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Can BPA Make Your Psoriasis Worse?

Turmeric for Psoriasis and Eczema

Bisphenol-A, better known as BPA, is a hormone-mimicking chemical. It is often found in products made of hard plastic, and it may leach into foods and drinks prepared or stored in plastic containers. A growing body of evidence suggests that excessive exposure to this controversial chemical may be linked to a wide range of health problems. In this article, we take a look at BPA in the context of psoriasis management.

Free Radicals, Psoriasis and BPA

An animal study published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity found that BPA is capable of generating free radicals and reducing antioxidant reserves and enzymes in rats' livers. As you may already know, free radicals are typically thought of as promoters of cellular damage and ageing, whereas antioxidants are seen as the defense against these threats. However, an increased or prolonged presence of free radicals can override the body's antioxidant defense mechanisms and, according to a study published in the October 2009 issue of Free Radical Biology and Medicine, mediate numerous cellular responses that contribute to the development of a variety of skin disorders, including psoriasis. While the link between BPA and free radical load, on the one hand, and the relationship between psoriasis and free radicals, on the other hand, are not enough to suggest that BPA can cause or aggravate psoriasis symptoms at doses that humans are thought to encounter in their everyday lives, these observations do raise some important questions that will need to be answered.

BPA and Autoimmune Diseases

Even though it may look like a superficial skin condition, psoriasis is at heart an autoimmune disease whereby the body's internal protection system misfires and attacks itself. If you suffer from psoriasis, you are also more likely to have other autoimmune diseases than people without psoriasis. The autoimmune diseases most strongly associated with psoriasis include psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

A large body of evidence suggests that BPA is a xenoestrogen, an endocrine disruptor that is capable of mimicking estrogen activity throughout the body, and a study published in the November 2013 issue of the European Journal of Endocrinology has linked increased levels of circulating estrogens to greater autoimmune activity. Furthermore, a study published in the May 2012 issue of Autoimmunity Reviews suggests that the significant increase in the prevalence of autoimmune diseases in the modern world may in part be attributed to the increased exposure to environmental estrogens (xenoestrogens). While these observations cannot be used to draw conclusions about the direct impact of BPA on psoriasis, they certainly point to the need for further research in this area.

The Bottom Line

Due to a lack of dedicated studies, little is known about the direct impact of BPA on people with psoriasis. However, while we wait for the scientific community to show interest in this topic and to prove, or disprove, a link between psoriasis and aggravated psoriasis symptoms, you might want to start looking for ways to decrease your exposure to BPA. High levels of BPA (and in some cases even lower levels) have been associated with a wide range of health problems, so even if it turns out that BPA cannot make your psoriasis worse, there are plenty of reasons to reduce your exposure to this nasty chemical. Here's an overview of some of the studies linking BPA to specific health problems:

  • Heart disease and diabetes – A large study conducted in the US found evidence linking BPA to heart disease and diabetes in adults: the 25 percent of the population with the highest BPA levels were more than twice as likely to have heart disease and/or diabetes as the 25 percent with the lowest BPA levels. Interestingly, psoriasis has also been linked to an increased risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
  • Breast cancer – A study from Yale School of Medicine suggests that females exposed to BPA and DES in the womb may have an increased risk of developing breast cancer later in life (DES, or Diethylstilbestrol, is an estrogen-like endocrine disruptor similar to BPA).
  • Obesity in children and adolescents – In one cross-sectional study, higher levels of BPA were associated with a higher rate of obesity among children and adolescents. However, the researchers pointed out that the explanations of the association cannot rule out the possibility that obese children ingest food with higher BPA content or have greater adipose stores of BPA.
  • Brain function and depression – A US study associated BPA exposure with a loss of connections between brain cells in primates, potential problems with memory and learning, as well as depression. Incidentally, depression appears to be particularly common among people with psoriatic arthritis, according to a Canadian study.

Useful Resources

Healing Psoriasis Diet Book Dr. John Pagano has gained international fame with his ground-breaking book, Healing Psoriasis, which has been translated into numerous languages. In this compelling book, Dr. Pagano presents an all-natural regimen designed to alleviate and heal psoriasis without steroid creams, tar baths, injections, or ultraviolet treatments. Packed with invaluable diet and lifestyle tips, recipes, case studies, and before-and-after photos, Healing Psoriasis is a great resource for anyone interested in a drug-free treatment for psoriasis. Available from Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

Online FREE
Make it a habit to visit HealWithFood.org's online Guide to Healing Psoriasis on a regular basis. Updated once a week, the sidebar on the home page of the guide contains tons of links to interesting nutrition-related articles hand-picked for psoriasis sufferers. It also contains a weekly smoothie recipe featuring ingredients with psoriasis-fighting potential, as well as a book tip.