January 29, 2020
2 min read

Medical nutrition therapy shows positive benefits in dermatologic conditions

You've successfully added to your alerts. You will receive an email when new content is published.

Click Here to Manage Email Alerts

We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact customerservice@slackinc.com.

A growing body of evidence is emerging in support of medical nutrition therapy as a way of reducing severity and incidence of dermatologic diseases, according to recent findings.

“Medical nutrition therapy (MNT) for the treatment of dermatological conditions is an evolving science that involves collaboration between a dermatologist and registered dietitian to offer the patient the most scientifically sound nutrition/dietary advice to potentially quell symptoms of chronic disease like acne, eczema and psoriasis,” Martina M. Cartwright, PhD, RD, of the department of nutritional sciences at the University of Arizona, Tucson, told Healio Dermatology. “MNT plays a role in wound healing and may be used to reduce the signs of skin aging. This is the first article to offer a roadmap to applying MNT to a variety of skin conditions.”

Cartwright added that diet and nutrition are not cures for skin ailments, but they may help alleviate symptoms.

In the current review article, the researchers noted that research has advanced beyond the role of individual nutrients, supplements and foods in disease to MNT, which they describe as a multidisciplinary adjuvant form of medical practice.

According to the researchers, cause and effect is rarely observed with diet/nutrition and dermatologic conditions. Rather, associations — some of them compelling — have been drawn between diet and outcomes including disease severity and the number of conditions experienced by a patient.

The review article covers a cross-section of food groups and supplements, from various carbohydrates, proteins and fats, to linoleic acids and eicosapentaenoic acids (EPAs), to simple and complex sugars, to vitamins ranging from beta-carotene to zinc. Charts detail how excesses or deficiencies of these foods and supplements can affect overall and dermatologic health.

Disease-specific information is also included, with dietary advice for acne, atopic dermatitis, melanoma, psoriasis, rosacea and wound care included.

Looking closer at specific associations, the researchers observed a link between high glycemic index foods and acne. They reported that immunoglobulin E (IgE)-related allergies were associated with AD, and that weight loss and improved waist circumference may improve psoriasis.

Eliminating hot and spicy foods may benefit patients with rosacea, whereas increased protein intake may speed up the healing process for wounds, they wrote.

Regarding melanoma, an anti-inflammatory, nutrient dense diet is recommended.

Cartwright noted that over 25 years of being a dietitian, presentations at dermatology conferences have focused largely on linking diet or nutrition with worsening of skin disorders, but rarely have discussions focused on improvement or practical how-to advice for the patient. “This is where MNT comes in,” she said. “It is a collaborative approach between the dermatology physician and registered dietitian to tackle skin disorders from a scientific and personalized medicine prospective, using the latest evidence-based medicine and counseling strategies that foster lasting nutritional changes and produce meaningful clinical outcomes.


“Nutritional advice without practical counseling usually goes nowhere with the patient,” she added. – by Rob Volansky

Disclosure: Cartwright reports she is a speaker for Abbott Nutrition.