Living with Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)

Healing the gut for PsA

Does anyone have experiences or thoughts about dealing with autoimmune diseases through gut healing protocols such as Auto-immune- Paleo diet or GAPS diet?

I have been recently diagnosed with PsA and have just started methotrexate, and till that hopefully kicks in I am taking indocid. Before diagnosis I was put on two courses of steroids, injections, codeine, tramadol…). To top it all off I have now developed candida - which Ive never had in my 37 years.

So while I know I need the meds to be able to function, I have heard and read lots of good reports about the importance of gut healing.

Any thoughts or experiences would be great!

Hi Nadia… I take a really good probiotic I get from the doctor… It will help with the candida and the heal the gut. Also you can find what foods you are sensitive to… I cut out sugar dairy and gluten. Big improvement for both the gut and psa.

Any “diet” that eliminates high calorie low nutritional foods will make you feel better. That being said NO diet will change the fact you have PsA or its progression. Candida is something everyone has naturally,. its not a disease and its something only diagnosed by alternative practitioners. There simply isn’t much evidence to support the diagnosis of yeast syndrome. Consequently many conventional practitioners doubt its validity. And there are no clinical trials that document the efficacy of a candida cleanse diet for treating any recognized medical condition. NONE.

Most people will, within a few weeks of replacing processed foods with fresh ones and white flour with whole grains start to feel better in general. That, rather than stopping the growth of yeast in the gastrointestinal tract, is probably the main benefit of a candida cleanse diet, paleo, low carb and the like.

The sad fact is many folks with auto-immune (especially arthritis) retreat to their couch and start a diet of junk food, high carbs, comfort foods (the same thing) and replace activity with Netflix. Its understandable as one hurts and generally feel “bad” They look for a “cure” be it a “magic supplement” a special diet, or generally some way to blame it on themselves. They convince themselves if they only fix what they did/do wrong it will all go away. Most of us are terrible shape physically and mentally before we ever get diagnosed.

There is three things we must all do and unless we do all three, none of the others will help:

  1. healthy lifestyle including diet
  2. activity but general and specific as well as participating in “life”
  3. medication both for the arthritis and often the mental wear and tear/depression that comes with auto-immune disease

One of the most important things we can do is AVOID complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners. While well intention-ed the only real effect they will have on our disease is on our pocket book. As one “fad” loses steam there are always two new ones to take its place. We need help with number 3, we may need help for number 2, we may need some help with number 1 to get started BUT unless we work all 3 together, it just won’t work.

AS you read through the many stories here you won’t find one successful outcome (beyond short term) and I mean none that came from CAM practitioners and a “natural approach” Worse by the time those have tried figure it out, its frequently too late and damage is permanent.

Just a word about probiotics, 99% of them don’t work. They are destroyed by the stomach before they get to the intestine. (although now that the evidence is clear, the unregulated probiotics industry has claims of that “their product passes through”)Your intestinal flora is as unique as your finger-print. That’s not to say it doesn’t get out of wack from antibiotics and such, but it does correct itself given a chance. In a few instances of Autoimmune disease it takes some intervention. The only way to correct your poop is with healthy poop.

Incidentally the certified Quacker Natasha Campbell-McBride who developed GAPS is not a researcher and has not published anything despite having come up with her own hypothesis, invented a new disease (GAPS) and an effective treatment all by herself. Her education in this area is a bachelors degree in nutrition. Despite her list of over 70 diseases she can cure, arthritis is not one of them. FWIW for $1175.00, you can be trained to become a GAPS practitioner in a two-day course… Training includes a business starter package.

Paleo is so healthy the average caveman died before age 31 with clear signs of long malnutrition in skeletal remains that have been found. However if you take the top 10 supplements recommended with Paleo you might overcome the lack of nutrition"

  1. DHA/EPA
  2. Minerals Iodine, Iron, and Selenium
  3. Vitamin D3
  4. Vitamin K2
  5. PQQ (a rare B vitamin)
  6. Co-Enzyme Q10
  7. Magnesium (a laxative)
  8. Multivitamin
  9. B Vitamin Complex with Vitamin C added

I would suggest ANY diet that requires/suggests supplementation has problems.


Hi nadia.

Alara posted a similar discussion recently, you should find it pretty easily a little way down the ‘Latest’ list. The main reason I was going to mention it was because I found some of the things tntlamb had to say particularly interesting … and he’s gone & got here first.

I’m wary of dietary protocols and programmes partly because they are so rigid and make such big claims with little balance and little evidence that I’ve seen. They tend to promise a path that will lead to great things if only the the programme is adhered to to the letter. And to me that seems opportunistic because following such a programme can provide a sense of security and certainty that anyone with a chronic disease might well find appealing. But I don’t think it’s wise to hand ourselves over wholesale to a programme unless we completely understand how it’s meant to work (which is quite difficult!).

Some of the things tntlamb has had to say about diet recently do, to my mind, provide balance as well as depth of explanation that can all too often be lacking. And in fact he’s made me think that I do need to get a little bit cleverer about what I eat.

I agree a good diet is essential. Managing PsA is hard work and a lot of that hard work comes down to boring ol’ common sense which might not be as alluring as a programme full of promises, but it can be very worth it.

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thanks, I have just started a probiotic, so will see how it helps.

I actually only realised that there is a section for complimentary therapies, and have now found lots of info and discussions there - newbie error!

thanks for the comprehensive reply. Its all very overwhelming as I am so new to all of this. And I am definitely taking on everything my rheumatologist is telling/prescribing for me. However I have seen the power of ‘food as medicine’ in my own life, and so want to come at this from all angles. But I’ve now found the complimentary therapies section which has been a great help.

I’d like to take a second and expand a little on this point, with a warning. While quite a lot of these practitioners want to do little more than lighten your pocketbook while doing no actual harm to you, there are those that will. They might drum into your head that taking the actual medication is doing you some harm.

Now, I’d like to think most of us would say “well, there’s no way I’d do that, I’d walk away from that quack right quick!”

Only… you might not. I might not. Because what if they say that at your weakest moment when you see no way out? There’s a chance, however small, that you might grasp at that straw, grasp at that exit from the pain and go along with it.

There’s a reason that people do fall for these schemes, why you do hear stories of people electing to treat a disease alternatively rather than going through the medical route. These people were not all stupid for doing it - they were merely preyed on during a moment of weakness. And these guys can be charismatic, and actually believe in themselves. That can be a powerful pull, when you’re at your lowest. And you do tend to go to these folks at your lowest.

On top of all of the reasons that lamb elucidates on above, that’s another good reason to avoid these guys. Could be a scam artist, or they could be worse - they could believe in themselves, and prey on you. Better to avoid them than to run into that one scumbag.

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tntlamb, are there any recommended supplements that actually help PsA? I have started avoiding sugar and some other foods that seem to trigger pain for me. I sure that this has been discussed so if you would be kind enough to drop a link.

I found that magnesium really helped leg cramps in the beginning. And I take Omega3 because it’s generally accepted as being a good supplement to take, but also because I’d read that it has a soothing effect on pain. (tnt’s the expert, not me, don’t ask me to explain)

Nothing I’ve ever taken in the way of supplements has ever made a huge difference, but every little bit helps, that’s what I figure.

The most common needed for PsA patients are B and especially D.

Certainly there’s been a big link between low D and autoimmune diseases (what you see most often in the news is about MS, but there are studies for us and just about every other autoimmune disease as well), though the effect is currently correlation? Not causation.

The question is whether you want to supplement or just try to enjoy a bit of extra sunshine, which if you get the opportunity I find is so much nicer.

Gotta go practice what I preach myself now - I’m heading into winter with a marginal D level so I think I’ll have to plan a winter holiday in the sunshine!

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Us living in the northern hemisphere and in the northern part of it ALL ar vitamin D deficient. As far as supplements, alternative treatments etc as Jules once said: “This disease is researched worldwide, there are doctors, scientists and fellow sufferers the world over who network both on and off the internet; if there was a cure for PsA or something which consistently worked to relieve the symptoms, we’d ALL know about it!”

My vitamin D levels were tested 5 years ago and I wasn’t deficient, according to the accepted parameters anyway, which some say are too low. Do you think the adequate level should be higher? (I’m assuming the scale is the same in the US & UK.)

I go out in the sun whenever it appears but hadn’t had a holiday abroad in the year before the test, unless you count sunny Scotland.

Well actually from what I’ve read, there still appears to be complete uncertainty about whether the D deficiency contributes to the triggering of autoimmune disease, or is a marker of some other process that signals that we are susceptible to it in the first place (Vitamin D is also reported to be kind of like a hormone with immunomodulatory effects).

There was even one research group suggesting we don’t supplement with it because the low levels might be our systems way of coping with some aspect of our immune response (though I never saw any actual evidence or studies for that one).

I have a family history of severe osteoporosis, and had osteopaenia at 36, so to be honest for me it’s more about that than the PsA, but I like to think I’m probably helping both.

In Australia, they do recommend you try to have an extra 20 nmol/L (above the recommended amount of 50) at the start of winter, particularly in the high and low latitudes.

With regards to the minimum levels there have been lots of discussions, but the evidence isn’t great, as most of the studies are observational. There is a good summary at the site below;


Oops, I forgot about my Vitamin D. That’s a biggie for us PsA-ers.

Hi Nadia, my gut reacts to most meds nowdays…the best thing I did for my gut when on mtx was to switch to injections. I also noticed that a sip of beer would help settle my stomach sometimes- i know it’s bad and not scientific but it helped the nausea. But only a sip. Gut pain was harder to sort, once it got a hold, i found fish and chicken and vegies helped, not curry unfortunately. Curry is one of my favourite fruits :cry:. I got candida too when on mtx…so annoying.

Ha MacMac! I heard from a very reliable source that chocolate is also a fruit, so I stick with that rather than curry.


Haha exactly

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Before I started on a biologic I was desperate for anything. I tried supplements, vitamins, teas, anything that was suggested to me, along with a strict elimination diet. Very difficult with no results, other than being just another thing to feel badly about. My body felt like an out of control train. Now after many years on humira with great success, I have what I call a “careful” Diet. As little junk and processed food as possible. Lots of water. But falling off the rails is ok, just get back on track and give yourself a break

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