Intermittent Fasting Helps Reduce Psoriasis Symptoms

A new study shows a possible association between fasting and skin improvement in psoriasis patients.

The European Academy of Dermatology and Venerology (EADV) has published new research that shows modified intermittent fasting (MIF) of 5:2, eating normally for 5 days and restricting calorie intake for 2 non-consecutive days, may improve the skin of psoriasis patients.1

“We had observed positive results in mice with gut inflammation and psoriasis, with inflammation in the gut driving cutaneous symptoms,” said Lynda Grine, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher and part of department of dermatology at Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium. “Through scientific curiosity and my own experience with fasting as a Muslim, I wanted to find out whether dietary intervention would have the same effects on human patients with psoriasis.”

The study’s objective was to provide evidence on whether there is a link between gut health and psoriatic lesions, as well as learn of any benefits of MIF in psoriasis management. 

A total of 24 patients were enrolled, with 1 cohort of 12 instructed to modify their diet with MIF and the other cohort to continue their regular diet. The fasting group ate 500 kcal twice per week on 2 non-consecutive days, but on all other days were free to eat like usual. After the trial started, 2 patients were excluded, 1 for antibiotic use and the other for loss of follow up.

The Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) score and Body Surface Area (BSA) score was similar between both arms at Week 0. At Week 6 and Week 12, the fasting group reported significant skin improvement, including less scaling and skin thickening, with 30% of patients claiming a decrease in itching. 

“The effect of dietary interventions on skin health is a stimulating field of research in dermatology. The results of this study add to the growing body of evidence being undertaken to understand the relationship between the gut and skin, with some promising results for patients and the disease management of psoriasis,” said Marie-Aleth Richard, PhD, EADV Board member and professor at the University Hospital of La Timone, Marseille, France.

The trial is still ongoing and will not have complete data until the end of Jun 2021. 

Reference:

1. L. Grine. 5:2 Diet Helps Reduce Skin Symptoms in Psoriasis. Published online May 7, 2021.