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By:  Peter Olins, Ph.D. on August 8, 2011.

Increased Psoriasis in People with Celiac Disease

Several past studies have suggested a possible link between celiac disease and psoriasis, but the results were inconclusive. A recent large-scale study by a Swedish group examined the risk of psoriasis in approximately 29,000 celiac patients (Ref. 1).

Psoriasis is an unpleasant, itchy, skin disorder, occuring in about 2% of the population. The study by the Ludvigsson group is the largest ever undertaken. Celiac patient records were compared with those of over 143,000 matched control individuals, and the likelihood of developing psoriasis was measured. Overall, celiac patients had a 72% increased risk of contracting psoriasis. Increased Psoriasis in People with Celiac Disease

Ref. 1:  Ludvigsson JF, et al. J Invest Dermatol. 2011 Jun 9. doi: 10.1038/jid.2011.162. Psoriasis in a Nationwide Cohort Study of Patients with Celiac Disease.

Will a Gluten-Free Diet Help my Psoriasis?

The simple answer is, probably not. There is a common misconception that since celiac disease is associated with so many different autoimmune or inflammatory diseases, and gluten is clearly a trigger for CD, then surely a gluten-free diet should help these conditions, too? Unfortunately, there is very little evidence to support the idea that gluten is a cause for these other conditions. In a recent paper, levels of anti-gluten antibodies were not elevated in psoriasis patients (Ref. 2), and in a small study, a gluten-free diet did not reduce the symptoms of psoriasis (Ref. 3). In other words, an association between celiac and psoriasis doesn’t mean that the cause is the same.

Ref. 2:  Sultan SJ, et al. Australas J Dermatol. 2010 Nov;51(4):238-42. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-0960.2010.00648.x. Antigliadin antibodies in psoriasis.

Ref. 3:  Zamani F, et al. Acta Derm Venereol 2010 May;90(3):295-6. Psoriasis and Coeliac Disease: Is There Any Relationship?

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2 comments to Increased Psoriasis Risk in People with Celiac Disease

  • Brett Markham

    I have psoriasis around my finger nails and toe nails, and while I don’t believe psoriasis is is caused by CD, I do notice a connection. My psoriasis seems to be a secondary reaction to my immune system getting excited for any reason including a Celiac reaction. I can’t say that a gluten-free diet will help psoriasis, but by avoiding a Celiac reaction, my experience is that a GF diet does give my psoriasis one less reason to act up.

  • Christina

    I don’t have celiac, started a gluten-free diet a month or so ago to see if it might help, and my psoriasis has cleared up. I am amazed, but can’t be 100 certain that there’s a connection — though the timing would be quite a coincidence. I am considering reintroducing gluten at some point and see if the psoriasis worsens.

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