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ADHD, Psoriasis and Stress News

April 26, 2010 Written by JP    [Font too small?]

Natural remedies often differ from synthetic medications with respect to how quickly they provide symptomatic relief. For instance, if you take an aspirin to relieve muscle soreness, you’d expect to notice a reduction in pain in short order. However if you opt for a natural pain reliever such as curcumin or fish oil, the effects tend to manifest themselves more slowly and are, therefore, more appropriate for chronic inflammatory conditions. This doesn’t mean that the holistic options are less effective or powerful. It simply illustrates that many of them work like slower acting medications including many antidepressants. Furthermore, some dietary strategies and nutritional supplements do, in fact, work on the spot.

Chondroitin sulfate is a natural substance that is typically used to combat inflammation and tissue degeneration associated with arthritis. An intriguing new study suggests that there may be yet another application for this nutraceutical. A group of 129 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee and a chronic, inflammatory skin condition known as psoriasis was given either 800 mg of chondroitin sulfate (CS) or a placebo for 3 months. The results of the study indicate that those receiving CS had significantly lower scores on their Lequesne Index and Visual Analogue Scales – measures of pain intensity. There was also a reduction in the use of over-the-counter pain medication (acetaminophen) in the CS patients. In addition, the researchers documented improvements in “plantar psoriasis” and health related quality of life. The authors of the trial concluded that, “The use of CS could represent a special benefit in patients with both pathologies since non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs have been reported to induce or exacerbate psoriasis”. (1,2)

Parents throughout the world have utilized dietary approaches to manage attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in their children. However this natural alternative to medication is considered controversial in the conventional medical community. Hopefully this next study that examines the connection between food allergies/sensitivities and hyperactivity will help to change that.

  • Twenty-seven children with ADHD aged 3.8 to 8.5 years took part in a special dietary intervention referred to as an “elimination diet”.
  • 15 of the 27 were included in the therapeutic intervention and 12 were fed a control/”regular” diet that did not exclude common food allergens.
  • Both interventions lasted a total of 5 weeks and included symptom assessment provided by both parents and physicians.

According to the scores of a Physical Complaints Questionnaire, filled out by the parents, the “number of physical and sleep complaints was significantly decreased in the (elimination) diet group compared to the control group”. The changes were rather dramatic, yielding a 77% reduction in common ADHD symptoms including bellyaches, headaches, sleep complaints, unusual perspiration or unusual thirst. Another important observation was that, “A positive correlation existed between the reduction of physical and behavioral symptoms”. This trial offers encouragement for any parent or adult living with ADHD that non-pharmacological interventions are certainly worth investigating. (3)

Food Intolerances Can Have Widespread Consequences
Source: Dtsch Arztebl Int. 2009 May; 106(21): 359–370. (link)

The chondroitin study I cited involved a 3 month trial period. The elimination diet lasted 5 weeks. But this next experiment specifically examines the immediate effects of an herbal formulation known as ADAPT-232 which aims to assist the body and mind to cope with stress. When you’re stressed, it frequently compromises your ability to think clearly. Recently, a group of scientists from Armenia and Sweden devised an experiment that examined the short-term cognitive effects of using a combination of Rhodiola rosea, Schisandra chinensis and Eleutherococcus senticosus “under psychologically stressful conditions”. Forty “stressed out” but otherwise healthy women with ages ranging from 20 to 68 were asked to take a “Stroop Colour-Word test”. Half of the participants were given a placebo and the remainder a tablet of ADAPT-232. An index known as the “d2 Test of Attention” was administered before and after each intervention was applied. The women receiving ADAPT-232 showed improvements in accuracy, attention and increased speed during the testing. The authors of the experiment also noted fewer errors in the herbal supplement group. No serious side effects were reported by the study volunteers. (4)

Every once in a while you’ll find a natural alternative that works very quickly such as ADAPT-232. However that’s generally the exception to the rule. The key is to understand what to expect. If you know that a supplement or treatment will require patience, then you can build that into your expectations. When you do so, also factor in the health benefits and/or relative safety profile of natural remedies vs. synthetic counterparts. And please bear in mind that just because something is simpler to use doesn’t make it the right decision. In practical terms, this might mean taking fish oil twice-a-day instead of taking an aspirin 3 or 4 times a week. Which is cheaper? Which is easier? The aspirin, no doubt. Having said that, I’d personally opt for the fish oil because I think the health benefits and risk profile favor the more natural of the two options. In my experience, conventional therapies often seem like the better choice in the short-term, whereas holistic medicines tend to favor the long term prospects of true wellness.

Note: Please check out the “Comments & Updates” section of this blog – at the bottom of the page. You can find the latest research about this topic there!

Be well!


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Posted in Children's Health, Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements

13 Comments & Updates to “ADHD, Psoriasis and Stress News”

  1. Nina K. Says:

    Hello JP 🙂

    everytime when i read something about ADHD i must think of the sun from friends of us. They are really good about ignoring healthy food, the main stuff they eat is noodles (of course not whole grain) bakery things, sweets and more sweets, baked goods, canned and packed goods, frozen foods, selfmade dinner is time wasting for them :-(. The joke is: they are not poor people, they have enough money for good nutrition but they don’t care about that. It’s so sad to see for me :-(.

    Hope you both are fine ☼

    Greetings from faaaar away,
    Nina K.

  2. JP Says:

    That is unfortunate, Nina. 🙁

    Hopefully they will one day be inspired by someone or something to change their ways.

    I hope you’re feeling better and recovering nicely. Please take good care. 🙂

    Be well!


  3. Iman Says:

    I am suffering from both adult adhd and psoriasis. I am 36, and I know I need to be more active and eat better. I am really interested to know where can I get some sort of over the counter pills that contain CS or anything you recommend. I know there are so many things I need to change. I really enjoyed your article!

    I really don’t like the way adhd medications make me feel.


  4. JP Says:

    Good day, Iman.

    You can find chondroitin sulfate supplements in many health food stores and online as well. You may also find the following columns to be of interest:








    Be well!


  5. JP Says:

    Update: More support for natural topical preparations …

    Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 2014 Nov 11;7:321-7.

    A cosmeceutical formulation based on boswellic acids for the treatment of erythematous eczema and psoriasis.

    BACKGROUND: Boswellic acids (BAs) show anti-inflammatory properties in a variety of inflammatory diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and asthma. A topical administration route is currently used to deliver active compounds in psoriatic and eczematous patients. In this double-blind study we compare a novel BA formulation (containing Bosexil(®), INCI [International Nomenclature of Cosmetic Ingredients]: lecithin, Boswellia serrata resin extract) with a placebo formulation. A third arm of the trial received a formulation of Vaccinium myrtillus seed oil, previously demonstrated as an effective local treatment for psoriatic lesions.

    METHODS: Patients with psoriasis or erythematous eczema were randomly assigned, in a 1:1:1 ratio, to Bosexil(®), V. myrtillus seed oil, or placebo. In order to evaluate the effects of treatment, the changes of scales and erythema from diagnosis to the end of treatment were scored in psoriatic patients, while changes in itch and erythema were analyzed for erythematous eczema patients. Psoriasis Area Severity Index and Eczema Area and Severity Index scores were also calculated.

    RESULTS: In patients with psoriasis, scales and erythema improved both with Bosexil(®) and the V. myrtillus seed oil treatment in comparison with placebo. In particular, the treatment with Bosexil(®) formulation improved scales (70% of cases) and erythema (50% of cases) without any case of worsening. In patients with eczema, the administration of placebo did not result in any improvement in 90% of cases, and in the remaining 10% worsened both itch and erythema. Bosexil(®) formulation improved both itch (60% of cases) and erythema (60% of cases) without any case of worsening. V. myrtillus seed oil improved itch and erythema in 66.7% and 77.8% of patients, respectively.

    CONCLUSION: A topical formulation of Bosexil(®) may be promising for the treatment of psoriasis and erythematous eczema. Long-term studies are recommended to evaluate the adherence to this topical treatment and its clinical benefits in real life.

    Be well!


  6. JP Says:

    Update 05/03/15:


    Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice – Published Online: April 18, 2015

    Ginkgo biloba in the treatment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children and adolescents. A randomized, placebo-controlled, trial

    Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of Ginkgo biloba as a complementary therapy for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

    Methods: Children and adolescents with ADHD received methylphenidate (20–30 mg/day) plus either G. biloba (80–120 mg/day) or placebo for 6 weeks. Parent and teacher forms of the ADHD Rating Scale-IV (ADHD-RS-IV) were completed at baseline, week 2, and week 6. Treatment response was defined as 27% improvement from baseline in the ADHD-RS-IV.

    Results: Compared with placebo, more reduction was observed with G. biloba regarding ADHD-RS-IV parent rating inattention score (−7.74 ± 1.94 vs. −5.34 ± 1.85, P < 0.001) and total score (−13.1 ± 3.36 vs. −10.2 ± 3.01, P = 0.001) as well as teacher rating inattention score (−7.29 ± 1.90 vs. −5.96 ± 1.52, P = 0.004). Response rate was higher with G. biloba compared with placebo based on parent rating (93.5% vs. 58.6%, P = 0.002). Conclusions: The G. biloba is an effective complementary treatment for ADHD. Further studies with longer treatment duration are warranted in this regard. Be well! JP

  7. JP Says:

    Update 05/13/15:


    J Atten Disord. 2015 Feb 2. pii: 1087054715569282.

    Effects of Physical Exercise Intervention on Motor Skills and Executive Functions in Children With ADHD: A Pilot Study.

    OBJECTIVE: This study examined the effect of a 12-week table tennis exercise on motor skills and executive functions in children with ADHD.

    METHOD: Fifteen children with ADHD received the intervention, whereas 15 children with ADHD and 30 typically developing children did not. The Test of Gross Motor Development-2, Stroop, and Wisconsin Card Sorting Test (WCST) were conducted before and after the intervention.

    RESULTS: After the intervention, the ADHD training group scored significantly higher in the locomotor as well as object-control skills, Stroop Color-Word condition, and WCST total correct performance compared with the ADHD non-training group, and we noted improvements in the locomotor as well as object-control skills, Stroop Color-Word condition, and three aspects of the WCST performances of the ADHD training group over time.

    CONCLUSION: A 12-week table tennis exercise may have clinical relevance in motor skills and executive functions of children with ADHD.

    Be well!


  8. JP Says:

    Updated 06/11/16:


    Acta Derm Venereol. 2016 Jun 9.

    Efficacy of Biofeedback and Cognitive-behavioural Therapy in Psoriatic PatientsA Single-blind, Randomized and Controlled Study with Added Narrow-band Ultraviolet B Therapy.

    Increasing data suggests that there is a connection between stress and the appearance of psoriasis symptoms. We therefore performed a clinical trial enrolling 40 participants who were randomly allocated to either an 8-week cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) (treatment group) plus narrow-band UVB phototherapy or to an 8-week course of only narrow-band UVB phototherapy (control group). We evaluated the clinical severity of psoriasis (PASI), General Health Questionnaire (GHQ)-12, Skindex-29 and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI) at baseline and by the end of the study. Sixty-five percent of patients in the treatment group achieved PASI75 compared with 15% of standard UVB patients (p = 0.007). GHQ-12 cases were reduced from 45% to 10% in the treatment group and from 30% to 20% in the control group (p = 0.05). The Skindex-29 emotional domain showed a significant improvement in the CBT/biofeedback group compared with control patients (-2.8 points, p = 0.04). This study shows that an adjunctive 8-week intervention with CBT combined with biofeedback increases the beneficial effect of UVB therapy in the overall management of psoriasis, reduces the clinical severity of psoriasis, improving quality of life and decreases the number of minor psychiatric disorders.

    Be well!


  9. JP Says:

    Updated 06/11/16:


    Nutrients 2016, 8(6), 352

    Dietary, Nutrient Patterns and Blood Essential Elements in Chinese Children with ADHD

    Dietary or nutrient patterns represent the combined effects of foods or nutrients, and elucidate efficaciously the impact of diet on diseases. Because the pharmacotherapy on attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was reported be associated with certain side effects, and the etiology of ADHD is multifactorial, this study investigated the association of dietary and nutrient patterns with the risk of ADHD. We conducted a case-control study with 592 Chinese children including ADHD (n = 296) and non-ADHD (n = 296) aged 6–14 years old, matched by age and sex. Dietary and nutrient patterns were identified using factor analysis and a food frequency questionnaire. Blood essential elements levels were measured using atomic absorption spectrometry. A fish-white meat dietary pattern rich in shellfish, deep water fish, white meat, freshwater fish, organ meat and fungi and algae was inversely associated with ADHD (p = 0.006). Further analysis found that a mineral-protein nutrient pattern rich in zinc, protein, phosphorus, selenium, calcium and riboflavin was inversely associated with ADHD (p = 0.014). Additionally, the blood zinc was also negatively related to ADHD (p = 0.003). In conclusion, the fish-white meat dietary pattern and mineral-protein nutrient pattern may have beneficial effects on ADHD in Chinese children, and blood zinc may be helpful in distinguishing ADHD in Chinese children.

    Be well!


  10. JP Says:

    Updated 03/12/17:


    J Postgrad Med. 2017 Mar 3.

    The impact of topical Saint John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) treatment on tissue tumor necrosis factor-alpha levels in plaque-type psoriasis: A pilot study.

    CONTEXT: Psoriasis is an inflammatory disorder, formed by inappropriate interaction of T lymphocytes with keratinocytes, and consequent eruption of immune responses. High concentrations of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFα) are found in the skin lesions and plasma of patients with psoriasis. Hypericum perforatum, a phytomedicine that has both anti-inflammatory and antiproliferative properties, has been recently reported to be clinically helpful for improvement of psoriatic lesions.

    AIMS: The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of topical H. perforatum on TNFα levels in psoriatic lesions for possible identification of the mechanism by which Hypericum reduces inflammation and modulates the disease in patients with plaque-type psoriasis.

    SETTINGS AND DESIGN: A double-blind, placebo-controlled, pilot study with intraindividual comparison was conducted on twenty patients with mild to moderate plaque-type psoriasis.

    SUBJECTS AND METHODS: TNFα levels in tissue samples were measured with immunohistochemistry method. Moreover, Psoriasis Area Severity Index (PASI) scores and histological and clinical changes were investigated after topical application of Hypericum extract.

    STATISTICAL ANALYSIS USED: The Wilcoxon signed-rank test was used to evaluate the possible differences between the drug and placebo group.

    RESULTS: TNFα concentrations in dermis (p=0.025), endothelial cells (p=0.033), and dendrite cells (p=0.014) were significantly reduced in lesions treated with drug and the reduction observed in epidermis was superior to placebo (p=0.046). Results of PASI scores showed that erythema, scaling, and thickness were significantly lower where the ointment had been applied compared to application of placebo (p=0.014, p=0.004, p=0.003, respectively). Moreover, significant improvement in clinical and histological features of treated lesions in comparison with untreated lesions was observed (p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS: H. perforatum ointment can help decrease PASI scores and TNFα levels in psoriatic tissue. Its efficacy is probably related to its effect on lowering cytokines including TNFα. Be well! JP

  11. JP Says:

    Updated 08/13/17:


    Dermatol Ther (Heidelb). 2017 Jun;7(2):227-242.

    Dietary Behaviors in Psoriasis: Patient-Reported Outcomes from a U.S. National Survey.

    INTRODUCTION: Psoriasis patients demonstrate high interest in the role of diet on their skin condition. However, data are lacking to describe dietary interventions among psoriasis patients and associated outcomes. This study aims to identify common dietary habits, interventions and perceptions among patients with psoriasis, and to examine patient-reported skin outcomes in response to these interventions.

    METHODS: We administered a 61-question survey to the National Psoriasis Foundation membership asking psoriasis patients about dietary habits, modifications, skin responses, and perceptions.

    RESULTS: A total of 1206 psoriasis patients responded to the survey. Compared to age- and sex-matched controls, psoriasis patients consumed significantly less sugar, whole grain fiber, dairy, and calcium (p < 0.001), while consuming more fruits, vegetables, and legumes (p < 0.01). Eighty-six percent of respondents reported use of a dietary modification. The percentage of patients reporting skin improvement was greatest after reducing alcohol (53.8%), gluten (53.4%), nightshades (52.1%), and after adding fish oil/omega-3 (44.6%), vegetables (42.5%), and oral vitamin D (41%). Specific diets with the most patients reporting a favorable skin response were Pagano (72.2%), vegan (70%), and Paleolithic (68.9%). Additionally, 41.8% of psoriasis respondents reported that a motivation for attempting dietary changes was to improve overall health. CONCLUSION: This national survey is among the first to report the dietary behaviors of patients with psoriasis. The data provided from this large cohort may benefit patients and clinicians as they discuss the role of diet in managing both psoriasis and associated cardiometabolic comorbidities. Be well! JP

  12. JP Says:

    Updated 09/05/17:


    BMC Complement Altern Med. 2017 Sep 2;17(1):439.

    Clinical efficacy and IL-17 targeting mechanism of Indigo naturalis as a topical agent in moderate psoriasis.

    BACKGROUND: Indigo naturalis is a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) ingredient long-recognized as a therapy for several inflammatory conditions, including psoriasis. However, its mechanism is unknown due to lack of knowledge about the responsible chemical entity. We took a different approach to this challenge by investigating the molecular profile of
    Indigo naturalis treatment and impacted pathways.

    METHODS: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study was conducted using Indigo naturalis as topical monotherapy to treat moderate plaque psoriasis in a Chinese cohort (n = 24). Patients were treated with Indigo naturalis ointment (n = 16) or matched placebo (n = 8) twice daily for 8 weeks, with 1 week of follow-up.

    RESULTS: At week 8, significant improvements in Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) scores from baseline were observed in Indigo naturalis-treated patients (56.3% had 75% improvement [PASI 75] response) compared with placebo (0.0%). A gene expression signature of moderate psoriasis was established from baseline skin biopsies, which included the up-regulation of the interleukin (IL)-17 pathway as a key component; Indigo naturalis treatment resulted in most of these signature genes returning toward normal, including down-regulation of the IL-17 pathway. Using an in vitro keratinocyte assay, an IL-17-inhibitory effect was observed for tryptanthrin, a component of Indigo naturalis.

    CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrated the clinical efficacy of Indigo naturalis in moderate psoriasis, and exemplified a novel experimental medicine approach to understand TCM targeting mechanisms.

    Be well!


  13. JP Says:

    Updated 01/17/19:


    Cureus. 2018 Oct 24;10(10):e3491.

    Effects of Weight Loss on Psoriasis: A Review of Clinical Trials.

    Psoriasis is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the skin and joints. It typically presents as abnormal skin patches characterized by red, scaly, and very itchy spots. It affects patients in different manners with different severities ranging from small spots or spots that cover a larger area of the skin. Due to the negative impact psoriasis has on the quality of life, many patients are exploring other options that can help improve their symptoms. Among those is weight reduction. This review is aimed at providing an overview of the published clinical literature to give physicians an indication of what the answer could be. Moreover, since obesity is correlated with psoriasis vulgaris it is thus also the subject of investigation in this review. This is a literature review conducted to answer the following question: what are the effects of weight loss on the degree of plaque psoriasis recorded in clinical trials published from 1990 to December 2017. The objective of this study is to find the relationship between the severity of psoriasis and weight. Ten clinical trials met the inclusion criteria of this review and were included in the final analysis. Diet and exercise are worthy of consideration as adjunct treatments for psoriasis. Diet and exercise improve the overall health of the patients, are effective in combating oxidative stressors, and also show a positive impact on the Psoriasis Area and Severity Index (PASI) scores of patients with psoriasis.

    Be well!


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