Studies have shown that drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes can worsen psoriasis symptoms and may actually cause psoriasis in some patients. Does it matter which type of alcoholic beverages? Yes, it does, according to a recent study published on August 2010, in Archives of Dermatology. Only nonlight beer would increase the risk of psoriasis. Let’s understand why:
Beer linked to psoriasis in women
Researchers recently found that nonlight beer intake is associated with an increased risk of psoriasis, whereas light beer, wine, and liquor did not increase the risk among women. Previous studies had found an association between alcohol and psoriasis, although the reasons for this link were not clear. Apparently, this link is clear now, but only for one kind of alcoholic beverages. Specifically, women who drank at least 5 nonlight beers per week were 1.8 times more likely to develop psoriasis compared with women who abstained from alcohol. Lower intake of nonlight beer and intake of other types of alcoholic beverages do not appear to influence the risk of developing psoriasis. As a matter of fact, women with a high risk of psoriasis may consider avoiding higher intake of nonlight beer.
There is evidence that alcohol consumption can affect immune responses and psoriasis is an autoimmune disease. There’s also some evidence that it can affect the biology of keratinocytes. But why nonlight beer would trigger psoriasis? Why not wine or other alcohol? According to WebMD, researchers hypothesize that barley may be the problem. Full calorie beers use the grain for fermentation and it contains gluten, a starch that many people with psoriasis are sensitive to. Although more evidence is needed, women better stay away from nonlight beer if they have a family history of psoriasis or known psoriasis in the past or some other reason they might be predisposed to psoriasis.
Cigarette smoking linked to increased incidence of psoriasis
Studies have linked cigarette smoking to increased incidence of psoriasis, as well as to decreased rates of recovery from psoriasis in smokers. It is believed that nicotine has internal effects on the immune system and skin cell growth, in addition to the external irritation of cigarette smoke on the skin. As a matter of fact, the skin can also be affected by passive smoking.
Many early studies examining the relationship between tobacco and the development of plaque-type psoriasis suggested a significant positive correlation; Alcohol-controlled studies suggest that women who are smokers have an up to 3.3-fold increased risk of developing plaque-type psoriasis. Men who are smokers do not exhibit such an increased risk, but studies have shown that smoking more than 10 cigarettes per day by men who are psoriasis patients may be associated with a more severe expression of disease in their extremities.
These data demonstrate the importance of discouraging smoking and drinking, particularly among psoriasis patients. Even if it has been shown that nonlight beer is the only type of alcoholic beverages that is linked to an increased risk of psoriasis, alcohol in general can worsen symptoms in most psoriasis patients. More evidence is needed, but eliminating potentially these harmful activities can be a wise decision…