Q. I am 29 years old and suffer from psoriasis on my elbows and knees. How can I relieve this?

A..Psoriasis is a skin condition that leads to a very itchy rash with thick, red, raised patches and silvery white scales. The cause is unknown, but many different factors can contribute to it.

Incomplete protein digestion. This causes bacteria acting on the proteins in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract to form toxic compounds that trigger excessive skin cell proliferation. To prevent this, chew meats well, take enzymes with your meals, and drink your mealtime beverage about 30 minutes before you eat. Avoid excessive consumption of animal fats, especially red meat, egg yolks and other foods high in arachidonic acid.

Allergies and other causes. One of the most common contributing allergies is gluten allergy. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, oats, rye and barley. Many psoriasis sufferers improve when they go off these foods. Other causes include stress and toxins in the GI tract--which include yeast compounds such as Candida, bacterial byproducts, endotoxins, parasites and more.

A variety of treatments can help relieve your psoriasis. A few include:

Nutrients and modified fasting. Psoriasis causes skin cells to divide as much as 1,000 times faster than normal. Therefore, you must take in adequate amounts of specific nutrients, or the demands on your immune system could cause your psoriasis to worsen.

One of the fastest ways to get psoriasis under control is to start a modified fast with the rice bran protein supplement Ultra Inflam-X. A hypoallergenic mixture, it is combined with extra-virgin olive oil, rice bran and probiotics, which include acidophilus, bifidobacteria and other healthful bacteria. My patients drink this, blended with water, three to four times a day for about one to two weeks.

Patients who are unable to do only this will add brown rice and vegetables such as organic spinach, romaine lettuce, cabbage, asparagus, cauliflower and broccoli. I do not recommend the "night shades" such as tomatoes, potatoes or peppers because many people are allergic to these. Yet remember, avoid gluten.

**Controlled diet. Limit intake of sugar, white processed flour and other devitalized foods, red meat and other animal meats except for chicken, fish and turkey. Choose skim-milk products.

Add omega-3 fatty acids to your diet. These include fish-oil supplementation and flaxseed oil. Fish oil that contains only purified EPA in a dose of 3 to 4 grams a day usually will decrease psoriasis in a few months. It is difficult to find purified EPA, however, because most fish oils in health-food stores contain high levels of lipid peroxides, which are very dangerous fats. Therefore, eat cold-water fish, such as salmon, mackerel, herring and halibut at least 3 times a week or every day if your psoriasis is severe.

**Nutrition supplements. Take a high-quality multivitamin- mineral supplement daily to ensure adequate amounts of vitamins A, E and D, and zinc and chromium. If you are pregnant or at risk of becoming pregnant, take no more than 2,500 IUs of vitamin A daily. Otherwise, take up to 50,000 IUs daily.

I take all my psoriasis patients off alcohol to improve liver function and place them on milk thistle in a dose of 420 milligrams (mg) a day. Other herbs such as burdock root, yellow dock and red clover act as blood purifiers or alteratives and are extremely beneficial when taken three times a day. Many herbal manufacturers combine all three. Take burdock root in a dose of 1 to 2 grams three times a day.

Dried sarsaparilla root, in capsule form, taken in a dose of about 3 grams three times a day is very effective against psoriasis. Sarsaparilla bind bacterial endotoxins and allow for their elimination from the GI tract. Rice bran, psyllium and other fiber supplements help cleanse the bowel and bind toxins in the GI tract. Increase fruits and vegetables in your diet because they contain natural fiber.

In addition, licorice cream is a natural cream that helps relieve psoriasis. It contains glycyrrhetinic acid, which has an effect very similar to cortisone.

Donald Colbert, M.D. is a family physician and nutrition expert. He is the author of The Bible Cure for Cancer and other booklets by Siloam Press. Send Your questions about health and nutrition to Doctor's Orders, 600 Rinehart Road, Lake Mary, FL 32746.

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