Studies of Commonly Used Supplements for Psoriasis

Dermatology Times, Dermatology Times, Psoriasis Supplement, August 2021 (Vol. 42, Supp. 02), Volume 42, Issue 2

Theresa Vavra, PharmD, BCPS, provides studies for some of the most commonly used supplements by patients with psoriasis.

“The following supplements are what I hear about from patients most commonly. Further studies are needed to better understand any role for these supplements, and patients are encouraged to engage in conversation with their dermatology providers,” says Theresa Vavra, PharmD, BCPS, a clinical pharmacy specialist in dermatology at the University of Iowa Health Care.

According to Vavra:

1. Fish oil may be helpful in psoriasis as an adjunctive therapy due to its anti-inflammatory effects, with little concern for patient harm. However, additional studies are needed to confirm this before specific treatment recommendations can be made regarding its use.

  • Chen Xi, Hong S, Sun X, et al. Efficacy of fish oil and its components in the management of psoriasis: a systematic review of 18 randomized controlled trials. Nutr Rev. 2020;78(10):827-840.
  • Clark CCT, Taghizadeh M, Nahavandi M, et al. Efficacy of w-3 supplementation in patients with psoriasis: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Clin Rheumatol. 2019;38(4):977-988.
  • Elmets CA, Korman NJ, Farley Prater E, et al. Joint AAD-NPF guidelines of care for the management and treatment of psoriasis with topical therapy and alternative medicine modalities for psoriasis severity measures. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2021;84(2):432-470.

2. Patients acknowledge vitamin D from sunlight as being beneficial for psoriasis. Although topical vitamin D and sunlight have been beneficial for improving psoriasis, oral supplementation has not been helpful. Patient harm may be associated with excess vitamin D supplementation, including higher calcium levels and bone demineralization. 

  • Theodoridis X, Grammatikopoulou MG, Stamouli EM, et al. Effectiveness of oral vitamin D supplementation in lessening disease severity among patients with psoriasis: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutrition. 2021;82:111024.
  • Elmets CA, Korman NJ, Farley Prater E, et al. Joint AAD-NPF guidelines of care for the management and treatment of psoriasis with topical therapy and alternative medicine modalities for psoriasis severity measures. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2021; 84(2):432-470.

3. Patients explain that they take curcumin or turmeric because they believe it to be good for decreasing inflammation. It may be beneficial for patients with psoriasis as adjunctive therapy, but it is poorly absorbed. Insufficient scientific evidence exists to support its use and further studies are needed.

  • Gamret AC, Price A, Fertig RM, et al. Complementary and alternative medicine therapies for psoriasis: a systematic review. JAMA Dermatol. 2018;154(11):1330-1337.
  • Elmets CA, Korman NJ, Farley Prater E, et al. Joint AAD-NPF guidelines of care for the management and treatment of psoriasis with topical therapy and alternative medicine modalities for psoriasis severity measures. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2021;84(2):432-470.