It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to [email protected] and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.

Please note that the Ask Dr. Gourmet feature is restricted to questions regarding food and nutrition. Due to the many questions we receive, not all questions may be answered. For more specific questions about your individual health, please contact your doctor. About Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy

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Ask Dr. Gourmet

Will the casein in dairy cause my psoriasis to flare up?

I have psoriasis on my hands. I was told to stop eating dairy, as the casein in it is an inflammatory. So I have eliminated dairy from my diet and my hands are much better. Have you seen or heard of any situations like this? It is quite a challenge for me. Do you have any advice?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

an assortment of dairy products, including cheeses, milk, and butter

I checked with a number of sources and looked long and hard at the medical literature. There's no evidence of casein being "inflammatory" or that it provokes psoriasis. Here's the reply from one prominent dermatologist I consulted:

To date there are no significant correlations with food and psoriasis. If metabolic stresses are in place, this can flare the disease. If someone has a "casein hypersensitivity" or other physical stresses psoriasis can flare.

That said, if you are doing better with the elimination of dairy products, then you might want to continue. Dairy is one of the significant sources of calcium and Vitamin D in our diets, however, so consider other foods high in calcium. Here's a PDF that you can download of a list of foods that are high in calcium.

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS
Dr. Gourmet