I have been quiet of late. Starting right around the 1st of July, my psoriasis started acting up again. Big time.
Named for the Greek word psōra meaning “itch,” psoriasis is a chronic, non-contagious disease characterized by inflamed lesions covered with silvery-white scabs of dead skin.
Psoriasis, which affects at least four million Americans, is slightly more common in women than in men. Although the disease can develop at any time, 10-15% of all cases are diagnosed in children under 10, and the average age at the onset of symptoms is 28. Psoriasis is most common in fair-skinned people and extremely rare in dark-skinned individuals.
Normal skin cells mature and replace dead skin every 28-30 days. Psoriasis causes skin cells to mature in less than a week. Because the body can’t shed old skin as rapidly as new cells are rising to the surface, raised patches of dead skin develop on the arms, back, chest, elbows, legs, nails, folds between the buttocks, and scalp.
Psoriasis is considered mild if it affects less than 5% of the surface of the body; moderate, if 5-30% of the skin is involved, and severe, if the disease affects more than 30% of the body surface.
I have had psoriasis for quite some time. Most of my life, I guess. When I was younger, it was mild enough that I never realized I was experiencing it. It got a little worse between 2005 and 2010. It got bad enough that I started looking on line to figure out what was going on. Mostly it was small plaque covered spots on my legs with some hard crusty patches on and near my elbows.
Then in September of 2011 it just went nuts. I figure at its worst, it covered 2/3 to 3/4 of my skin.
There are at least seven types of Psoriasis: Plaque, Guttate, Inverse, Pustular, Erythrodermic, nail and Psoriatic Arthritis.
I had them all. It started with guttate, then became plaque in places, inverse in places, pustular on my hands and feet, all my finger nails, with three fingers (middle and ring on left hand, little finger on right) started up with the pain of Psoriatic and just about everywhere else, it was Erythrodermic. Overall, it took me seven months to gain a remission.
I studied everything I could find online that was legit. I read a lot (and I do mean a LOT) of research papers. At the worst, when I developed what is termed “sausage fingers” (which was at the time of the pain from the Psoriatic Arthritis) I went to a dermatologist and got a shot of Prednisone, a steroid which knocked back the troubles in my hands at least, but did not do much over all.
I had researched my options for conventional treatment and decided that most were nothing I wanted. The ones which are supposed to work the best, the “biologicals” such as Humira (Adalimumab) are also excessively expensive. A person is talking about $2ok-25k per year. And I do not like the potential side effects. With humira there were a number of cases where people died from very rare cancers and from some ordinary yeast infections that normally are not fatal. Methotrexate, a chemotherapy drug from the sixties is another tried and true treatment. But it is noted you are not supposed to take it if you have liver troubles. And if you take it too long, it does damage the liver. 8/23/2015 ETA: Also the bilologics seem to quit working after a period of time. Link here. So they are expensive, often only work for a short period of time and may have very severe side effects. No thank you very much.
I researched and settled on some supplements: Fish, flax and borage oil (Omega 3,6,9) for one. Milk thistle for another. Vitamin D3. Resveratrol. I also took a multivitamin/mineral supplement since at that point I was shedding skin in the double handfuls at a time. I also took Allegra 180 since it helped ease the itching and pain to some degree. At least enough that I could sleep at night. For the first week, I took the above three times a day, save for the multi-vitamin and the allegra. After that it was twice a day. The vitamin I took in the morning, the Allegra I took before bed. 8/23/2015 ETA: Also in the list should be Evening Primrose Oil. All of these items had some reasonable evidence that they are anti-inflammatory and that they may tend to moderate inflammation. Milk thistle has a reputation for helping liver function and for protecting the liver from damage.
I never found any sort of topical that worked and with as much skin as I had involved, those dinky little tubes of stuff just did not cut it. I wound up using regular old vaseline, which seemed to work as well as anything to keep the skin softened and somewhat hydrated. I
hd had a routine where I got up early in the morning and took time before bed to rub vaseline all over from my toes up to nearly my armpits. I slept in a pair of old sweat pants and long sleeved tee-shirts to keep from getting all over my sheets.
It was seven months (from Sept to middle of March) before I cleared up.
The picture up above is a shot of my back from that time, a little before things reached their worst.
So, here it is 2015. Around the 1st of July, it onset again. Now the thing about psoriasis is there ain’t no cure. The best you can hope for something that will send it into remission. Now one of the things I dislike so severely about the conventional treatments (medications) is that when you stop taking most any of them, there is a rebound effect where the psoriasis comes back as bad or worse than ever. Secondly, the side effects are as bad or worse than the condition itself.
My herbal alternatives at the worst caused some diarrhea. Now they did not work all that fast, but they did do the job.
So, now to round two. It started with guttate, (small red bumps) near my armpits, down along my ribs. I had some inverse that went around my waistline at the point of where my belt rides. It began to spread and spread.
(Click to view larger.)
You can see by the above that it spread fast. And it took a while for me to gather the items I needed to fight it again. But it is starting to clear now.
This time I added two more items to the mix: Luteolin and Quercetin. These two along with the Resveratrol finally is what started the turn around. As of this writing, I am not clear but I am getting there. As the above shows, most of the erythrodermic type inflammation is vastly reduced. I still have a few spots on my back that is cranking out patches of skin, but all in all it is improving.
The last to clear will be my lower legs.
(Click to view larger.)
The above shows reference shots of my left calf. The right calf is equally bad. The main thing, for those familiar with psoriasis is that the dark red locations should have turned into heavy plaque producers. Last time they did and if you look real close at the upper left shot, there are a couple of small patches but normally all that would be covered excessively in silver scales. In short, the Luteolin did what it was supposed to do.
Luteolin Inhibits Human Keratinocyte Activation and Decreases NF-κB Induction That Is Increased in Psoriatic Skin
Keratinocyte proliferation, which is a characteristic feature of psoriatic skin, is effectively reduced by luteolin in HaCaT cells, but not in primary keratinocytes. Finally, luteolin does not affect intracellular ATP production or viability. Appropriate formulations of luteolin and related flavones may be promising candidates to be developed into local and systemic treatments for Ps and other inflammatory skin diseases.
Resveratrol, Luteolin, and Quercetin all are anti-inflammatory, which is why I started taking them as soon as I could. So, this time my treatment is:
I take these twice a day. Once in the morning after getting up and then again before bed. In addition, I take either an ibuprofen, naproxen sodum or Acetaminophen along with either an allegra or a generic equivalent (Fexofenadine hydrochloride.) I rotated through the Nsaids in order to keep from overdoing any one of them. I also tried as much as I could to limit the Nsaids and allegra to either morning or night whenever I could; but if I felt excessively itchy or painful, I took them. (Acetaminophen especially is rough on the liver.) Also I often used a Vitamin D3 at 2000 units at night instead of another one at 5000 units. I think D3 is probably okay up to 10000 units, but I hesitate taking it at that level too often.
9/8/2015 ETA: I recently (9/1/2015) upped the Vitamin D3 to 14,000 units per day (7000 in am, 7000 before bed). This pilot study:
shows that high daily doses of vitamin D3 (35,000 units per day) may be effective and safe for Psoriasis control. It seems to me that raising the Vitamin D3 to this level has improved the performance of the Resveratrol, Luteolin and Quercetin significantly. I had several areas that seem to be reluctant to clear. They are now making better progress.
I am posting this primarily for others to consider. I used this approach to cause a remission in my psoriasis the first time. I let people know after that, but it was difficult to argue that it had any value since it was possible the Psoriasis cleared up on its own or for some unkown reason.
This marks the second time I have had to deal with this and this time by starting more promptly plus adding the luteolin and the quercetin, it is shutting down the spread of the psoriasis much more quickly and has seemed to shut down the plaque production almost completely. I have only had very small patches of plaque produced, the worst of which was the size of a nickle at most. Nothing when compared to what happen last time, as can be seen from the first photo.
Simply put, this time was not as miserable to suffer through as was the first time. It has been bad, but it never got anywhere close to as bad as last time. This time, I have had no trouble with painful joints, psoriatic arthritis or nail psoriasis. My hands and feet have been no where close to as bad as last time.
If this helps anyone, then great. That is why I am putting this out there. I am no doctor, but I have researched this problem in every way that I can. I use the supplements because they do not have the side effects that traditional medications have. It is a lot of junk to be taking, but for me (at least) it works. This is the second go around of working. That says something in and of itself. It sure as hell beats paying $22k a year for something that when you stop taking it will allow the Psoriasis to return as bad if not worse than before. Or while taking it, knocks the immune system down so badly that the person taking it is vulnerable to most anything that comes along.
Update for 9/28/2015
I have updated the info in this post to reflected all the improvement in my condition.