Bottom Line: Adherence to a Mediterranean diet, an eating plan filled with fruits and vegetables, legumes, cereals, bread, fish, fruit, nuts and extra-virgin olive oil, may be associated with the severity of the skin condition psoriasis.
Why The Research Is Interesting: Psoriasis is a common chronic inflammatory skin condition. Studies have suggested adherence to a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, may reduce the risk of long-term systemic inflammation. This study assessed the association between a score that reflected adherence to the Mediterranean diet and the onset or severity of psoriasis.
Who and When: 35,735 respondents who are part of an ongoing, observational web-based questionnaire study launched in 2009, of whom 3,557 reported they had psoriasis; the condition was severe in 878 cases and 299 news cases were recorded as those arising more than two years after inclusion in the study group
What (Study Measures): Patients with psoriasis were identified via online self-completed questionnaire and categorized by disease severity; data on dietary intake were gathered during the first two years of participation in the study group to calculate a score reflecting adherence to a Mediterranean diet from 0 for no adherence to 18 for maximum adherence.
How (Study Design): This was an observational study. Because researchers were not intervening for purposes of the study they cannot control natural differences that could explain the study findings.
Authors: Céline Phan, M.D., of Hôpital Mondor, Créteil, France, and coauthors
Results: There was an "inverse" association between adherence to a Mediterranean diet and the severity of psoriasis, which suggests patients with severe psoriasis adhered less strongly to the Mediterranean diet, even after accounting for other potential mitigating factors.
Study Limitations: Study participants were all volunteers and they may be more concerned about their health than the general population, data were self-reported and some data were missing.