Q. I suffer from psoriasis, the skin disease, and wonder what creams or other products you recommend?

A. Psoriasis is a common occurrence skin condition that affects 2% of the population. Two percent means "two people in a hundred", so, in the whole world that means rough one hundred million sufferers.

Q. So what is the fault with all these people's skin? Why do not their bodies make perfect skin?

A. The answer lies in a fault in the immune system. In a third of the sufferers there can be a heredity factor and, in 40% of sufferers, it can be induced by stress. Our immune system controls the way we fight off infection, illness, cancer etc and, if it goes faulty, a whole host of problems can arise.

Q. What creams do you recommend?

I am sure you will have seen your GP and possibly a Consultant Dermatologist (Skin Specialist) and have been offered, and have used, various creams and ointments on prescription. Depending on the severity of your psoriasis you will have experienced varying degrees of success, and you may have also been given oral treatment as well for the more severe forms of the condition.

Many of the prescription creams / ointments, (with or without oral treatment), often give very good results but there is definitely a large number of people who do not always get a very good improvement that they would really like, and this is where Complimentary medicine may be helpful to help to maintain healthy skin.

If we return to discussing the undercoming immune system fault we find one of the main factors that keeps cropping up concerns a particular substance, (that we all make as part of our inflammatory process), called interleukin-6. This substance is made in our bones, by our stem cells, and is involved in the purposely initiated production of inflammation. Why would we intentionally cause inflammation to be produced? The reason is, that, if we have, for example, a splinter of wood in our skin then our immune system automatically activates the stem cells to produce the right cells to loosen the wood by making the cells around the wound become inflamed, subsequently breaking Down the actual skin allowing the splinter of wood to be pushed to the surface of the skin and fall out, the inflammatory process would then be called off, the skin would then heal, settle down and the wound area would heal and could be practically scar Less.

But an over production of interleukin-6 cells, in people with psoriasis, will cause an on-going production of faulty cells, relentlessly. It's as if these faulty cells "think" that after only four days of development, that they are "ready" to take their place in the skin.

Whereas normal, fully developed cells, take twenty eight days to reach perfection. So, these faulty "I'm ready in four days" cells, leads to the typical production of faulty skin, causing inflammation, reddening and plaque. Inflammation, when produced around a splinter, is completely normal and acceptable and will have been initiated to cause the splinter to be pushed out of the body, but, with psoriasis, the production is ingoing.

So, what complimentary products are available to help maintain healthy skin in this condition? I have found the following have helped patients to maintain more normal skin.

Moducare capsules contain plant fats obtained from the sap of a pine tree in South Africa. Professor Patrick Bouic is the Professor of Immunology at Cape Town University and his work, over the last twenty five years, with the ingredient in the sap called sterols and sterolin glycosides, can help to regain the balance between two of the cells produced in our bone Marrow called TH1 and TH2.

It is the over production of the TH2 cells which leads to the formation of the faulty skin cells we experience in people with psoriasis and taking Moducare capsules can help to stabilize this production back towards normality.

Omega 3 Fish Oil capsules

Similarly, we can learn from looking at the Eskimo's diet that the omega 3 ingredient found in the flesh of oily fish (and oily fish is a prominent part of their diet leads, once again like the Moducare story, to getting a much better balance in Their immune system, and in fact although 2% of the Eskimos also have the potential, genetically, to get psoriasis there is no word in their language for psoriasis!

Calcium Pantothenate capsule

This substance is also known as vitamin B 5, the anti stress vitamin, and among the many pathways in our body in which it is involved is the pathway of the production of our own anti stress ingredient cortisol.

Bio-Pycnogenol

This little tablet is made in France from the same pine tree that the Moducare is made from in South Africa, but here they use the bark of the tree, the ingredients of which do three major things to help maintain healthy skin:

(1) It assists to stop the enzyme called collagenase from breaking down our collagen in our skin.

(2) It helps to stop the enzyme called elastase from breaking down the elastin (that gives our skin it's elasticity) in our skin.

(3) It helps in the production of a substance called the endothelium relaxing substance which is needed to maintain a good blood supply to our skin.

Common Milk Thistle capsules

This herb has a very good reputation for maintaining in good health our liver, which is the largest organ in the body, and is the main organ of detoxification.

Finally it's good to take a general vitamin and mineral supplement each day as it is well documented in the literature that many people are low in: Magnesium, chromium, zinc, selenium, vitamin D etc all important for maintaining healthy skin.

Use of Moducare for Combating Psoriasis by Aravind Ramesh