I've noticed that whenever I use flax seed oil I get some acne. Obviously, it sucks. Has anyone noticed this? Is there a correlation, or is it coincidence? I love me my healthy fats but not a big acne fan lol
Sorry, I don't know about the acne connection. But I doubt many here would consider flax oil to be "healthy" or "paleo". The view on flax oil has changed a bit in the last couple of years after it was found out that very little of the ALA is converted to DHA/EPA in the body. But Mark Sisson says it better than me:
After reading the first post, I threw away my flax oil pills and switched to fish/krill.
Some people get acne relief from dropping dairy, others from wheat (or both). When I'm strict paleo (which includes dairy), my acne clears up. By strict, I mean grass fed, organic, no veg/seed oils and no cheats.
YES I noticed a correlation between acne and flax seed oil.
After eating 1 table spoon of flax seed every morning my acne became very bad. First my skin became very soft and smooth but after 2 weeks I got cystic acne on my neck and shoulders. It disappeared again when I stopped eating flax seed.
I have heard of similar experiences on acne.org
This sentence from Karna's answer "(After eating 1 table spoon of flax seed) First my skin became very soft and smooth but after 2 weeks I got cystic acne on my neck and shoulders" got me thinking about my own experience with flax oil.
i use to take flax oil a long time a go but stopped when hearing/reading all the negative info. after stopping the flax oil my skin got drier, was there a link....no idea.
nothing else i tried seemed to improve my skin quality much (foods or supplements).
Then after reading various positive stories on flaxseed oil over at Seth's Blog i thought, what the hell, i'll give it another go. low & behold my dry skin reduced & my skin got softer/suppler, was there a link....started to think so. note. i have never been one to get acne, & for me taking flax oil never resulted in me getting acne.
anyway, then i gave up the flax oil again & my skin got drier again. i wish i knew why flax oil seemed to improve my skin, then i may be able improve my skin quality without having to resort to flax oil.
In my particular case if it is the flax oil, i do not believe it to be the omega-3's that are having the positive effect. As i have tried fish oil, fish oil pills as well as eating plenty of oily fish without seeing any improvement in my skin.
I no longer supplement with fish oil or pills, just eat oily fish.
i'm picturing that if there was a scale of skin types (skin structures), my skin structure would be at the other end of the scale to the skin of someone who gets acne from taking flax oil. For them, taking flax oil pushes them in to the 'danger' zone.
May be someone out there has a theory (or two) as to why taking flax oil could possibly improve skin quality (in my case). Could there be some other mechanism? other than omega-3's?
Edit: hold off any comments, i may as well make this a new question
Yes: flax is a potent enough source of plant estrogen to disrupt your normal cycles and cause other side effects associated with fluctuating estrogen levels (i.e. acne, bloating, emotional disturbances, etc.). If you have any disorders that are hormone sensitive, use flax seed sparingly and with a good deal of caution. It can make conditions like poly-cystic ovarian syndrome and fibroids much worse.
Not all people react to flax similarly. The ability to metabolize the flax and use the estrogen varies from person to person. Some people simply don't have the intestinal flora or innate enzymes to efficiently break down the plant estrogen very well and those folks simply urinate/defecate out much of the phytoestrogen unused. Others have bodies that are masters at breaking down and absorbing plant estrogen and must be very cautious about flax consumption. Just as brown eyes aren't superior to blue, neither body type is better - we're all simply different.
I (unknowingly) fell into the later group and happen to metabolize phytoestrogen from flax very well. I was eating 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground flax per day with my oatmeal in the mornings. I did this for about eight weeks, with no apparent side effects outside of a mysterious case of acne (I'm 37 and hadn't struggled with acne before). On week nine I went out of town for a three week vacation and left my flax at home. I'd finished my last normal (5 day) menstrual cycle just a few days prior to departure. In spite of that, I started bleeding 7 days after being off flax. The bleeding continued for two weeks. During that span of time I saw my regular physician, an OB/GYN, and had 3 pelvic exams and an ultrasound to rule out infections, endometriosis, fibroids, cancer, pregnancy, etc. The bleeding then ceased - only to pick up again 11 days later and continue for another 2 weeks. Long story short: the culprit was flax. It took me almost 3 months to stabilize.
My physician recommended that if I were determined to eat flax, that I do it sparingly and infrequently. I'm abiding by that guideline and have returned to my happy healthy self. Best of luck to everyone out there trying to figure out what's best for their own body. Hope this information benefits someone else!
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