Intermittent Fasting for Psoriasis: Is It Safe and Can It Help?

You may have already tried changing or adjusting your diet by eating or avoiding certain foods to decrease psoriasis outbursts. But what about focusing on when you eat to improve your symptoms?

Intermittent fasting is a diet focused more on when you eat than what you eat. It has gained popularity as a method to lose weight and improve metabolism. However, there is only little evidence that fasting offers any remarkable benefits for people with psoriasis, and the practice can cause more harm than benefits.

Some dietary adjustments have been said to improve psoriasis symptoms, but there is a few research. In a 2017 U.S. national survey, people with psoriasis reported that anti-inflammatory foods like vegetables and healthy oils improved their skin. They also reported that lowering sugar, alcohol, nightshade vegetables, and gluten helped their skin improvement.

Along with following your medical treatment, you may want to change your diet or lifestyle to relieve symptoms.

If you want to know about intermittent fasting, here’s a brief description at the benefits and risks for people having psoriasis.

What is intermittent fasting?

There are so many ways to follow intermittent fasting. One common method is the 16/8, where you restrict your meal to a few hours a day.

In this approach, you eat in an 8-hour slot evert day, and fast until the next cycle starts. During the 16-hour of fasting period, you’ll usually be sleeping. Many people prefer to continue fasting after sleeping and skip breakfast, and begin their eating period later in the day.

Another method is to limit your calorie intake for two days in a week and in remaining days eat as normally . For example, you could limit your calorie intake to 300 calories per day for two days of the week. Or, you could alternate every other day between a 300-calorie day and your normal eating ways.

A third method is the 24-hour fast, where you stop eating for complete 24 hours. This method is usually done for one or two days in a week. It can leads to have more dangerous side effects such as fatigue, headaches, and reduced energy levels.

Before starting any method of intermittent fasting, it’s important to take advice of your doctor or a dietitian to find out the right diet plan for you.

Benefits

Research on intermittent fasting and psoriasis is confined. There are only few small, observational studies are done. Also human-based studies on the topic are not clear.

One observational study checked 108 patients with mild to severe plaque psoriasis. They fasted during the month of Ramajan. Researchers found a noticeable reduction in Psoriasis Area and Severity Index or PASI scores after their fasting.

Another study by the same researchers observed the effects of fasting in 37 person having psoriatic arthritis. Their results showed that short-term fasting upgraded patient’s disease activity scores.

But in a 2019 review on the effects of Ramajan fasting and other types of fasting on skin health, researchers found the results are causing ambiguity or confusion in their suggested benefits.

For now, a 2018 review of nutritional strategies for psoriasis observed weight loss and a healthy lifestyle leads to remarkable reduction of PASI scores among people with moderate to severe psoriasis. Low-calorie diets and intermittent fasting have also been shown to reduce the severity of psoriasis and other conditions in obase people.

More research is required to find out if intermittent fasting can improve psoriasis symptoms. But sticking to a healthy lifestyle and taking low-calorie diet, if required, may help.

Risks

There is very small evidence that intermittent fasting can improve psoriasis symptoms. Additional regularly fasting can cause some harmful habits and dangerous side effects.

Some of the possible side effects of fasting are:

  • eating disorders and disorganized eating, mainly binge eating on non-fasting days
  • dizziness, confusion, and lightheadedness when doing exercise during fasting
  • severe hypoglycemia(reduced blood sugar level) and other serious health problems for people taking diabetes medications
  • obesity associated with skipping breakfast
  • lower energy levels

A review on dietary recommendations for people with psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis led the National Psoriasis Foundation to recommend a low-calorie diet for obase people. The reseachers found very small evidence that certain foods and diets can lower the symptoms in some people. They also emphasized the importance of continued medical treatment rather than only depending on dietary changes.

Intermittent fasting may be the latest popular diet for weight loss. But there is not enough scientific evidence to consider that it is effective.

It also may have health risk to people with certain complications, which are:

  • diabetes
  • pregnant or lactating women(breast feeding)
  • people having a history of eating disorders or disordered eating

The takeaway

More research needs to be done to bolster or dispel fasting’s impact on psoriasis.

Most studies on the health benefits of intermittent fasting are performed on only animals. There are only a limited and small-scale studies that suggest possible improvements of psoriasis symptoms. These are especially related to low-calorie or short-term fasting diets.

Visit to your doctor or a dietitian to know more about how changes in your diet could help to manage or reduce your psoriasis symptoms.

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