Food intolerances appear to be common in patients with psoriasis, although the exact prevalence is unknown. Food intolerances stimulate production of pro-inflammatory, Th1, and Th2 cytokines, including IL-6, IFNg, and IL-4. Elevated levels of these cytokines can exacerbate inflammatory and autoimmune disease. While most food intolerances cause physical symptoms, people often have trouble equating non-specific symptoms with offending foods. Naturopathic physicians routinely diagnose specific food intolerances using blood tests and prescribe an elimination diet for patients who have food allergy and/or hypersensitivity. The elimination diet prohibits foods that test positive in a food allergy/hypersensitivity test.
This study will collect preliminary evidence of the prevalence of food intolerances in people with psoriasis and determine if there are common foods that cause intolerance among a high percentage of people with psoriasis. We will then see if an elimination diet intervention can improve psoriasis symptoms, including skin inflammation and pain. Information gained in this pilot study will be used to design a larger nutritional study for people with psoriasis. The overall goal of this study is to begin a research program in nutritional approaches to psoriasis.