You may have heard about omega-3 fatty acids as a great option for treating psoriasis. Have you ever wondered how exactly do they work and what are the best food sources to obtain these fatty acids?
Omega-3 fatty acids are said to possess a number of health benefits. These include improving the health of your skin and boosting your heart health.
In this article, we will explore the research behind the use of omega-3 fatty acids as a treatment option for psoriasis. We will also check the exact dosage, best natural sources, and the supplements to rely on in this regard.
Do Omega-3 Fatty Acids Really Improve Psoriasis?
Research indicates that omega-3 fatty acids can actually improve the symptoms of psoriasis. A comprehensive review of different scientific trials, published in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology, has proven that using omega-3 fatty acids can improve the symptoms of psoriasis.
This review has indicated positive outcomes in 12 out of the 15 trials it took into account.
The main benefits provided by these fatty acids were an improvement in the skin reddening, reduction in scaling and itching, and a decrease in the inflammation.
Research also proved that using omega-3 fatty acids orally was highly effective for a time duration of three months or maybe more.
Not only can omega-3 fatty acids cure the external symptoms of psoriasis, these can also prevent or reduce the long-term health risks. For example, people suffering from psoriasis are at a higher risk of getting heart diseases.
Omega-3 fatty acids ensure that this risk is greatly reduced so that the incidents of cardiac deaths can be prevented.
It is, however, important to note that a lot of research studies involve providing the participants with higher doses of omega-3 fatty acids. In some, the administration of these fatty acids was made through intravenous drips or injections.
So, the results of the trials may not always depict what people may experience in their daily lives.
How Much Omega-3 Fatty Acids Should I Take?
To get maximum benefits from omega-3 fatty acids, the patients must ensure that the supplements they are using have a balanced amount of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These are mostly found in fish oil supplements.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggests that consuming 8 ounces of fish or any other seafood on a weekly basis, or having 250 milligrams of DHA and EPA can significantly reduce the risk of cardiac deaths in the patients of psoriasis.
Another thing to be careful about is to be steady. While starting on omega-3 fatty acids, it is important to be patient and start taking these supplements slowly. If a beginner wants to try supplements, one gram of EPA and about half a gram of DHA must be taken by them every day for eight weeks.
Improvements in the external symptoms must be observed continuously during this period. For best effects, it is important to consume omega-3 fatty acid supplements while having a meal or right after finishing it.
Before starting omega-3 fatty acid supplements for psoriasis, remember to speak to a doctor. This is because taking these supplements in higher doses can cause diarrhea, nausea, and other digestive problems. However, in most of the cases, these symptoms are mild.
What are the Best Sources of Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Psoriasis?
Research is still going on to find the best sources to obtain omega-3 fatty acids. Supplements are usually said to be a more convenient option, especially for a person who does not eat much fish or other seafood.
At the same time, some sources say that the omega-3 fatty acids are better absorbed when you take them through dietary sources as compared to the supplement form.
There are a lot of ways to include omega-3 fatty acids in your daily diet. Specific food products have specific ingredients so, always read the nutrition label to know more about what each supplement contains.
Some of the best sources to obtain omega-3 fatty acids include:
- Flaxseed oil
- Chia seeds
No research has been able to suggest which source is better than the others in terms of getting omega-3 fatty acids.
Depending on the preferences of a person, there are a lot of famous omega-3 supplements to choose from. These supplements are easily available in all supermarkets.
Some of these supplements have been listed below.
- Fish oil is one of the most popular supplements for omega-3 fatty acids
- Krill oil is manufactured from small crustaceans known as krill
- Algae oil is derived from certain organisms that come under the category of algae. This oil has no animal products and is a perfect choice for those who do not like eating fish or any other seafood.
- Flaxseed oil is made from flaxseeds, the small brown seeds commonly found in supermarkets. It is also a great choice for getting omega-3 fatty acids without eating fish or other seafood
What are Other Supplements for Psoriasis?
Doctors and scientists are yet to know which supplements can treat psoriasis more effectively than others. However, research is still going on and we are going to have an answer quite soon.
One review study in this regard has suggested that fish oil supplements are better for people suffering from psoriasis as compared to other supplements such as selenium, vitamin B12, and vitamin D.
If you do not wish to use supplements, there are a number of natural remedies as well. Some of these remedies are explained below.
- Vitamin D: Vitamin D is a popular agent for boosting your immune system and maintaining a strong immunity. This can also help improve the symptoms of psoriasis since it is an autoimmune disorder.
- Turmeric: Turmeric is a popular anti-inflammatory agent with strong antioxidant composition. Taking it in oral form can help reduce the symptoms of psoriasis. It can also decrease the number of flare-ups in certain individuals.
- Oregon Grape: Oregon grape can help in the treatment of mild to moderate symptoms of psoriasis. This is particularly true if you apply it in topical form. Oregon grape can also be obtained in supplement form but it is necessary to talk to a doctor before taking it.
Studies have not been able to demonstrate the uses of other popular supplements such as evening primrose oil or milk thistle in treating psoriasis and its symptoms.
Some other ways to reduce the symptoms of psoriasis include using aloe vera and apple cider vinegar.
Aloe vera is a known anti-inflammatory agent. Applying it to the skin can get rid of scaling and the redness associated with psoriasis.
Apple cider vinegar, on the other hand, can provide relief from itching if you apply it on the scalp. However, if your scalp is bleeding or cracked, you must not use apple cider vinegar since it may cause irritation.
There is not enough research to support the effectiveness of supplements for the treatment of psoriasis. Even though some studies exist, they are not sufficient to derive a conclusion. Hence, it is extremely important to talk to a doctor and know about your choices.
Moreover, it is also important to decide whether you should include omega-3 fatty acids in your daily routine in the form of supplements or through diet.