The Truth About Psoriasis and Gluten, and How to Use It to Your Advantage
Research has found that up to two million Americans suffer from a gluten allergy (celiac disease), and many psoriasis patients are among them. There’s still a good deal of mystery surrounding the connection between psoriasis and gluten, but studies have shown that a substantial amount of psoriasis sufferers have seen their symptoms improve with a gluten-free diet.
Gluten isn’t exactly a food — rather, it’s a type of protein that is found in grain products. Many people equate gluten with wheat, but other grains like barley, rye and oats contain the protein, too.
Going gluten-free can be a healthy change, but unless you are predisposed to the negative effects of gluten, your psoriasis won’t necessarily improve. Consider the benefits, challenges, and demands of a gluten-free lifestyle before you make the switch.
Is a Gluten-Free Diet Right for You?
Despite what the advertisements might have you believe, gluten isn’t unequivocally evil. It’s a protein that some people can’t digest, but then again, other bodies can handle it just fine.
Going gluten-free demands a commitment, so before you dive in headfirst, find out if you stand a good chance of benefiting from the move with the help of:
- Screening. Your doctor can conduct a specific blood test to determine whether or not you have celiac disease. Gluten intolerance may be more difficult to catch with medical screening.
- An elimination diet. If you’re not sure what part of your diet is causing you problems, you can cut out certain foods and slowly introduce them again to catch the culprit.
- Genetic testing. A 2010 study revealed that psoriasis patients with the HLA CW6 gene had an increased sensitivity to the gluten protein. If you know whether or not you have this gene, it could clear things up for you.
Simply adopting a gluten-free eating plan without knowing if you have an intolerance might not be a good plan. Once you can determine just how sensitive you are to gluten, you can take the necessary steps to reduce or remove it from your diet.
Sticking With Your Psoriasis Diet
Any specialized diet plan can be tough to stick to, especially if it’s particularly limiting in one area. Since wheat and other grains (and their derivatives) are a principal source of carbohydrates, you’ll have to find another place to get your readily-available energy, and that might mean shaking up the rest of your menu.
In order to avoid gluten completely, you’ll also have to take more control of your eating and cooking habits.
Know Your Grains
It’s important to do your homework when it comes to grains and cereals. Wheat and barley are clearly off-limits, but are you aware of all of the ingredients that come from them?