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Foods to be avoided in Darier disease

4 Foods to be avoided in Darier disease ; Also get to know why

Darier’s disease is a rare genetic skin disorder that affects individuals on a cellular level, leading to various skin abnormalities. While this condition has no cure, its symptoms can be managed effectively through careful attention to one’s diet. Certain dietary choices can either alleviate or exacerbate the symptoms of Darier’s disease.

In this article, we will explore the foods that should be avoided in Darier’s disease, as well as the reason why these foods should be avoided along with the discussion of its cellular chemistry.


According to a study, in Darier disease there is a deficiency or decreased activity of an enzyme delta-6-desaturase. The function of this enzyme is to convert Essential fatty acids (linoleic acid etc) to their respective metabolites. 

Due to this decreased activity of the delta-6-desaturase enzyme system, the metabolites of these essential fatty acids become deficient. And then this deficiency leads to skin manifestations of Darier disease like hyperkeratosis, scaling etc.

Foods to be avoided in Darier disease:

As we have discussed already, the D6D system is ineffective in Darier disease so the diet rich in linoleic acid leads to its accumulation in various tissues because it is not being metabolized efficiently. 

It accumulates in various places including adipose (fatty) tissue, skeletal muscle, red blood cells, and many other cells. The most important action you can take is to minimize your consumption of foods containing linoleic acid. 

So here are the foods that contain excess linoleic acid and these foods should be avoided in Darier disease: 

Plant Oils: 

Plant oils, while commonly used in cooking and food production, can pose health risks due to their high content of linoleic acid. It is now believed that plant oils have the largest amount of linoleic acid in them. 

So, one should consider reducing intake of products which have the below mentioned plant oils written in their ingredients. 

The plant oils, rich in linoleic acid, which should be avoided in darier disease are: 

  • Primrose oil (74%)
  • Safflower oil (71%)
  • Grapeseed oil (71%)
  • Sunflower oil (66%)
  • Borage oil (39%)
  • Avocado oil (18%)
  • Corn oil (60%)
  • Olive Oil (21%)
  • Soybean oil (55%)
  • Cottonseed oil (53%)
  • Peanut oil (30%)
  • Rice bran oil (30%)
  • Canola oil (21%)

Hemp Seeds:

Hemp seeds are the seeds of the hemp plant, scientifically known as Cannabis sativa. Hemp seeds could be a popular and nutritious food choice for many, but individuals with Darier’s disease should exercise caution when consuming them. 

Hemp seeds are known to contain a relatively high amount of linoleic acid. Consuming excess linoleic acid in such cases may exacerbate the symptoms and potentially contribute to skin issues by causing excess inflammation. 

So it is advisable to avoid excessive consumption of foods/products containing hemp seeds.


Walnuts are known for their nutritional benefits, but they also contain a significant amount of linoleic acid, with approximately 11 grams per ounce. While linoleic acid is an essential omega-6 fatty acid needed for various homeostatic functions, excessive consumption of it can potentially have negative health effects.

Consuming an excessive amount of linoleic acid, especially in the context of a diet already high in omega-6 fatty acids, may lead to an imbalance in the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids. This imbalance towards omega-6 fatty acids linoleic acid can promote inflammation and increase the risk of symptoms of darier disease.

Peanut butter: 

As peanut butter might seem like a convenient go-to snack for busy moments, but one has to be careful while eating it in order not to consume excess of it in excitement or addiction.

Moreover, the patients with darier disease have to be more than careful while eating peanut butter because it provides not only protein, iron, and magnesium but also includes an excess of linoleic acid which could be harmful. 

Why should linoleic acid foods be avoided in Darier disease?

Because of the defective metabolism of linoleic acid in darier disease, there is an increased chance of linoleic acid amounts to rise to hazardous levels. Linoleic acid is basically the precursor of arachidonic acid which in turn produces a lot of inflammatory cytokines (e.g leukotrienes).  

So, excess linoleic acid means excess inflammation which contributes not only to skin problems of darier disease but also to other chronic diseases as well. 

Moreover, excessive intake of the pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acid linoleic acid lead to a decrease in anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, ultimately resulting in more inflammation and worsening the existing imbalance.

The main adverse effect of excessive linoleic acid is inflammation which leads to oxidative stress, tissue damage, and mitochondrial dysfunction which eventually causes cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease. 

Moreover, other chronic illnesses such as cancer, dementia, obesity, and diabetes have also been linked to the presence of oxidized metabolites of linoleic acid.


In light of the potential health risks of high linoleic acid intake associated with darier disease, it is essential to adopt a dietary approach that minimizes the consumption of this fatty acid.

A key strategy in achieving this goal is to eliminate or significantly reduce the use of processed and packaged foods because most of them contain it.

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