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Soothing Psoriasis and Stress-Related Skin Conditions

September 2009

By Robert Haas, MS

Psoriasis and Other Inflammatory Skin Conditions Linked To Stress

When you feel good, you look good, but when you’re under stress, your skin is usually the first place to show it.

Psoriasis and Other Inflammatory Skin Conditions Linked To Stress

The interplay between stress and multiple biologic systems in our bodies can trigger the onset of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin diseases, including acne, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, seborrheic eczema, chronic urticaria, alopecia areata, and pruritus (skin itching).18 Researchers use the term, “psychodermatologic disorder” to refer to skin conditions such as psoriasis that can be triggered or exacerbated by emotional stress.19

Scientists are seeking to learn more about the ‘brain–skin connection’ in psoriasis and other inflammatory skin diseases.20 They have discovered that stress management can benefit individuals with psoriasis. Patients who listened to a meditation tape while undergoing phototherapy (light therapy) for psoriasis improved four times faster than those who received phototherapy only, as judged by two independent dermatologists.21 Psychotherapy has been shown to be an important treatment adjunct for individuals with persistent unresolved psychosocial stress-related psoriasis.22

Ancillary Supplements That Fight Psoriasis

In addition to bioavailable sweet whey extract, other nutraceuticals that have been shown to be effective against psoriasis and inflammatory skin conditions include:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA): Numerous studies confirm that the omega-3 fatty acids, eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexanoic acid (DHA), provide clinically significant anti-inflammatory effects in such multiple diseases as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and cardiovascular disease. High intake of omega-3 fatty acids improves psoriasis symptoms by reducing the inflammatory response in skin and blood vessels.23,24 EPA has been shown to enhance the efficacy of conventional therapy for psoriasis.25
  • Curcumin: Recent studies have shown that curcumin, a yellow pigment derived from the curry spice turmeric, ameliorates a number of immune-related diseases, including inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and psoriasis. Curcumin quiets inflammation in the skin by blocking the activation of inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-alpha and inhibiting nuclear factor-kappa B signaling pathways in immune cells.26
  • Vitamin D3: The active form of vitamin D exhibits anti-proliferative and immunoregulatory effects and may be useful in the treatment of psoriasis.27 Studies show that the active form of vitamin D suppresses growth and stimulates the differentiation of keratinocytes, producing benefits for psoriatic lesions.28 In addition to oral supplementation, topical application of vitamin D3 has been shown to be beneficial in psoriasis because of its action in regulating keratinocyte proliferation and inflammation.29
  • Pycnogenol®: Pycnogenol®, a botanical extract of the French maritime pine bark, is undergoing preclinical investigation for its potential application in psoriasis sufferers. Since Pycnogenol® can modify the interaction of T cells with keratinocytes, scientists believe it may have therapeutic potential in patients with inflammatory skin disorders like psoriasis.30,31


Studies show that innovative nutraceutical products that contain a bioactive form of sweet whey extract may offer a safe and effective solution for the 7-8 million adults in the United States seeking relief from psoriasis.


Bioactive sweet whey extract (BSWE), when used alone or in combination with conventional medical treatments, provides clinically significant relief for people suffering from mild-to-moderate plaque psoriasis because it contains growth factors, active peptides, and immunoglobulins that block skin inflammation at the molecular level.

BSWE is a proprietary, purified, non-GMO whey protein isolate containing a high concentration of TGF-beta 2. Ordinary whey protein cannot produce the same outstanding clinical results as BSWE.

The interplay between stress and multiple biologic systems in our bodies can trigger the onset of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin diseases. BSWE, along with stress management, psychotherapy, and conventional medical treatment may provide relief for those with intractable psoriasis.

Bioactive sweet whey extract may work in complement with other nutraceuticals such as omega-3 fatty acids, curcumin, vitamin D, and Pycnogenol® to reduce the inflammation responsible for the symptoms of psoriasis.

If you have any questions on the scientific content of this article, please call Life Extension® Health Advisor at 1-800-226-2370.

Psoriasis: A Conventional 3-Step Treatment Path

In patients for whom psoriasis covers no more than 10 to 20% of the skin, the course of medical treatment generally follows a predictable 3-step path:

  1. Doctors start by prescribing topical creams and ointments, many of which are available over the counter.
  2. Should those topical products fail to bring relief, doctors will prescribe phototherapy (exposure of affected areas to UV light). About 20% of all psoriasis patients will undergo phototherapy. Studies have shown that exposure to the sun or to artificial ultraviolet lights can cause symptoms to subside.32-34
  3. If phototherapy fails to control the disease,doctors will prescribe systemic or biologic medications, such as: methotrexate, cyclosporine, Amevive® (alefacept), Enbrel® (etanercept), Remicade® (infliximab), or Humira®(adalimumab). All of these drugs are laden with dangerous side effects.

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2. N Engl J Med. 2007 Apr 26;356(17):1742-50.

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12. J Cutan Med Surg. 2005 Dec;9(6):271-5.

13. J Cutan Med Surg. 2006 Sep;10(5):241-8.

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17. J Invest Dermatol. 1996 Feb;106(2):225-31.

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21. Psychosom Med. 1998 Sep;60(5):625-32.

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24. Clin Investig. 1993 Aug;71(8):634-43.

25. J Dermatol. 1998 Nov;25(11):703-5.

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27. Dtsch Med Wochenschr. 2009 Jan;134(1-2):35-8.

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33. G Ital Dermatol Venereol. 2008 Oct;143(5):329-37.