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Weight loss greatly improves psoriasis

Melissa Leavitt

A recent study offers more evidence that eating right and exercising don't just improve your overall health—they could help improve your psoriasis, too.

Previous studies identified an association between weight loss and a reduction in psoriasis severity. Now a team of researchers has taken these findings a step further, using a randomized controlled trial to analyze whether a dietary intervention, combined with systemic treatment, can improve psoriasis in overweight people.

Their results indicate that diet and exercise can reduce psoriasis severity beyond the effects of treatment alone. These findings emphasize the importance of pursuing weight reduction as part of a holistic treatment approach in patients who are overweight, said Dr. Luigi Naldi, the study's lead author. Researchers divided the 303 study participants into two groups. The dietary intervention group ate three low-calorie meals a day and exercised three times a week, while the control group simply attended one informational session on weight loss and psoriasis at the start of the study.

Every study participant had previously tried a systemic therapy, but failed to achieve clearance after four weeks. They maintained this therapy, including traditional systemics as well as biologics, during the 20-week trial.

Patients on the diet experienced a significant improvement in their psoriasis, measured by changes in their Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) score. Their median PASI score was reduced by 48 percent. In comparison, the median PASI score of the control group was only reduced by 25.5 percent.

"There was a clear correlation between the amount of weight loss and the improvement of psoriasis," said Naldi. "Patients who lost more weight experienced a larger improvement in psoriasis."

Even a small amount of weight loss can have a big impact on disease severity, he added.

The study was published in the British Journal of Dermatology.

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