Woman with psoriasis scratching her forearm

Psoriasis Linked to Low Vitamin E Levels

Psoriasis Linked to Low Vitamin E Levels

Scientifically reviewed by: Michael A. Smith, MD

Struggling with psoriasis? If so, you might need to increase your vitamin E intake. A meta-analysis published in December 2021 links this condition, along with other dermatologic grievances including acne and vitiligo, to low serum levels of vitamin E.

Vitamin E has long been known to be essential for biochemical processes that are linked to psoriasis, including its involvement in immune system function, fatty acid metabolism and free-radical regulation.

The results from this new analysis showed that the average person with psoriasis had 2.7-fold lower serum vitamin E levels compared to the average person in the controls, which was a stronger relationship than any of the skin disorders included.

What is psoriasis?

Psoriasis is an autoimmune inflammatory skin disorder that affects more than 7.5 million US adults aged 20 or older. It generally comprises excessive production of skin cells, leading to patches of thick, scaly, inflamed, often itchy skin.

And psoriasis isn't just an uncomfortable nuisance; those with severe psoriasis may have a five-year diminished life expectancy due to increased cardiovascular disease risk. In addition, approximately 10-30% of patients with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis, a potentially severe arthritic joint condition.

Skin benefits of vitamin E

Vitamin E is like a knight that defends the castle (your cell membrane) from attacks by free radicals. By keeping those free radicals at bay, it influences multiple aspects related to better skin health, which include:

  • Enhancing collagen synthesis

  • Keeping your collagen levels from degrading

  • Helping restore skin barrier function

In addition, vitamin E has shown some evidence at increasing sunburn recovery speed and has been widely used in dermatology for its UV radiation protective effects which may delay skin aging.

What are the different vitamin E forms?

Vitamin E is not a single entity, but a family unit consisting of two main branches: tocopherols and tocotrienols, which are further divided into their alpha, beta, gamma and delta subgroups.

As an example, the vitamin E antioxidant defense system in the skin contains about:

  • 1% alpha-tocotrienol
  • 3% gamma-tocotrienol
  • 87% alpha-tocopherol
  • 9% gamma-tocopherol

Each individual family member plays an important role in skin defense.

Intake of vitamin E that just contains d-alpha-tocopherol (natural alpha-tocopherol) is associated with skin benefits, but it would be optimal to obtain a proper mix of the whole vitamin E family for wider skin protection effects and overall health.

How to use vitamin E for psoriasis?

Vitamin E can be obtained orally and topically, but is one better than the other? Both have shown benefits. Let's break down the clinical research.

  • One study found that a cream that contained vitamin E improved psoriatic lesions and had an overall modest therapeutic effect for psoriatic symptoms.
  • In a randomized-controlled trial, oral vitamin E along with other antioxidants and an anti-inflammatory improved biomarkers related to psoriasis.
  • A similar trial found that oral vitamin E in combination with CoQ10 and selenium improved the affected areas of the skin as well as several plasma biomarkers related to oxidative stress.

The takeaway for sufferers of psoriasis? Think of vitamin E as one component of your overall approach to proper skincare.

5 other nutrients that could help with psoriasis

Vitamin E isn't the only game in town when it comes to psoriasis. The following nutrients may be beneficial to those with this condition:

  1. Selenium

  2. CoQ10

  3. Omega-3 fish oil

    —An analysis found that up to 13.5 g of EPA and 9 grams of DHA given daily to psoriasis patients for up to six months resulted in clinical improvement in skin redness, hardening and scaling, and in some studies, there was even a reduction in itching.
  4. Vitamin D3

    —Deficiency has been correlated with psoriasis.
  5. French maritime pine extract

    —According to an observational study of 73 patients with psoriasis, 12 weeks of intake of this extract reduced inflammation, redness, and the area of the skin affected by psoriasis.



About Our Story Sources

The Life Extension Health News team delivers accurate information about vitamins, nutrition and aging. Our stories rely on multiple, authoritative sources and experts. We keep our content accurate and trustworthy, by submitting it to a medical reviewer.