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Psoriasis and pH — Orin’s Theory
from Orin

I've been in the psoriasis battle for half my life, 34 now. I've been relatively fortunate in that I was in my late teens before there were any spots that didn’t go away in a few weeks and the onset was gradual, giving me time to adapt to life as a flaker instead of being shocked by getting it all at once.  I'm now at about 30% and getting slowly but steadily worse.

I've been devouring every bit of information I can get hold of to find the common denominator to all the symptoms. I will list the problems I've had that I have felt contributed to or are related to my P:  Chronic strep throat just before thanksgiving each year until the age of about 14; allergies, i.e. sinus problems and hives from grass —  especially Johnson grass — from age 14 until about 20; since I was 19, P spots that have appeared no longer go away.  I tried one prescription — betamethasone dipropionate (Diprolene) — when I was about 25 years old.  It completely cleared me in days.  It worked great until I started puking.  It took me some time to realize the steroid was causing it.  When I ran out of the Diprolene and asked for more  the derm said “No more.”

Then I read literature on corticosteroids and the potential side effects!  My opinion is that using such wicked medicines to treat P is like burning down the house to get rid of a fly.

What inspired me to write is that after reading numerous posts I have seen that others have noted some of the things that I have. Anecdotal evidence: P will first occur or get worse or get better on moving to a different locale. Beginning an exercise regimen can begin or make P worse.  Changing diet can change P. Tends to be seasonal. Stress, whether physical or emotional, makes it worse. Pregnancy has been noted to cause remission of P. Defects in [amounts of] calcium, zinc/copper ratio, lack of absorption of some fat soluble vitamins — all these are implicated according to my studies. 

I might have found the common denominator.  pH balance.

Physiological facts: Stress pushes the body toward acid. The most active mineral in the body is calcium. If it is not being used in the body properly then all of the other vitamins and minerals I mentioned can't be used properly.  And for calcium to work properly the pH of the body must be maintained within very narrow limits.  The most significant means for the body to control pH level is by breathing. Hyper-ventilation increases pH meaning more alkalinity. Hypo-ventilation decreases pH meaning more acidity. Secondarily the kidneys can respond to a pH out of range. 

Proposed relation between pH and psoriatic symptoms:  When calcium isn't being used right due to pH out of range ever so slightly the collagen/elastin ratio of normal skin isn't achieved.  The result is stiff, non-pliable skin that is inclined to break instead of stretching then returning to shape. In the case of joints, stiff cartilage breaks instead of being a good slick cushiony barrier and fingernails don't know whether they are supposed to be nail, soft skin or hair.

I suggest a condition gets set up in the body where the pH is bouncing from too low to too high.  This can be observed by the apparent cyclic nature of plaque formation.  Inspect a lesion, it grows like mad for a time, then stops and is shed.

It might be a good moment to mention the pregnant lady whose psoriasis disappears until post-partum. Her system, according to Lange Current Diagnosis and Treatment 34th edition, "The physiologic state of pregnancy is chronic respiratory alkalosis..." in chapter 9, section on acid-base disorders.    

As for new exercise routine, moving to different locale, and seasonal affects,  these all have to do with the amount and/or quality of water consumed. What is the pH of water input to the body?  Need I state the effect of diet?  I might mention at this point that foods that are acid before consumption may end up being an alkaline when processed in the body and vice versa.  And it may be that the pH is low at one time of day and high at another.    

I am trying to locate some very accurate pH test strips to monitor my own body pH in both saliva and urine to try to verify this theory. I would like to hear anyone’s thoughts on this and I will get back in a couple weeks to inform of my results with pH monitoring. 

Hoping for the day we can all stand with our heads held high in our black suits, or birthday suits!   -Orin


Ed’s Response: Whew!  As theories go, Orin, yours tastes meaty.  I’m eager to learn what your pH measurements look like.  I did a quick search of “pH” in the psoriasis news group archives and found a number of references, but nothing so focused as your theory.

Your aside about pH and pregnancy was VERY interesting.  As you probably know, the discussion about pregnancy and P has run pretty much unabated here at FlakeHQ for 5 years.  You’ll get at least 30 hits on the word “pregnancy” through FlakeHQ search.  We’ve naturally pointed our noses in the direction of hormones.  Maybe “chronic respiratory alkalosis” offers a different avenue to investigate.

I don’t know enough about the relationship between pH and human biology to offer any respectable challenges to your theory.  I do remember from chemistry that pH — degree of alkalinity or acidity — is a spectrum upon which much can be measured, and I think I usually see it as a measuring device in concert with other measuring devices (at least, I think I do).  If my recollection is sound (getting more ify every year), this would indicate pH is a general measurement rather than a specific measurement.  In other words, it might help define a quality of something but, in and of itself, it cannot define anything specifically.  Rather like body temperature — 104 degrees indicates fever in an adult human, but the measurement may not define its cause — wherefrom the fever?  We may find that P flares can be associated with a particular pH or — as you suggest, I think — a particular change in pH — but will that point to a therapy?  That’s where I start drawing blanks, because I don’t know enough about pH.

So, you must keep us apprized as you pursue this.  In the meantime, I hope some FlakeHQ readers more versed in this biochemistry will add their two cents, as you requested.  Stay tuned!  -Ed

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