Uncommon allergies – Flax seed!


Allergy Foodie is so excited to have its first reader contribution – thank you Ali! I wrote an article about flax seed allergy a few months back and since then Ali has helped me answer the many questions other readers have had about this uncommon allergy. But for her I would have never known that microwaveable neck /back/foot wraps may contain flax seeds and cause a reaction in those people who are severely allergic to flax seed. Her input has been so invaluable that I requested her to write a guest post about flax seed allergy. What follows is her personal journey – the symptoms, the many missteps towards isolating the food that caused her allergic reaction, online resources and much more.

April of 2004 was my first encounter with (what would take nearly a year to discover) a severe food allergy. Back then, I actually thought that it was food poisoning and didn’t give it much credence.

At the time, I was in excellent shape, working at a women’s fitness center and trying to eat healthier. I would suffer from hideous menstrual cramps but didn’t like to take anti-inflammatories because they would wreak havoc on my stomach. Someone had told me that flax seed oil was a natural anti-inflammatory, and also had other health benefits, so I decided to try it. The problems to come weren’t immediately noticeable because I didn’t take the capsules all the time. However, I did observe that I would get nauseous for some unknown reason and but wrote it off as being related to having my periods. Then all of a sudden I started to get really sick after eating certain foods. I would get extremely nauseous and have violent pain in my stomach like a knife stabbing my gut and twisting.  I was never able to throw up and had to take many trips to the emergency room, but each time, they said they couldn’t find anything wrong with me. When they asked me to describe the pain, I kept telling them that it felt as though I was being poisoned. I went to a gastroenterologist to have an endoscopy, among other tests, but again, he found nothing wrong. He then sent me to another GI specialist. The specialist said it looked as if I had idiopathic gastroparesis (http://digestive.niddk.nih.gov/ddiseases/pubs/gastroparesis/), a serious stomach disorder. After seeing another specialist in Philadelphia, and then a surgeon, they suggested that I have a stomach pacer put in. At this point in time, I weighed only 104 lbs and looked anorexic because I had become fearful of eating anything that might make me sick and would send me to the ER. Thankfully, I had subscribed to a support group on line and after reading the stories from the other members; I insisted that this was not the disorder that I had, so I refused to let them perform the surgery.

When I got violently sick one day after having lunch at work which resulted in having to go to the ER yet again, I called the restaurant from which our lunch had come from.  I knew that the salad could not have been the source of the problem, and, at this point, I already had my suspicions about flax seed.  However, every doctor I would bring up the flax seed issue with would just wave me off and say they didn’t think that could be the cause. I don’t think any of them believed that something that is normally so good for you could be causing all of this pain.  When the restaurant returned my phone call, and confirmed my suspicions about what was in the roll that their employee had originally told me was whole wheat, I knew I had found the source of my problems. The roll, as it turned out, was whole grain, and it did indeed contain flax seed.  I went back in my head and thought of everything that had ever made me sick, and, one by one, the answer s led back to the same component –  “flax seed”. My trips to the ER were caused by:  a granola sample in Costco that stopped me in my tracks, when, within seconds of eating it, I got that strange metallic taste in my mouth; a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that I had made on 7 grain bread, instead of my usual white bread; the finger sandwiches at mom’s birthday party made of whole grain bread; the whole grain pretzels, the flat bread sandwich and so on…

When I finally went to an allergist, she confirmed it, and I was more than happy to go to my other doctors and tell them “I told you so!”. As a result, now, I have to read everything before I eat it, and if there are no listed ingredients available, I don’t eat it. There is a lot more to this story besides the pain and the year it took to discover my real problem. There was the medication I was given for a stomach disorder I didn’t have that caused me to spiral into a major depression (a “RARE” side effect), the loss of money from having to drop out of massage therapy school because of the depression.  The anti-depressants that didn’t work because I was still taking the medicines that were causing the depression. Researching my medicines and finding the answer to my depression to be the medication I was given for the disorder I didn’t have. This was something that both my doctor and my pharmacist should have easily figured out if they actually knew what the side effects of the first medication was. I went through hell.

One of the biggest problems I had was that when I would look up flax seed on the Internet, all I could find were the benefits of taking it. Then one day, I finally had the clarity to look up flax seed allergy and found this under the heading of “Safety” in this article by the Mayo Clinic: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/flaxseed/NS_patient-flaxseed Nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain are reported in two individuals shortly after taking flaxseed products by mouth; these reactions may have been caused by allergy.

So, I hope by sharing this, someone will look up the words “flax seed allergy” and see this story, saving them months, or even years of unnecessary pain, misdiagnosis’, or, God forbid, something worse resulting from a misdiagnosis. I can offer this suggestion to you: If you feel like you may have an allergy to something that is uncommon, don’t wait, go to an allergist. If something unknown is making you sick, start a food diary and know everything that is in what you are eating so you have proof that there is that one common factor. And, if a doctor makes a suggestion or diagnosis that you are not certain about, get a second, third, fourth opinion until you are sure, and comfortable that what they are telling you is true.  If I had not been so inquisitive and not done my own research, who knows what may have happened, or how much longer it may have taken to discover what was wrong. I wish you all the best of health.

317 thoughts on “Uncommon allergies – Flax seed!

  1. Wow! Ali, thanks for sharing your story. I am certain that there are a lot of undiagnosed allergies out there. This is the first I have heard of flax seed allergy.

  2. i also have a severe allergy to flax seed and would like to have all the info i can gather so i stop ingesting it by mistake…its a rather hidden ingredient.

    1. Thanks Elyse for visiting my blog 🙂 Flax seed has indeed bacome omnipresent – people (me included) add it to pretty much anything to enhance nutritional content. Wish you the very best.

  3. I really don’t want to use my epi-pen so try very hard not to ingest flax by accident. I read ingredients carefully — especially on crackers, cereals, and breads. There are also flax chips out now. In restaurants I ask the server what is in the bread. And if I’m not sure about it but want to try it, I take a tiny bite and chew very slowly. My throat will start to tingle before I swallow and I can spit it out before anything major happens.

  4. I hope this has helped people realize that not everything that is claimed to be “good for you”, actually is. And I hope this helps those people out there who may have this very real allergy be able to take the information to their doctor’s, who, sadly, may not believe they have this rare allergy. Thanks Anu for allowing me to share and also for having this invaluable web site.

  5. I’ve also got the allergy to flax and I’ve learned to be VERY cautious when buying food or eating out. Anything that says “multi-grain” or “Omega-3” is something that I scrutinize carefully.

    1. Hi Daryl,

      Thanks for visiting AllergyFoodie and sharing your story. You brought up 2 very important points:
      1) Omega 3 should be a red signal for people with flax seed allergy. It has often been touted as the best vegetarian source of Omega 3 fatty acids.
      2) Always carry Benadryl and Epipen. Mistakes are common with labeling, in restaurants and even in home-cooked meals. ‘Forearmed’ is the only way to stay safe.

      Best wishes,
      Anu

  6. Bunny,
    I’m not ceratincertain of the substitution that you’re looking for, but you can try grinding up walnuts since they are rich in Omega -3 and perhaps adding that to oatmeal in the morning.

    1. Daryl, good idea! I know it can sometimes be a pain to have to dissect everything, but you get used to it. And, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

  7. Your posting here may have saved myself from the same misery. I started taking Flax seed powder to help pre-menopause symptoms. It seems I have developed this same allergy and today was excruciating, very similar pain to what you described. I didn’t think about the flax seed until this morning after I immediately had pain after taking it. But I am also having severe diarrhea and then dehydration. I am going to go to the doctor today but will print your posting. I will let you know how it goes!

  8. Although it took me many months to figure out, I, too, have an allergy to flaxseed. In my case, about 20 to 30 minutes after ingesting, I get a pounding headache which is quickly followed by stomach pain, nausea, and vomitting. After vomitting, I feel completely better. It amazes me that even a tiny amount (less than 2% flaxseed in multigrain bread) causes this reaction. I am very cautious when buying anything labelled “multigrain” and scour the ingredient list to make sure it does not include flaxseed. I have never tried flaxseed oil for fear of a similar reaction.

  9. I have been aware of my allergy to flaxseed since 2005 when I ate one of my husband’s Cliff Bars and became sick with diarrhea, vomitting, and stomach cramping. I had never had food allergies or GI problems before this, and I knew it was from the Cliff Bar. I read the ingredients on the package and remember seeing flaxseed listed. I didn’t think anything about it until a few months later when I ate a multi-grain bagel and became so sick that I had to leave work. All the symptoms from the first time, plus headache, and a racing heart rate. Since then I have been very careful, but even Quaker oatmeal packets that I have eaten for years are now “New and improved” with flax-seed added…multi-grain was easy to stay away from, but butter with flaxseed added to it will be more and more difficult to monitor. My doctor thought I was crazy for thinking it was an allergy to flaxseed, but I know what I eat! My last episode happened last Sunday after a whole year of being careful and not having a reaction. The restaurant claims that they do not use flaxseed, but I truly believe that they must have used butter or another cooking ingredient which contained flaxseed, because I know the feeling now. It comes upon me very quickly and is the same feeling every time. I believe that more and more people will find that they have this allergy/intolerance as time goes on, they just haven’t narrowed it down to the particular source yet.

  10. Thanks for sharing your story, Ali. It’s amazing how similar your story is to my experience – symptoms, visits to ER, medical tests etc. I recently discovered my allergy to flax seed recently by being carefully aware of what I eat as you suggest.

  11. I went to the ER twice before I figured out flax was the one thing I had done in common that day. My blood pressure went to almost stroke level both times.I was given a prescription for a very high blood pressure med and told I would have to take it forever. Thankfully I figured it out first before I became dependent on them. I cannot even smell large quantities of flax without my BP going through the roof. I have to carry Benydrl or else drink a lot of water which helps, also apple cider vinegar mixed with water helps get rid of the symptoms . I hate flax.

  12. I too am VERY allergic to Flax seed and it took me 3 encounters over almost 2 years to pin it down. My first reaction was to a bare naked granola item (Banana Walnut flavored). My second was to a homemade pasta I made and third and final was a flax seed cracker. Each time the reaction was worse. Incredibly itchy throat and mouth, followed by wretching stomach pain/cold sweats and MULTIPLE trips to the bathroom. I too, never threw up though. I didn’t feel better for almost 48 hours the third time. I thought it might have been flax after the cracker episod, but I couldn’t figure out the homemade pasta dish I made. Then one day I was in the grocery store looking at pasta’s and I saw the (now dreaded) words High Omega 3’s on a Barilla pasta PLUS. That is when I put it all together. I went to the allergist and got tested. Sure enough, they confirmed it. Be VERY carefull because lately there are even more items with Flax Seed in them because of the benifits of Omega 3’s. I have seen them in regular cereals suddenly and even chicken nuggets! Anytime I see “high Omega 3’s” on the cover of the package that is a que for me to stay far, far away. I carry an epi pen now too and have to ask about pasta’s, rolls etc. I have a feeling more and more people will come forward with this allergy now that we are seeing it in more items. Good luck to anyone else dealing with this and my recommendation..KEEP the packages and keep a diary of your reactions and what you ate to try to determine what your allergy is.

    1. So glad I came across this article/comments. I had an allergic reaction to a Naked drink a couple of years ago and I blamed it on red algae because I figured it was the 1 thing I hadn’t had before, but now I wonder if it had flaxseed in it. I take the supplements all the time but would get sick if I had pasta,bread with whole grain/flaxseed in it. I felt like my family thought I was crazy because I was always getting sick from the food. thank you so much for your input! Its nice to know I’m not alone.

  13. I discovered my flax allergy quite a few years ago. Tonight I accidentally ingested flax in a “Whole Wheat Blend” pasta, which contained flax. My throat burned, then my stomach felt stabbed as the food hit. For the first time, my heart-rate accelarated as well. Thank you, Benadryl.

  14. I’ve suddenly developed a red, itchy rash on my face and the only thing I can think of that I’ve changed in the addition of flax to my diet… But no stomach pain or anything like the nightmare others have gone through. Do I need to look for another cause? Thanks so much!

    1. Hi, Nancy,
      I was looking for a substitute for flax seed in recipes, since I am allergic to flax seed. Unlike the life-threatening reactions of others who have posted on the site, my reactions to flax seed have been more like yours: I also develop a red, itchy (and hot) rash, usually on my arms or back. From there the rash can develop into eczema, either a short bout or longer ordeal.
      I hope you’ve long since confirmed that flax seed was/is the cause, or one of the foodstuffs, that causes you to develop a rash.

      Regards,

      Felicia

    2. I think I may have this same allergy as Nancy and Felica. My doctor is wondering if it is somehow causing me to be very sensitive to sunlight, because the only parts of my body that are red, swelling, itching, etc. are parts that are exposed to the sun — the back of my hands, arms below my sleeves (but not the inside of my arms, and my ankles. Again, thankfully, no stomach problems. However, my husband has had stomach pain after I scrambled eggs using Smart Balance spread made with flax seed oil.

  15. Thank goodness I came across this article! I thought I was going crazy! I have taken Flaxseed supplements for years for there health benefits. But I also started to get sick from certain foods and couldn’t figure out why. I had stomach pains, nausea. I too had narrow it down to flaxseed, whole grain. Which most whole grain items has flaxseed. I just had an endoscopy and I did tell my gastrointestinal doc about my suspicions but do not have the test results back yet. Do I need to see an allergist? Thank you for the article its nice to know I haven’t completely lost it.

  16. the omega 3 issue is interesting I have gotten sick from salmon before could this be from the omega 3 in it?

  17. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for posting this. (FYI, I actually searched “flax seed intolerance” and got here.) I have irritable bowel syndrome that is triggered by very specific things. One of those things seems to be flax seed, but I haven’t been able to get anyone to even agree that it’s possible. Internet searches, before this one, have likewise turned up nothing at all except benefits. I was beginning to think I was insane…

    I avoided flax seed for several years but after recently being advised to go gluten-free, I bought a gluten-free cereal with flax-seed, reasoning that maybe it wasn’t the flax-seed that was bothering me, but actually gluten. Within twenty minutes of eating it, I was doubled over with stomach pain, nausea and abdominal cramps, just like before. I’m pretty certain it’s the flax seed at this point. Your post really helps me feel like I’m not insane.

    I do wonder if there are other sources of omega-3s that might be safer…I took fish oil for a while, but I honestly can’t recall if my IBS was worse then or not. I hate the thought of trying it to find out and suffering through the effects if it doesn’t go well…I’d love to try chia as well but am similarly reluctant to risk the ill effects…

    1. Another good source of Omega 3 is soy butter, sometimes called soynut butter (a peanut butter substitute). Be careful, though, some brands add flaxseed oil to it so read the ingredients carefully. The best I’ve come across is made by Hilton Soy Foods in Canada. It’s carried under several different labels, including Walmart’s Great Value brand. Unfortunately, few stores carry it, so I’ve been ordering it from Amazon. Fortunately, I’ve known about my flax allergy since I was a child. I’ve had a lot of allergies all my life and I was tested then. But now I think I’m going to be more careful to watch out for hidden flax in foods. I’ve had a few episodes that I couldn’t explain.

  18. One day, I decide to give my daughter a healthy treat because she is intolerant to wheat, eggs, peanuts… (She also has dermatitis) So I gave her some ground flax… bad idea. Within a few minutes of ingesting, she started getting red around the mouth and her neck…

    Luckily, it did not seem to go past those symptoms… But since then, I’ve added it to my list of things to avoid.

  19. FYI…I’m filing a report today to the FDA safety program regarding the danger of additives like flaxseed being added to butterand other cooking ingredients. With flaxseed being added to this type of food, it will be increasingly difficult to monitor when eating out at restaurants, and homes of family and friends.
    If anyone is interested, go to the Department of Health and Human Services.
    You will find the FDA Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program, a “MedWatch” questionaire only takes a few minutes to fill out and mail.

    1. Did you get any results from the FDA. I called them today and discovered that they really do not look at allergies to flaxseed. They only look at the top 8 most common allergies. Companies are not required to list flax if it is part of other components.

      Thank you
      Cathy

  20. I found out that I was allergic to Flax about two years ago after eating whole grain bread and having this terrible reaction. My mouth started to itch and burn, then my throat, and the nausea and vomiting were horrible. Every time after that that I ate something with flax such as whole grain pasta, pizza, and protein shake I has a reaction worse then the last. I finally found the common thing was the flax.
    One time I ate a white pita bread that was sitting on a whole grain pita at a party at work. I even got sick then! I once saw a doctor who said “well if you think that is what you are allergic to then just avoid it.” Since my last two reactions had been so severe I thought I should probably carry an epi-pen. I am now pregnant and asked my OB doctor about it. Finally I am getting a referral to an allergist. People just discount your allergy sometimes since it is so uncommon. I read labels very carefully now and have not had a reaction in 6 months.

  21. Our last allergy doctor couldn’t find a place to order flax from to test us (since it is uncommon) so had us bring in our own — he had us bring in flaxseed oil. I didn’t react to it even though I knew I was allergic to flax. We tried again with flaxseeds mushed up in a bit of water and I did react to that.

    1. My allergist ordered a RAST for flaxseed that didn’t show I was allergic. So far, I’ve started using everything I had stopped using at my general practitioner’s request (all new stuff since my last WBC a year ago, which was normal), except for the ground flaxseed and the triple omega capsule with flax oil, after the doctor found out my eosinophils were highly elevated, and so far I haven’t had any of the abdominal symptoms I was having leading up to my annual physical. Was this a skin test or RAST? I’m thinking of asking my allergist when I go next week about how the RAST was performed. I wonder if my case could be the same, that I do fine with flax oil but not with ground flaxseeds. I’m also thinking of asking him if my eosinophils could be checked again since I started using everything else just to make sure I’m not allergic to any of those things. After my reaction to the Smart Balance buttery spread, I felt so sure that flax was what was causing my abdominal problems and elevated eosinophils.

      1. RAST tests are super inaccurate. I have a life-threatening allergy to peanuts amongst other things and I have tested both negative and positive and extremely high on the RAST test. If your allergist thinks it is safe you may want to try a skin test. RAST tests test if your blood reacts to the allergen but they are known for being inaccurate and should not be used alone to make a diagnosis or rule out an allergy.

  22. hi
    i had the same reactions to flaxseeds for over a year till i observed the pattern and concluded it was because of flaxseeds.withing minutes of taking it i get this unbearable pain in my stomach .my doctors refused to beleive it was due to flaxseeds.im glad that im not alone.

  23. Hi,
    I have a reaction to flax-seed too. The first time several years ago a friend gave me a cookie. I ate it and loved it and asked for another. A half hour later I was doubled up in pain on the floor with chest tightening and pain all throughout my abdomen, chest, and back. My husband called to see what was in the cookies and the only ingredient I hadn’t had before was flax seed. I was in pain for several hours. The same thing happened few other times times when I accidentally ate a granola bar with flax or a multi-grain roll with flax. Then last night when I drank an Isagenix Shake. I had the same reaction and checked the ingredients and sure enough it contained flax. I am also allergic to almonds and have a similar reaction with those.

  24. I also experience severe stomach pain when I eat foods containing flax seeds. They keep being added to more and more foods. Yesterday, I carelessly ate a new food without checking the label (MorningStar Farms Sesame Chik’n). I had read that it was vegan, so I didn’t bother scrutinizing the ingredient list. Big mistake! I was in excruciating pain for hours, and am still feeling mild stomach pain today.

  25. I am very happy to see these posts! I discovered my flax allergy in 2005 when I started having severe abdominal pain after eating breakfast which included using ground flaxseed on my oatmeal (because it’s so “healthy”). I had been eating the flaxseed for months when the problems began, and once they started, each incident became worse. After multiple ER trips (the last one being in an ambulance because the pain was so severe my husband was afraid to drive me), visits to a GI specialist, an endoscopy, chest x-rays and every other diagnostic test you can think of, the medical professionals declared they had no idea what was wrong with me. When I suggested that I had developed an allergy to flax (which, by then, I had concluded after my own detective work), they blew it off. The GI specialist actually said to me “what kind of books have you been reading?”. Anyway, like others who have posted, at the time I did lots of internet searching to try to find supportive information about problems with flax, but could find nothing except articles that extolled the healthy benefits of flax. Thank heavens there is now more information, and thanks to all of you who have shared your experiences. For some reason, I just had the idea to look online again this morning because I have not done so for years. I just started being very careful about reading labels, and have not had problems for a very long time. It good to know that I am not alone! Also, the suggestion to report to the FDA is a great one…..flax is indeed showing up in so many different foods, and we need to be letting the FDA know that it is not a completely benign ingredient. I will be submitting a form and encourage others to do the same!

  26. I have been experiencing eczema on my hands for the past few years, triggered by many components, food allergies included. Besides my eczema, I am completely healthy. Recently, it has started around my eyes, including an intense week when my eyes were almost swollen shut. I went back to eating brown rice, veggies and fish again… and it went away. I have never had stomach pain related to eating flax, but am pretty sure that it’s one of the main things my body is reacting to. Has anyone else experienced reactions to flax that don’t include intense stomach pain? In response to an earlier posting about what to use instead of flax– It’s hard to find a replacement! Eggs and chia seeds do the same thicken-&-stick action, but I suspect chia seeds would be an allergen to folks who react to flax. Try applesauce or mashed bananas as an egg-/flax-replacer in breads & crackers.
    And lastly– here is a link to a facebook article I wrote about my experiences/learnings with eczema, thus far– maybe it will be of use to you fellow health & balance-seekers! http://www.facebook.com/note.php?saved&&note_id=161203390562745 ~Peace and blessings~

    1. In response to your ezcema problem: I had dry scaly patches on my elbows for over ten years, I started drinking aloe vera juice, less than one ounce a day and the patches cleared and my nails grew for the first time in my life.

    2. Hello Alexa,
      I have exactly the same reactions to flax seed, I developed eczema around my eyebrows, and my eyes get very swollen , that they are almost shut, I discovered very recently that flax seed was the cause. Like you i don’t get stomach pain, but what I also get is my sinus get swollen too. Thanks for the information.

  27. My 14-year-old son presented with flaxseed allergy symptoms about four years ago. I have celiac disease, so we were eating a brand of frozen gluten-free waffles that have flaxseed in them. He developed fast-onset respiratory symptoms, but we couldn’t figure out what what has caused them. (I thought it might be something environmental, since it started at a church service.) Then it happened again after drinking one of those fresh, organic, smoothie-type power drinks. I did some cross-checking and realized that both of these contain flaxseed. Since then, he has had two reactions, each progressively more severe and now has an Epi-pen. The last reaction was to some home-baked crackers in an appetizer a guest brought at Christmas. The poor kid spent Christmas Eve sick as a dog – respiratory symptoms, chills, some facial swelling, mottling, sleepiness, and finally violent vomiting. He would have been at the hospital but we were only two blocks away and one of the guests was a doctor who kept an eye on him. But after that’s when we asked for the Epi-pen. He’s good about reading labels but this still makes a mom really nervous… BTW, I had stopped adding group flaxseed to my morning yogurt about a year earlier because I suspected it was giving me a rash on my face.

  28. I have recently started to eat a more clean diet and have been adding ground flax to my food however have been experiencing some serious stomache pain as well as nausea. Curious to know if those who have had this pain noticed an increase in other allergy symptoms such as the accelerated heartrate and difficulty breathing or if you just have the same pain every time with no increasing symptoms.

  29. Our 3-yr. old daughter has a horrific sensitivity to flaxseed. Her first encounter was when we introduced her to solid foods. We gave her a taste of Stonyfield farms yogurt for kids and barely did the spoon touch her lips and she was swelling, red, screaming, it was the most frightening event. She has horrible eczema which also means plenty of other allergies, but after going to the ER and then later running blood tests, her allergist called to say she had an “off the charts” reaction to flaxseed. It was then I went back to the yogurt ingredient list and found flaxseed oil concentrate had been added as an Omega-3 benefit to the kiddie yogurt. What a horrifying scare we had! I’m so sorry you had to suffer for so long but thank goodness you found out. I am so sad to say I took flaxseed supplements when I was pregnant and nursing, so I often wonder if I didn’t create this sensitivity in my daughter. Who knew? Flax is being promoted through the roof as a miracle food – not so miraculous for us! Thanks for your blog.

  30. I also have a severe flaxseed allergy. I first took a flaxseed oil capsule and ended up throwing it back up violently and my nose and throat passages closed up. It is in so many things now… pastas, clif bars, and now even apparently yogurt and soy milk is fortified with it for extra DHA. I have had numerous encounters where just a trace amount goes in my mouth ( my husband bought the wrong yogurt ) or I inhaled vapors as my sister cooked multi-grain pasta and my throat instantly closes. The sad thing is I find little about flaxseed allergy… I wonder the statistics on it.

    1. I just found out after 10 years that I’m 100% allergic to flaxseed according to my allergist. I thought it was just multi grain bread. My symptoms are kinda the same that I feel that my throat is closing and within 10-15 minutes I vomit but i don’t have the stomach pains. I’m so glad I found out what makes me violently sick and I will be looking very closely to labels know!!! And that I’m not the only one with this allergy.

  31. I have an oral allergy to flax seed. And it causes my lips and tongue to break out in oozing blisters for about a week…. luckily my respiratory tract isn’t involved. But I still find myself reading every ingredient list out there. I don’t have any digestive tract symptoms, but it has also been a long time since I’ve actually ingested it. The last time I had a reaction was when I was oil painting, and holding the handle of the brush in my mouth… at least now I know that linseed and flax seed oil are one in the same.

  32. THANK YOU… I have a severe flaxseed allergy. My first reaction was from a natural supplement for women that contained flax and primrose oil. Immediately after taking the pills I had severe stomach pain and vomiting with throat and mouth symptoms. My second severe attach was while in a car about an hour from home I ate a Cliff bar. My mouth began to tingle and had a taste that is hard to explain and my throat began closing while the nausa and stomach pain were intense. Two weeks ago I had a severe attach from a bite of sandwich that had flax, severe stomach pain nausa vomiting throat tighting, drooling and I felt like I was going to loose consciousness. My most recent reaction was last night. I was with my two young girls and their friend talking about lip balm, I used some on my lips and liked my lips because it had a great taste. Almost immediatly my lips and tounge began to tingle and swell, I became nausous my stomach had extreme pain. I was went up to my room, I laid there praying that I would live and make it through the attack. My pulse was not rapid but slow and spuratic. I could not belive that the lip balm could do this, but in the morning (thank God I made it) my friend looked up Hello Kitty lip balm and it had flaxseed. My smptoms are so severe and getting worse. I do not belive that the food and drug administration requires that food companys list flaxseed as an ingredient. It is my new mission to have this, deadly to some of us, ingredient listed so that we don’t have to go through this potentially deadly allergic attack anymore.

    Thank you again for letting us know that we are not alone.
    Cathy

  33. I’m so glad I found this! I have a horrible reaction to flaxseed. It causes severe stomach pain, gallbladder attack, vomiting, hives, swollen lips, etc. I also reacted when I put one of those microwavable rice things on my knee because it contained flaxseed inside it. I broke out in a rash all over. I cannot believe that they are adding flax to everything and don’t have to list it on the ingredients. My reactions have been so severe that it is probably only a matter of time until it affects my breathing. Now omega 3 eggs are a danger, and who knows what all those could be put in without our knowledge. Scary!

    1. I sure didn’t realize that those microwaveable packets (stuffed inside teddy bears or neck pillows, etc. and usually scented with lavendar) also contain flax seeds! I started looking at some of mine and–sure enough!–flax seeds was one of the ingredients. I’m going to give them away to friends right away. Thanks, Melissa, I didn’t realize that those things could be dangerous to use if you have a severe flaxseed allergy which has caused anaphylactic shock!

      1. I had a heat pad & I believe I wrote about it. I had a reaction to it without even heating it up. I had gotten it online & opened it up & almost immediately got a scratchy throat and my nose clogged up. I sent it back immediately. I wouldn’t trust even touching anything that contains flax or anything like it. Unfortunately, last night I wound up in the ER due to a severe reaction from what I believe was a roll. I checked the ingredients, which didn’t list flax. However, tomorrow I’m calling the bakery that distributed it because even if the roll was processed in the same area as a roll that contained flax, it may have contaminated the one I had. This was my worst reaction yet, including vomiting several times. What’s worse is that due to other chronic illness issues, the hospital was slow to give me meds for the pain because of my regular pain meds. They need to get educated & know that pain meds for a chronic illness don’t cover addition pain issues, especially when the pain is caused by a severe allergic reaction to an entirely separate area. And, even as horrific as the pain was, I just kept begging them just to make the nausea go away first. Pain, I can deal with-nausea and vomiting, not so much. I wish everyone well.

  34. My hairdresser used a flax styling gel in my hair that I didn’t know about until we were done. I hurried home and shampooed twice and didn’t have a reaction. I had no idea that they were putting flaxseed in hair products!

  35. Concerning Valerie and anyone with IBS:
    1) I HIGHLY recommend you see an Allergist and ask for a complete testing of various food allergies…every single food you find aggrevates your IBS. Also, get a blood test done for Celiac Disease. You might be sensitive to gluten, like most IBS people are. When done, she may find that you do NOT have IBS, but instead have food allergies and sensitivities. Lastly, I would definately go on a Elimination diet and keep a food journal to figure out what other foods you may be reacting too, as this is still the best method for finding sensitivities.

    Before the Gluten intolerance blood test, you will have to NOT be on a gluten free diet, or the test won’t be accurate.

    Concerning Nancy and others wondering about their symptoms:
    2) Only a food allergist can really know for sure if you are allergic to something or not, so I can only recommend you see them. For sensitivities, the elimination diet, is still the most accurate, in most cases.

    Omega 3 allergy:
    3) Cross-Reactivity is common. Usually, its a protein that the various food items have in common that you are reacting too. Omega-3, being a protein, you may need to avoid it. In my unprofessional opinion, if you are reacting to 2 known sources of Omega-3, then you may be wise to avoid all sources of Omega-3, including many so-called “whole grain” breads.

  36. The only way laws will change in the USA is if we all banned together with the largest petition that congress ever saw, requesting them to change the laws so that all ingredients must be on ALL labels, and not just on food labels. Tell them that we are trying to protect our children so that they can be healthy tax paying citizens paying into Social Security. Sorry, but I’m not the one to organize this petition at this time.

    ps. My website is still a WIP, that I hope to have more ‘done’ by January 1, 2011. It will contain many recipes eventually, that I’m creating off line.

  37. I have read with great interest the posts at this site as I believe many food and chemical sensitivities go undiagnosed or are misdiagnosed. Obviously many people suffer needlessly because of lack of awareness by the conventional medical community about these issues. After struggling for years with food and chemical sensitivities, I have found the use of a pendulum (described below), related to the use of muscle testing technique by naturopaths, to be VERY helpful in identifying food allergies, such as those to Flax Seed as well as to other unusual ingredients found commonly in foods, shampoos and toothpastes, such as mint, guar gum or carageenan. This technique can also be used on supplements, herbs and prescription drugs and to emptied gel caps (to which you can be allergic!).
    The “pendulum” can be a simple house key or any object with some weight, suspended on a piece of string (I have even used a wooden back brush for the shower suspended on a short piece of rope which is superb because of its symmetrical shape). This should be suspended over a pill or other substance in the palm of one’s hand (for liquids a few drops will do). Although held stationary, the pendulum will eventually swing on its own either from left to right or towards and away from you. The direction of the swing will indicate whether the substance is good for you or needed by your body (the swing will usually be towards you and away from you in this case) or if it is bad for you, not needed by your body, or even potentially harmful (in which case it will swing left to right, not move at all, OR, if really bad, it will go in counterclockwise circles). I have found that the strength of the test will be reflected by the distance of the swing and its vigor. Although I know it sounds very strange/bogus, I say that the “proof is in the pudding”: his technique has worked for me – and my mother- for about five years and is much much more sensitive than testing that can be done by an allergist. I have also used it with great success on my dogs, in which case I discovered an allergy to rice which is ubiquitous in most dog foods. The only weakness of the technique is obviously being able to identify a single culprit out of something which has many ingredients, e.g. breads, cereals, or shampoos. In that case the swing may start in one direction and then change. Don’t let this dissuade you, however, as once you have it narrowed down somewhat, you can use the pendulum to test the item in question individually if you can obtain it, e.g. rice, flaxseed, gluten, etc.

    I sincerely hope this technique may help some of you. Please feel free to email me with any questions at lilie1ar@cmich.edu. GOOD LUCK!

  38. Read your posts on flaxseed allergy & I can only say AT LAST! Decades ago I tried adding flaxseed oil to my diet after reading how healthy it was. Well, yeah! Maybe for some people! I suffer from a form of rheumatoid arthritis. I get along great when I avoid certain foods. I tried flaxseed oil because it was supposed to be so healthy—omega threes and all that. The next day, I experienced excruciating joint inflammation. Boy, did I throw out that bottle of flaxseed oil fast!!
    My current problem is that my favorite bakery, NATURE BAKE, does not make my favorite multigrain bread. Instead, they now have two with flaxseeds. I have called and complained to no avail. Anyone know where I can get a locally made (Oregon) whole grain, multi-grain bread WITHOUT flaxseeds? Thanks

  39. My only advice is to try and recreate the bread yourself. Making bread isn’t that hard, as long as you don’t have to be GF too, or EF. (gluten free, egg free).

    Alternatively, you could check out the breads at health food stores and co-ops to see what they have. However, my google search didn’t net much. However, if you go to the stores and ask around. Someone might know of a place.
    Best Wishes! Unfortunately, my friend in Oregon didn’t know of anyplace. I asked. And, I don’t live in that state, otherwise, I’d go around and do the foot work because I like going to co-ops and all.

  40. My 11 year old daughter has a severe flaxseed allergy that we just found out about (the hard way). I am looking for any and all info about this that I can find. It is scary knowing something that says its good for you can kill my daughter.

    1. Hi Kat,
      As mom to a child with multiple food allergies, I can understand how hard it must be. I wrote a new post yesterday on Flax seed allergy. Hope that helps and would love to have any other input that might help other allergy sufferers.
      Thank you!
      Anu

  41. I am so glad I saw this site! I have suspected a flax seed allergy for quite some time. I have had the same violent reactions as you have had, Horrible stomach pains and vomiting withing minutes of eating something. The first time it happened with a Luna Bar, a few times from smart pasta and finally a gronola bar that I ate on a cruise excursion in Mexico (that was really not fun!). The only ingrediant I noticed they all had in common was flax seed. I say I have suspected that I have had an allergy, becasue like you any time I have mentioned it to a doctor they have laughed it off and said it couldn’t be flax seed. I knew that wasn’t true! So for the past couple of years I have just been label crazy (especially with any breads ands and things that say “natural”. Funny thing. . . .no bad reactions without the flax seeds. Glad to see that I am not crazy after all:o)

  42. I wish we could get through the heads of all doctors that just because a food allergy is rare, doesn’t mean that the person sitting before them can’t have that allergy!

    I also wish that congress would stop believing that they have the right to chose who to protect and who society as a whole doesn’t need to care if they protect or not.

  43. It may be helpful for some who read this blog and the replies to understand the difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance. A food allergy involves the immune system and is the cause of anaphylaxis. A food intolerance does not. From The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network (http://www.foodallergy.org/page/commonly-asked-questions):

    “Many people think the terms food allergy and food intolerance mean the same thing; however, they do not. Food intolerance, unlike a food allergy, does not involve the immune system and is not life-threatening. Lactose intolerance, trouble digesting the milk sugar lactose, is a common example. Symptoms may include abdominal cramps, bloating and diarrhea.”

    “A food allergy occurs when the immune system reacts to a certain food.”

    Also, from this source (http://www.achooallergy.com/food-allergy-faqs.asp):

    “A food intolerance occurs when your digestive system cannot handle a certain type of food, normally due to a missing enzyme. An intolerance may present some of the same gastrointestinal symptoms as a food allergy, such as abdominal pain and diarrhea. A food allergy, however, involves an allergic response from the body’s immune system.”

  44. The difference is crutial. However, some people have found that their so-called intolerance has turned, without warning, into ‘anaphylactic’. Which means that, in my opinion, both needs to be taken so seriously, that the food is avoided at all cost and that we treat it as a potential life threatening food because in reality it can be. We just never know when a intolerance will become anaphylactic.

    I think what is really going on is that the test aren’t 100% accurate and that some people who have been diagnosed as having an “intolerance” really have an allergy to said food. I could be wrong here though.

    I was intolerant of Radishes, cinnamon… but have anaphylactic reaction anyways. We now call it an allergy. 😉

  45. I am so happy to find this site! We received confirmation today that my 6 year old son is allergic to Flax Seed. He is also allergic to Soy, Corn, Onions, Garlic, Fish (all), Peas, Shrimp, Walnuts, Squash (winter), and Hazlenuts.

    I need help, as I honestly am not sure what to feed him. My heart is breaking… If you look at the list of items he is allergic to, most share 1 common element – they are natural sources of Omega-3. 2 Allergists have said “you can’t be allergic to Fatty Oils such as Omega-3, it is just a coincidence.” Any advice out there? Can he be allergic to Omega-3 and be getting false positives on some of these things?
    thanks.

  46. CBLove:
    Get a new Allergist specialist, or educate him! Seriously! You can be allergic to ANYTHING! If people react to protein in foods, and Omega 3 IS a protein, then your son most definitely can be allergic! Anyone who tells you differently needs to learn the truth. The problem is that your allergist is probably thinking “4% has an allergy, and out of that only 10% have a rare allergy, thus my client can’t have a rare allergy, especially one that no one has seemed to have before.” The problem with such logic is that no one is allowed to have any rare allergies because everyone is refusing to diagnose it because no one else has diagnosed it before. 😛 What changes this pattern with certain allergens is the same doctor finding more than 1 patient with the same pattern.

    True, 1 in 250 people have a rare food allergy. That is based on math done using the Medical Society’s own figure and the current USA population in February, 2011. Whats also true is the people with severe EE/EGID disorders tend to be allergic to everything. Seeing an Allergist who is skilled in EE/EGID disorders are less likely to see an Omega 3 allergy as impossible. They see people who react to the oddest things, like 1 particular natural flavor but not others, or all foods but not artificial flavors, etc.

    1. Just wanted to clarify that Omega-3 is not a protein – it’s an essential fatty acid. Kytriya, you are right, the immune system reacts to proteins. In a perfect world, things like flax oil or walnut oil wouldn’t have any trace of proteins in them, but they can! If you react to flax oil, it’s not the omega-3’s, it’s that the oil is contaminated with the flax protein. No one should avoid ALL sources of omega-3 fatty acids – they are essential to health and actually HELP the body decrease the immune/inflammatory response to foods. Just avoid the sources which you are allergic to.

      A fantastic source of omega-3’s is grass-fed beef, interestingly. However, if you are not allergic to fish, fish oil or cod liver oil (a high-quality brand) is probably your best bet.

      (BTW, great post – and it’s great to see everyone sharing their experiences with what has been touted a “rare” allergy!)

  47. My 16 month old has a flax seed allergy! He developed hives after eating Stonyfield Yotoddler meals and we had him skin tested (omega 3 additives included fish oil and flax seed). I brought in flax seed oil for skin testing and he did not test positive it. Then he had hives after eating Living Well Chicken Nuggets which also has flax seed and this time I brought in ground up flax seeds which he strongly reacted to. So the flax seed oil is not allergenic for some reason (processing method perhaps).
    Anyway, my husband jokes that we should avoid whole foods and other healthy food lines since they seem to be culprits for enhancing foods w omega3 fatty acids.
    Anyone with flax seed allergies that have cross reactive allergies to other things like sunflower seeds, nuts, coconut? I’m wondering what are potential things to avoid with my son. Thanks!!!

    1. I have a severe flaxseed allergy causing anaphylaxis. When being allergy tested I found out I am also extremely allergic to buckwheat which explains the severe cramping and nausea I had after eating a buckwheat pancake. The very scary thing is that they seem to be adding flax to many things.

    2. Hi there! I found this old post as I was researching my 9 mo old’s newly diagnosed flax allergy. I wanted to see if you have discovered any other similar allergys in your little one. Any tips welcome!

  48. Our son has a high level four allergy to flax seed. It took months to figure this out. I saved every package when he would have a reaction, cross referenced, then did lots of blood work. Nate was 7 at the time, it was horrible and mentally scarring.

    1. I am so glad you were able to zero in on what Nate was allergic to. Hope he has forgetton the traumatic ‘figuring out’ process. Wishing him safe eating always.

      -Anu

  49. I have gone into anaphylactic shock (which necessitated days in Intensive Care) from eating blackberries one time, and flaxseed another. Both time, I almost died. I can eat one or two blackberries now without passing out, but I cannot ever eat anything with flaxseed in it. I am allergic to many other things, too, but the two near-death experiences were due to blackberries and flaxseed. I now carry Epi-Pens (twin pack) and drink Gastrocrom (mixed with water) every day. The Gastrocrom neutralizes my reactions. There is nothing more terrifying than anaphylactic shock.

    1. That is so traumatic. It must not be easy enjoying food after such extreme reaction. Wishing you safe eating always.

  50. i found out I was allergic to flax seed about 3 years ago. I too suffered anaphalctic shock, and spent several days on a respirator. The case manager from my insurance company, told me i could not possibly (even though an allergist confirmed it) be allergic to flax and encouraged me to add it to my diet. I did not have the GI sxs. but at first felt welts on my tongue

    1. That is so traumatic. Wishing you safe eating always. Thanks for sharing your story because it reminds me to be careful always.
      -Anu

  51. Marie, that sounds about exactly what happened to me, although I had the GI symptoms, too. I actually bought the flaxseed to try because one of my doctors encouraged me to do so, as part of a healthy diet, after I had surgery. When I landed in the emergency room, I remember one of the doctors saying, “I have flaxseed in my cereal for breakfast every morning, because it’s so healthy,” as if he didn’t believe anyone could be so deathly allergic to something as “healthy” as flaxseed! I guess I’d better stick to junk food, as I get so sick from supposedly “healthy” items like flaxseed and blackberries.

  52. A quick question…I think someone on this thread possibly mentioned getting a rash from one of those “Muscle Relaxant” pads that you warm in the microwave, then put on your skin, because the pad contained flax seeds. I have a never-used teddy bear (from Avon) which has a small removeable pad inside it that you take out and warm in the microwave, then put back in the bear and hold it close to the part of you that’s hurting! I’m wondering now if I should give the bear away (he’s awfully cute!). What does everyone think about the flax seeds being a danger to someone allergic to flaxseed if they used the bear as a soother for sore muscles? The pad would not be exposed, but would be inside the bear.

    1. I had used the packs (heated) for years and had no idea why my ears and throat would itch so bad whenever I used them. Then my nose would get stuffy. Finally I stopped using them because I knew I was allergic to something in them. A few years later my severe allergy to flax seed (ingested) was confirmed. Flax seed was confirmed to be in the packs. I would not take the chance.

  53. I searched this about a year ago and found nothing. Happy to see more information. My daughter had some stomach troubles when she was little and my sister made her flax seed cookies. I threw up about a half hour after eating one. Two weeks later, she made me a grilled cheese on multigrain bread. (Thanks Sis!)I threw up while driving home and called to see if flax seed was in it and sure enough it was. All of the symptoms did get worse with each reaction, so I highly recommend staying away from it if you have the slightest idea of an allergy. The last time I had a reaction I had a sub sandwich and my lips started to itch within minutes. I only had a few bites when I realized flax was in the bread, and ended up laying in a hot bath almost all night due to the violent pains and vomiting. The benedryl did not seem to help except for the itchy mouth. I came very close to having my husband drive me to the ER.

  54. I also have a flax allergy, but my symptoms are different than those listed here. Interestingly, even though I have Celiac and other GI problems, the flax doesn’t cause GI issues. What it does to me is cause severe arthritis and fatigue. I do not normally have arthritis – only when I ingest flax.

    When I have allergic reactions, they tend to be on an immune system level rather than on a histamine level, and I guess this is true for my flax allergy, as well. This is probably why my symptoms are different.

    I am glad that people have mentioned all the other things contain flax, like cosmetics and those muscle packs. I wouldn’t have thought of that.

    I also feel that I have problems with Omega 3’s in general. I have similar but less severe symptoms with salmon and omega 3 eggs.

    I have had many doctors imply that they thought I might be a little bit crazy because they couldn’t find anything wrong with me. I have persevered, and eventually found the ones who could help me feel better. Amazingly, everything I have ever complained about ended up having a real, scientifically-explainable cause that would never have been helped by the Prozac they wanted to give me.

  55. Laura, that is so interesting. I have noticed lots of achiness and fatigue after eating certain foods, too. I take Gastrocrom which curbs the anaphylaxis but still get the achiness and tiredness. Doctors have told me that I have lupus, but now I am thinking that all my problems (immune AND histamine-level) stem from severe allergies to most (if not all) foods.

  56. @Lyriclemon

    Good luck figuring out your specific sensitivities. I certainly understand how frustrating it can be.

    I’m not familiar with Gastrocrom. I’ll look that up.

  57. We discovered this week that my 6 year old daughter is allergic to flax seed. We knew that she has allergic reactions to peanuts, tree nuts and carrots — can you believe it — carrots??!!! And then after a two week period of eating flax in her morning waffles, she had an anaphylactic respiratory reaction. At first I thought she must now be presenting asthma, but the next morning after eating some flax, it happend again. Thank goodness for benadryl and epi-pens!

  58. What I like about the Gastrocrom is that, by taking it prophylactically before I eat anything, I’m being proactive instead of reactive. (Using my EpiPens after I’m already in anaphylactic shock is sort of like locking the barn doors after the horses have bolted.) What I don’t like about the Gastrocrom is how super-expensive it is (and my insurance company won’t cover any of the cost), so I can only take two vials once a day instead of 4 times a day, as prescribed. However, even just taking it once a day really does help. Of course, I stay away from known triggers like blackberries and flax seeds, but for the times when I accidentally ingest something that I’m allergic to (but don’t even know yet), Gastrocrom is wonderful at muting (diluting) a full-blown anaphylactic reaction.

  59. Wow, it’s so good to see so many people with this issue…I discovered my allergy to flax seed during my last year at college. My parents have been taking it ground up in their breakfast food for years, and at the time I decided I wanted to try eating healthier. After severe stomach pain, nausea, and violent vomitting once after eating out (and having a smoothie, which I added a tablespoon of ground flaxseed to), I thought I had food poisoning…the next week it happened again and I knew it had to be something else. I figured it out very quickly on my own. I didn’t even think to search the internet to see how common it was, but this is a very informative post. I’m very thankful now that I discovered it quickly, on my own, since Ali’s ordeal sounds terrible. I also don’t think my allergy is quite as severe, as I eat multi-grain products all the time with no effects; it was just when I was adding a tablespoon or more of ground flax seed to my food.

  60. I also have found I am allergic to flaxseed but with different symptoms. In my case even a very small amount seems to inflame my intestinal tract causing symptoms similar to hemrrhoids.

  61. I’ve known about my flax seed allergy for a bit now, but thought I was the “only one” until I tried to find out if chia seeds would cross-react with flax seeds. Does anyone have information to share about this? We definitely need better standards for food labeling!

  62. I have determined that I definitely have an oral sensitivity to flaxseed. My reaction includes an intensely itchy mouth, throat, ears, and what I can only describe as itchy Eustachian tubes (a deep itch between my throat and ears). It lasts about 10 minutes. I try to be very careful about checking labels, however, this morning I tried a new brand of oatmeal and as I was eating the first few bites I was casually reading the ingredients and to my surprise flaxseed was listed. I immediately stopped eating and had only a minor reaction. I am so afraid that one day I will go into full-blown anaphylactic shock and I don’t have an Epi-pen.
    Thankfully I do not have the stomach symptoms with flax. However, I DO have a severe intestinal reaction after I eat whole-wheat pasta – horrible pain and cramping, sometimes with vomiting. This took several times to figure out. The pasta only contained whole wheat flour – nothing else. I am fine with all other wheat products. It just seems to be the pasta that is a problem. My best guess is that it’s too dense for my digestive system to handle. I can’t think of any other explanation.
    My only other food allergy/sensitivity is with pineapple and pineapple juice. I get the horrible pain and cramping that lasts about 6 – 8 hours. This started in my early 20’s – I used to eat pineapple all the time until then. It took a long time to figure that one out!

    1. Hi Erin,

      Thanks for sharing your experiences – people developing food allergies in adulthood is becoming extremely common. Have you considered getting an epipen prescription since your reaction seems to be so immediate? i have heard people mention that they are ok with refined wheat flour but not whole wheat flour – will research more on this subject for a future blog post!

      regards,
      Anu

  63. O my goodness! I just discovered by reading this blog that the last 3 weeks of stomach and intestinal cramping and nausea were (and are today!) being caused by flax. I started eating a “healthy” cereal Kashi with whole flax seed as a main ingredient just a few weeks ago. I would get what I erroneously thought was heart burn. It has become so bad that I’ve wondered if I’m not having a heart attack. I was working this a.m. at the church library when the same old pain started up again. One of the women working with me asked me if I had started any new foods. I told her about the cereal. She said to stop eating it to see if the pain would stop. I get the pain about an hour after eating the cereal, which I never eat till 10 a.m. I’ve been suffering this unknown allergy from around noon till 5 p.m. Ruins my days. So, I’m going to not eat the cereal tomorrow morning and see what happens. I SSSSOOOOOOOOOO hope I have found the answer. If not, I guess it’s a visit to the doc. Thank you!!!

    1. So glad that you found the information on the blog useful. Hope the pain subsided after you stopped flax.
      Best wishes,
      Anu

  64. I am allergic to flax seeds but not to flax seed oil. Unfortunately they are starting to put flaxseeds in all “healthy” foods.

    1. It is usually the protein in flax seeds that people react to. Flaxseed oil is the fat part of flax and most people will not react to it. The oil, deepending on the method of extraction will contain small traces of protein and unless a person is extremely allergic to the source, they will not react to it.

    2. Just wondering if the RAST done for flaxseed is done using flaxseed oil. My allergist got back the results from my flaxseed RAST, and they showed I was not allergic. My doctor who does my annual physical discovered that my eosinophils were extremely high, and leading up to that appointment, I was having abdominal discomfort. She wanted me to stop using everything I had started using since my last WBC, which was normal. I’ve since started using all but the ground flaxseed and the triple omega capsule with flax oil and have not had a recurrence of symptoms. However, when I used some Smart Balance buttery spread on some toast, I had abdominal discomfort soon after eating it. That’s what makes me suspect that flax was what caused my elevated eosinophils and abdominal discomfort.

  65. OMG, I have been either in bed or bathroom the past 36 hrs thinking I had stomach flu. However, I now am thinking I might be experiencing an allergic reaction to a new flax wrap bread I bought the other day which I enjoyed very much:)))) I am also sweating, sleeping a whole lot and very weak so I’m not really sure. I don’t want to test my theory because I don’t ever want to feel these stomach explosions again!!! I just won’t eat flax again!!

  66. I have the same thing! I was able to figure it out on my own though, thank god! We have to be very careful especially when eating out. The pain is indescribable and comes on within minutes. I printed out the ingredients of the flat bread at Dunkin Donuts and am bringing it to my gastro doctor tomorrow. And I loved the piece about the microwavable wraps/bags! They make me sneeze uncontrollably! I can’t use them. Thank you Anu for sharing and posting.

  67. I have the exact same problem as you.. Flax seed doesn’t sit right with me and I am so glad to see you write this.. Thank you very much!!

  68. I too, have a severe allergy to flax seed. It also lands me in the hospital every time it’s accidentally ingested. It DOES feel just like being poisoned, as the stomache and intestinal pain associated with this allergy is so severe. It also causes my esophagus to swell up so I cannot breathe.
    My mother makes homemade lotion out of flax seed, and as a child it used to raise hives and horrible blisters on my skin. If you suspect a flax allergy see an allergist! Don’t let a dr. tell you that it’s not an allergy to flax until it is confirmed by an allergist. It’s not the worth the danger or the pain of consuming flax when you are allergic to it. Read labels FAITHFULLY, as flax is in so many things now. Whole grain breads, pastas, granola bars, supplements, colon cleansers, etc. If your allergy is severe enough it could lead to an anaphalactic reaction. We’ve discovered that the more flax I consume, the worse the allergy becomes and the more vigilant I have to be. So get it checked out if you have a suspicion, and be careful. This is not an allergy to mess around with.

  69. Thank you for this! I’ve been sick for ages and just started suspecting flax seeds as the culprit. After reading your experience, I’m sure of it. I’m going to stay well away from them and then see how I feel. I’m pretty positive the pain and lethargy will vanish.

  70. Wow. Thanks everyone. I added 4 Tbsp Flax seed to my regular breakfast of fruit and soy milk. Within an hour I was feeling so nauseaus I went home and went to bed. I slept for 16 hours. I am still nauseaus this morning 24 hrs later. I have R.A. and thought I would benefit from flax seed. My headache is gone but my joints ache much more than usual. I also take Natrol Omega 3-6-9 Complex. It doesn’t list flax as an ingredient but label reads “…combines fatty acids from both grain and marine sources…” hmm, I am wondering now, are my frequent mild stomaches due to food allergies. This is a little depressing. Thank you for the insight. Oh, BTW I am unemployed and have no insurance, so there will be no visits to the dr.s for me. I thank God this allergy does not affect my beathing.

  71. I have had 3 or 4 serious reactions after ingesting food with flaxseed. A Kashi bar, whole wheat pasta and most recently a sandwich with whole grain bread catered in at work. Each episode is getting worse — severe abdominal pain, redness across my chest, diarrea, etc. Vomiting in the only thing that makes me feel temporariliy better. Is an Epi Pen the only thing to treat once I’ve been exposed? someone said Benadryl? I am reading all my labels and stearing clear of breads and grains in social settings but wondering what I can have in case of an emergency?

  72. I took a flaxseed pill on an empty stomach…….and that was a bad idea, an hour later I was sitting in class and I couldn’t finish my words, Its like something was hold my throat and it felt like my throat swelled up. It was a scary experience,……What was weird is that if I stood up and talked to someone it would be ok, but as soon as I sat down and talked, it wouldn’t work….anyways……Whatever you do, don’t take it on an empty stomach so you don’t ever end up in a situation like this.

  73. I began to suspect–and I still don’t know for sure–that I was allergic to flax many years ago when I started adding it to my diet in a effort to eat healthier. I would get an annoying sore throat when I ate it–nothing severe, and no so bad as to make me start checking labels, but enough to stop intentionally adding flax seed to my diet. So this year I visit my sister-in-law, and she has a breakfast cereal with flax seed. I mention that I think I might be allergic, but it looks tasty, and, well, I don’t know for sure, so I go ahead and have some. No sore throat. BUT…a few hours later, I notice my dyshidrotic exema is flaring up on my hands, which doesn’t happen very often (I can go years without a flare-up). Because the symptoms aren’t severe, I don’t expect I’ll go to the effort of getting tested any time soon, but I’ll continue to avoid flax seed when I know it is there.

  74. So if eggs state they have Omega 3’s and you find out that the chickens were fed Flax, could that cause a reaction? I have a variety of stomach issues, but seem to know my triggers. I have learned that usually if my stomach is very distended, I have ingested Flax. A few days ago I purchased what I thought were the healthier eggs, Cage Free, Grain Fed, etc but my stomach is distended and uncomfortable. It seems to be a reaction to flax, but I don’t know if that is possible from just eating these eggs. Anyone have experience with this?

    1. So glad to have found this! Flax had been an occasional part of my diet for years before it became so popular. A few years ago, I started experiencing a metallic burning sensation in my mouth when I ate certain foods, but not much more than that. Then, one day, I bit into a sandwich with whole grain bread, experienced the metallic and sligtht burning, but ignored it and kept eating. After about 1/4 of the sandwich, I had to rush to the restroom to throw up. For several hours after that, I threw up frequently. I finally was able to make my way home and down a handful of benadryl – figured it was an allergy, but not sure to what. After a couple more similar episodes, including one where it felt like my throat was closing up (liquid benadryl fixed that quickly – I had started carrying a bottle with me everywhere) and I spent the next 12 hours throwing up on a regular basis, I did some investigation and came to the conclusion that all of this had happened after eating something with flax. I went to an allergist where my suspicion was confirmed – I tested mega bigtime allergic to flax, and now carry an epipen with me as well as the benadryl. As with many of the others here, I’m horrified at how pervasive flax is now everywhere! I’ve even had a burning skin reaction when I used hand lotion that turned out to have flax oil in it. My allergist told me to avoid Omega-3 eggs because the chickens are fed flax and there could be flax artifacts in the eggs. Sigh. I had no idea that some peanut butters now contain it!

  75. I can take Omega 3 capsules without dying, but just a whiff of flaxseed puts me in Intensive Care for days with anaphylactic shock, fighting for my life. Eggs are a common allergen/food intolerance. Could you have developed an allergy to them?

  76. I am actually waiting for the results of a food intolerance test, but I eat eggs pretty frequently and just changed the brand I was using. But it could be a reaction to the eggs, I guess I will have a better idea when these test results come back.
    thanks!

  77. I’ve been pretty sure I have a flax seed allergy for about 7 years now. The strange thing is that I used to eat it ground up and sprinkled on food for about 2-3 years before I started having any allergic reactions to it. The first time I had a problem was on a whole grain wrap that contained flax. I felt sick to my stomach and was miserable for several hours. The same week I had a hot breakfast cereal that contained flax and this time I was throwing up in the bathroom for several hours. Every time I would think I was past the worst of it, I would start throwing up again. The most recent time I’ve had flax was in a Clif bar. I ate about half of it before realizing there was flax it in. My airway started to close up but I was able to wait it out until the flax was out of my system. That was about 6 years ago. Since then, I’ve been reading labels very carefully and asking restaurants when there is something I’m not sure about. It is hard b/c flax is in EVERYTHING these days! So glad to read other’s experiences as I haven’t met anyone else with this allergy. My husband was sure it was in my head. Now I know that it is not!

  78. My daughter just had second reaction to flaxseed. She has other food allergies, so i bought her “enjoy life” snickerdoodle cookies, ( wheat free, egg free, nut free cookies) and one bite…hives..could not figure out how being so careful, she was allergic!! Just handed her a apple slice of mine with ground flaxseed and she reacted with puffy eyes/ head to toe hives imstantly..thank u for your site…the only one!!!!

  79. I stay away from any flax products l a plague. I have a severe allergy to flax and have to read all the fine print on labels. This I discovered when we used flaxseed as a wave set during my cosmetology days. My hands would swell up like a toad, and I cannot even think about ingesting it. I know of one girl that advertises her hair product as the best thing going, which is flaxseed. Buyer beware!!!! All allergies have the potential of being life threatening. I am a soapmaker and discovered that Shea has some of the same properties as latex. (Latex has sent me to the emergency more than once.

    1. That is just absolutely invaluable information you have shared with us. I for one had no idea that flax could be used in a beauty salon. also, did not know that Shea has properties similar to latex. I am going to write a separate post on this topic. Thank you so much!

  80. Wow…I’m glad I found this page, though it has made me more nervous in some ways.

    First, flax in cosmetic products can be listed as linseed oil (there are other names for linseed oil as well. So Google it and make sure you are aware) as linseed oil is used in some body washes, natural creams, hair care products, etc.

    I have suspected a flax allergy for a while. I had bought linseed oil (that you had to refrigerate) when I was making health smoothies in the morning). I would drink the shake and feel some tingling in my mouth…nothing severe, but just a sense that something was reacting. I’ve also experienced this when I used a hand cream with linseed and also a hair care product with it.

    Yet, at other times, I have had it without knowing and would find out afterwards and seem to have no symptoms…so at times I have wondered if it’s more in my head or if it’s real. For example, in a margarine that contained it or bread or muffins that had it in and nothing happened those times.

    I have never had anything more than the slight tingling in my mouth and sometimes ears. But I always fear I could experience something worse.

    The other day I tried a hand cream that had linseed oil, figuring I would find out if it was a true allergy or not. I had a little tingling in my mouth again and within an hour I washed my hands and didn’t seem to have any issues. Nothing else happened. That evening I woke up overnight (many hours later) and went into the bathroom and thought my eyes looked slightly swollen. Nothing huge, but just a little bit. Could have simply been from sleeping at a weird angle, I don’t know. Woke my husband up and he thought they weren’t swollen…to me, the area underneath and just above was slightly puffy….but I felt fine…until I saw that and panicked and sent myself into a full panic attack. Suddenly, I became very scared of getting the symptoms of a full blown allergy attack, so for me, could be more an anxiety issue, than an allergy, I’m just not sure.

    That morning I seemed to feel very slight itching in my ears, throat and eyes…but nothing severe…I drank some tea and had an apple (I had read online both contain antihistimine) Shortly after I felt better.

    My main problem is I also am suffering from some anxiety (due to a lot of life pressures right now) and it’s hard to discern if it’s the anxiety (which can cause a lot of the same symptoms) or a true allergy.

    Due to this I’ve become overly worried and feel intense fear of having some sort of reaction. I’ve never had a severe reaction (I’ve reacted to several medicines…rash, severe flu like symptoms and abdominal pain, but nothing more)…but now every new cream I put on my body or soap I try or food eat, makes me nervous. At this point, it seems irrational, but reading your stories I know it can be a real concern for those with true food allergies.

    I got this wonderful natural body care for my birthday…shea butter, body lotion, etc. I scanned the ingredients and most were ones I had used before…the first day I tried it I had myself very nervous. I tried them again today and they seemed fine…but there is this soap in there…smells amazing, like peppermint, but it includes wheat grass and barley grass…and that concerns me…not sure if I should even try it as I’ve heard of people having bad reactions to wheat grass…though I’ve used wheat germ in the past with no problems and don’t have a known allergy to wheat.

    So, after that long story…

    Not sure what to think about the flax issue for myself and am afraid to go and get testing because of the expense, but mainly because I am afraid of the testing itself and having a reaction….I have heard that epi pens have some kind of sulfa drug and I am allergic to sulfa drugs!

    I’m also not sure what to think about the wheat grass and the soap. In moments of bravery I think….just try it and you’ll know…then I worry that if I get a bad reaction or even a slight reaction (which I will then go into panic worrying about it getting worse)….

    I don’t really have a reasonable reason to be this nervous about it…because the reactions I’ve had, if indeed caused by flax, have been very mild, but I don’t want to expose myself to it in case it would get worse.

    Any suggestions?

    1. Unless you have a needle phobia, standard testing is easy – they put a drop of the allergen on your skin, prick it with a needle (I hardly felt it) and watch. I had an immediate reaction, like a hive. They then wait for some set amount of time and measure the size of the hive. Then they give you an antihistamine cream which stops the swelling.
      I’m also deathly allergic to sulpha drugs, and have an epipen. They don’t contain sulpa, but I read somewhere they might have a small amount of sulfites as a preservative (I’m not allergic to those, they’re a different breed than sulfa drugs). Of course, it would be an issue if you are allergic to sulfites also.

  81. I just looked and my cats’ food has flaxseed in it as one of the top ingredients…and I feed them daily, twice a day with a scoop in their food and am thinking that maybe I would be having a reaction if I were allergic to it?

    1. I used a powdered food supplement that contained flax for my cats for years….I wonder now if that could have contributed to my allergy. However, I don’t know how much contact you have with the food – with the powder, whenever I sprinkled it on their food, some got airborne and landed on me or I inhaled it. After I developed my allergy, I had to stop using it because of that.

  82. Heard of the greatness of flax seeds and oil. Bought a bag today and took two raw spoons. Now, My whole skin is itching, Lips swollen, My muscles feels as if cramped by lactic acid. Big mistake

  83. After reading the extreme allergic reactions described here, I would say I have a mild case of flax seed allergy. I first discovered it after buy flax seeds and adding them to my oatmeal each morning. I developed a rash on my legs and arms which itched terribly. I tried to treat it before scratching with hydrocortisone cream which also contained aloe. It took about a week for it to get out of my system.

    Recently I ate some Smart Balance peanut butter which tasted terrible. When I read the ingredients I discovered that they had removed the peanut oil and substituted flax seed oil which touched off a rash and itching. I wonder if it is the oil that causes the allergy, the seed hull or both. Even though only the oil was listed, they may have ground up the hulls and added it for filler. Either way, it tasted so vile that I threw it away.

  84. I am also aanaphylactic to flax and buckwheat. I will be traveling to Bangkok in January, does anyone know if flax even exists in Thai cooking? I’m pretty sure they have buckwheat, and know I will have to be very very careful of what I eat…. but flax, do they use it there?

    1. I did a web search of authentic Thai recipes, and found that flax seed isn’t as common, but is used with apples in a dessert on one website. Also, vegetarian Lentil burgers might contain Flax Seed. I would still watch out for breads though.

      Rule of thumb: Global society means that any country and any restaurant can use any food item whether its common to a place or not.

      Hope this helps. 🙂

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  86. So glad to have found this! Flax had been an occasional part of my diet for years before it became so popular. A few years ago, I started experiencing a metallic burning sensation in my mouth when I ate certain foods, but not much more than that. Then, one day, I bit into a sandwich with whole grain bread, experienced the metallic and sligtht burning, but ignored it and kept eating. After about 1/4 of the sandwich, I had to rush to the restroom to throw up. For several hours after that, I threw up frequently. I finally was able to make my way home and down a handful of benadryl – figured it was an allergy, but not sure to what. After a couple more similar episodes, including one where it felt like my throat was closing up (liquid benadryl fixed that quickly – I had started carrying a bottle with me everywhere) and I spent the next 12 hours throwing up on a regular basis, I did some investigation and came to the conclusion that all of this had happened after eating something with flax. I went to an allergist where my suspicion was confirmed – I tested mega bigtime allergic to flax, and now carry an epipen with me as well as the benadryl.

    As with many of the others here, I’m horrified at how pervasive flax is now everywhere! Like others here, I’ve even had a burning skin reaction when I used hand lotion that turned out to have flax oil in it. My allergist told me to avoid Omega-3 eggs because the chickens are fed flax and there could be flax artifacts in the eggs. Sigh. Don Jones, I had no idea that some peanut butters now contain it! I already read food labels for breads, cereals, soy milks (yeah, some soy milks now contain flax) – going to now read all labels. This is my only food allergy – I am fine with other sources of Omega-3s (fish, walnuts, etc).

    I can’t find the reference right now, but a few years ago I found an article that said that the first officially reported food allergy in the US was to linseed/flax, in the 1930’s. Will keep looking and see if I can find it again.

  87. I also have a severe flaxseed allergy which started out like many here. However, mine seems to be getting worse. The first time I ate it I experienced mild discomfort and some tingling in my mouth. Recently when I ingested it (on accident) I ended up needing an ambulance. I read every label now and if I’m not sure, I don’t eat it.

    I also have a wheat bran allergy–not wheat, just wheat bran, so be on the lookout for that as well. I joke tha tmy body rejects all things healthy. They discovered both allergies when I went to the allergist and, fortunately, he believed me (and there was a grcoery store next door!). He tested me with the actual foods I though I reacted to and then had me come back with ingredients from those foods. So don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself.

    I am also growing a bit concerned that there are flaxseeds or things derived from flaxseeds in other foods, because I’m having some discomfort when I eat anything organic, even when I know I’ve checked the label.

  88. I had been using flax seed oil daily for the last 2 months, and now I have cold like symptoms due to it.

    I overtaxed my immune system eating that “healthful” oil. So I have a headache, stuffiness and general weakness. I stayed cold free for decades … so it finally clicked as I was eating lunch today that the flax was doing it. Lesson learned on rotating foods better and an oil is tough to digest by nature.

    Thanks for any comments you may have!

  89. I’ve known of my reaction to flax seed for 7 years. EMS has been to my home several times. The embarrassing part is that by the time they get here I’m fine. I can tell within 5 minutes that it’s going to be a rough next 20 to 30 minutes. The first symptoms is my clothes start to feel tight. Then the pain in my stomach and it increases to my back and upper chest. Then I all I can do is take shallow breaths. It brings me to my knees. All I can do is cry and crawl on the floor to the bathroom hoping I can throwup. EMS explained to me that my smooth muscles are cramping. All I know to do is storm it out and wait for it to pass. I really have to look at labels. Flax is in almost everything now.

  90. Be careful, everyone. Spectrum now makes an “Omega 3” olive oil – and the Omega 3 comes from flax oil. I’d like to slap whoever thought of the brilliant idea of adding flax to olive oil. Now we have that to add to the list of foods that you’d never suspect of containing flax – Omega 3 eggs, some peanut butters, some soy milks, and now this.

    1. Debbie S., thank you for mentioning this. I use Olivado brand avocado oil and I recently picked up their avocado/flax/olive oil mixture instead of plain avocado oil. I’ll have to be more careful.

  91. So glad you all took the time to post these matters.I will not have anymore flax seed. I would eat a cereal with flax seed in it. It sure taste good. Well bout 20 months ago I got sick with bleeding ulcers.I won’t talk about the E.R. trips, but will say this hospital was horrible. They actually told me to drink a pop!

    I did not want to use modern medicine so we tried natural herbs, change of diet and such to heal the ulcers. About eight months later I was getting better. To try to speed healing up we read the flax seed is great for ulcers. So my daughter made me some homemade flax cookies and then I would add some into my food and almond butter. By the next day, I noticed my face would get real itchy and tinkling. We even made a slush so to speak of flax seed and water. I then got cold sores all my lips. The itchy and tinkling just got worst. It took about 2 to 3 weeks before those feeling went away.

    Well at ten months I was getting better. We took a vacation that we have not had in like 10 years. On our way home, the truck just stopped on the highway. When my only daughter got out of the truck a truck doing 65 hit her. Her head had multi fractures, broken neck, 3 broken back bones, femur broken. Her major organs such as spleen, liver and one kidney she about lost. The spleen and liver both lacerated. She had to be brought back twice and had two blood transfusion.

    So needless to say, those ulcers opened back up. She is truly a miracle as thousands of people prayed for her all over the world (we have a fee world wide ministry) and she is a live and doing great. However, I’m not.

    The bones stick out as I only weigh 103 to 105. I started food combing 4 weeks ago (some of you if not all of us should be doing this). So last week to try to get better faster I started putting flax seed into my food again.

    After taking it my entire stomach was gurgling, and cramping. Still took some more the following day. This day I started having stabbing and cramping pains right in the upper right part of the stomach. This pain I had 2 to 3 hours after eating. By day three I was in bed. We were thinking it was my gallbladder. But the entire time my face was all itching and tinkling. So I thought I will lay off the flax see as maybe it is just old. The next day, the itching and tinkling stopped and did not have those horrific pains in my right side. I took a week’s dose of echinacea tea.

    After being in bed for 8 days as my side is still sore. I had my daughter make me some non-gluten pancakes. Thank goodness I only had a very small one. 1 hr. post eating my face again started to get itching and tinkling.And then I found this wonderful blog. it has been two hours and still feeling like that. I pray I do not get the right sided pain again. (I am currently taking cabbage juice trying to cure these horrific ulcers.

    So no more FLAX SEED for me!

  92. We had a three day fast at our church and the pastor decided to break the fast with a bread that contained flax…….being aware that I was allergic I didn’t eat any, but because I was there and I breathed it, my blood pressure went up to 200/? and my heart rate was 140. felt like i was going to pass out. went home and took apple cider vinegar with lots of water and benedryl. I am posting this to make people aware that you don’t have to actually eat it to get a reaction if you really are allergic.

    1. Most people are usually shocked when they react by smell. Anaphylactic reactions by smell is not that common. However, if you are reacting by smell, then I’d watch for signs of a reaction if you touch anything that might inadvertently have a flax seed protein on it. I’d also discuss this with your allergy specialist. I react by smell to… Anaphylactically –> Cinnamon, Chicken; Severe vomiting –> Wasabi, Daikun and Horseradish.

  93. I’ve had such severe anaphylactic shock reactions to both blackberries and flax seed that I’ve ended up in Intensive Care in the hospital, near death. (And both times I would have died, if I had been alone at the time.) The New Year’s Eve before last, we were at a neighbor’s house celebrating, and she had mango fruit sitting out on the table, as well as some other snacks, including peanut butter. I picked up a piece of mango and accidentally dropped it on the peanut butter jar lid, which was lying (with the side up that is usually inside the jar when screwed on) on the table. I didn’t think anything about it, and popped the piece of mango in my mouth. Within seconds my face was blazing red and I was in the middle of an anaphylactic reaction. Turns out that the peanut butter had flax seed in it! There didn’t appear to be any residue on the bottom side of the jar lid, but there were probably some microscopic particles there.

    I’ve also gone into anaphylactic shock from different meds, including Septra and Zestril.

    1. I thought of your post in the middle of the night. Since your body reacts so severely to flax, perhaps you should keep in mind that linen fabric is made from flax.

  94. Wow! I made 2 trips to the ER this past fall and spent several days in bed with nausea, cramps, abdominal pain and a stuffiness under my right breast. In the ER my blood was drawn and I had an ultra sound to check out my gall bladder. I mentioned the flax seed capsules I had been taking, but she dismissed the idea, telling me she thought I was lactose intolerant. I still suspected the flax and totally stayed away from it.

    I was searching today to see if flax could be an allergen because I just started making natural hair and body products in January and I use flax seeds and flax seed gel. It didn’t occur to me that I could have external problems as well, until I noticed that the yogurt/flax seed facial mask gave me great results but made my face a little puffy. The second sign came over the past weekend. I scrubbed my scalp with a mixture containing flax and was miserable all night. My scalp was inflamed and horribly itchy yet sensitive. Incorporating flax has been a bad romance for me. The only upside is that I’m quickly losing weight because now I stay away from everything with flax in it, as well as all dairy products. Now I see that the flax has been the culprit, but I don’t want to try dairy again because the abdominal pain was so intense. I’ll just leave it all alone. By the way, I’m using virgin avocado oil as a replacement for flax oil and the benefits for me have been supreme.

  95. Hi I have a 4 year old who I give flax seed oil to off and on and it just seems like every time I start giving it to him he starts being “ill” mostly getting high temps. No nausea etc. Could it be the flax seed oil?

  96. I, too, have a flax seed intolerance. Fortunately I was able to deduce what it was very quickly on my own and avoid it all costs. I do want to caution other sufferers to be mindful of fruit drinks/smoothies with “boost” features. I recently bought a bottled fruit juice for a hike and read the list of ingredients on the side panel. All appeared well. I drank the juice at the midway point an in minutes recognized the unhappy gut feeling coming on. I re-examined the list mentioning the issue to my hiking partner. Again, list was good but my friend noticed ANOTHER ingredients list on the other side of the bottle. This was the “Boost” ingredients and, you guessed it, flax was there. I did reach out to the company to share my experience. They acknowledged my note, defended their position, and sent me coupons for more product. Uh, no thanks… Be well!!!

  97. Thank you for sharing this. I have never been formally diagnosed with this but I know it is VERY real. I started realizing my issues after eating Luna bars and different things with flax in it. I too am an avid label reader, but occasionally something slips by. Thanks for sharing.

  98. All this is super interesting and enlightening reading…was wondering about flax because that was the main change in my life 3 weeks ago. Been drinking a fruit smoothie in the morning for 5 weeks now. 3 wks. ago started adding flax seeds. Soon after that, first the left knee started hurting. Then the left elbow, then the left shoulder. Now the right knee hurts, I have a very itchy place on my left arm below the elbow, and I seem to be tired all of the time. I walk 3+ miles every evening, but that is getting more difficult. I recently turned 60 and thought I had just hit my expiration date. Been quite healthy until now, no allergies except to penicillin. So what has changed? I eat about a half cup of blackberries a day with yoghurt (been doing this for 2+ mos.), and the fruit smoothie with mixed frozen berries for 5 wks. Symptoms started happening only after the flax seeds. Thought I’d look up flax seed allergies, not expecting much, and what an education! Maybe menopause brings on changes in the body that make one less tolerant to things that were never a problem before. Today–no flax seeds. I’ll be experimenting with this first, then the blackberries, if necessary. Only a few other folks have mentioned joint pain and fatigue and itchy places. But it is enough to go down this path in search of an answer. I wonder if “Dr Oz” brought the flax seed allergy into the light, if anything would change with food labels?
    Thanks so much for this insight,
    Charlotte

  99. This is a great article! Thank you!

    I recently gave my nephew a shake with about 1/2 a tsp of Milled Flax Seed in it and within 30 mins he started to vomit. He has quite a few allergies including wheat, nuts and soy. I read every label before buying and have noticed how hard it is to find any type of flax that isn’t produced in a facility that also manufactures other allergens like nuts and soy.

    I started to wonder if it was the flax that made him sick or where the flax was processed. I came across one brand that didn’t even say that it was produced in a facility, however I checked the companies website and they state they have a cleaning process for safety however it isn’t a dedicated allergy free facility and it isn’t specific by product so it is hard to tell how at risk the flax is.

    http://whatslefttoeatlifewithallergies.blogspot.com/
    http://www.foodallergiesrecipebox.com/

  100. I’ll raise my hand and say that I too am allergic to Flax seed. Within minutes of consumption hives, itchy throat and vomiting… I say it’s my kryptonite. What a terrible feeling it is. I’m also allergic to nuts. Wonder what that tells us about our body chemistry? Thank goodness now a days all ingredients are on lables… it’s the home made foods others make that I just have to stay away from.

    1. Labels often only include the ingredients required by law to be on that label. Nuts are considered a top allergen, so that is on the label, as is soy. Too my knowledge, they don’t have to put flax on the label unless it is a major ingredient. FDA Regulations on this can ONLY be found by someone skilled at research and is not easy for the average person to find. Businesses can get free help, but consumers are required to go to the fda website where they do not have the info we want.

  101. OMG finally people with the same allergy as me. I am allergic to Flax , nuts, fish, and seafood. (All Omega 3 sources hmmm?) I thought I was the only one as I’ve never heard of anyone else. I googled flax seed allergy and here you are!! I also have Celiac Disease so have to eat gluten free and many of the gluten free packaged pastas, breads, cookies etc have flax seed or almond flour in them (she sighs)… But eating whole foods and staying away from packaged foods entirely makes like easier. Just happy to know that it’s not just me!!!

  102. I have a rash and an itch that drives me crazy Every morning I mix half a cup of grounded flax with my oatmeal, after what Im hearing from all of you I strongly suspect flax. Roland

  103. Just found out that the scarves, gloves,and houseshoes that are warmed in the microwave to hold heat are filled with flaxseed. Beware!!

  104. Well after going back to the top of the page I realized this had been posted already…well this is for people like me that don’t read everything.

  105. I went to the doctor to have my annual physical yesterday, and my doctor discovered when reading the results of my lab work that my eosinophils were highly elevated. I didn’t feel sick or anything except for some stomachaches that would come and go, starting about two weeks ago when I was in Texas for a work trip. My doctor told me to stop everything I had begun taking since my last normal check (my last annual physical), so that meant new multi-vitamins, new supplements, and new prescriptions had to be stopped for at least three months. While in bed last night, I thought about the ground flaxseed I’d begun adding to my morning yogurt at the beginning of the year. I’d been eating two tablespoons most days of the week since then. I’m going to stop eating that as well beginning tomorrow to see if that will help things. I had a slight stomachache, some nausea, and tummy rumbling today, but I also had a tetanus shot yesterday, so I’m not sure if I could be experiencing ill effects from that or not. I would love to blame the ground flaxseed for my recent tummy troubles, but since they didn’t always occur after immediately consuming the ground flaxseed, I can’t be sure. I guess time will tell. I go back in three months for my eosinophil levels to be checked again. I’m curious if any of you here that have the flaxseed allergy had your levels checked and found them elevated.

    1. Hmmm…I’m beginning to wonder if flax oil/flaxseed may be the culprit, or maybe a culprit. I last ate flaxseed Thursday morning, and I felt great Saturday after not having eaten anything with flax in it since then. I decided to have some cinnamon toast with my breakfast this morning, and I used Smart Balance Buttery Spread on the slices. This is a product I’d been using for a long time, but not too long after breakfast this morning, my stomach started feeling uneasy. I decided to give it to my parents since it was practically a brand new container and since they have no problems with it, and I bought the Ingles brand of Omega-3 spread, which uses fish oil instead. I hope this is indeed the cause of my recent problems and that I won’t run across anything else. Not sure how much flax, if any, I’ll be able to eat again, but I’ll definitely be making sure I won’t touch any before my follow-up blood work in June. I want to avoid a bone marrow test if I can!

  106. Howdy, Just a heads up that when I come to the homepage I am send straight to this comment page, I’m really sure why but thought you may like to know Specifically on the home page) Regards

  107. Hi Alli! I am a registered nurse and found out I have a flaxseed allergy about a year ago after eating a flaxseed cookie! Every reaction gets worse and just had one yesterday after eating a yogurt containing whole grain. I fear the abdominal pain so much! It ranks right up there with labor pains! Thank goodness I work in a hospital and my boss knows my reaction to it. I now carry an epi pen since each reaction is causing more of a reaction. Just wanted to tell everyone know they are not alone!

  108. I put about a tablespoon of flax seed meal on my oatmeal today. I have had a terrible stomach ache ever since. i will never eat it again. Yikes. Wish there was something I could eat or drink to make the pain go away. I have been just drinking water.

    1. Unfortunately, I just had to ride it out. It can take a couple of days, maybe longer, for it to pass out of your system. A co-worker I talked to, who has soy and MSG allergies, said she would take something, like a laxative, I guess, to speed things along. It wasn’t so bad for me that I felt that desperate, though, but it still wasn’t fun.

  109. 3 years of suffering and today I have confirmation that I am highly allergic to flax seed. I had the following reactions to flax seed: tingling in my throat, coughing, wheezing, sneezing, extreme stomach discomfort, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, profusely sweating, and on the verge of passing out. I always suspected an allergy but every time I was ill a different food was involved. Finally after getting sick after eating a Kashi bar, then a few months later getting sick from a Cliff bar, I compared the ingredients. I suspected flax seed but wasn’t sure since there were a ton of ingredients in each. The next piece of the puzzle came when I ate Nabisco Fruit Thin cookies (fig flavor). No reaction…no flax seed. The next time I bought Nabisco Fruit Thin cookies (blueberry flavor). After two bites, my throat was tingling. I stopped eating the cookie. Checked the packaging and sure enough…flax seed. Same cookie, different flavors. One with flax seeds, one without. Last week, after eating two thirds of a blueberry muffin from Au Bon Pain that I had right after I boarded a plane, I had an immediate reaction. Needless to say, it was the worse flight of my life. The next day, I googled the ingredients for the muffin, and flax seed was listed. BTW, thanks to reading everone’s stories, I now know why my microwaveable neck wrap caused me to sneeze uncontrollably. Over the years, I have been to the ER, had a colonoscopy, endoscopy, sonogram, and multiple trips to my gastro doc. It’s been an awful journey and I hope that the medical profession and FDA sits up and take notice. Flax seed is showing up in more and more products and since this Is so difficult to diagnose, I feel certain that there are many more of us out there suffering. Report your personal experience on the Department of Health and Human Services – http://www.hhs.gov/drugs/. Click on Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program: Medwatch. Then click on Reporting Serious Problems to FDA. Today I learned that eating will never be the same for me again. I will need to scrutinize ingredients, as well as limit my food choices when eating outside of my home. I cannot see myself asking the waiter in the restaurant “is there flax seed in the pasta, rolls, pizza, etc” and expecting a response that I can trust. Good luck to all. And a word to any allergists who may be reading this…more studies and reporting on this allergy need to be done. Please help.

  110. So glad to see these posts!!! I too evidently have either a Flaxseed Allergy or Intolerance. I am not sure of the difference. I wonder if I need allergy testing…. would love to have an epi pen if it would help in case I accidentally ingest Flax Seed ever again. I have never had any stomach issues until now. I found a really healthy recipe on Pinterest that had wonderful ingredients in it….. one of which was flax seeds. I began making this recipe and noticed soon after, probably several days, that I started having severe diarrhea…. which lasted several days. I continued eating the flax having no idea it could be the cause….. which then caused the abdominal pains to start. They became so severe over the next couple of days that I had to go to the ER. They made me NPO and kept me in the hospital running tests. My blood work showed increased Eosinophils adn high WBC’s. My appendix was ok, my gallbladder was ok, my pancreas was fine. They start me on meds to treat Gastritis/Ulcers……. My pain dissappears and I am discharged from the hospital. I am so relieved and feeling so much better. The day I get home from the hospital…. guess what I decide to have as a healthy snack?!! Yes my flax seed recipe I made!!! At this point I still don’t realize its the flax seed! I think its just Gastritis! An hour later I am doubled over in excruciating pain!!!!!! I call the doctor and he just tells me to give it some time and stay on liquids a few more days until the Gastritis calms down. The severe pain lasted several hours before it eased up. I was in tears!!!! It seems that the reaction gets worse now each time I am exposed to Flax. I am now on day 5 post hospital and am still having slight abdominal pain with diarrhea. But it is gradually getting better. My mom helped me to narrow it down to the Flaxseed and after reading this site I am sure of it!!!! Thank you so much!!!!!!!!!!

  111. well I will be darned. I was recommended to take flaxseed oil or fish oil to get high omega3 fatty acids to help make withdrawal from Zoloft easier. I have also experienced the tingly feeling in my mouth, throat and face, weird taste in my mouth, and nausea and vomiting. No violent pain thank God, but I have not been taking as much as was recommended because of how nauseous I have been feeling, i havent wanted to take in anything much. Well wow. And, thank you very much!

  112. I’ve NEVER left a comment on blog before in my life before today. I have long suffered with flax allergy. The scariest thing lately is getting the reaction after checking the ingredients and not finding flax seed listed. The Trader Joe’s Mini Whole Wheat Pita, Barillas Whole Grain, PLUS or Piccolini Pasta products and Food For Life’s Wheat & Gluten Free Brown Rice Tortillas all do not list flax but my body is convinced otherwise. Apparently, only major ingredients are listed. So there could be flax and the company is not required to list it. After 1-3 bites my mouth starts tingling and I know the next 10 hours will be horrible. The abdominal cramps I feel are pure HELL. I have to take about 100mg of Benadryl and sit in a hot shower for hours until I can pass out. I hate to be the annoying person who always talks about their food allergy so it was a real comfort to find this site. I wish there was website with a lists of food that has flax any another list of people like myself who have had the reaction despite the ingredient not listed.
    Nancy

  113. To Nancy: it’s quite possible that those products do not actually contain flax, but are produced in a facility that does process flax. Unfortunately, unlike dairy, nuts,etc, there’s no requirement to put a disclaimer about this on the label. You might want to contact those companies to find out if this is true – I did that with Bob’s Red Mill when I received a gift basket that contained both flax-containing and non-flax-containing items. They said that their gluten-free products are processed in the same plant as the flax-containing ones, but their organic products are in a completely separate facility with no flax.

  114. You guys are going to get tired of me posting as I’ve posted several things already, but I have another question. I stopped consuming ground flaxseed and my triple omega supplement shortly after finding out about my high eosinophils. Although I started to feel better after cutting those and other new things out, I noticed I started waking up earlier in the night. Within two weeks of my appointment, I had to travel to Las Vegas for a work trip. I’m in the Eastern time zone, so that’s a three-hour time difference for me. My trouble sleeping worsened on that trip. The long first day, with three extra hours, made me absolutely exhausted, and I could never get enough sleep to feel rested. I would wake up wide awake in the middle of the night and had gotten to the point where I would panic (increased heart rate, etc.) whenever I woke up. I went through that entire trip absolutely and miserably exhausted. It was a nightmare. It was also my first time in Vegas, and I was too miserable to do anything, so other than one night when I went out to dinner with a group (big mistake because I couldn’t enjoy it), I just stayed in my room and killed myself trying to go to bed at 8:00 and waking up in the middle of the night. When I got home, I slept better the first two nights but my problems returned. One night I only slept about three or four hours. I then went on vacation with my family, and I slept better. I felt great that week. I wonder if all the activities we did during the day, going outdoors more often (I work behind a desk all day at home and hardly ever go outside), etc. helped me to sleep better there. My sleep problems returned when I came back home. I started waking up early again, and now I’m at the point where I can’t even drift off. I don’t even feel sleepy at my normal bedtime. Now to my question. I don’t know if any of you used flaxseed for as long and as much as I did (over three months and two tablespoons most days, plus the flax oil in my triple omega), but I’m wondering if stopping the flaxseed after using it for so long is causing my insomnia now. I’ve never dealt with it for this long and with this severity. I slept about six hours the previous night but only got three or four the previous two. I should be dead tired by now and should have no problems falling asleep, but I’m sitting here awake now despite drinking chamomile tea in the evening, soaking in a bubble bath with lavendar and chamomile, and spraying a lavendar/chamomile spray on my sheets and pillows. I haven’t been sleepy all day. If flaxseed could screw me over this royally, then it’s more evil than I thought. I still don’t know for sure if the flaxseed caused my allergic reaction, though. I’m hoping somehow my allergist can do another test to determine it for sure. Of course, it’s always possible that something else is causing it, but they’re either things I’ve been using for years or wasn’t using when my sleep problems started. I’ve tried making adjustments to how I sleep to prevent pain, but this hasn’t helped my sleep much. Sorry for the long post, but I’m beside myself. I plan to call my doctor as soon as I can next week so that I can get to the bottom of this.

    1. After reading some about fish oil causing insomnia, I may try stopping that to see if it helps. I never noticed a problem while using the triple omega pill and flaxseed, so I wonder if the problem may have built up over time and perhaps suddenly stopping those things caused something else to go out of whack. I plan to ask my doctor when I see her.

      1. Okay, I was speaking of my general practitioner here. My allergist, whom I saw today and got to speak with about my sleep issues and questions about flaxseed, is male. 🙂

  115. Thank you so much for sharing… i almost called 911 last night .. the pain was unbearable….thats why im online searching today! i have noticed flaxseed makes me sick too. It was awesome reading your story because it is just what im going through . Im going to make a appointment with the allergist .Thanks, God bless

  116. I had a visit with my allergist today, and he said that although my flaxseed blood test came back normal, he said it could have affected me in other ways, such as through eosinophilic gastroenteritis/gastritis. Are there others here that have had this experience too, normal blood work but with abdominal symptoms and high eosinophils? I also asked about flaxseed/flaxseed oil causing insomnia when stopped abruptly, but he didn’t seem to think so. He also wrote me a prescription for an antihistamine which I’m hoping will help me sleep. He told me to continue to avoid flax/flaxseed, and I told him not to worry. 🙂

  117. Interesting. I never would have guessed. I keep a food journal, and yesterday I had terrible chest pain/tightness that lasted for about an hour. The only new thing I had eaten? I had put flax meal in my buckwheat pancakes. This morning, after my regular gluten free breakfast, which left me feeling fine, I ate another of those pancakes with flax in it, and immediately had another tight chest reaction. It wasn’t nearly so bad as the three-pancake reaction, but still not fun. It went away fairly fast, but my chest still feels tight, and breathing deeply hurts a little.

  118. With me, the gas was a minimal issue. The max is my joint swelling. Isn’t this stuff supposed to ‘cure’ joint swelling. Well, apperantly not for this otherwise healthy 24 y.o. lady. iM STILL LIMPING AND ITS BEEN DAYS SENSE THE TWO EVENTS. iT ONLY TOOK MY TWICE TO REALISE WHAT IT WAS HODGSEN MILL’S RICE AND GOLDEN MILLED FLAXSEED PENNE…SATAN.

  119. I bit into apiece of flaxseed (mulled) which I had put in oatmeal. I got a strange taste on the right side of my mouth. Within 5 minutes my tongue and inner right cheek swelled. I took benadryl and began to feel it letting up after about 15 minutes. This was my third time using flaxseed.

  120. I just found out I am also allergic to flaxseed after demanding a blood test and having it sent to Mayo!! I have been a 2 year sufferer…thank goodness!!!

  121. Wow, I am reading this with almost relief. For weeks now I have felt so sick after breakfast, sometimes having to stay home from the gym (like this morning) due to a terrible nausious feeling and bloating. I thought the issue was dairy as the day i mixed the flax with greek yogurt i was really sick. The flax is a new addition to my diet…i needed the fibre as I am allergic to gluten (not intolerant). This morning was a protein shake, with flax added….
    I have popped an allergy pill and want the feeling to pass (usually passes in a few hours). Tomorrow, NO FLAX…..wish me luck.
    I have developed so many allergies over the past five years from complications to a very severe attack of pancreatitis that damaged my intestines……so, maybe this is yet another to add to the growing list.
    Thanks for all the great information

  122. I read an article about how flax seed was really good for you. I went out and bought some of the ground flaxseed. It said to start slowly so I just sprinkled some on the food I ate once a day for two days. On the third day I noticed the tops of my feet itching so badly I could hardly stand it. I bought a antihistamine cream to put on it. Looking farther I noticed a rash on my arms and legs also, The next morning I noticed I was all stopped up and harder to breathe, so I took an antihistamine tablet instead. Flaxseed was the only thing new in the last few days, so I believe I am allergic also.

  123. Glad to see this post… It has been hard to find information on this subject. I made my 8 year old boy a smoothie with Flax seed in it. With-in a minute after consuming it he was clearing his throat and then in about five minutes he was vomiting violently. He then lay on the couch complaining his throat hurt, and was very lethargic. A few minutes later he was complaining of being very hot when I felt his head he was very sweaty. While I called our doctor he was having diarrhea and was almost falling asleep on the toilet. The nurse said to call 911, while on the phone with them he was sitting on the toilet unable to get off and still very lethargic. Once the paramedics arrived he was reacting better. They passed it off as he was sick and the doctors office says he must have strep throat. They all believe he did not have an allergic reaction. He was not sick before and hours later he was better and running around. We are going to take him to his allergist and have him tested.

  124. My daughter had a reaction to a bag we warmed up in the microwave for sore muscles. She was 5 at the time and was having trouble breathing. We got rid of it and didn’t think that much about it. Then she ate a Clif Bar at 15 and threw up. We thought she had the flu. At 17 she drank a little of an Odwalla juice and said she felt like her throat was closing. 10 minutes later she was vomitting violently. I looked at the ingredients in the Clif Bar and the Odwalla juice. The only ingredient that both had in common was flaxseed. I took her to an allergist. He didn’t think it was an allergic reaction, but at my urging did a blood test with flax. She had a 7.03 rating which is severe. She now carries an epipen. I, too, am worried that flax is not listed as an ingredient on food labels.

  125. I first began suffering with flax when my fitness trainer advised me to eat it ground, for the health benefits. I began putting 2 tablespoons in my yogurt in the morning. Soon, started to get VIOLENTLY ill, horrible stomach pain just as described (like being stabbed with a knife, then twisting the knife). I went to my regular dr. (who seemed very unconcerned), then a gastroenterologist to find out what was the problem. The gastroenterologist thought it was my gallbladder and I had an upper GI done and also a HIDA scan to try to determine what was wrong as my gallbladder was functioning normally. One Sunday morning after my normal yogurt/flax combo and becoming ill before I even finished my food, it hit me that it had to be the flax. I went to an allergist and had a blood test and found I am severely allergic. That was about a year ago, this morning I ate a Luna bar and didn’t check the ingredients carefully enough. Within minutes of eating the bar I was on the bathroom floor, crying and becoming sick. Doctors who do not think this allergy is real or can be real are WRONG. I cannot eat ANYTHING with flax in it, or else I am sick to the point of immobility. I have stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and sweats. My sympathy is with all those who have this allergy, as I know what torture I go through with mine.

    1. Melissa, it is torture. Your reaction is similar to mine. I just hope that when I get older I never have an attack. It is hard fighting the pain, it’s hard to breath. Flax is in so much food these days. You need to watch it in restaurants also. I have not found a solution to fight the symptoms just to ride it out.

  126. OMG! I’m laying here in bed curled up into a ball crying in pain. This is the second day I’ve felt like this. My husband asked me what I ate so I was calling the foods off. Flax seed was the only new food that I’ve recently added to my diet. I’d heard of the health benefits so I decided to add it to my smoothies. I decided to get on the internet and research flax seed allergy and there it was….this article. I’m in so much pain right now.

  127. I am so happy to see that so many people have experienced the same reaction to flax as I have, not becUse misery loves company but because for years people look at me like I’m crazy when I sY I am allergic to flax! It’s nice to know I’m not alone! Like Ali, I, too, had to narrow down the allergy over the course of years. My sister became vegetarian in 2005 and had to start watching her diet more closely. When I visited her, I noticed that I was getting very sick after eating food she served me or at the “crunchy” restaurants she frequented. I would often joke that being a health nut didn’t agree with me. That said, I couldn’t see how anything we were eating was making me sick because it was so fresh and healthy: pasta, veggie sandwiches, yogurt or cereal. And no one else got sick, just me! Years later, in 2008, I arrived for a visit late at night and the next morning my little nephew helped her make me a blueberry smoothie. It was so good I drank it down in about three gulps! Within minutes, my stomach began to roil and in half an hour, I was in bed sick to my stomach and sweating. About an hour later the vomiting started. I went to sleep until the afternoon when my other sister stopped by to see me. I could barely drag myself out of the bedroom and when she found out what was wrong she asked what I had eaten. I told her just a smoothie and she asked if there was flax in it. At just that moment my other sister walked in and said yes there was flax. Oh, and by the way, my nephew wanted to make it extra special and sprinkled some flax on top! Then they both looked kind of puzzled and said that flax can cause diarrhea…did I have that? As if on cue….I had to run to the bathroom!

    That was when it all made sense…over the years all the times I got so sick…the pasta I ate she told me was Plus and the Plus was flax! The yogurt that made me sick had granola with flax! The sandwich shop we went to used seven grain bread one of those seven was flax!

    I have gotten super careful about reading labels and have made all my friends aware of my allergy but I am still caught unaware at times. Many restaurants have added flax to the menu to be fashionably healthy and do not realize that many of us can’t tolerate it. I always ask the server to check if the bread or anything I’m ordering made with bread or pasta has flax. And like another poster pointed out it’s hard to know if I’m getting a valid answer. I really do believe, though, that the more I and all of us who are allergic ask whether the food has flax, the more awareness we will build. There is nothing fashionable about an itchy mouth and diarrhea!

  128. Another category of foods to be careful of is gluten-free foods. I recently discovered I have an intolerance to gluten as well, and many gluten-free foods contain flax ingredients. I’ve had to put many gluten-free products back on the shelf (or back in the freezer) because they contain flax. I was extremely sad and disappointed when I found the only brand of gluten-free toaster pastries contained flax flour! I ended up finding a recipe and making my own.

    1. I understand completely. I have Celiac disease so I have to eat gluten free. Have to be very careful because there is flax in breads, pasta, and various other things. Reading labels has always been important but even more so now. They add the flax to gluten free products in an attempt to make them more nutritious… I always thought I was the only one in the world with a flax allergy and this site was a great find, it’s nice to not be the only one although I wouldn’t wish food allergies on anyone. Also allergic to fish, seafood, and tree nuts in addition to flax. All are a source of Omega 3’s makes me wonder if a person can be allergic to that… Dr’s look at me like I’m insane when I ask that LOL

      1. I’m thankful that it’s just flax and gluten for me…so far. I’m considering testing to see if there are others. The flax thing never bothered me and was easy to avoid until I went gluten-free. I believe I had a reaction from eggs, but that’s it. Now I have to be really careful with gluten-free stuff. The flax allergy really limits my gluten-free options. Now I wish I weren’t allergic.

  129. Sally, the bag was most likely full of flax seeds…my Mom once bought me a neckscarf that you heat in the microwave and I was always sick when I wore it after heating ..this was before I discovered my allergy…..but I have found now that I have reactions just by breathing it. Are there any other names that it goes by so I can know if it is my shampoo, because I have had flax like symptoms all day and cant find the source of it . This is maddening I HATE flax.

  130. My 4 year old just developed a flax allergy. She has multiple food allergies tree nuts, peanuts (most all legumes), wheat, egg, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, millet, buckwheat, eggplant, and avocado. Thank you for the information!

  131. We have discovered that my mom is highly allergic to flaxseed and flaxseed oil. Within 2 hours of ingesting it whether in a smoothie or in yogurt she is vomiting and having extreme abdominal pain. Please be careful.

    1. Remember to check all the ingredients, now many products contain flax seed: multigrain bread, granola, crackers, etc

  132. I found out last night I’m allergic to linseed seeds. I make my own granola and usually put pumpkin and sunflower seeds into it but yesterday I wasn’t able to get these on there own from the supermarket so I bought a bag of linseed seeds and a mixed bag of seeds which contained linseed seeds. After adding both of these to my prepared granola I thought I would try a little pile of linseed to see what they taste like. Oh my god after about 2 mins my mouth was really itching and felt like I’d eaten stinging nettles then about 5 min later I was very violently sick and my whole body began itching and came out in lumps. Honestly a frightening experience. About 7yrs ago I ate a yoghurt with fruit and grains and was violently ill I guess it’s linseed I’m allergic to as that was he only thing I had eaten. I won’t be trying that again in a hurry.

  133. I, too, have a severe flax allergy — metallic taste in my mouth, itchy tongue, intense stomach pain, and eventually vomiting. Has anyone tried chia seeds? I haven’t for fear of the same reaction,

  134. Ann, Judy and Sarah – I never thought of exploring Chia seeds before but seeing your comments, I am going to research it further and will definitely share it on AllergyFoodie.
    Best wishes,
    Anu

    1. Well, I tried a chocolate chia muffin top made by Udi’s for breakfast yesterday. I felt more “regular” than usual throughout the day yesterday and went more the opposite way today. I also had a stomachache for a little while this morning. Remembering that was how things had started with the flaxseed reactions, I wonder if all this could have been from the chia seeds. I’m going to hold off on them for a while before trying again. Hopefully it was just a coincidence, but I guess we’ll see.

  135. I have a flaxseed allergy as well. Same as you, I eventually figured it out when I tasted a spoonful of ground flaxseeds which resulted in an ER visit. Now, I’m suspicious of any breads and granola bars. I also have a raspberry allergy. It is a challenge to track down what is causing the allergy and frustrating when the allergist doesn’t believe that you would ever have this rare allergy. I wonder if a homeopath would be able to track down rare allergies.

    1. Fortunately, both times when I ended up in the ER (and then in Intensive Care) with anaphylactic shock, the offending allergen was the only thing I really had eaten yet that day. The first time (I came so close to death it was terrifying) it was blackberries. The second time it was flaxseed, which I added for the first time to a whey drink that I used to drink every morning with no problems.

      So I didn’t have any problems with tracking those two food items at all.

  136. This article answered all of my questions about a flaxseed allergy. It seems like many of us have had similar experiences (much to our dismay), but I’m so glad there are others out there willing to write about them and help the newbies like me. I think my allergy must be relatively new, but boy within the past year I’ve had at least 3 major attacks with the itchy, swelling throat, and most recently with the severe abdominal pain and vomiting. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to my understanding of this allergy. I see the allergist next Friday to obtain an epi-pen!

  137. My flax allergy was finalized by a Naked juice! Red Machine I do believe. One sip and my lips and mouth itched and within minutes the cold sweats and stomach pains set in. I threw up within the hour which only cause my throat to swell more. I have never had to go to the emergency room, and my run ins with it are less and less frequent but eating out has become a careful process.
    My last experience was at a restaurant and I believe it was in my boyfriends “Asain Coleslaw”. It keeps popping up in random places like pretzels and chips and Flax is so great for so many people that is is EVERYWHERE now. Sample day at Costco is less and less fun and eating out is more and more work.
    I’ve been wondering about Chia seeds? They seem an equally as healthy alternative but I’m concerned that they are too similar and I will be allergic to those as well. Anyone have any experience with Chia?

    1. Wow…it’s interesting to see the number of people here who find flaxseed so hard to avoid. I guess it depends on where you live and where you normally go out, as well as the amount to which you react. I’ve only had one reaction since I discovered I react to it, and it was from organic eggs. I had the exact same symptoms I had after I discovered the reaction through eating Smart Balance with flax oil, so I assumed that was it. Of course, I have to read the ingredient labels to make sure the food item doesn’t contain it, but other than that (and switching to a different brand of eggs), I haven’t had to worry. The places where I go out just don’t put flaxseed in their foods, I guess. People must not normally cook with it around here either. Gluten, on the other hand, has been much harder to avoid. Another complication from eating gluten-free is that more gluten-free foods contain flaxseed. Again, I can just be on the lookout by reading ingredient labels (and being mad when I’ve found a good substitute for something but can’t use it because it contains flaxseed). 🙂 While I know I can react to the smallest amount of gluten, I’m not sure about flaxseed. It’s possible foods I’ve eaten may contain trace amounts due to cross-contamination, but perhaps it’s not enough to incite a noticeable reaction. In others, it might be enough. I’ve been afraid to try chia seeds too for the same reason. I’m still working on getting the gluten eliminated!

      1. Flaxseed is hard to avoid for me because, as people try to switch to more healthful eating, it’s a disguised ingredient in lots of foods, especially baked goods, breads, etc. Also, it’s often used as a substitute for gluten and many people are now eating gluten-free for health reasons. Also, many waiters have no idea. When I ask if there’s flaxseed in my dinner roll, some will ask, “What’s that?” or they’ll peer at the roll and say, “I don’t see anything.” One thing everyone can do to avoid anaphylactic shock (and I’ve been in Intensive Care twice, pretty much being brought back to life) is to take Zyrtec, Zantac and Prilosec daily, for prophylactic purposes. You can buy them over the counter without a prescription, plus the generic versions are cheaper and just as effective. All three of these drugs neutralize histamines so you either don’t have a reaction at all or your reaction is much less severe. I used to take Gastrocrom (prescribed by my doctor), but it was ultra-expensive, even with insurance coverage—thousands of dollars per month! I urge everyone with multiple, life-threatening food allergies to take Zyrtec, Zantac and Prilosec on a daily basis. They could save your life.

  138. Hi, I hope someone can give me some advise. I’m 33 years old and have been suffering w sore joints. Have been tested and the doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with me.. She did however recommend that I took flaxseed oil. So I have now for 2 weeks been taking 2 tablets of flaxseed oil daily. Week one I didn’t feel any change, but week two my left leg became very weak. A bit like jelly- like what you would expect after having been for a long run. This morning after taking the flaxseed oil tablet I got heart palpitations and felt out of breath, pulse racing. It occurred to me to google flaxseed allergies and I came across this site and anothet site warning of muscle weakness and more severe allergic reactions even paralysis.. But I have not come across any one experiencing muscle weakness as a result of taking flaxseed.
    Does it sound likely? I haven’t had any rashes, tightening of the airway or swelling?

    Many thanks. Any advise much appreciated.
    Helene

    1. Helene,

      It’s possible the racing pulse, breathlessness, and heart palpitations could have been an allergic reaction. I’m not sure about the weakness in your left leg–since it is so specific in just one limb, I wouldn’t think so, but I would definitely stop taking the flaxseed and perhaps switch to Omega-3 fish oil capsules, instead. (They should have the same anti-inflammatory properties as the flaxseed, and yet should be safe for you to take if there’s a possibility that you’re allergic to flaxseed.) Also, my doctor recommended curcumin tablets for inflammation. You can also get them over-the-counter. If the muscle weakness in your left leg persists, you might want to go back to your doctor and perhaps even get a referral to a neurologist for further testing.

      I’m not a medical doctor, but I’ve had lifelong severe allergies, including food and drug allergies, and it is my opinion that allergies can cause just about any symptom imaginable.

      1. Hi lyriclemon,
        Thank you for your advise. I will see the doctor Wednesday and am hoping they will refer me to a specialist. I really hope the muscle weakness is due to the flaxseed oil. But it does not sound like a common reaction.
        I will stay clear off the flax from now on and go back to omega 3 fish oil. Fingers crossed I’m back to full strength as soon as the flax leaves my system.
        Thank you again:-)

  139. I am 59 and have no food allergies as far as I know. But after only 1 flax seed oil gel I got a red itchy rash all up and down my arms my lower legs and my chest around my neck. My throat is very mildly sore and I did use the bathroom more than usual but not diarrhea. I thought it must be the flax oil gel because I am one of those people who eats the same thing for breakfast, lunch and dinner pretty much every day. Only found this by googling flax oil allergy. After reading the various reactions, it just goes to show how different each of us is, and how hard it is to know how a food/chemical/whatever will affect us individually.

  140. I too have had horrific, unrelenting stomach pain and bloating, and sometimes nausea, from eating flaxseed oil. I didn’t figure it out till recently, but no more flaxseed oil for me. I too thought that because its so healthy it couldn’t be causing such severe problems. There were times I felt like I was dying. Thank you for sharing your story. So sorry you had to go through that.

  141. I am 35 years old and in the last 3 years I have started having allergic reactions to various things I’ve eaten. The first time lead to a trip to the ER and I ate grapes. Then after having a sample here and there at work (Costco) I would have a reaction that consisted of my throat start closing up and it becoming hard to breath. Those few times it was to a local bread called Dave’s Killer Bread, which is loaded with seeds including flax seed. After the few small reactions I went and got allergy tested. I found out I wasn’t allergic to grapes but what they were cross pollinated with. At the of my allergy test flax seed wasn’t a thought. When I finally confirmed flax seed as something I was allergic to was after drinking an Odwalla juice drink and within a minute my throat started to close up and I was having trouble breathing and i eventually threw up. When I looked at the ingredients the last ingredient was flax seed. Ever since the drink reaction I keep clear of flax seed.
    Last night I had another reaction. My wife and I went out to dinner and I had a choice of white or wheat bun…I chose wheat and after eating 1/3 of it my throat started closing. I asked for the ingredients and low and behold there was flax seed in the bun. I also ended up throwing up due to this. I don’t get really bad stomach pains, but my throat closing and difficulty breathing gets pretty bad. I do have a epi pen prescription just in case it’s really bad.

    I glad to know I’m not the only one allergic to flax seed, as people are always surprised when I say I am allergic to flax seed.

  142. Thanks for the article. Nice to know I’m not alone. As soon as anything with the slightest bit of flaxseed goes in my mouth I set to get hot, nauseous and vomit within 30 minutes. Very hard when its added to so much these days.

    1. I have an allergy or an intolerance not sure, but man its bad. I’ve figured it out after four episodes. One being a health bar, another being a flat out bread, and tonight a slice of pizza. I’m in pain right now but its been hours so its a bit better. I went and got the box out of the garbage and low and behold the 10th ingredient golden flax!! I have to go to the bathroom a bunch and feel really sick and have very sharp stomach pains. I have to now read the ingredients like a hawk, this pain is unbearable. I’m not allergic to chia seeds, I have no reaction to those. I’m allergic to tree nuts all of them expect almonds I can eat. Peanuts I can eat as well. I didn’t start developing these allergies until my early 20’s. So now I’m wondering if I have to look for the lin ingredients in food and products?

  143. Over the course of the last 8 months or so, I’ve concluded that my 18m old son has a flax seed allergy. It all started when we were referred to a pediatrician because my son developed pneumonia at 10m and then stopped growing and gaining weight. The Dr wanted us to get as many calories into him as we could, so I started adding hidden calories like flax seed. The first few weeks were fine, but then about 3-4 weeks after first introducing the flax seed, he started vomiting. At first we thought he was sick again (he’s very frequently sick, at least once a month since he was born) so I laid off the flax seed for a week or so while he got better. As soon as I introduced the flax seed again, he was vomiting. It was with the second episode that I started to suspect the flax. The third time was after we eliminated flax for a few months, gave him the flax again, then after an hour or two, severe vomiting. It’s been about 4-5m since I’ve given him flax seed and he had it by accident earlier today. A few hours later he had the worst vomiting episode ever. 6 times over two hours. It’s odd though, because he’s totally fine with multi grain bread, pitas, pastas, etc. The vomiting only occurs when I add it to our food, like pancakes, muffins, sauces, etc. So my question, should I eliminate flax seed altogether even though he’s been fine with the “hidden” flax in store bought food? Obviously I won’t make any more muffins or anything with flax, but I’m not sure if his allergy will get worse over time if I don’t eliminate it from everything. Until tonight, I didn’t think an 18m old boy could vomit as much as he did.

    1. It sounds as if he very well could have an allergy to flax seed. Are you totally sure that the multi-grain breads, pitas and pastas contain flax seed? Have you seen it on the ingredients lists? Is it possible that they don’t? (Not all multi-grain items contain flax seed.)

      If I were you, I’d try to totally eliminate flax seed in everything you feed him and see if the vomiting episodes cease.

  144. He’s only ever had the vomiting when I’ve added flax seed into my own baking or cooking. I haven’t looked for flax seed on any packaging, I guess I just assumed it was there based on how healthy we ate, but maybe we’ve ended up being lucky. We usually buy Silver Hills Squirrely Bread, but I just looked it up online and it doesn’t contain flax, and I usually buy Lactantia Healthy Attitude Omega 3 margarine, but I can’t find an ingredient list online and I don’t have any in the fridge right now. Now that I’m looking through my cupboards, I can’t find anything with flax. Looks like we’ve been lucky. I’ve been starting to make a lot of things at home instead of buying from the store because I’m trying to be healthier and I want to know what’s in my food. Eliminating unnecessary sugar, using whole grains, less preservatives, that sort of thing. I thought it would be nice to throw in some flax since its so good for you, but I guess that’s not going to happen anymore! It’s hard because he’s so little, if the only symptoms he’s feeling is itchy/burning or anything I can’t physically see, he can’t tell me what he’s feeling. But without a doubt, if I make muffins, cakes, pizza dough, pancakes, or anything with flax added in, he’ll be throwing up violently after about 2 hours.

    1. I’ll bet that none of the already-prepared items you’ve been feeding him have contained flax seed. (“Omega 3” on a label does not mean the item contains flax seed–a lot of Omega 3 comes from other sources, like fish oil. I take an Omega 3 capsule daily without any problems, even though I go into anaphylactic shock upon contact with flax seed.) From now on, I’d definitely not add flax seed to anything you gave him, plus I’d read ingredient labels carefully before giving him any store-bought item to eat. It gets to be a habit, after awhile. (Believe me, I KNOW!) Plus, “multi-grain” does not mean there are flax seeds in bread. You have to read the ingredient list–I have even called the companies if I can’t find ingredients listed (at fast food establishments, for example). It’s much better to be overly-vigilant than to have your little guy be vomiting. That sure won’t help him gain weight!

  145. Thanks so much for all your help and for all the information on this page! I’ll be speaking with his pediatrician at our next visit and reading ingredient lists like a mad woman!

  146. So Happy To Have Found Your Aritical On Flax Seed Allergy. Same Thing Happened To Me. The paiN I Felt After Eating Flax Was Incrediable. I Do Not Trust EatIng Rolls Bread Or Granola Products In Restaurants. Oh And Watch Out For Oatmeal Some Have Added Flax.

  147. I wrote on here a while back about my severe flax allergy that my allergist confirmed. But I needed to come back to add this one thing. The other day I was starting to drag out a few Christmas decorations. I bought a burlap table runner and after putting it on the table, I noticed that I began itching all over and then my eyes began itching. I remembered one time in my teens how I broke out in a rash after leaning against a burlap wall hanging. I started wondering what burlap is actually made of. So I looked it up, and YES, burlap is commonly made with flax. So now I’m allergic to my new decorations!!! Anyway, thought you guys might like to know if you didn’t already:-)

  148. So wrote a little while back about my son and his flaxseed allergy. Is there a difference between whole or ground flax? He accidentally had some pita that had whole flax in it and it didn’t affect him at all. But if he has ground flax he vomits uncontrollably. Our pediatrician also sent us to see an allergist and they tested him for flax allergy and it came back negative. I’m 100% positive that every time we have a vomiting episode its related to the ground flax, but I’m just confused over the negative allergy test and that he’s unaffected by whole flaxseed.

    1. My allergy test for flaxseed was negative too. Eosinophilia was the big red-flag that I got that something was going on, and when I eliminated flaxseed (and even after adding back other things I eliminated), my eosinophilia resolved. When I ingest flaxseed accidentally, I feel like something tiny is stabbing me repeatedly in the stomach, as if I’d swallowed needles. I then have this painful raw feeling that subsides after a few days. I’ve avoided all flaxseed products, so I have no idea how whole flaxseed affects me. I’ve been too afraid to try. I seem to be fine with other seeds, except for chia, which I may also react to. I’ve tried whole seeds and something that has chia seeds as an ingredient and had questionable symptoms afterwards. Back to the allergy test…it could be that it’s not an IgE reaction, which is what those tests measure.

  149. Kristin,
    This is just a guess.. I remember hearing that if you use whole flax seeds your body doesn’t really digest them (they just get passed in feces) so it is better to use ground flax seeds if you want the health benefits from them. So could it be that the whole seeds just go right through his digestive tract without being digested and the proteins broken down?
    How does he do with other seeds? My five year old little girl is horribly allergic to most all seeds; sunflower, sesame, buckwheat, millet, flax.. So be careful with the other seeds too!

  150. I, too, am severely allergic to flaxseed and had to narrow it down on my own after several awful redactions over a one year period. I now carry epipens and avoid flaxseeds at all costs. Knowing the telltale signs of severe allergic reactions has taught me to cease eating anything that gives me a metallic taste in my mouth, tingling of throat and tongue, etc. I hope anyone who has experienced any such reaction will seek out an allergist, be tested and will carry epipens.

  151. Thanks a lot for your posts, both Ali and Anu. I am battling the same now. Hope this subsides. For me, there’s even ear ache and lock jaw, apart from light-headedness, nausea, bloating and feeling dizzy. I have bottled up anger for doctors who wave things off so easily.

  152. Great to find this page! I’m not sure if I have a full-on linseed/flax allergy, but my mouth and throat react by becoming sore and tingly when I eat anything with them in. Knew there was something, years ago, when I had one of those Dr. Karg. crispbreads with loads of seeds on. Stopped eating it and realised it was one of the (many) ingredients but there were too many to know for sure. Had a similar reaction to a friend’s gluten-free cereal recently (burning & tingling also down my digestive tract), and noticed that it had linseed/flax in it. So I purchased some seeds from a health store to test the theory, and put a tiny amount on the end of my tongue. Initially, nothing, but then the tingling / burning began so I spat it out. Definitely proven! There’s a trend here (in the UK) for supermarkets to add “healthy seeds” to breads, so I’m suddenly having to read labels. Also fearful of salad dressings and anything seeded. My Omega-3 oil is a fish oil only, so that’s ok thankfully. Flax / linseeds may explain other digestive symptoms I occasionally get, but I’ve yet to test correlation of those with anything.

  153. Ian, that same trend (of adding “healthy seeds” like flaxseed to muffins, rolls, breads, brownies, cookies, etc.) is very prevalent here in the States, too. In fact, even the Disney theme parks use flaxseed when making all their pizzas. (I found this out the hard way.) Just because you can’t see any seeds on top of a baked item doesn’t mean there aren’t flaxseeds used in making that item. What’s scary about it is that it can be “hidden” and sometimes even restaurant servers have no idea. I’ll ask, “Is there flaxseed in this?” and they’ll peer at the item and say, “No, I don’t see any.” Very frustrating, as I have a life-or-death reaction (anaphylactic shock).

    1. Thanks for the tip concerning Disney. I’ve been reading about how wonderful Disney is with catering to those with food allergies and intolerances. I’ll have to remember to mention that I react to flaxseed as well as to gluten. I’ll probably still be dairy-free (haven’t reintroduced yet) at the time as well so will also have to mention that when I go next year. Yes, flaxseed can be milled into a flour and added into foods that way. That’s why it’s important to read the ingredients lists.

  154. Sarah,
    Which Disney park are you going to? Disney World has always been super-helpful in finding ways to work around my allergies at their restaurants. I’m at Disneyland this week and ate last night at Goofy’s Kitchen. The young chef there said they prefer to make a special dish of steamed rice, steamed veggies and steamed chicken for allergic people rather than tell them which items on the buffet contain the allergens. I balked at this, since I was paying mucho bucks. So he did take me around. I’ve found that at most places (including Disney) the breads, rolls, etc. are not baked in-house, so the chefs don’t know for sure about flaxseeds and tell you to err on the side of caution. This Disneyland guy didn’t seem as willing as the chefs at Disney World to find out for me about some of the other items on the buffet. Finally at my insistence he asked a senior chef about the pizza. (I specifically mentioned it to him, as I know that most pizzas served at Disney World are made with flaxseed.) You have to really be proactive sometimes if you want to stay alive! 😉

    1. We’re going to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and MGM (Hollywood Studios) at Disney World. I’ve heard a lot of good things, so I hope I can survive it! I haven’t eaten out in months. It’s just not worth it if you have to play “20 questions” with your server and/or the chef. I just take my own food and buy a drink or just eat my meal later (and still buy a drink because I feel bad being there and not getting anything). I can understand the chef’s reluctance concerning the buffet. Cross-contamination is such a problem! I would have gladly eaten the rice, veggies, and chicken if it meant keeping myself symptom-free. 🙂

  155. Ah, yes, the flaxseed allergy. Someone told me how healthy flaxseed oil was so one day I used it in pancakes. When my toddler threw up after eating it, I just figured she had a tummy bug. A few years later when she was in kindergarden, someone brought pretzels made with flaxseed as a snack….that’s when we figured it out. After a visit to an allergist, we confirmed the flaxseed and discovered an allergy to tree nuts, too. Initially the allergy nurse told us they couldn’t test for flaxseed bc they didn’t have it there in the office. When I told her it was also known as linseed, she confirmed they did have linseed to test with. So many don’t know the different names for flaxseed so it’s important to inform them.
    Now my daughter is in 5th grade. She self advocates at school and at restaurants. She is very careful and has her benadryl and epipen with her just in case. Just wish food makers wouldn’t go overboard putting it in EVERYTHING. I am glad you mentioned watching out for Omega 3s so I can be sure to only choose one that is fish based and not plant. Most of the time when I mention she has a tree nut/flaxseed allergy people go “a what?”
    Thanks for getting the word out and for educating!
    You guys are not alone.

    1. I didn’t realize it went by linseed,nice to know. I throw up from flaxseed too. I wish they would label better and not add it to everything

  156. Thank you for this article — I am allergic to milk and recently discovered also to buckwheat. In an effort to eat healthy, I got some organic oatmeal two days ago. Had half a bowl yesterday morning and 15 minutes later was in the same excruciating pain as I get with milk or buckwheat. Could not figure out what was in the oatmeal, as I had thoroughly researched it for my known triggers. Upon looking at the ingredients again, I saw flax seed and wondered if it was related to buckwheat. My research led me to this site and to multiple stories of people suffering allergic reactions exactly like mine. I’ll have my allergist verify it, but this page has made me think flax seed is my culprit!!

  157. This is very interesting to me. I’m a 47 y/o male with hyperlipidemia. My cholesterol problems are not b/c I am an unhealthy person. I run 3 miles every other day and walk for 30 minutes on my off-run days. I do my push-ups and sit-ups every day, as well. Even with all the work and effort, I still manage to have slightly elevated cholesterol. I’m taking Crestor to bring it down. With that, my wife (who is a pharmacist) and I have gone to great lengths to eat healthier food, making sure we avoid (as much as possible) chemicals, dyes, and other additives (both of our boys also have severe peanut allergies – so we’re very label search intensive). With that, we eat more organic foods, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and less processed foods. We enjoy flax, walnuts, and Quinoa. And, here is where the problem arises with me. Embarrassingly, I get severe hemorrhoids when I have flax, walnuts, or Quinoa. I do not get constipated, but I do have lower GI discomfort. Because of this, I will be going to see a GI doctor to discuss these issues. Fortunately, the problems abate a couple of days after having these foods. I’m wondering if there is any link between these foods, which cause the problems.

  158. Thanks so much for posting this. Just spent another day throwing up and am now covered in red, itchy blotches. This (as I understand now) is the result of taking two spoons of flaxseed oil, as was recommended for heath reasons. I was starting to think it was the water 🙂 wishing everyone healthy being.

    1. If you think you’re allergic to flaxseed oil, you can still get the health benefits by taking a fish-oil based Omega 3 capsule instead! I am deathly allergic to flaxseed (twice in Intensive Care), but can tolerate the fish oil products.

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  160. You know, it strikes me that Canada had a huge GMO contamination of it’s flaxseed crops in the past 10 years, so much so that they went through destroying huge amounts of crops, and a big deal was made to present the face of “we took care of it” by the canadian gov’t, as Canada is the #1 flax provider. However, you can just search GMO Canadian flax and you’ll find it the GMO flax went renegade across the whole country.

    The people with the allergies now coming on to flax are like canaries in a coal mine.

  161. Thank you for sharing! I have never tried flaxseed (intentionally) until last monday I bought it to add to my morning juicing I read all the benefits of it before hand and thought I would be fine. I made a large juice which ended up lasting me three breakfasts, so I used it every morning till Wednesday. Even though day one I started feeling weird about an hour later which consisted of feeling of nausea, indigestion, constipation, and straight up stomach discomfort. It would come in waves off and on but not to bad so I continued to drink the rest because I didn’t want to waste my juice. Though after I discontinued using it the symptoms were there. I read up on all the side affects, so I hoped it would go away but Friday evening and all this weekend the waves of pain have worsened. Now I finally came across something that said if you are taking medicine for diabetes not to take it. Well to late, I take metformin for pcos so is this just a sever reaction because of that? I already had a dr appointment for Tuesday so I was just waiting for that instead of the er but my question for you is how long did your symptoms go on after you stopped consuming the flaxseed?

  162. my 12 year old son today just had near death allergic reaction to chia seeds.. terrifying. put a tiny bit in smoothie and he was vomitting violently then itching then couldn’t breath then hives all over body all with in the hour and spent all day in ER… i heard that he should also avoid flax seeds. i wonder if anyone has an allergy to both?

    1. So sorry to hear about your scary experience! I am allergic to flax, but have no problem eating chia seeds.

  163. Great discussion. I found out that I had a severe allergy to flax seed a number of years ago after only two bites of a bread with a high flax content. It is tricky now because flax is being added to so many foods! I have heard that people with allergies to chia seeds may also have allergies to flax. The plants are not directly related, but both are derived from wildflowers.

  164. Another flax contamination from a product not listed in the ingredients : barbaras
    Snackimals Chocolate Chip. Can we make of list of these products somewhere online

  165. Before I started reading this post and the comments, I thought I was the only person in the world who was deathly allergic to flax seed. (I’m allergic to other foods, too, but flax seed is the one I’m most worried about, since it’s so often a hidden allergen in many food items these days.) I’m wondering if we should band together to form a group to make manufacturers of food products AWARE that an allergy to flax seed is way more common than most people think and that flax (and linseed) ingredients should ALWAYS be listed on the packaging of products. It would be great if restaurants chains were also aware of this allergy, which has the potential of killing me and many others in an instant.

  166. Thanks so much for this post!! I became allergic to flax in my first pregnancy and it has become increasingly severe. NO ONE had heard of it, but I’d say I mistakenly ingest some at least 3 times/year!

  167. I think I might be allergic to flaxseed too. Whenever I eat something with flaxseed in it, I display the symptoms. My mom says it’s just all in my head but my throat feels like crap immediately after swallowing even a little flaxseed, I get a painful stomach ache, and diarrhea. After showing my parents this article today they finally agree with me that this might be an allergy. I’m tired of them making me try to eat some because it’s “good” for me or accidentally giving me some food with flaxseed in it! I’m only in highschool and all so I don’t know all the facts, but this article really helped me confirm my suspicion, thank you!

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  169. I was diagnosed with an allergy to flax in the mid-1980s. It manifested as severe sinusitis. There was no known flax in my diet so I was surprised that I was fighting the reactions on a monthly if not weekly basis. The allergist explained that flax oil is (was at that time) a component in many aerosols as a propellant, in oil based paints, and in photo processing chemicals. I was working for a printer using lots of photo processing fluids each day. Hence, my chronic sinus infection. A change of jobs and avoidance of anything that might contain flax has resulted in very few episodes since 1985. Now the biggest culprit is Krylon aerosol paint; a brief whiff and I am sick (sinusitis and bronchitis) for at least 3 months even with medical intervention. I am not sure what consuming flax would do to me and I am not willing to find out after reading some of the previous comments.

  170. Before I Start, forgive my Spelling , I never hardly even use email.
    Thank you so much for telling your allergy story about flax seed. about 3 years ago I was at the starting a health program. and thats when I became sick, it was a bowel cleaning product that I only used for 3 days and a year later I knew it all started with that product that was to be so healthy for me. from that time untill today I dident know what was wrong with me. I also went to the ER many times though the last 3 years. had a ultra sound and discoverd a mass on my pancris so I went on a dite 5 months ago and went on a weiord cancer diet and on that dite I am not alloud to eat seeds or nuts only a little almounds but not much, anyway my weiord stomach bloating and I mean big bloating so much I wore tight strechy bands around my stomach. I was in so much pain also all my nerves would twitch and jump like a baby kicking me, and many more simtoms , after the dite my stomach stoped bloating and I started geting better , Then I had a endocopey with a ultra sound to look at my pancris to see the mass. they told me there was no more mass and only a little cyst on my pancris tail and it dident look like anything. anyway its been a coupple of months sence the endocopy so I thought I would start expcamenting on my food list so i added flax meal to a egg waffle I make out of almond and egg so I added flax and there went my stomach again so I thought I still cant eat any thing off the list. so I let my grandkids eat most of them. and today I ate only a litte pice of one and it was burning my mouth and my stomach so I stoped and thought I would look up flax seed if it hurt the pancris or stomach and all I could find is how wonderfull it is . untill I seen your site. I also during that 3 years was trying flax seed oil and cottage cheese and flax seed on my saleds I think I discoverd whats been hurting me!!!!!!!!!!! my mom thought I had a gulten problem,,I dont think so… well thanks again…..

  171. thanx God I found this! I think I might be allergic to flaxseed, but I’m not sure.

    I started to eat flaxseed with yogurt in breakfast, and it didn’t caused any problem, but the last two times I can remember I ate flaxseed it was blended in a banana smothie, and it caused me all the simptoms described in the article.

    Why it didn’t caused any problem with the yogurt?

  172. my wife had a severe nauseous rxn with vomiting after eating the bread at Longhorn’s Steakhouse which I am sure was multigrain.

  173. I learned earlier this year that my body has decided it is allergic to flax. I used to be able to eat it but for whatever reason, this year…my 41st year on this planet, it no longer tolerates flax. I ate a flatbread from dunkin donuts this morning not realizing it has flax in it, which resulted in an interesting flight from Florida to Ohio.

  174. I figured out by accident about 15 years ago that I am allergic to flax. At the time it wasn’t in everything(!!) and I ate some high fiber granola bars (Gnu bars). My mouth/throat were itchy but no other issues. A few years later I ate some Kashi granola bars and had the same reaction. I started watching labels, and discovered that the ingredient that was the same throughout was flax. I try to be very cautious and generally avoid any multi-grain products- particularly after having a severe reaction with mouth/face/throat swelling and severe stomach cramps after eating a sandwich with a wrap made of flax. I stumbled upon this blog and am so glad to know that I’m not the only one!!

  175. I also have a severe allergy to flaxseed (everyone seems shocked when you tell them). Started with trying soy and linseed bread, nausea started straight away then projectile vomiting 2hours afterwards. A few more episodes occurred over the next year till I realized what it was.
    My most recent exposure was a smoothie a friend made a year ago. In the whole blender there was only 2teaspoons of linseed and I had 2 sips. I knew straight away it was in there. Mouth/throat started feeling very weird. Followed by 30minutes of nausea then about an hour of projectile vomiting. Flowed by severe sinusitis. All from the tiniest amount.
    It is very annoying how it is “hidden” in so many breads!

  176. Wow!!! I am so glad I found this article, thanks for writing. I had a food intolerance test done about a year ago and flax seed was “way off the chart”, but, as so many of you have found, people don’t believe you when you tell them. Well, I stopped adding flax seeds/powder to my breakfast and my digestive problems got 80% better (it seems I also have a dairy intolerance too 😦 ). Well, just this past weekend I thought I would re-introduce flax back into my diet (not sure why I thought this might be a good idea!)…. and last night and today, I am mostly in the bathroom!! I don’t wish intolerances or allergies on anyone, they’re not fun, but I am glad to know that I’m not the only person that suffers with this and I’m not as mad as others think I am!

  177. I to went through the same horror. Extreme pain in my stomach. Like a knife or fork scraping my insides. Diarrhea and vomiting. Went to E.R and had to sit in agony. Asked doctor if I could be having a allergic reaction to flax seeds that I ate in my oatmeal and the response was; “if your not having trouble breathing then, no”. They gave me a GI cocktail which started to work 3 hours later. So I suffered for 4 1/2 hours. I’m now cautious what I eat in fear of getting that again.

  178. I also have a severe allergy to Flax seed and flax flour. I found out the hard way it is in the buns at Burger King, some breads at Panera Bread and certain buns at Chick-Fil-A.

  179. I am glad I am not the only one out there! I too since I was about 13, I am now 25, would have episodes of becoming I’ll with the pain almost mimicking childbirth my mom didn’t know what to do and I would just take liquid benadryl to see if it would help. It did but not completely and I would sit in pain with a heating pad on my stomach for hours. The pain is like you said knife stabbing and it goes through the entire intestinal tract is what it feels like. I also did the allergy testing but of course they didn’t have the flaxseed strain but it took me about a year as well to finally look at everything I was eating which all connected to flaxseed. Even about a month ago I took one sip of Naked juice to which I didn’t read the ingredients at first..sure enough flaxseed was hidden in it and I was down for hours but it only takes less than 5 minutes for that pain to kick in. It is truly frustrating to be allergic to this though because there is so many supplements I want to try, such as the isagenix shakes, but they contain flaxseed 😦 if you have any products that you know of that aid in weight loss and fat burning agents that don’t contain flaxseed will you or anyone else let me know 🙂 Thanks for sharing your story

    1. I get the same pains in my stomach and it took me many years to take a allergy test to find out I was allergic to eggs, sesame and green beans. I didn’t know that food allergies can only cause stomach pains and/ or ibs. I eliminated those allergens and gluten because I noticed a sensitivity. I started looking for healthy foods to add to my diet, and I chose a meal replacement powder to add to my smoothie. Almost instantly those old stomach pains came back, so I stopped taking it. I had also bought some gluten free crackers and again more stomach pain. The only thing they had in common was flaxseed! I got out my copy of the allergy report and it doesn’t test for flaxseed. I read the ingredients on bars, meal replacements, bread, crackers, and cereals. Flaxseed is in anything healthy!

  180. Thanks For sharing… My story is also Same… I am allergetic to flax seeds so whenever i eat some multi grain bread, energy bars etc i used to undergo severe stomach cramps,Abdominal pain,Vomitings,Diarhea and back pain. I myself gathered all the ingredients of when and how i happened to get these symptoms and the culprit and common among all was Flax seed.

  181. SO relieved to see so many other people with this issue. Whenever I mention my problem with flax I get strange looks and disbelief. I have the same symptoms many of you have mentioned and also am extremely careful about what I eat and spend far too much time in the grocery store reading labels. Oddly, I have the same reaction to some domestic beers to the point where I am afraid to drink anything that is not imported. I will never, ever drink Miller Ultra again but Guinness, Heineken and Corona are perfectly safe. I apologize for veering off topic but my reaction is so similar to my flax symptoms that I can’t help but wonder if there is a connection.

  182. Glad I found this. I have looked it up before and found nothing. At first, I thought I had the flu. When I got it again, I felt like I had been poisoned. Terrible stomach cramps.

  183. Thank you! Yes, I just googled “flaxseed and allergy.” I have allergies to cashews and macadamia nuts so I know the feeling. I just added no more than a teaspoon of flaxseed to a fruit drink for the first time and began feeling nauseous. I thought there was no way I could be allergic to flaxseed but when you wrote also about all the whole grain breads that have flaxseed it all made sense. I have felt this way before after eating certain breads and cereal (I’ll have to remember which one). Thanks for writing this!!

  184. Thanks so much for this! I tried adding flaxseed to my diet last night, only to be awakened this morning with such pain. I have never had such severe cramping in my life. I was actually struggling to breathe. In addition, I also had nausea, shakes, and muscle pain. I was terrified to say the least. A quick search online led me here. I never heard of flaxseed allergies before, and I’m grateful that you have told your story. Thanks to you, I won’t need to spend a year suffering like this, and I can immediately stop any contact with flaxseed.

  185. I understood that flax seed was a good source of Omega 3, preferably ground up at home in your own grinder. Decided to try it. Stirred a level teaspoonful into orange juice. Felt a bit up the next day, but that may have been the result of suggestion. Continued. On the second day again felt a bit up, but with mild pain in the chest. On the third day was still feeling up, but the pain was worse. Quite bearable but a little frightening. It occurred to me to look up “flax” plus “chest pain”. Came across this article. Regretfully, am never going to touch flax seed again. I expect the problem is allergy, and that flax seeds can be taken by the immense majority of people with no problem, but on the basis of my own limited experience, and after reading this article, I advise caution.

  186. I, too, am extremely allergic to Flax Seed. I discovered the allergy after eating a flax bar sample at Costco. I became very ill with vomiting and diarrhea. A few weeks later, I was eating a breakfast bar and became ill, although not as violently. When I checked the ingredients, the bar contained Flax. I was lucky that the first episode was advertised as a healthy sample containing Flax and that I immediately started looking online to see if other people were allergic to Flax. I now am more careful. Thank you for your post and to all others for spreading the awareness.

  187. I am another person with a flax allergy! I was taking flax supplements and was INCREDIBLY sick during the 2 months that I was taking it. Through deduction and multiple doctor’s visits, and stopping all supplements, I found out it was the flax. I also react the same way to all forms of sesame.

    Thanks for posting this! When I turn things down or read lists for these things, people think I am crazy and that my allergy isn’t a real thing since it isn’t all that common.

  188. Wow, thanks so much for the info.
    I’ve just discovered that I have a flax allergy. A few months ago I had some multi seed crackers ……within 5 mins of eating them my throat swelled up along with my tongue and lips, I got blotchy skin, my hands itched, my ears were twice their normal size and I had horrendous cramping pains in my stomach followed by diarrhoea. The seeds on the crackers were hemp, flax and millet. I slowly but surely ruled out the hemp and the millet. Yesterday I had a tiny amount of flax ….. same reaction. Antihistamines do make it go down but it’s very scary, especially when I can’t swallow properly. I’ll be visiting my GP to get an epi-pen because as many of you have said …..as its a new ‘superfood’ it seems to be cropping up in everything. Jo x

  189. i get terribly itchy all over and i get very low blood pressure when i have tried eating flaxseed.

  190. I am allergic to flax seed, as well. So allergic that when my mother-in-law sprinkled it on HER food, I still got sick just because I had smelled it! So be careful even being in close proximity of it!!

  191. I just found out I am allergic to flax as well. It took me 2 years to pin-point it. I am so glad I am not the only one out there! I really had to push to get the proper testing done to confirm it. No one seemed to believe me!

  192. Oh wow, as i sit here, on the toilet in the middle of the night, after having spent an evening of vomiting, severe double-over stomach pain and diarrhea I think I have the answer. Flax seed! I had heard how healthy it was and started eating a ground flax/kefir mix in the mornings – all was well for about a month. I had about a week where I ran out of kefir and didn’t get to have it. Then suddenly the next time I ate it I had the worst diarrhea I have ever had in my life, I was suspicious so I cut back on the flax, after about 2 weeks I decided to try again, only to end up with a worse reaction – intense stomach pain and vomiting. I went to the Dr who diagnosed a peptic ulcer – I started taking Prilosec and instantly felt better. Today I decided on some flax again thinking it was an ulcer and not flax after all – about 20 minutes later I could feel the stomach tightening – this evening has been the worst reaction yet – I am now convinced it is a flax allergy/ sensitivity. I just hope I can get through the night and feel better tomorrow – I’ll never, knowingly touch the stuff again. The stomach pain is excrutiating 😩

  193. I tested positive for Flax seed on a food intolerance test. I wonder if eating omega 3 eggs could also trigger my chronic pain as the hens are fed flax.

    1. June, yes! My allergist told me to stay away from Omega 3 eggs: he said that it’s possible for flax “artifacts” (I think that’s what he called it) can pass to the eggs.

  194. Be careful, Some Burger King buns have Flax flour, Some Chick fil a buns have flax flour, some Panera bagels have both Flax seed and flour. I learned the hard way. If I eat at any of these places I am careful what I order. I also find Flax in protein powder mixes, and energy bars.

    1. So true! I cannot eat at Chick-fil-A, Burger King or Dunking Donuts (breakfasts), as soon as I start eating the pain starts. ..

  195. I’m allergic to flaxseed and have severe reactions to it first starting with anaphylaxis (usually taken care of if I can get benadryl down fast enough, but I also carry an epipen and wear an alert bracelet) and then immediately into very, very severe stomach pains (which lasts 24-24 hours), and wild heart rate rhythms if exposed to flax . I never get sick, but often feel like I’d feel better if I could. It just feels like my gut is on fire. Doctors thought I was having gall bladder attacks.

    Burger King now has flax in their buns. Some of the Subway breads have flax in them. Mustards, mayos, cereals, and other odd things. My mom calls me all of the time warning me about things that come out with flax in them – and warning me about “new and improved” things that have flax added. It’s getting scary to eat out . . and knowing what is safe to buy at the grocery store. I didn’t realize there were so many of us. It is a very odd and tricky allergy to have.

  196. Hello, also be very careful of LINSEED as this is part of the same family. I went through similar issues with trying to understand and discover why I would eat certain foods and become violently ill. It started off as just mild nausea, then each time I had this it became worse. First time was in Canada eating toast in 1984. I took the bread bag home to Australia. 6 months later, similar reaction with bread at a breakfast. I also got the bread bag, and initially thought it was buckwheat. It took many years, as in 2007 before I finally found the real cause. I went to an allergy specialist and they tested me for everything, however, I discovered that did not include testing buckwheat or flaxseed/linseed. I had to bring my own!! I had enormous reaction to the flaxseed/linseed. So, read EVERY label, EVERY packet. Even if food has been prepared in a pan that HAD flax/linseed it will cause reaction. Good luck!!

  197. I am so grateful to have come across this post. I wound up in the hospital twice because of flax seed. This last time it was from Burger King. The scary part is because it’s not an “allergin”
    Places don’t disclose when they add them (like at Burger King where I have eaten for years and now they use flax powder but how would I have even known of the change?!). If enough people submit these issues, it could get added to the allergin list. Would you all report it if I sent out the info on how to??

  198. Just in case you haven’t seen this list of alternate names for Flax seed, here it is again: http://www.rxlist.com/flaxseed/supplements.htm

    What other names is Flaxseed known by?
    Alasi, Aliviraaii, Brown Flaxseed, Brown-Seeded Flax, Common Flax, Echter Lein, Flachs, Flachssamen, Flax, Flax Hull, Flax Lignans, Flax Meal, Flax Seed, Gemeiner Flachs, Golden Flax, Graine de Lin, Kattan, Keten, Leinsamen, Lignanes de Lin, Lignans, Lin, Lin Commun, Lin Oléagineux, Lin Textile, Linaza, Lini Semen, Linho, Lino, Lino Comune, Lino Mazzese, Lino Usuale, Linseed, Linseed Flax, Lint Bells, Linum, Linum crepitans, Linum humile, Linum usitatissimum, Malsag, Phytoestrogen, Phyto-œstrogène, Saatlein, Ta Ma, Tisii, Winterlien.

    AliKat (AKA-Ali)

  199. Just so you guys know, I too suffer from a deadly severe flax allergy and it’s not listed but it IS in hotdogs, ALL hot dogs except kosher Hebrew national ones contain flax and do NOT list it as an ingredient. and now that flaxseeds use and popularity is on the rise it could even be in the Hebrew national ones as well. Be careful guys

    1. Morgan, thank you so much for your post. I often wondered why, while I was once able to enjoy hot dogs, all of a sudden they made me sick. Now, I know. I haven’t had one in years & I guess I will never have one again. I think it’s well past time for those of us with potentially life-threatening allergies to petition the FDA to to have these companies stop adding the next new ” healthy wonder” to our food & household products & allow anyone who wants to take chances with them to add it in themselves. This is a dangerous game that is being allow to be played on a largely unsuspecting public and it’s killing some people. If I can re-gain some of my shrinking brain cells back long enough to conjure up an eloquent enough letter, I’ll work on it. Anyone who would like to take a swing at it as well is welcome to join. Remember, there’s strength in numbers. Stay well.

    2. Morgan, how do you know that ALL hot dogs contain flax seeds? I’ve been in Intensive Care for a week each time I’ve accidentally ingested flax (on machines and near death each time), but I’ve never had anaphylactic shock from eating a hot dog. (I don’t eat them often.) Some hot dogs contain all meat, while others are almost entirely composed of cereal fillers. I’m not doubting your word, just wondering if you could include a link to the information you found, especially since flax is not a listed ingredient. Thanks!

  200. Glad you solved your health issue. I had to give up gluten and feel better. I still have a suspicion of allergies lurking. Seems every time i have strawberry or blackberry seeds (smoothie mix or wild dewberry harvests) i would get runny nose and a few sneezes. Also getting pricked by roses or raspberry plants makes me itch and occasionally blister. After eating scrambled eggs i had strange sharp pains in my abdomen and thus cut back on poultry now. Anyway, thanks for the discussion and improving our health.

  201. Hi it took me more than three month to feel better and my stomach and intestines to get back to normal after stopping flax seed oil. I started taking it as a part of a new health regime. For me it was like I could feel all my intestines hardening and I had stomach pain. While detoxing from it I was in school and sat next to a girl that was bent over with stomach pain. She could not understand why she had this pain when she ate so healthy. I shared my story with her and yes she said she had added flax seed fairly recently to her diet. Just tonight met someone else who was suffering stomach issues she was using flax seeds in her green drinks. I wonder how many others are having these issues and don’t realize the cause.

  202. For about 5 years now, I’ve been avoiding anything multi-grain or containing seeds. My first reaction was to a Costco sample, just like the woman in the article. My tongue and lips swelled up and I was violently vomiting about an hour after ingesting it. Severe stomach pains and chills. I kept thinking I was going to pass out on my bathroom floor. I didn’t know what was causing this reaction, and could only link it to things that were multi-grain. I thought it might be an allergic reaction, but because it wasn’t happening consistently, I figured it might be an environmental thing.
    Over the years, I’ve had progressively worse reactions to everything from bread to granola to protein shakes.
    Just yesterday, I ate a wrap from Chic Fil A. I took two bites before I began to feel my tongue swelling up. I got the oddest burning and scratching in the back of my throat, making it very difficult and painful to swallow. My heart rate increased rapidly and I suddenly had terrible chills. Thankfully, I was at home with my mom, so I immediately took two Benadryl and laid down. About a half hour later, I was violently sick and finally managed to throw up. I felt like someone had punched me in my stomach over and over again. I actually wanted to throw up more so I could get whatever it was causing the pain out of my body. I was forcing myself to throw up and it wasn’t fixing the problem. The pain didn’t subside for almost 12 hours. I couldn’t decide whether or not to use my Epi-Pen (which I have for my severe peanut allergy), so I just kept taking the maximum dosage of Benadryl every few hours. I wasn’t even totally sure that what I was experiencing was an allergic reaction because it was so unlike my reaction to peanuts (which is just immediate anaphylactic shock, no vomiting or chills). Looking back, I should have used the Epi-Pen immediately since I was able to barely keep the reaction under control with Benadryl.
    Since my brother works at Chic Fil A, I asked him to go in to see what was in the wrap that might have caused my reaction. It was just lettuce, carrots, and chicken inside, which I knew I wasn’t allergic to. But the wrap itself was multi-grain and contained flax. The manager said that he had seen a couple people have allergic reactions to that particular wrap before. For the first time, I realized that everything I had ever had this particular allergic reaction to contained flax in some form.
    I can’t tell you how relieved I feel knowing that this is a real allergy and I’m not just crazy! I’ve felt so bad for refusing to eat whole grain pastas and breads in the past, and the only reason I could give was, “I think I might be allergic to something in that, but I don’t know what.” I was always so afraid that I might get something that would make me sick, but I didn’t really know what to avoid. It was often the weirdest stuff that would cause the reaction, like a protein shake or smoothie or a cereal high in Omega 3s. I’m going into my junior year of college, and I feel so relieved that I finally know what is causing this. Just putting a label on it helps me feel like I’m in control again.
    Each time I come in contact with the allergen, my reaction becomes worse. The one yesterday was by far the scariest and most life-threatening yet. In the future, if I think I’ve gotten a trace amount, I will immediately use the Epi-Pen and go to the hospital. Knowing that it’s an allergy helps me know how I should handle myself when it occurs.
    I truly just can’t express how relieved I am to know that this is a real thing and that I’m not alone in experiencing it. So many of these comments mirror exactly what I have experienced in my life and just confirm that I wasn’t just crazy all those years for avoiding “healthy” foods! I feel like we need to be outspoken about this because while it is an uncommon allergy, there are most certainly many people out there who are still suffering with the effects of it, not knowing that they can solve their problems just by avoiding flax seed. Additionally, it needs to be added to an allergen list and required to be listed in ingredients labels clearly. I don’t think it’s required that they list it in the ingredients list right now.
    If you had an allergic reaction to flax, go to this link and report it to the FDA: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/medwatch/index.cfm?action=reporting.home
    If enough people report it, we may be able to gain some validity around the allergy and encourage proper reporting and handling of the allergy. Even just creating a list of foods and drinks that contain flax would be helpful to those of us just starting on our journey to avoid the ingredient.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story & for adding the link to report the flax allergy. Hopefully, this will help assist in getting this dangerous allergen noticed & added to packaging so that people who are either sensitive to, or completely allergic to flax, can have an easier time avoiding it if it’s not hidden in the list of ingredients.

  203. I have a very severe flaxseed allergy. Although I usually read packages clearly, many manufacturers have products I’ve eaten but now have flax added in and in my complacency that I’ve eaten it before, I failed to check and had a reaction. I am also pretty sure that Annie’s Graham crackers, which doesn’t have flax listed, has cross-contamination as I get an itchy throat instantly followed by stomach pain. Another hidden danger… walking into a kitchen where multi-grain pasta is cooking… the vapors from the pot alone caused my throat and lungs to swell.

  204. Beautifully written!! I am so glad you figured it out. What a horrible year you must have gone through. I hope that your life is much better now. I am also very allergic to flaxseed. It took me 3 incidents and some serious torture to figure it out. I was also very shocked when I realized I was allergic to it. Every not and then I have an allergic reaction because ate something without paying attention. I violently throw up and have bad diareaha. I do wish that there was more online to prepare someone for knowing that they could be allergic to Flaxsed.

    1. I’m sorry to hear you also have this hideous allergic reaction to flax. To say it’s an unpleasant experience is a gross understatement. It’s hard enough to have to read every label before eating, but many times, there’s no information about whether or not it’s in bread or pasta, or if there’s a cross contamination issue and unfortunately, the only way we can find out, is by a very painful mistake. As much as I’m all about using natural & holistic remedies, they need to be kept track of as far as adverse reactions are concerned because they can still be as dangerous as pharmaceutical treatments to many people and should be monitored and labeled as well. Everyone who suffers with any allergic reaction should report it here, as Noelle had posted previously: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/medwatch/index.cfm?action=reporting.home
      Stay Well & keep passing on the information!
      Ali

  205. Hi, thanks so much for your article. I was told to take flaxseed by my dietician, but ive had a week from hell with excruciating pains. I had my suspicions so looked up Flaxeed alergy & this came up. I’ve had exactly the same problems as Ali & I’ve just stopped taking it & I will see how I improve!
    Many thanks
    Bonnie

    1. Hi Bonnie, I sincerely hope that you’re feeling better and that this was the answer to your pain problem. Please keep us posted. Be well!

  206. Similar problem, but not as severe. I also have been impressed with all the started benefits of flax seed and started putting some ground seed in my food. Within fifteen minutes I’d start to experience stomach pain, not excruciating but enough to make me want to avoid whatever was causing it. It didn’t take long to figure out what it was. I also noticed that if I ingested a small amount, maybe a quarter teaspoon, on its own with some water, I’d quickly feel a scratchy itchy feeling in the back of my throat, which I don’t get if it’s diluted in food. I seem to tolerate it okay if it’s a minor ingredient in other foods.

  207. I too have an allergy to flax seed! In addition to the horrible nausea and vomiting it causes I also have throat itching/swelling and hives! I actually had a reaction today to a Chick-fil-A wrap, which I never dreamed would have flax seed. I stay away from whole grain breads, granola, etc unless I’m sure it doesn’t have flax. I’ve never had a reaction as bad as I did today so these allergies can worsen and are not to be played with!

  208. Thanks for posting this! I too have a severe flax allergy. I became very sick before I figured it out. No one believed me because it is rare.
    Started with itchy rashes and mild nausea, turned into more extreme reactions and projectile vomiting. I did indeed feel as though I was being poisoned. I stopped digesting food, My blood pressure dropped to 79 over 51, before doctors took me seriously.
    Use flax with care.

    1. It’s always good to hear someone say that they finally have figured out the cause of their allergy. And, I know just how frustrating it is when the medical community looks at you like you have 3 heads when you tell them you believe it’s caused by this ‘miracle’ seed that’s supposed to be good for you. Keep reading those labels and stay safe.

  209. Wow! I know what you go through with flax. I have the same reaction. The problem is the detective work. I had to go through the cat scan, abs ultrasound, and colonoscopy for Drs to not be able to tell me anything wrong. Finally, a clerk at vitamin world told me, “get off everything”! And the pain was gone the next day. It’s too bad the medical and my naprapath aren’t better at diagnosing these super food allergies. Those people made lots of money on all the tests! Also, if your not handling flax, be aware of problems with another seed like quinoa-that gives me bad cramps. Raspberry seeds reek havoc in my colon -a different pain, so you have to be aware of ingredients and these so called super foods . Else all the drs will only keep making you do pricey colonoscopy and cat scans. And you can always develop a sensitivity to something you always ate in the past.

  210. I too have a flax seed allergy. The first time I ate it in a wrap, I felt like something grainy was getting stuck in my throat. Then I started with the nausea. I had a coughing fit and when I looked in the mirror, my eye was half swollen shut. Of course, I had no idea what caused it. The second time I ate noodles with it. With that one, I got the nausea, stomach pains and I felt my throat was tightening. We went to the ER and the entire hour drive, my nose just poured. The third time and subsequent times that I’ve unknowingly eaten it, I get that feeling like there are seeds stuck in my throat, nausea, and have thrown up.
    I thought I was the only one because my start happened 6-7 years ago and I couldn’t find anything online about a flax seed allergy.

  211. Thank you! I have flax allergy too. Starts as severe mid-line pain below my sternum near the xiphoid process. Feels like a knawing pain. Works its way down to a gurgling bloated belly Then I start throwing up, then diarrhea, sometimes both at the same time. A miserable allergy. I have had hives on some occasions (arms and neck) and mouth numbness on 2 occasions. One time went to the ER. The problem is that flax flour, ground into gluten-free brownies and baked goods, is hard to detect unless you ask. Flax oil in salad dressing, ditto. Flax in tortillas…please! I think of my poor inflamed GI system trying to expel the poison anyway possible. Very tired of hidden flax. Try to read ingredients But frankly people (and I’ll admit, lazy me for not carryforward mg my Epi-pen at all times) should treat flax like a nut allergy.

    1. Thank you for the information regarding flax oil in salad dressing. This is one I’ve never thought to look for, but would no doubt, do great damage to myself and others out there, if ingested. You are absolutely correct when you say this allergy should be treated like a nut allergy and should be reported by as many people as possible until something is done to keep it from being a hidden ingredient.

      https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm095859.htm

      Ali

  212. I took flax seed oil with green tea for the first time in my life and had severe stomach issues within the next 1 hour. I could easily make out that it was bcos of it but I still doubt it is the quality of flax seed that matters. Gmo free and organic brands will not creat allergies. I am going to try it again with such a brand.

  213. I am highly allergic to flaxseed and chia seed. My first experience w chia seed was in microwaveable booties for your feet. In 2 minutes my feet burned, itched, turned blood red. Flaxseed ingested in small amounts that are now added to so many food items creates a rash around my mouth, whelts, swelling, wheezing in my chest. I am constantly reading labels on mayo, eggs, bread, salad dressings etc. it is now put in. Nowhere online have I found until now anyone else experiencing reactions. I am glad I’m not alone..in my research I found put into food items it is not beneficial bc your body doesnt know how to process it in that form. Been trying to find more people allergic and a way to share with food drug administration or whoever allows so many food items to contain it,there is a larger population than they know allergic. I keep liquid Benadryl with me at all times in case I accidently ingest it or touch it. I am tired of living this way constantly reading labels, questioning restaurants if they have omegas in their salad dressing etc..

    1. I’m always sorry to hear when someone is a member of the flax allergy club. I know exactly how you feel when you say you’re tired of reading labels. I always feel like a pain when I have to question restaurants and bakeries, especially about their bread products, but we have to look out for our health because no one else will. As far as the FDA, here is a link to report the flax issue: https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm095859.htm
      The more people report this allergy, hopefully they will take this seriously and do something about it. Thanks so much for sharing, and stay well.

  214. My husband has an allergy to flaxseed!! Horrible stomach pain, etc. Aside from the obvious, to avoid flax altogether, what do you do if you accidentally ingest it? We’ve tried benedryl, tums, milk of magnesia. Nothing seems to bring relieve. Have you tried anything that has brought relief?

    1. Has he tried taking probiotics daily? That rebuilds your enzymes in your stomach and intestines and helps with allergic reactions. Ive been broken out in a rash around my mouth for several weeks. Nothing works to get rid of it. Started from ingesting salad dressing w flaxseed in it. This omega stuff needs to stop in foods we eat daily! Someone sent me link to FDA to report it. Will find it.

    2. I’m sorry your husband has this terrible allergy. If I only ingest a tiny bit of it and notice it immediately, I’ll grab some Benadryl, and I also have a prescription for Zofran from my doctor to help with the nausea. But, if I’ve already ingested too much, I usually have to go the the doctor and get a shot to relieve the symptoms. The best we can do is to try to read labels and avoid it. That, and keep on the FDA to have this removed from everyday foods that it need not be present in https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm095859.htm.
      Wishing you the best.

  215. Thank you for talking about flax allergies. I am also allergic to flax. I have to read ingredients to anything new or that has new packaging to make sure they are the same as before. I didn’t know,like yourself, why I was getting so sick. I had been following my doctors advice and eating healthy and I did like it, except when I’d end up in the er a lot due to pain and being sick. They always thought it was appendicitis until one dr asked me what I had eaten that day and didn’t dismiss it like the rest of the dr’s. He too had gone through a similar episode. He had found out he was having a reaction to flax everything. After proper testing and finding out it was not appendicitis, the dr suggested for me to stop eating anything with flax in it. I did as he suggested and I’ve been fine ever since. I did go back just to thank him!
    But only you can be your best advocate!

    1. I’m happy to hear that you have a competent and compassionate doctor who listened to you. It was helpful that he had a first-hand experience so that he was sympathetic to what you had been through. Sadly, many doctors who never experience things like this have a hard time believing that something that’s supposed to be healthy for so many people can be so harmful to others. I’m glad to that you’re doing better and hope you continue to have good health.

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