Psoriasis is a skin disorder that causes skin cells to multiply up to 10 times faster than normal. This makes the skin build up into bumpy red patches covered with white scales. They can grow anywhere, but most appear on the scalp, elbows, knees, and lower back. Psoriasis can’t be passed from person to person. It does sometimes happen in members of the same family.
Psoriasis usually appears in early adulthood. For most people, it affects just a few areas. In severe cases, psoriasis can cover large parts of the body. The patches can heal and then come back throughout a person’s life.
What Causes Psoriasis?
No one knows the exact cause of psoriasis, but experts believe that it’s a combination of things. Something wrong with the immune system causes inflammation, triggering new skin cells to form too quickly. Normally, skin cells are replaced every 10 to 30 days. With psoriasis, new cells grow every 3 to 4 days. The buildup of old cells being replaced by new ones creates those silver scales.
Psoriasis tends to run in families, but it may be skip generations. For instance, a grandfather and his grandson may be affected, but not the child’s mother.
A Common Kitchen Cure
Small amounts of artificial vanilla extract, also known as vanillin, are in a wide range of products, from baked goods to perfumes. But vanillin’s versatility doesn’t stop there. In a recent mouse study reported in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers report that this compound could also prevent or reduce Psoriasis.
Psoriasis is an inflammatory skin disorder that affects about 125 million people worldwide, resulting in scaly red plaques that typically show up on the elbows, knees or scalp. Immune system proteins called interleukins (IL) 17 and 23 are known to be key players in the development of the condition. Interestingly, vanillin can have effects on different interleukins that are involved in other inflammatory conditions and diseases. So, Chien-Yun Hsiang and Tin-Yun Ho wanted to see if treatment with vanillin could prevent psoriatic symptoms.
The researchers induced psoriatic skin inflammation on groups of mice by putting a compound called imiquimod on their skin. In addition, the mice were orally given daily doses (0, 1, 5, 10, 50 or 100 milligrams/kilograms of body weight) of vanillin for seven days. Mice treated with 50- or 100-milligram/kilograms of body weight doses had reduced psoriatic symptoms compared to those receiving smaller or no doses of vanillin. In all mice treated with vanillin, IL-17 and IL-23 protein levels were decreased. The researchers say that vanillin was an effective compound against psoriatic skin inflammation in this animal model.