Psoriasis vitamin and mineral supplements

Psoriasis Vitamin D derivatives

Synthetic vitamin D analogs known as calcipotriene and calcipotriol are used to treat psoriasis. These drugs affect immune response and skin cell proliferation and differentiation. Treatment with calcipotriene results in decreased redness, scaling and thickness of skin plaques. Irritant dermatitis is a common side effect of calcipotriene, especially when it is applied to the face. Careful patient monitoring is recommended because alterations in calcium metabolism have been reported to occur with use of calcipotriene. Calcipotriol may not have adverse effects on calcium metabolism and still has the beneficial effects against psoriasis. Ordinary vitamin D is not particularly effective in treating psoriasis.

Psoriasis vitaminPsoriasis Vitamin A derivatives

Vitamin A levels may be lower in psoriasis sufferers. The vitamin A derivatives, etretinate and isotretinoin, are widely used in psoriasis. Etretinate in combination with ultraviolet B and psoralen-ultraviolet A (PUVA) has shown beneficial effects. Vitamin A-derivative drugs help to normalize skin development by reducing the increased growth, turnover and keratinization of skin which occurs in the disorder.

However, long-term administration of vitamin A derivatives may lead to toxic effects, including headaches, inflammation of the lips, conjunctivitis, photosensitivity, and arthritis and bone abnormalities. These drugs can cause birth defects if taken during pregnancy and should also be avoided by breastfeeding women.


Zinc metabolism may be abnormal in psoriasis, and copper-to-zinc ratio may also be high. There may also be a relationship between the total body area covered by the lesions and the plasma zinc level; those with more widespread lesions having lower levels than those with less. Oral zinc sulfate may be useful in the treatment of psoriatic arthritis, which accompanies the skin disease in approximately 10 to 20 per cent of cases.


Selenium levels may be low in psoriasis and this may affect the immune system. A 1993 study showed improvement in some measurements of immune system effectiveness when selenium-rich yeast was given to psoriasis patients. Blood levels of the selenium-containing enzyme, glutathione peroxidase, may be low in psoriasis sufferers. In one study, 50 patients with low glutathione peroxidase levels were treated with tablets containing 0.2 mg selenium and 10 mg vitamin E. The glutathione peroxidase levels increased slowly within six to eight weeks of treatment, and some improvement in symptoms was seen. However, other studies have not shown benefits with selenium supplements.

Essential fatty acids

Essential fatty acid supplements may be beneficial in psoriasis sufferers. Analysis of blood and fat tissue has shown that the amount of anti-inflammatory alpha- linolenic acid decreases, while the level of arachidonic acid, which has inflammatory effects, increases. These changes may be more pronounced in patients with severe psoriasis than in those with a milder form of the disease. The results of a 1993 study suggest that eating oily fish may help reduce the symptoms of psoriasis. Some small studies suggest that fish oil supplementation may be beneficial in psoriasis. In a 1998 study, researchers from several European centers treated 83 patients with either a with either an omega-3 fatty acid- based lipid emulsion or a placebo. There were significant improvements in symptoms, as assessed both by the patients and the researchers. Topical fish oils have also shown some beneficial effects. Essential fatty acid supplements also help to reduce the toxicity of immune suppressant and vitamin A-derivative drugs.

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