New research shows that switching from a Western diet to a balanced diet could help you reduce skin and joint inflammation. The study led by UC Davis Health researchers states that the reduction may be due to a better-balanced gut microbial culture.
Published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, the study suggests that cutting out sugar and fat and consuming a more balanced diet can help you restore gut health, which can suppress skin inflammation that may otherwise contribute to inflammatory skin diseases such as psoriasis.
Psoriasis is a chronic skin condition linked to the body’s immune system. Healthy skin cells are attacked mistakenly by immune cells, which cause skin inflammation and the formation of scales and itchy red patches.
Approximately 30% of patients with psoriasis also have psoriatic arthritis, which causes morning stiffness and fatigue, pain in joints, swollen fingers and toes, and changes to nails.
How Diet Affects the Condition
Previous studies have shown how diet can influence psoriasis through microbial balance in the intestines and skin inflammation. Consuming a traditional Western diet can cause a rapid change to the gut’s microbial community and its functions. This disruption, called dysbiosis, can contribute to gut inflammation.
For the new study, researchers wanted to test whether intestinal dysbiosis affects skin and joint inflammation. A mouse model was used to study the effects of diet on psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. The mice were injected with Interleukin-23 (IL-23) minicircle DNA to induce a response mimicking psoriasis-like skin and joint diseases.
IL-23 is a protein created by the immune cells responsible for many inflammatory autoimmune reactions. This includes psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).
Researchers found that a short-term Western diet appears sufficient to cause microbial imbalance and to enhance susceptibility to IL-23 proteins that can lead to skin inflammation.
“There is a clear link between skin inflammation and changes in the gut microbiome due to food intake,” said Sam T. Hwang, study author. “The bacterial balance in the gut disrupted shortly after starting a Western diet, and worsened psoriatic skin and joint inflammation.”
The study went on to show that eating a diet high in sugar and fat is a major contributor to skin and joint inflammation. However, it can be changed by switching to a more balanced diet. The improvement in skin inflammation seen in mice taken off the Western diet indicated a short-term impact of the Western diet on skin inflammation.
Researchers concluded the study by suggesting that changes in diet could partially reverse the proinflammatory effects and alteration of gut microbiota caused by the Western diet.