Reverse Koebner? and "Zone" Diet
Dear Ed: This is my second time visiting and
just wanted to saylove, love, love the website! I don't
have much time to spend on the computer as I have two little
monkeys, a 1 and 4 year-old. My own psoriasis story started at
age 14, on the scalp. I'm 32 now and still have it on the scalp,
along with a couple of nails, anal area (very sexy), and just
a couple of spots here and there. I've used all the shampoos
(prescribed and over-the-counter) without much success. The only
one that seems to offer some relief is Extra Strength Denorex
and I think its just from the menthol in it. For my other areas,
I've only ever been prescribed Lidex and Temovate, which just
keep my lesions from getting worse. My dad was in the military
and so is my husband, so I've moved around a lot and been seen
by probably 10-12 derms (military and civilian). None has ever
given me any other options. All these other medicines that you
all are writing about are news to me.
Ed's Response: Thanks for coming back, Flaky! Your trauma story is interesting. It almost sounds like "reverse Koebner," which I just made up. The Koebner Phenomenon predicts lesions will appear at sites where skin has been traumatized. Example: I sported lesions that looked like my gut surgery scars for six years! Smashing your thumb certainly qualifies as "trauma," so your nail P going away on that thumb is surprising. Though for you this was good news, this constitutes one of those "Don't Try This At Home..." warnings to other flakers. Tired of your awful looking fingernails? Well, slamming them in a car door might help, but ... we don't recommend it.
I'm surprised that amongst all those derms (10-12) you've seen through the years, your prescrips haven't varied more. You might want to think about emailing NPF for a referral in your area. Though I've been to a variety of derms with contrasting impressions, I've never run into one reluctant to vary my prescrips for topicals.
Check out the Zone Diet at http://www.eicotech.com. Ironically, the diet is based on tight control of one's insulin production, hence maintaining a "zone" of blood sugar levels that optimizes metabolism. Maintaining one's insulin level, hence one's blood sugar level, is accomplished by following the prescribed diet. (I say "ironically" for personal reasons, as I am a Type 1insulin dependentdiabetic. My pancreas doesn't manufacture any insulin so in a very real sense I'm "zoneless." Actually, though, through managing the combination of diet and insulin injections we Type 1 diabetics are supposed to achieve a near-normal ability to control our blood sugar levels. Based on my personal experience, in reality I am still far out of the "zone.")
Would the Zone Diet help flaking? Could be. Diet is so fundamental to our biological functions that virtually everything about our health is related in some fashion to what (and how) we eat. (See, Are We What We Eat? in the archives for more.) There is enough anecdotal evidence to suggest P does respond to dietary therapies for some people, at least some of the time. This includes eating management regimensthe Zone Diet is one of theseas well as nutrition supplement regimens of various kinds (e.g., zinc). But very little empirical evidence supports the anecdotal claims. For one thing, short of Nazi tactics, difficult diets are hard to impose, maintain and police. They may also take very long periods of time to be effective, or before all the effects are noticed. What severe flaker would want to stop all current regimens for months or yearsmeanwhile letting his/her P run amokwhile seeing if a diet might make a difference?
I don't try to dissuade anyone from trying diets or so-called "natural" or homeopathic therapies for their P. I do encourage folks to thoroughly understand and consider the risks, both physical and financial before making a decision. I am especially concerned about alternative approaches posed by people who sell something essential to the alternative.
Whatever you try, Flaky, good luck and keep us informed! -Ed