Friday, November 23, 2012

The Candida – Psoriasis connection

 Psoriasis is not caused by a steroid drug deficiency

Typically conventional medicine treats psoriasis with steroids. While this may help symptoms, it is entirely useless in addressing the cause of psoriasis. In other words, psoriasis is not caused by a deficiency of topical corticosteroids.

Several times I have seen psoriasis patients who were actually surprised when I mentioned the possibility of candida. In actuality the relationship between psoriasis and chronic candida overgrowth is understood by many in natural health.

Additionally, there are research studies backing this up. So there should be nothing controversial about considering candida in a case of psoriasis.

Studies that show link between Candida and Psoriasis:

Incidence of Candida in psoriasis – a study on the fungal flora of psoriatic patients

This study found candida in 72% of the psoriatic patients, but in only 46% of the controls. Also, they found candida in 78% of the saliva samples of the psoriatics but in only 50% of the controls.

A 1994 article “Microorganisms and Psoriasis” reported completely, or almost completely clearing psoriasis in 50% of 126 patients, using antimicrobial treatment.

Interestingly, this article covers other organisms that may be factors in psoriasis besides Candida albicans. These are:
  • Malassezia ovalis
  • group A beta-hemolytic streptococci
  • group B beta-hemolytic streptococci
  • Enterococcus faecalis
  • Pseudomonas species
  • Klebsiella species
  • Bacillus cereus
While I don't entirely agree with their method of treatment, and would prefer a more natural route (using herbs instead of drugs, the "Candida diet", liver support, etc...), this is still an excellent article on the microbial triggers of psoriasis and treatment.

What about studies that found no relationship between Candida and Psoriasis?

A study from 2003; Microorganisms in Intertriginous Psoriasis: No Evidence of Candida culture took culture samples from psoriac patients and found no evidence of Candida. Therefore, the study recommended that Candida not be treated with anti-fungal agents, and instead be treated with topical steroids.

However, upon actually looking at how the study was conducted, the samples for culture where taken from the actual psoriatic lesions.

From the perspective of a natural health care practitioner who has experience with Candida patients, this is not surprising. The link between Candida and Psoriasis is not so direct. In other words, the psoriatic lesion is not a candida infection. Rather, this is the body's response to an internal overgrowth of candida, which is generally traced back to the digestive tract. It is the candida in the digestive tract, which releases toxic by-products and triggers the immune system that causes the body to produce psoriasis lesion as part of a response. Therefore, cultures for candida should be from stool, not the skin, and treatment with anti-fungals should be directed at the digestive tract as well. 

Of course, a comprehensive history should be taken as well, and if some thing comes up in history that leads case in a different direction other than Candida or similar microbial overgrowth, then other triggers should be considered as well. Candida is not the THE CAUSE of psoriasis in all people. It is just a likely trigger.  

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