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Dr. Irene Prantalos Managing Psoriasis Interview

Tips for Those Suffering with Psoriasis

Drink 2-4 litres of filtered water per day. Add some liquid chlorophyl to help detox toxins from your gastro-intestinal tract.
Avoid inflammatory food such as gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol, red meat and refined carbohydrates.

Meditate daily, if possible 2-3 times per day. Calming your mind will calm your body and release positive chemicals in the body that encourage the healing process.

If possible, swim in the ocean. Sea water will reduce inflammation in the skin at such a fast rate; when coupled with a great diet you will notice lesions disappear within weeks.

Have a support network of people around you. Psoriasis can lead to feelings of depression and fear; having people around you that encourage you to keep doing the right things for your skin will help you through this journey as oppose to doing it on your own.

For more info and advice go to:

Interview with Dr. Irene Prantalos

Question: What are the risk factors associated with psoriasis?

Dr. Irene Prantalos: Psoriasis has long been believed to be -just a skin problem'; in recent years psoriasis has been researched in depth and been linked to metabolic syndrome. What this means is that people with moderate (greater than 3% of their body affected) to severe psoriasis are likely to have insulin resistance, high blood pressure, obesity, and high cholesterol levels which increase chances of developing diabetes, heart disease and stroke. In addition to this, many people with psoriasis develop psoriatic arthritis. So in fact psoriasis is now understood to be a systemic disease that if left untreated can shorten a person's lifespan.

Question: How is psoriasis diagnosed?

Dr. Irene Prantalos: Typically, a trained health care practitioner can notice the appearance of psoriatic lesions and can form a differential diagnose of psoriasis. At times of uncertainty there is a test called the Auspitz Sign which basically is the process of picking off the scales of the lesion and pin point bleeding means it is psoriasis.

Question: How can we treat psoriasis, naturally?

Dr. Irene Prantalos: Psoriasis is an auto-immune disease that results in thick scaly lesions on the scalp and body. Typically, a trigger (commonly stress or a throat infection) will switch on the gene and cause the skin cells to shed at a much faster rate. If we take a deeper look at this process, we can then understand how natural therapies are effective to target and manage psoriasis.

Triggers (food, emotions, environment, infections) cause inflammation in the body, the immune system reacts by stimulating the skin to shed every 4 days instead of the -normal' 28 days. Western medicine's focus is on the immune system, however there are two main factors that need to be addressed; 1. Identify the triggers and 2. Eliminate the inflammation in the body.

Natural therapies will look at removing the inflammation that is already in the body and preventing further inflammation from entering the body. In addition, we need to look at why the immune system is attacking itself. We can't simply say there is no reason, there must be a reason. A common reason natural health practitioners give is that un-metabolised toxins are entering the bloodstream through the small intestines due to the presence of leaky gut syndrome. A key factor to managing psoriasis is healing leaky gut and improving gut health (gut microbiome).

As a Chinese Medicine practitioner, our tools are herbal medicine and acupuncture and by utilizing these tools we can reduce the inflammation in the body, heal a leaky gut and improve gut health. But the most important factor is self love. A person must love themselves enough to change their diet and lifestyle to encourage a healthier body which makes these treatments more effective. As stated above, science has proven the systemic nature of psoriasis; people with psoriasis need to take this illness as a sign that what you are currently doing is not working and something needs to change.

Question: What products have you seen have the best outcome for psoriasis patients?

Dr. Irene Prantalos: There are numerous products that work differently on each person. When it comes to managing psoriasis, a topical cream or ointment is beneficial to help in improving elasticity in the skin.

I always encourage natural products, free of coal tar, cortisone and nasty chemicals as the skin is broken and the absorption of these toxic ingredients is greater than someone who has healthy skin.

We have our Salubre Therapeutics range which is for dry, irritated skin and some have found it can helpful in moisturising their skin. I would recommend when looking to try new products, people do a patch test first as individual differences can mean 1 person finds it beneficial while another finds it irritating.

One thing not commonly discussed is Glutathione Intravenous drips for psoriasis. I stumbled across this accidently as I used glutathione to help with increasing detoxification in my body. I would only say this is useful for people who know and avoid their triggers. However, in researching this further, there is a thought that people with psoriasis have low levels of glutathione in their liver which makes it harder for them to detox toxins from their body. Now glutathione is just 3 amino acids cysteine, glycine and glutamate that is best received through intravenous drip as when ingested the stomach destroys it and doesn't actually reach the blood stream. Although there is a change in belief and some supplement companies have developed oral supplements of glutathione, I believe the drip is more effective. Something to discuss with a GP that administers vitamin infusions.

Question: How can psoriasis, on the scalp, be treated?

Dr. Irene Prantalos: The biggest issue with scalp psoriasis is the hair. The scalp is dry so topical creams aim to moisten dryness then shampoos are used to remove the greasiness from the hair resulting in dry hair and an irritated scalp. The problem with a thick scaly scalp is that topical products don't reach the inflamed site. So a person with scalp psoriasis needs to
use a product that lifts the thick scales from the scalp
use product that reduces inflammation in the scalp

If I can promote the scalp product we have here, Salubre Therapeutics Hair and Scalp Mask (lifts the thick lesions and helps nourish dry, damaged hair), Enriched Oils (for night application, nourishes scalp and hair), Non-Greasy Scalp Treatment Spray (for day application, keep working on the inflamed skin without making the hair greasy).

Question: What type of diet should those suffering from psoriasis have?

Dr. Irene Prantalos: When it comes to discussing nutrition, there are many foods on the avoid list that increase inflammation in the body and as a result trigger the immune system to over-react. In general, I would recommend the following be omitted from a person's diet:

Red meat, pork, animal fat
Processed foods/meat
Refined Carbohydrates
Fast food

Foods great for psoriatic skin include:
Green leafy vegetable
Detoxifying vegetables: beetroot, broccoli sprouts, broccoli, spinach, kale
2-3 liters of filtered water
lean meats: chicken, turkey, fish
Fresh, seasonal fruits: 2-3 pieces

Question: Can you tell us about how meditation helps psoriasis patients?

Dr. Irene Prantalos: There are many different triggers people have but one that is generally across the board is stress. Stress is commonly the instigator of the psoriasis first presenting and for further flare ups. Often people can't change their circumstances that lead to stress so what else can a person do to manage the effects of stress on their body? Meditation is a fantastic way to calm the nervous system and reduce the physiological impact stress has on the body. I would encourage meditation daily and perhaps even twice daily if stress is prevalent. The reason is that stress causes the release of cortisol and other inflammatory chemicals. When calming the nervous system, relaxing, happy chemicals are released which would be helpful to reduce further lesions from coming up and possibly assisting the treatment used to address the psoriasis to work more effectively.

Question: How can we learn to meditate?

Dr. Irene Prantalos: Often when people are stressed the last thing they feel like doing is sitting still and meditating. For this reason, I recommend people buying a CD that guides them through a meditation and helps them get their thoughts refocused a little. The other thing I recommend is reading a positive self-help book in the morning for around 20-30 minutes (before you start the day) and at the end of the day writing down 3 things you were grateful for in the day and 1 thing you could have done better. This helps with processing your day's events and training your brain to be more positive.

Question: What advice would you give to someone suffering with psoriasis?

Dr. Irene Prantalos: One thing that often stayed with me was the -you can never cure psoriasis' statement many doctors liked to remind me of. Yes it is genetic and yes there is no cure, but that shouldn't take your power away. You have the choice to eat and live in a way that will positively impact the health of your skin. Don't stop looking for a solution. Although I hated having psoriasis, reflecting back to my experiences that resulted from having psoriasis, taught me many lessons and have led me down a path in my life that means I'm actually comfortable in my skin. Which is a huge thing to say as for most of my life I have been anything but comfortable. Put your health first and open your mind to try different treatments and see how your body responds. Remember your body is in constant state of communication with you not against you.

Interview by Brooke Hunter



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