Psoriasis is an inflammatory condition that affects the skin and organ systems such as the joints.

As a chronic, immune-mediated inflammatory disease, the complications of psoriasis go beyond skin deep. It has been associated with conditions such as cardiovascular disease, inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes, obesity, and fatty liver.

There’s also a link between obesity, which is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) over 30, and psoriasis.

People with a higher BMI may also have an increased risk of developing psoriasis or other inflammatory diseases, and this may have to do with leptin, a hormone responsible for regulating appetite.

This article will explore what we know about the possible link between psoriasis and leptin.

Leptin is a hormone that’s produced by adipose tissue (body fat). Some researchers have described adipose tissue as the largest organ inside the body, releasing hormones and affecting the entire body.

Derived from the Greek word meaning “thin,” leptin is often referred to as the “satiety hormone.” It works with another hunger hormone called ghrelin. Both are responsible for controlling your hunger and feeling of fullness (satiety).

Psoriasis is an immune-mediated disease, meaning the actual cause is unknown but is thought to involve more than one factor or cause. These factors cause the immune system to become overactive. It affects approximately 7.5 million people in the United States.

Psoriasis causes a buildup of skin cells that leads to thick, scaly, and itchy patches on the skin called plaques. While psoriasis plaques can appear all over the body, common places include the elbows, knees, scalp, and stomach.

In people with psoriasis, white blood cells called T cells (immune cells) attack healthy skin cells, causing a faster turnover of old skin cells that leads to a buildup of these older skin cells.

These older skin cells form patches and scales on the skin. On light skin, psoriasis may appear as red or pink patches with silvery white scales. On dark skin, psoriasis may appear as purple or brown patches with gray scales. These areas may also crack, itch, or bleed.

While doctors don’t know for sure what causes a person to develop psoriasis, they believe that genetics and the immune system play key roles.

In order to understand the link between leptin and psoriasis, you need to look at a little of the science behind both.

Leptin is an adipokine, a hormone derived from the fat cells, which is released into circulation. When a person has high levels of leptin, their body may develop leptin resistance.

This is when a person’s brain doesn’t respond to leptin’s signals that the stomach is full. The more these signals are ignored, the more a person may eat when already full, and this may lead to unintended weight gain.

Researchers have found information that may support the hypothesis of a possible a link between leptin and psoriasis. For example, a review of studies found that individuals with psoriasis have higher concentrations of leptin than the general population.

Essentially, the more fat your body has, the more leptin it has, since fat cells release leptin. It’s possible that too much leptin may lead to the development of psoriasis.

Since the link goes both ways, having obesity also increases your risk of developing psoriasis.

A 2017 study examined 33,734 people over 10 years. The researchers looked at the BMI, waist circumference, and waist-hip ratio and found that obesity and high abdominal fat mass double the risk of psoriasis.

Long-term weight gain also increases psoriasis risk. Therefore, maintaining a moderate body weight could reduce your chances of developing the disease.

Psoriasis isn’t the only skin disease impacted by leptin. The hormone is associated with lupus erythematosus, atopic eczema, lymphedema, and even some skin cancers.

Obesity, which has a direct link to leptin, has also been found to negatively affect the skin. A 2017 study of American women found that those with obesity had “drier and rougher” skin than women who didn’t have obesity.

There was also increased redness, which is thought to be related to inflammation and insulin resistance.

While there’s no cure for psoriasis, losing weight may be an effective treatment to reduce the severity of symptoms.

One study looked at people with psoriasis who lost weight through diet and exercise. After losing weight during a 20-week period, the participants saw a decrease in their psoriasis symptoms of almost 50%.

This study didn’t measure leptin levels, so it’s unclear whether leptin levels were affected.

Researchers in a review of studies looked at studies that examined leptin, adiponectin, or resistin concentrations (other adipocyte-specific hormones) in people with psoriasis. They studied these individuals before and after treatment, which included both topical and systemic treatment.

They found that treatment for psoriasis doesn’t reduce leptin and adiponectin concentrations. This may indicate that treating psoriasis directly isn’t an effective way of treating psoriasis affected by leptin.

Several risk factors can contribute to psoriasis that’s affected by leptin.


Depression, also known as major depressive disorder, is a mood disorder that can cause feelings of sadness or a loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable, among other symptoms.

It can largely impact a person’s self-esteem and confidence and may even interfere with their relationships or work.

Weight gain or weight loss has been found to be linked to depression. People may gain or lose weight as a result of the condition or the medications they’re taking to treat it.

Those with depression may also have obesity due to a sedentary lifestyle, diet, and other health choices.

Metabolic syndrome

Metabolic syndrome, a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, is more common in those with psoriasis. Some studies have found that people with psoriasis have a higher chance of developing metabolic syndrome.

The connection between psoriasis and metabolic syndrome can occur as early as childhood if a child has obesity or elevated lipids.

This can lead to other illnesses related to obesity, such as diabetes and hypertension.

Based on the severity of psoriasis, it can have a severe impact on your life, both physically and emotionally.

It may also increase your chances of early death, based on the findings of multiple studies. It’s been suggested that severe psoriasis (affecting more than 10% of your body) is linked to an increased risk of early death.

Some of these conditions are preventable, which is why it’s important to maintain a moderate weight and visit a doctor regularly for checkups.

What foods should you avoid with psoriasis?

Since psoriasis is an immune-driven disease, it’s important to avoid foods that can increase inflammation in the body. Examples of foods and drinks to avoid include alcohol, processed foods, dairy, foods high in sugar, and foods high in trans and saturated fats.

How long does psoriasis last?

Psoriasis is a chronic disease, which means that there’s no cure. People with the condition have flare-ups, which is when their symptoms get worse. Many factors can trigger this, such as weather, stress, diet, and more.

Knowing your triggers and actively avoiding them is key to reducing the number of psoriasis flares you experience and keeping your psoriasis in remission.

What foods have high leptin levels?

Looking to curb your hunger? You’re unlikely to find food sources that contain enough leptin to make a difference. However, eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, oils high in omega-3 fatty acids, and legumes, can help.

Obesity has been linked to several health problems over the years and is possibly linked to psoriasis.

The link between the two goes both ways. Obesity is a risk factor for the skin condition, and the skin condition can contribute to weight gain. This is due to high levels of leptin contributing to the inflammation that triggers the symptoms of psoriasis.

Maintaining a moderate weight may help reduce your risk of obesity and help reduce the symptoms of psoriasis.