Bile salts are detergent-like chemicals produced by the liver and stored in the gall bladder. Bile salts help absorb certain components of food, while they prevent the absorption of other food components.
Bile salts are available as a nutritional supplement in the United States and other countries, for example in the form of freeze-dried ox bile.
Several promising studies have been conducted using bile salts as a medicine for treating psoriasis. One theory is that many psoriasis patients have low bile production, which reduces the guts protective mechanisms. Toxins enter the blood through the gut, which triggers an immune response, inflammation and abnormal cell growth in the skin.
In a study in Hungary, 800 patients received bile salts for a period of 1 to 8 weeks. Almost 79% of that test group experienced complete remission of psoriasis, while only 25% of the control group had a similar improvement. The bile therapy led to long-term improvement: a follow-up two years after the initial study found that nearly 80% of the patients that received bile salts were in remission, while only 7% of the control group could say the same. [Pathophysiology. 2003 Dec; 10(1): pp.57-61]