Could a gluten-free diet help with psoriasis?



There is no relationship between gluten and psoriasis. Of course, following a gluten-free diet is recommended for people with celiac disease or gluten intolerance, whether or not they suffer from psoriasis. Our experts already answered the associated question “Do wheat antigens cause psoriasis flare-ups?

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Expert Answers

Dr. Marc Bourcier:

There is no relationship between gluten and psoriasis. Psoriasis patients who are gluten intolerant do not experience flares more often, and their psoriasis is not more severe, than other patients who are not gluten intolerant. Of course, people who are sensitive to gluten might perceive their condition is worsening when they are reacting to gluten, but the scientific data is not there to back those anecdotal reports.

The truth of the matter is that all types of diets have been tried to see if they improve psoriasis and none of them have proven helpful. Different foods have been verified as well, and they do not have any effect – positive or negative – on psoriasis. The only exception, if we include beverages, is alcohol, that seems to affect negatively psoriasis (see “Does drinking alcohol make psoriasis symptoms worse?”).

During the last few years, people have associated gluten with a wide range of conditions. It is a trend of sorts, but the reality is that the data for it is mostly anecdotal.

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Carolyn Whiskin:

Gluten free diets have been tried by many beyond those who have celiac disease.  Many people appear to have a degree of gluten intolerance resulting in an inflammatory response to grains containing gluten.  This response can have a different impact depending on the individual.  Research regarding patients with celiac disease who have psoriasis has shown that the antibodies generated by exposure to gluten may have a negative impact on the skin.  Although the results from these studies have been challenged,   some clinicians suggest a gluten free trial for all their psoriasis patients not just those who are celiac, knowing that some will report significant improvement and others will report no change. In addition to the many effective treatments available for psoriasis, a trial of a gluten free diet has the potential to provide additive benefit to dermatologist recommended evidence based treatments. 

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