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August 5, 1968

Low-Tryptophan Diet in Treatment of Psoriasis

Author Affiliations

From the departments of dermatology and medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia and the Clinical Research Center, Philadelphia General Hospital.

JAMA. 1968;205(6):345-346. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03140320039012

Of all the dietary regimens proposed for the treatment of psoriasis, none has excited more public interest than the turkey diet low in tryptophan recently reported by Spiera and Lefkovits.1 The authors recorded dramatic clearing in four patients with long-standing psoriasis within two weeks after instituting treatment with the "tryptophan deficient" diet.

The following case reports show failure of response in three hospitalized patients with psoriasis who were given a diet believed to be low in tryptophan. Analysis of the dietary constituents revealed that turkey, the main protein component of the diet, actually contained significant amounts of tryptophan.

Report of Cases.—Case 1.—  A 16-year-old white boy had disabling pustular psoriasis for the past two years. The disease was first observed during infancy and then subsided without recurrence until the age of 13. During the past two years he had required hospitalization several times because of generalized pustular