We interviewed Todd Bello, the founder and CEO of ‘Overcoming Psoriasis’ who shared his perspective and personal experience using various medical treatments, biologics, and natural therapies to manage his psoriasis.
In this interview we discuss biologics, which are medications used for the treatment of moderate to severe psoriasis. Synthesised in living cells, they are designed to target specific parts of the immune system which reduce the inflammatory response associated with psoriasis . Like any medication, there is always the possibility of adverse effects and long-term health impacts. For more information about biologics, seek advice from a licensed health professional.
- In your personal experience using and interacting with people who take biologics and other pharmaceuticals to treat psoriasis, what are some of the common concerns?
With biologics, everyone is concerned of the side effects, because it is a medication that they are injecting into their body. Generally, 50% of the population has a phobia of needles and these medications are self-injected subcutaneously. You can get needles that automatically inject (called autoinjectors) or prefilled syringes. Syringes require a little more competence, but they’re less painful because the medication is administered gradually rather than all at once. There’s a little prep work, but pharmaceutical companies have easy instructions that you can follow. The results are night and day- a person covered with psoriasis can potentially be clear in 3 weeks. There's no guarantee that these prescription medications will work for them… it’s really trial-and-error and you have to work with your doctor. For the most part these medications are safe and effective.
- In general, is the community satisfied with the information they are provided about the possible health and side effects of these drugs?
The consensus in the ‘Overcoming Psoriasis’ community is that while most people are concerned of the side effects, but they are willing to put the fear aside to obtain positive results. What do they have to lose?
In my situation, I was basically cornered by my disease and I had no alternative because my quality of life was terrible. I put myself in clinical trials and I researched the medications through the National Psoriasis Foundation and saw how promising they were. I was one of the first patients to experience biological medication for treatment of psoriasis.
Some of the original drugs were taken off the market due to safety concerns, but they’ve collected a lot of data over the past 20 years, which gives our community some peace of mind about injecting these medications. Targeting a specific gene that’s responsible for inflammation is pretty incredible. Basically, I’ve been on many medications and when one fails, thankfully there are others to choose from. I am very thankful, for the most part I have been clear for 20 years. The science behind these medications is truly remarkable.
- Being an incurable, disfiguring condition there is a lot of desperation in the community to find solutions that help to keep psoriasis under control. More recently there has been more interest in natural solutions. Why do you think this is?
That’s a perfect word to use- desperate. Because we do become desperate. To my knowledge most people would rather go natural than use biologics or topical medications. But I, myself am thankful for those medications. If you can do it naturally, I encourage it. Many people will research natural remedies too. We have science that shows that diet, exercise, and some over the counter alternatives can be effective. For instance, I use Abundant Natural Health’s products, which contain magnesium and have been scientifically proven to help people with psoriasis. Besides it's recognized by the National Psoriasis Foundation. I use these products in conjunction with my biologics… it’s not just one treatment. I even use sunlight to keep my psoriasis at bay. For me many solutions give me my desired results.
- How would you suggest someone with psoriasis talk to their doctor about using natural or alternative therapies?
I’ve talked to my doctor in the past about the supplements that I take, and that I’m also using a product as a topical for my skin in conjunction with biologics. Most doctors are receptive to that conversation and want to know what other products you’re using for your skin. I think a doctor who is generally concerned about your health is going to want to know everything you do for your skin including diet, nutrition, exercise – that sort of thing. Psoriasis is a very complicated and frustrating disease, so we have to hit it from every angle. I think most doctors now have an open mind to other treatments, and they don’t have tunnel vision like they had in the past. Honestly if I was dealing with a doctor that had tunnel vision about natural products, I would steer clear of them.
- You mentioned using some products from Abundant Natural Health to help with your psoriasis?
I love the products and there are different ones for each variation of psoriasis. Years ago, I went to the Dead Sea. I went there twice before biologics and my mother had to lay out the money for me to get there because I was in a bad way. The Dead Sea is really concentrated with magnesium. Basically, if you have some type of skin infection, the magnesium is going to take care of that for you. I love that it’s a sort of antiseptic and it’s also taming the inflammation. These products, and the new ‘Element’ drink will help people heal on the outside and the inside as well. The Dead Sea was an amazing experience for me, but I’m happy that I don’t have to go there because it’s very expensive. With Abundant Natural Health’s products, you get that experience without travelling to Israel.
- Where are you at now with your psoriasis?
Looking back from when I was first diagnosed, it's been a roller coaster ride. There are many misconceptions about the disease. Our disease is relentless and in severe cases can be disabling. Just for the record, Psoriasis is not contagious and it affects 125 million people globally. You have to be predisposed genetically in order to manifest the disease. Psoriasis is persistent and there is no cure.
Now due to the knowledge I've gained over the past 29 years of living with the disease, I'm able to maintain my quality of life. Being that Psoriasis is a chronic life changing diagnoses, it doesn't have to be all that dreadful. Yeah, the disease is dreadful, but you’ve got to make the best of it. Roll with the punches. Everyday there are little reminders, but for the most part I can enjoy my life at this point. Gather a good support network with people who are going through the same life challenges. Their experiences give us hints about our own disease. Implement some of techniques learned and hopefully you too will find a solution to this insidious disease.
Disclaimer: This site does not provide medical advice. Todd Bello and the author of this blog are not medical professionals. This blog is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. By providing the information contained herein we are not diagnosing, treating, curing, mitigating, or preventing any type of disease of medical condition. Patients should not use the information contained in this blog to self-diagnose or self-treat any health-related condition. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read in this blog. Before beginning any type of natural, integrative, or conventional treatment regimen, it is advisable to seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional. Information is gathered and shared from reputable sources; however, Abundant Natural Health is not responsible for errors or omissions in reporting or explanation.
- Zeichner, J. (2020). Behind the counter: Biologics for psoriasis. Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/biologics-for-psoriasis. Accessed 15 Jan 2021.