Is A Zinc Deficiency a Cause of Psoriasis?

A study in the British Journal of Dermatology found that there was a marked zinc deficiency in many of their patients with psoriasis. Zinc is important for its antioxidant benefits which are critical for good skin health. I’m going to look at why zinc is good for your skin and what steps you can take if you think you have a zinc deficiency.

As mentioned, zinc is critical for good skin health because of its antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are extremely important in protecting the body against free radicals, tiny chemical particles that turn food into energy. However, when these free radicals get out of control, they can attack the body, damage our cells and possibly cause premature ageing, heart disease and skin diseases. Consequently, it is important to have a diet rich in antioxidant vitamins and minerals such as vitamins A,C, E and zinc in order to keep the free radicals under control.

How do you become zinc deficient?

Zinc deficiency seems to be an affliction of modern times when our diet and lifestyles have changed dramatically. Unfortunately, lower levels of zinc are now found in the soil which lowers the levels in our food. Our highly processed, refined foods and our over-consumption of sugar and carbohydrates all contribute to the decreasing levels of zinc in our diet. Vegetarians, especially, can be at risk of zinc deficiency because the main source of zinc is meat. Our levels of zinc can be depleted not only by diet but also by increased stress levels.

How do you know when you have a zinc deficiency?

The signs of zinc deficiency vary from person to person. However, there are a few common symptoms to look out for. These include dandruff, poor wound healing, sleep disturbances, diarrhea, hair loss, loss of libido, skin dryness, rashes and reduced fertility. If you suffer with psoriasis and complain of any of the other suspected symptoms, then you could be suffering from a zinc deficiency. To find out whether you are zinc deficient or not, it is important to consult your doctor or nutritionist.

What research has been done on zinc?

A recent study showed that using zinc sulphate cream was effective in treating psoriasis and induced a complete remission in a high percentage of cases. Another study showed that topical zinc pyrithione (an active ingredient in major anti-dandruff shampoos) was highly effective in the treatment of psoriasis. Even though there has not been a huge amount of research, the completed studies have concluded that zinc can help psoriasis.

How do you treat a zinc deficiency?

First of all, are you eating a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates such as white rice, pasta, bread, cakes and cookies? If the answer is yes, then you need to think about alternative options such as wholemeal bread, brown rice and avoiding sugary foods. Great sources of zinc are oysters, pork, chicken, beef, lamb, chickpeas, baked beans, pumpkin seeds and cheese. Unfortunately, even if you take a high level of zinc, only a small percentage actually gets absorbed by your body, especially from non-meat sources. If you suffer with psoriasis and especially if you are a vegetarian, then it would be worth taking a zinc supplement.

Treating psoriasis with zinc

Apart from changing your diet and adding supplements, there are other ways of taking zinc to treat your psoriasis. One way is to use creams containing zinc, for example DermaZinc Cream. DermaZinc is effective in treating the red, flaky, itchy and scaly skin associated with mild to moderate psoriasis. Another product that has been clinically proven and FDA approved is the Skin Zinc system which consists of a cream and a spray.

The good news is that if you think that a zinc deficiency may be the cause of your psoriasis, there is something you can do about it: improve your diet, reduce stress, take supplements and use creams containing zinc.