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Flaxseed – Good for Psoriasis Sufferers?

Flaxseed and Psoriasis

The Green Pharmacy Guide to Healing Foods, a 400-plus page tome on food remedies written by former USDA researcher and best-selling author James A. Duke, recommends flaxseed for people with psoriasis, and the reference book Prescription for Nutritional Healing suggests psoriasis sufferers may benefit from supplementing with flaxseed oil. So what's the deal with flaxseed and psoriasis? Why do nutrition experts frequently recommend these mildly nutty-tasting seeds and their oil to people living with psoriasis? Keep reading to find out.

Why Experts Hypothesize Flaxseed May Be Good For Psoriasis Sufferers

The seeds of the flax plant, along with chia seeds and hemp seeds, are among the best plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids, and thanks to their anti-inflammatory properties, these essential fatty acids are thought to help fight conditions associated with chronic inflammation. In fact, flaxseed is such a concentrated source of omega-3 that it is often given to hens to get them produce so-called omega-3 eggs! As you may already know, psoriasis is classified as an inflammatory condition, which is why it comes as no surprise that flaxseed is frequently recommended to people living with this chronic skin condition.

Aside from the potential beneficial effects on psoriatic skin, regular consumption of flaxseed or flaxseed oil may also provide some additional, non-skin related benefits for people with psoriasis. Studies show that psoriasis sufferers have an increased risk of certain other health problems, and many of these conditions have an inflammatory basis, suggesting that anti-inflammatory foods, such as flaxseed, might also help prevent or fight these conditions. Examples of conditions linked to chronic inflammation that seem to occur more often among psoriasis sufferers than the general population include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, chronic disorders that cause inflammation and pain in the feet, hands, hips and knees
  • Type 2 diabetes, a life-long disease that affects the way your body handles sugar (glucose)
  • Asthma, a chronic lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways, causing sympoms like wheezing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and coughing
  • Chronic pulmonary disease (COPD), an obstructive lung disease that causes shortness of breath, cough and increased mucus production

Using Flaxseed as a Natural Remedy for Psoriasis

The hypothesis that flaxseed is good for psoriasis sufferers certainly makes sense from a theoretical point of view, but before you start experimenting with flaxseed, know this: large-scale clinical trials proving, or disproving, the benefits of flaxseed for psoriasis sufferers are still missing. What's more, as always, you should talk to your doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet or trying any dietary supplements. It is particularly important to consult with your doctor before experimenting with flaxseed as a psoriasis remedy if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, take any medications, are scheduled for surgery, or have an increased risk of developing prostate cancer.

When using flaxseed, you may want to grind the seeds before use—this will make the omega-3 fatty acids they contain more accessible to your body. The wooden countertop grain mills you may have seen in the shops are perfect for turning whole flaxseed into flaxseed meal, but also an old coffee grinder will do the trick. Or, alternatively, you can go for store-bought ground flaxseed which is available at many supermarkets and health food stores. Just be aware that pre-ground flaxseed typically has a shorter shelf life than the whole seeds.

1. C. Rodriguez-Cerdeira et al (2014). Study on Certain Biomarkers of Inflammation in Psoriasis Through "OMICS" Platforms. Open Biochem J. 2014; 8: 21-34.
2. M. Wolters (2005). Diet and psoriasis: experimental data and clinical evidence. British Journal of Dermatology, 153(4):706-14.
3. H. Yeung et al (2013). Psoriasis Severity and the Prevalence of Major Medical Comorbidity. JAMA Dermatology, 149(10):1173-1179.
4. H. Fang et al (2015). Association between psoriasis and asthma: a population-based retrospective cohort analysis. British Journal of Dermatology, 172(4):1066-71.

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 and

Online FREE
Make it a habit to visit'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.