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Flax seed oil and skin health

by (4458)
Updated about 2 hours ago
Created September 10, 2012 at 5:34 AM

This answer from Karna....."(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 (this was in reference to the Flax seed oil and acne PH question which Karna answered).

Anyway, then i gave up the flax oil again & my skin got drier again (this is where i am at now, ie. i do not currently take flax oil).
I wish i knew why flax oil seemed to improve my skin, then i may be able improve my skin quality without having to return to flax oil (i am not considering doing this atm btw).
In my particular case if it is the flax oil, i do not believe it to be related to epa or dha fatty acids. 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 acne '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 epa or dha?

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4458 · September 16, 2013 at 5:15 AM

test comment, ignore @daz

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
4458 · September 11, 2012 at 8:04 AM

+1 for the great links, thx

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
4458 · September 11, 2012 at 8:03 AM

thx, great links

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2030 · September 11, 2012 at 5:05 AM

Ya, sorry I should have said to just try it for a bit and keeping pufas low is important for long term health as you know they do oxidize and too much 6 to 3 is not good. The report does say AA is good/essential and DHA may be too(evidence is thin) but we really don't need too much of either. I could be way off with the cause but I hope it helps you out some. Here's a link to some more info: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/skin/EFA/index.html . http://paleohacks.com/questions/21964/too-much-fish-oil#axzz268KUIjkM

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4458 · September 11, 2012 at 3:06 AM

thx Colin. so does that report say that AA "is good", i always thought that AA (an omega-6 fatty acid) was deemed inflammatory & something you should limit. tho now you've got me thinking about the non 03's that are in flax, linoleic acid (o6 ~ 17%), oleic acid (o9 ~ 15%), palmitic acid (sat ~ 7%) and stearic acid (sat ~ 4%). The major fatty acid in flax oil is alpha linolenic acid (o3 ~ 55%). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linseed_oil.

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4458 · September 11, 2012 at 12:23 AM

i wonder if one or more of the 'higher level' o3 fatty acids could play a more direct role in skin health; Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)/Stearidonic acid (SDA)/Eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA) (rather than just epa & dha). tho i have been unable to dig up any studies on the topic

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
4458 · September 11, 2012 at 12:23 AM

i wonder if one or more of the 'higher level' o3 fatty acids could play a more direct role in skin health; Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)/Stearidonic acid (SDA)/Eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA) (rather than epa & dha). tho i have been unable to dig up any studies on the topic

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4458 · September 11, 2012 at 12:19 AM

i wonder if one or more of the 'higher level' o3 fatty acids could also be a factor in skin health; Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)/Stearidonic acid (SDA)/Eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA). tho i have been unable to dig up any studies

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4458 · September 10, 2012 at 11:52 PM

may be one or more of the 'higher level' o3 fatty acids are a factor in skin health; Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), Stearidonic acid (SDA), Eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA). (rather than just epa & dha).

543a65b3004bf5a51974fbdd60d666bb
4458 · September 10, 2012 at 11:50 PM

may be one or more of the 'higher level' o3 fatty acids are a factor in skin health; Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), Stearidonic acid (SDA), Eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA). (not just epa & dha).

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3 Answers

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2030 · September 11, 2012 at 2:03 AM

I'd wager it's from the linoleic acid (that gets converted to AA in the body) in the flax oil. Taking fish oil and eating lots of fish will give you AA but also EPA that can interfere with AA metabolism. So, you could try eating some more liver. If you have an extra 15 bucks kickin around I'd recommend Chris Masterjohn's pufa report I'm reading it right now, that's why your question peaked my interest.

http://www.cholesterol-and-health.com/PUFA-Special-Report.html

7a6529ea25b655132fe58d793f95547a
2030 · September 11, 2012 at 5:05 AM

Ya, sorry I should have said to just try it for a bit and keeping pufas low is important for long term health as you know they do oxidize and too much 6 to 3 is not good. The report does say AA is good/essential and DHA may be too(evidence is thin) but we really don't need too much of either. I could be way off with the cause but I hope it helps you out some. Here's a link to some more info: http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/skin/EFA/index.html . http://paleohacks.com/questions/21964/too-much-fish-oil#axzz268KUIjkM

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4458 · September 11, 2012 at 8:03 AM

thx, great links

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4458 · September 11, 2012 at 3:06 AM

thx Colin. so does that report say that AA "is good", i always thought that AA (an omega-6 fatty acid) was deemed inflammatory & something you should limit. tho now you've got me thinking about the non 03's that are in flax, linoleic acid (o6 ~ 17%), oleic acid (o9 ~ 15%), palmitic acid (sat ~ 7%) and stearic acid (sat ~ 4%). The major fatty acid in flax oil is alpha linolenic acid (o3 ~ 55%). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linseed_oil.

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4458 · September 11, 2012 at 8:04 AM

+1 for the great links, thx

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795 · September 10, 2012 at 8:55 AM

Ehh I doubt its the OMEGA-3, that made your skin better, since in flax seed omega 3 are in the parent form of ALA, so for our body to make it into useable omega 3's (DHA/EPA) we have to convert it. I think we do the conversion using delta 6 desaturase and at optimal conversion at best our bodies can convert about 4-6 percent of ala to dha/epa.

I personally don't do flaxseed, don't like the taste and don't like the cyanogenic glycosides, phytic acid, linatin, and trypsin inhibitors.

Are you sure it was during flaxseed? It seems like when people add flaxseed (they do it while simultaneously improving their diet in other significant way)

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-2 · September 15, 2012 at 3:26 AM

Oil from seeds of the flax plant, also known as linseed oil, can be taken orally or applied topically to improve your skin. When used as a topical treatment, the oil hydrates dry skin and locks in skin's natural moisture.

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