasis. Topical
Studies suggest that many people with psoriasis have
Others feel uncomfortable showing skin when playing team sports. Exercise can reduce inflammation in the body, which could play a role in reducing psoriasis symptoms. This is true whether or not exercise changes your body weight.
If you’re able to exercise outside, there is the added bonus of
If you’re trying to be more active, do your best to find something you enjoy. Start out slow and easy. This can help make the habit more sustainable.
There are some potential links between psoriasis and your weight. Fat cells release inflammatory proteins, which can make psoriasis feel worse.
Even with the connections, weight loss shouldn’t be a recommendation for people to manage their psoriasis. There’s no proven long-term approach to weight loss. There are also risks of focusing on weight loss.
A Mediterranean-type diet and being more active can both be part of managing psoriasis. Whether or not a person loses weight, the result of making dietary and activity changes can be beneficial.