Tag Archives: Skin

Eczema Experience

We recently had a stand at the Gluten Free Show in Christchurch and talked to a large number of people about the role of Flax Seed oil on food allergies and Flax Seed fibre on bowel, prostate and breast health.

We saw one horrifying sight – a very restless and upset two year old being lugged around by a very young mum. The wee boy had terrible red, angry, scaly eczema all over the visible bits of his skin – apparently his skin is all like this.

Having been through this experience myself I can imagine what life is like for the whole family – not fun.

I was fortunate to find the solution for Oliver and my family, which is why I now make the best Flax Seed oil in the world and continue to use it regularly.

So we dragged this mother over and I had a good chat to her about how important Omega 3 in the diet is and this was the probable cause of her little boys terrible eczema– she knew nothing about nutrition. We also gave the little boy a taste of a Flax Seed oil smoothie which he loved.

Having found that applying the oil direct to the skin took the itch out for Oliver, I rubbed a bit of Flax Seed oil onto his red and angry ankle. About half an hour later I happened to run into them further around the show – his ankle was already looking better – the scalyness was gone and red was looking less angry.

For those of you with milk allergies, another great way to get Omega-3 and sulphur protein (more later) into the whole family is Abby’s Flax Seed oil mayo.

If you want to get the recipe for our flax seed oil smoothie or Abby’s flax seed oil mayo, make sure you check out the recipe page on this blog or check out my other blog entries- both are featured as tips of the day.

If you know anyone with a child with eczema like this “pass it on”.


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Filed under skin conditions

Pamper your skin

How to get that Healthy Glow

All of us want to have that healthy glow that comes with radiant good health and vast sums of money are spent on trying to create that look using cosmetics.

There is an increasing realisation that the best way to get that healthy glow is to look at the nutritional factors missing in your diet that could be supplemented to create that beauty from within that comes with real wellness – enter the concept of neutraceuticals!

One of the key neutraceuticals is flax seed oil, because usually the first place you see a lack of Omega-3 is on your skin or hair and nails.

Typically lack of Omega-3 can manifest as one or more of the following. 

• Dry, scaly or bumpy skin
• Eczema
• Acne
• Dermatitis
• Psoriasis
• Slow healing
• Dry lack lustre hair
• Dry brittle nails

Why can this happen?

The ALA in flax seed oil is a key building block for healthy cell membranes. So if your body is lacking in Omega 3 it will use whatever fats you are consuming to build your skin cells – this can lead to “leaky membranes”, which is a primary cause of allergic conditions such as eczema.

One of the characteristics of ALA is that the molecule is not straight like a saturated fat molecule, but is kinked because of the presence of three double bonds.

This unique shape means that it will pack neatly into the cell wall and create a membrane that is flexible, but retains its integrity.

Skin cells made from “bad fats” are likely to have compromised integrity and so be susceptible to toxins and irritants in the environment such as pollen, soaps, foods and various chemical allergens.

Can Omega-3 help in other ways?

The prostaglandins, which dampen down inflammation, are made from Omega 3, so taking flax seed oil also helps regulate inflammation, which is important in skin conditions such as Psoriasis.

What is some of the science around Omega-3 and skin?

In a recent study with healthy women with sensitive or dry skin, supplementing with only 2.2g per day of flax seed oil reduced skin reddening after applying a chemical irritant.

Skin hydration was increased and trans dermal water loss was reduced, with the improvement continuing throughout the 12-week experiment.

The incidence of skin roughness and scaling were also reduced. Borage oil, which is rich in Omega-6, was not as effective as flax seed oil.

A follow-up study confirmed the same greater effectiveness of the Omega-3 – flax seed oil compared to an Omega-6 oil and also measured an improvement in skin smoothness.

What is the best way to take flax seed oil to maximise the effect on my skin?

Make a delicous yoghurt smoothie

The ideal way to take flax seed oil is to make a yoghurt – flax seed oil – fresh fruit smoothie. These combine to make a delicious drink to start your day.

Cottage cheese spread/dip

Another alternative is to us a whizz stick to mix up low fat cottage cheese and flax seed oil and add herbs or spices to make a spread or dip.

The important part of either of these recipe ideas is to make sure the flax oil is mixed at high speed to create an emulsion or “lipoprotein” that can be absorbed straight from your stomach into your bloodstream and from there into your cell walls.

The ALA in flax seed oil and the sulphur amino acids found in abundance in milk protein combine in your cell wall to become a major component of the oxygen transport system into your cell.

The big bonus from this is, not only do you maximise the benefits for your skin, but most people experience an energy lift as well.

I have a friend who was recovering from ME who had experienced a useful lift in energy from taking flax seed oil straight. His wife then started taking the oil in a smoothie to help with her cellulite and fed him some smoothie as well and within 2 days he had another lift in energy.

Massage oil

The ultimate way to recieve flax oil for your skin is to get your imtimate partner to give you a full body massage.

Being light and non sticky it makes a lovely oil to use for a massage and leaves your skin feeling wonderful – I liken it to feeling like you have just swum in a mountain stream.

The essential fatty acids are readily absorbed into your skin to truly nourish your body.

After your massage you do need to wait until all the oil is absorbed or have a quick rinse under the shower, otherwise the high levels of carotene pigment that give it the characteristic yellow colour could stain your clothes.


Filed under How Omega-3's work

What are the Omega-3 fats?

Omega 3’s are one of the two Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs – see Omega-6 blog) and the one you will hear most about in the media.
It is called an EFA because your body is not able to make the primary Omega-3 (alpha linolenic acid – ALA – see diagram) from other fats, so you have to get your supplies of Omega-3 in your food.

The richest source of Omega-3 (ALA), readily available in stores, is flax seed oil (61%). Flax seed oil also contains 16% Omega-6 and 14% Omega-9.
(Due to crazy labeling laws in NZ we are not permitted to put the Omega-6 content on our labels, unless we have more than 40% Omega-6, so our labels do not show the Omega-6 content).
Organic flax oil is produced by a sustainable process (unlike fish oil).

The only other readily available plant oils with useful amounts of Omega-3 are hemp seed oil and walnut oil (See Table).
There are a few unusual nut and seed oils which do contain useful quantities of ALA , but they are not readily available and are expensive.
You will get a little Omega-3 out of free range or grass-fed meats and green leafy vegetables – so be like Pop-eye and eat your spinach

You recall (from the Omega-6 Blog) that our bodies evolved with an equal 1 : 1 ratio of Omega-6 : Omega-3, but most people now have a ratio of between 10 to 30 : 1 in their body – way too much Omega-6.
So how do you get enough Omega-3 in your diet to get your body back into the balance it needs to be WELL?

If you look at the Omega-6 : Omega-3 ratio of what are often considered the Omega-3 oils, the flax seed oil is the only one with more Omega-3 than Omega-6, so eating more hemp and walnut oil is not going to do much to improve the balance of Omega-6 : Omega-3 in your body.

So flax seed oil is the only readily available source of ALA which has the potential to reduce the major imbalance of Omega-6 and Omega-3 in your body and get it back to close to 1:1, as nature designed you to be.
That does not mean you should take straight flax seed oil every day for the rest of your life – that has the potential to be just as bad for you as too much Omega-6. Once your balance is restored then you need an oil like our Flax Balance to maintain wellness.

There is a lot of work showing very strongly that it’s not enough to treat lack of Omega-3 like – say a shortage of zinc and take a zinc supplement.
You need to get flax oil into your diet (rather than a couple of fish oil capsules) to get your Omega-6 and Omega-3 in BALANCE to get the major benefits to your wellness (more on this shortly).
The secondary Omega-3’s are obtained from plant oils like blackcurrant and from fish oils – more on that to come.

David Musgrave

Check out the best oils at http://functionalwholefoods.co.nz/

    Tip of the Day

Eat free range or organic eggs – they will give you useful amounts of Omega-3.

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Filed under Good Fats and Bad Fats, How Omega-3's work

Why am I blogging about Omega 3’s?

I am David Musgrave. About 20 years ago I was working as an Agricultural Scientist and the youngest of my four sons, Oliver, was 2 years old.

His older brother, Christopher, had a bad reaction to his 2 year old measles vaccination – he got bad eczema and became allergic to a whole lot of foods. By the time Oliver came along Christopher’s eczema had reduced, but it had transmuted into bad asthma, to the extent that he was hospitalised several times.

You would think that a reasonably intelligent person would connect the dots and say Christopher had a bad reaction to his measles vaccination – we won’t get Oliver immunized!

We did do a bit of reading; but information was not as freely available 21 years ago without the web! The pressure from our doctor to have Oliver vaccinated was pretty high – so he had his shot – very bad move. Within a week he had a severe case of measles and became allergic to a whole lot of common foods. The worst thing was that he started having really bad eczema, which meant he scratched himself to the point of bleeding day and night (more on Oliver’s story soon).

Fast forward two and a half years and many angst – filled sleepless nights later some-one gave us some Canadian flax seed oil and Oliver stopped scratching within days – what relief! (It may not be this fast for everyone! – it can take a couple of weeks.)

That was the beginning of my journey towards understanding as much as I could about Omega-3 fats and wellness.

Being a scientist I wanted to know how and why it worked. It also meant I had the skills to troll through the books on the subject and get into the medical literature. So over the last twenty years I have developed a deep understanding of the role of the Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) and many other factors involved in health and wellness.

This inspired me to start my own business in Geraldine – ‘Functional Whole Foods NZ Ltd’! manufacturing flax seed oil, and, if I say so myself, we make the best flax seed oil in the world – high in Omega-3 and great taste. Eighteen years later we are the Number One New Zealand brand and stock 860 stores, exporting to 6 countries and growing!

Over the years we have come across a lot of information in books and on web-sites / blogs / forums that is just plain wrong!! Science mis-quoted, skewed, or even ignored – old data, or misrepresentation of ALA as an effective Omega-3 fat.

For the last 22 years I have also been an organic farmer at Waihi Bush Organic Farm – a 120 hectare piece of paradise on the fertile Canterbury Plains (more on that later).

On a personal note, in 2009 I was fortunate enough to be selected to join 300 other people from the Asia/Pacific region to be trained by Al Gore and others to be a presenter about climate change. To talk to people in the community, to help them understand the issues, and make changes in their lives to live more sustainably. Governments cannot force the changes necessary – they have to come from the ground up.

So some of my passions in life which I will be blogging on, are:
• getting correct information out there on Omega-3 and
• balancing essential fatty acids for nutrition and wellness

Other passions such as Tango and other fun things, I will try and leave out of my blogs.

Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy what I have to say!

David Musgrave

Check out the best oils at http://functionalwholefoods.co.nz/


Filed under How Omega-3's work