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Living with Psoriatic Arthritis (PsA)

Success with diet

After being diagnosed with PsA after three years I have been experimenting with my diet to help control the symptoms. I am so afraid of the drugs that alter the immune system and the side effects that I was hoping a diet change would help. I am currently taking 15 mg of methotrexate and folic acid daily. I began following the paleo diet which seems to have helped the psoriasis(I am very lucky I only have two patches on my palm and on my foot). The skin is improving and my energy level has improved dramatically. I am also sleeping better. I have also lost 15 pounds which has made me quite happy. Has anyone else had success with a diet change? Karen

In January 10 a naturopath put me on a diet to help with my psoriasis and although it has been a long haul I am almost psoriasis free. When an alternative doctor learnt about my diet in December 12 she suggested to add some supplements and after that I tweaked my diet a couple of times by adding and deleting things and each time the improvement was very quick less than 48 hours. You can see photo's of my psoriasis taken over the years and two videos demonstrating how my psoriatic and rheumatoid arthritis is improving.

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sybil said:

I have to plead ignorance about the Paleo diet. But I do agree that a good diet is really important. I thought my diet was okay before PsA but these days I eat more fresh food, especially fresh vegetables than I ever did & I avoid processed food unless I’m seriously in need of a chocolate something or other, which does happen from time to time. There’s no doubt in my mind that as well as being on the right treatment we need to consider lifestyle factors in fighting back against the disease.

It’s great to hear that you’re feeling good and have lost weight too - that boosts the morale let alone your health. Having said that, maybe Mtx deserves some of the credit?



sybil said:

I have to plead ignorance about the Paleo diet. But I do agree that a good diet is really important. I thought my diet was okay before PsA but these days I eat more fresh food, especially fresh vegetables than I ever did & I avoid processed food unless I'm seriously in need of a chocolate something or other, which does happen from time to time. There's no doubt in my mind that as well as being on the right treatment we need to consider lifestyle factors in fighting back against the disease.

It's great to hear that you're feeling good and have lost weight too - that boosts the morale let alone your health. Having said that, maybe Mtx deserves some of the credit?

My naturopath put me on Paleo diet to reduce inflammation. It has helped. The most dramatic change for me was stopping the vegan diet. I ached everywhere when I was vegan. I was eating too many carbs on that diet. So I know that low sugar and low carbs keeps me in less pain. But personally, I don't like eating so much meat--I don't believe in it ethically, and I don't think it is the healthiest way to go. I am trying to balance things a bit--mostly paleo but I have some rice or quinoa once a week or so.

When first diagnosed and unable to start conventional medical treatment due to trying to figure out other health issues, I was diagnosed with celiac. My doctors and I hoped that going gluten-free (we were already eating a whole foods diet with minimal processed food) would help with my psoriasis / PsA as well. It didn't help, though it would have been nice if it had. A change in diet to one that included mostly whole foods and avoids things like high fructose corn syrup, refined sugar, food dyes, trans fats, etc. can help anyone feel more healthy, so is highly recommended for people with autoimmune issues. Also - having your vitamin D, B6, and B12 levels checked and supplementing if necessary can make a huge difference in energy levels.

I do feel better, and my pain is better controlled, when I restrict my intake of carbohydrates, especially flour and sugar. (And I refuse to consume anything with HFCS in it.) When symptoms are better controlled, it makes it easier to move and exercise, which in turn, also controls symptoms and helps you feel better.

SEENIE’S USUAL DISCLAIMER (ya, ya, you knew this was coming :wink: Symptom control isn’t disease control!

Hi Blondegeisha,

I have been working with diet since last January, first following a plant based diet with limited sugar and processed foods. For this month I am trying the whole 30 following the auto immune protocol. I read The Wahls Protocol, a book about a doctor who had MS and managed to put her disease into remission through a Paleo like diet. She went from a wheel chair to a fully functioning life. I have had some good success so far and hopefully after the whole 30 I will be doing even better! I have met several people who have had some great success with diet changes. Diet changes vary, like meds it can take months to notice a difference and eliminating and then reintroducing foods is a good way to notice any big changes. Great to hear of your success!

I was also following a vegan diet and found it to decrease my pain but I gained some weight...maybe the carbs or maybe the Disease Modifying Medication. I found Gluten, sugar and red meat seem to be my big triggers so far. Good to hear you are having some success with the paleo diet. I started the Whole 30 with my husband on the 1st, it is tough making the transition back to eating meat. My plan is to also find a balance :-)

anngreen said:

My naturopath put me on Paleo diet to reduce inflammation. It has helped. The most dramatic change for me was stopping the vegan diet. I ached everywhere when I was vegan. I was eating too many carbs on that diet. So I know that low sugar and low carbs keeps me in less pain. But personally, I don't like eating so much meat--I don't believe in it ethically, and I don't think it is the healthiest way to go. I am trying to balance things a bit--mostly paleo but I have some rice or quinoa once a week or so.

I see the replies to this post were sent over the past few months

Can anyone comment on where they are now and what kind of results you are seeing

thank you

Hi nick, I have stomach issues that accompany my PsA - they are strongly exacerbated by too much alcohol, caffeine, skin of capsicum or chilli skin(but I can eat the skinless flesh and very hot food flavoured with chilli), and red meat, or any significant amount of fat from meat (I basically can’t eat red meat unless I’m on steroids), as well as most highly processed foods, and lactose.

Having said all that, I personally don’t find my food has a big impact on my PsA. Everyone’s different - for me it’s sleep. Not enough sleep is a guaranteed flare. As is jetlag.

I did an exclusion diet to find out my big issues (it was extreme - water, white fish and rice, nothing else, not even salt and pepper for two weeks) then added food one by one every couple of days. It takes a lot of willpower, but it works, because food sensitivities that impact symptoms are often individual to each person, so a conventional “diet” may not be that useful.

If you do try something, report back and let us know :slight_smile:

My Rhematologist said no special diet impacts disease. I have been having a flair up for 16 months & the pain is overwhelming & lately pain throughout my spine. The plan is to start me on humara or like drug in April.i take Celebrex & opioids for pain but still suffering badly.i take metheltrexate & plaqunil .i am looking for suggestions that will decrease pain & was hoping diet might help

Hi Blondegeisha. Like you, I was extremely afraid of the drugs--from biologics and DMards right down to prescribed anti-inflammatories and pain meds. I'd only take otc pain pills--and only occasionally. Prednisone tapers a couple of times (which provided temporary miraculous results for me).
I forgot what the paleo diet is, I'll google it later. But I tried many natural remedies--all those I had heard of that claimed to reduce inflammation, which didn't work for me. I also did a gluten-free diet for 6 weeks and it gave me perfect bm's--yes, there is such a thing, I found out. But despite that, the gluten free diet did nothing for my psoriasis or PsA.

I’m a shining example of one who, like you, put off going on a biologic because I was so afraid of them. I’m more afraid of mtx, though, because my mom had bad results from it and a lot of people here have SEs from it. I started Enbrel last July and I have no SEs other than there was a red blotch at the injection site the first few times. I caught two bad colds this winter, which I attribute to my slightly weakened immune system, but my immune system put up a good fight and I finally got over them without antibiotics. I also had folliculitis on my legs from shaving, which is something I never had before taking Enbrel. BUT, I got rid if that with applying OTC antibiotic ointment for a few days.



I’m telling you this because I want you to know taking Enbrel has been the best thing that’s happened to help reduce my psoriasis and PsA symptoms. And I was a doubter and as scared as one could be of it! I’ve heard that combining a dmard like mtx with a biologic can weaken your immune system even more, so I avoided doing that. Some people do have better luck with the combination, but I’m around grandkids a lot and they expose me to lots of germs; so I’ll just stick with Enbrel.

I only wish Enbrel would work as well and quickly for others as it did for me, and now my biggest fear is that Enbrel will eventually stop “doing its magic” as my rheumy says!



Kmreboscapa, go for the Humira or Enbrel, whatever your rheumy is suggesting. It can’t hurt to try it. I have spine, SI and foot issues still, but that’s from the damage PsA did to me before going on Enbrel. When my back started hurting a few months ago, I kept saying thank God I don’t have the PsA symptoms anymore because all that together with the back pain I’m certain would have killed me or at least put me into a wheelchair and a deep state of depression!



Also, not to contradict myself, I think certain foods can trigger flare ups–too much sugar is a killer for me, but yet sometimes I can’t resist candy and ice cream. I’m just afraid diet or so-called natural cures don’t stop the disease from doing permanent damage like a biologic can. :frowning:

Good luck to all of you who are contemplating going on Humira–however, I’m putting in a plug for Enbrel because it’s worked so well for me!

I’m Glad someone else said “sugar” I notice my body feeling really sore & sluggish after I’ve indulged in sweets. I’ve just started experimenting with alternative sweeteners for making treats cause I don’t think I can totally eliminate them.