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Losing weight may improve psoriasis symptoms

Study shows weight loss helps psoriasis in obese patients

Losing weight may improve psoriasis symptoms in obese patients, according to a report published online in JAMA Dermatology.

The role of weight loss as a treatment for psoriasis in obese patients is unclear. But, weight loss may reduce obesity-induced inflammation and that in turn may improve psoriasis, according to the study.

Peter Jensen, M.D., Ph.D., of the Copenhagen University Hospital Gentofte, Denmark, and colleagues conducted a randomized clinical trial with 60 obese patients with psoriasis. The patients were randomly assigned into two groups: a group that followed a low-calorie diet of 800 to 1,000 calories a day and a group that continued to eat ordinary healthy foods. The group that followed the low-calorie diet lost the most weight and saw the greatest improvement in their psoriasis.

Dr. Larry Green, M.D., member of the National Psoriasis Foundation Board of Trustees, said the study provides good information for people who are obese, "but I wouldn't extrapolate that for everyone who has psoriasis. It's not recommended for normal-weight people or even slightly overweight people."

April Abernethy, N.D., and the medical programs manager for the Foundation, agreed.

The takeaway message is not to focus on a calorie count of 800 to 1,000 a day – that's a medically supervised fast – but focus on healthier eating, exercise and weight loss, because this study shows that weight loss leads to improved psoriasis outcomes more than likely due to a decrease in inflammation," Abernethy said.

Abernethy recommends talking to your health care provider or a registered dietitian if you think losing weight could help your psoriasis.

Learn more about weight loss and psoriasis »

May 30, 2013