Flax Seed Allergy

Some time back I had written a series of posts on Flax Seed Allergy – a food allergy that is relatively rare but just as dangerous.

I was surprised with the number of readers who shared their experiences and in the process gave invaluable input. The comments section following each of these posts is a great resource for anyone with Flax Seed allergy. Do use this forum to add your unique insight or just connect with others.

118 thoughts on “Flax Seed Allergy”

  1. I wonder if it is possible to have respiratory allergy symptoms to a flaxseed microwaveable neck pillow. I recently started using it a LOT and have developed a weird thickness in my throat when I swallow.

    1. It is absolutely possible. I had not been able to use those heated pillows for years before I became aware of my allergy to flax. My lips would swell and my face would get itchy. I had thought it was one of the scented oils they use in them. With the increased use of flax in food products, I found out the hard way that it was actually the flax. I have a severe reaction to flax. Take your reaction as a warning and be very cautious of digesting it! Also, I would suggest you find a different type of pillow.

      1. i just recently started using a Flaxseed eye pillow and one eye seems to have had a reaction ..feel pain spontaneously when trying to close the eye. never had a problem with that eye until the flax seen pillow..is there a possibility one eye could react and not the other??

    2. I was at a fair a while back where a man had a booth set up explaining the process of making linen using flax. (As far as I’m aware, I don’t have any reactions to linen, thank goodness.) As I was talking with him, I could feel my throat and mouth start to swell, making it difficult to swallow and breathe. That’s the main reaction I have when I eat something with flax seed. I don’t know how that works, but I guess whatever it is about flax seed that I’m allergic to can also be airborne. So I’d say it’s entirely possible that you’re having a reaction to your pillow. I’ll have to remember that, be cautious myself. Hope that helps!

    3. I realize this post was left quite awhile ago, but I had posted elsewhere on this site about a microwavable heat pack that I had to return due to the flax seed inside of it. Allergies come in many different forms, so yes, that is definitely an allergic reaction.

    4. I think I have a relatively high tolerance for pain. I thought maybe I had a stomach ulcer. Others thought it was in my head because almost every time I started eating “more healthy” I got really sick. I started thinking I was going crazy until I diligently began weeding out what I was eating and finally figured it out… the common denominator was flax seed. Within 15-30 minutes of eating I would get stomach pain, it would then quickly progress to unbelievable pain. Thank goodness I have never been stabbed but that is the best way to explain this type of pain. I couldn’t really speak, just moaning, sweating and hyper-salivating. Curled up in the fetal position and rocking myself but unable to stay in any position for an extended period of time. I couldn’t throw up but I was incredibly nauseous and at the same time I was bloated and felt like I needed to have diarrhea (sorry) but that never happened. I feel like that would have at least given me some kind of relief. Not only did I have a stabbing sensation but it felt like the knife was slowly twisting. It felt like I could actually track where the flax seed was in my GI tract. Although it felt like for-ev-er, in reality it was always over in about 4 hours. After these episodes I was always exhausted and ended up sleeping for an extended period of time, then totally back to normal. I now stay away from anything whole grain and am continuously surprised to find how many things have flaxseed. Despite checking labels I still have some of these episodes, usually with products that have warnings about being manufactured in the same facilities as nuts. I do have a slight allergy to hazelnuts but have eaten hazelnuts without incident (prior to allergy testing) FYI I am also allergic to grasses and carrots. After reading this I am going to look into any products I have that may contain Linseed Oil. It is so incredibly validating to hear this is real and not just my subconscious trying to sabotage a healthier lifestyle.

      1. I read you post and felt like I had written it. Same reaction……except i DO vomit.

      2. Me too! Took me years to figure it out! I vomit and have diarrhea, with the reactions more intense each time I eat something with flax seed. So glad to know I’m not crazy or alone!

      3. I have the same reaction and it sucks! I tried using an allergy medicine my mother uses for her allergies in the summer after I ate whole wheat bread (with flax seeds) and it actually helped. I would recommend trying this because it might help with your reaction.

      4. Sounds so much like all my symptoms. I’ll try to keep this list popping up in case some people haven’t seen it:

        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)

      5. Exact same but I also actually do vomit. My mouth starts itxhing INSTANTLY and i know i have about 30 minutes to get home to my bathroom where I’ll spend the next 12 hours between toilet and sad fetal ball on the floor. It started when I was about 15/16 and I never figured out what it was until I was 23. I just knew anything with the words “multi grain” or “healthy heart” set it off. Also, it has been getting worse with each incident lately. I now have to carry around an epipen because the last one was so bad my airway almost completely closed up.

    5. Yes ! my dog Is allergic to flax seed and had a horrible reaction to my flex heat microwave neck pad… it even has 2 thick covers on it….

      1. I’ve known about my flax seed allergy for 6-7 years. I am vigilant about not ingesting anything that could potentially contain flaxseed, especially whole-grain bread and crackers. Recently I had many of the symptoms but just a milder case, it started when I woke up in the morning – I couldn’t figure it out because I didn’t have any foods that could have caused this feeling. However, I realized I was wearing a new linen shirt the night before. I’ve never had a problem with wearing linen but I wonder if this particular type of linen (it’s a new shirt from H&M) caused me to have allergy related symptoms-splitting headache, painful stomach ache, dizziness, difficulty breathing).
        BTW, I am immensely appreciative of this forum, it really saved me several years ago when I had my first reaction.

      2. I am so sorry that happened to you. I am seeing where flaxseed is in so many things you wouldn’t expect. It may be the linen shirt you had was an ALA omega. I am finding I am allergic to all ALA omegas and flaxseed is in that family. You may want to Google the alpha linolenic acids and what items contain it. I also find out what is in something I react to and Google if it is an ala omega. Hope this was helpful.

    6. I had flax seed microwaveable slippers. I started developing itchiness in my throat. I had an eye that swelled up after I touched the slippers and then my eye. I ate oatmeal with flax seed and had a horrible reaction. This is when I realized that I was allergic to flax seed. I know carry an epi-pen.

  2. I learned this year that I am allergic to flax seed. Just the smallest amount results in physical reactions…cold and hot sweats, pain throughout torso, headaches and violent vomiting. Does anyone know what causes a flax allergy or if there is anything that be done to remedy it?

    1. I don’t know what to do, but I have the same reaction. It is awful. Read all labels and do stay away from using flak or any thing with flax.

    2. I would love to know too. I have the exact same thing. hours and hours of vomiting and dry heaving within 15 minutes of ingesting flax seed. I actually have sort of the same problem with any whole grain only not as violent as the flax seed. I went to an allergist and she said I was allergic to the hull. I want to know if flax meal would be any different only I am afraid to try.

  3. I tried ground flaxseed in a homemade face mask and broke out in hives on my face. A year later I tried a tablespoon in my green smoothie and started getting a runny nose and weepy eye halfway through my glass. Its safe to say I’ll be avoiding this “superfood” supplement from now on!

  4. In the past 10 years, I have developed some sort of intolerance to “multi-grain” products, such as pasta & breads. So far the only common ingredient I can track (when I have a list of ingredients) is Flaxseed. It affects me immediately, often with a burning sensation in my throat, followed quickly by intense nausea and stomach pain. After an hour or two, I vomit violently. Once it’s all out of my system, 3 hours or more, I am fine. It does not take much, just a couple bites of something. Would be comforting to know I’m not the only one, as awful as it is!

    1. You’re definitely not the only one. I have reactions even when the label says “2% or less of” before it lists flax seed. My symptoms are similar to yours. My throat and mouth swell up, swallowing is difficult, my whole body hurts but especially my stomach, and I usually throw up within an hour or two, sometimes sooner. I’m usually fine a few hours after that, but last time, it took me almost 24 hours of fitful sleeping before I felt okay, and even then I wasn’t at 100%. I will always check labels from now on.

    2. You’re not alone, and I feel better knowing it isn’t just me. I finally figured out it must be flaxseed that makes my stomach bloat like crazy, have bad abdominal pain, and then at times violent vomiting to rid my system. Once it passes I’m fine again. It is frustrating as most allergies seem to be with nuts.

    3. Not the only one! It took three trips to the ER and two trips to the allergy doctor before I was able to completely determine that I have a flax seed allergy. I stay away from anything “multi-grain”.

      1. You should always read the labels. I am starting to see flax show up in “white bread” products that you would normally consider safe.

  5. I was just searching to see if such condition exists cause I`ve made myself some flaxseed meal tortillas yesterday and today, and I`ve been experiencing stomach pain and bloating. Yesterday i wasn`t sure if it`s the flax meal but today I am. I had intolerance to cucumber one year ago and I had the same symptomps. I took a break for 6 months and now I can eat cucumber again. And also this is not the first time I am making flax meal tortillas. I had this like 3 months ago (last time). And it has been fine. As I know from doctors it is possible for a condition like this to start at some point even though I didn`t have any problems before and to hopefully end if I take a break long enough.

    1. I had no problems with flax seed until about a year and a half ago. I don’t know if I had ever had flax seed before then, but surely I had. It’s in a lot of health food things, similar to what my mom loved to make us eat. But I had never had a true allergic reaction to anything until recently. I’ve had intolerances, like with gluten and lactose, but with this my throat swells up, along with other symptoms. I’d love to figure out how/why this allergy developed, but until then, I guess I’ll just avoid flaxseed at all costs.

  6. I am glad to come across this site. I just am now making a beef stew and using ground flax seed as a thickening agent instead of flour, starch, etc. While taste testing, I immediately got an itchy throat and now I have a terrible headache. Since it’s the ONLY variable in my stew, it’s got to be a reaction to it. I don’t think I’ll be having it for dinner tonight 😦

  7. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one out there with the SAME horrible symptoms of flaxseed. My first allergic reaction was in 2002 (I was 17) when I ate flaxseed waffles, I was so sick and had never experienced an allergic reaction before: extremely itchy mouth and throat, burning sensation in stomach with an increase in nauseas the longer it was in my system, swelling and finally violent vomiting, which then would result me going back to normal within an hour.
    I am now 30 and pregnant and am super cautious because of my many accidental flaxseed ingestions. I had to get an epi pen five years ago because I ate a Vegan chocolate macaroon (ground flax as an egg substitute for vegan products) and when I vomited, it got up my nose and everything instantly swelled and I couldn’t breathe or swallow to take another Benadryl and ran to my neighbor’s house who called EMS.
    Unfortunately, flaxseed is not listed under any of the known food allergies, so one must read each ingredient very carefully. I wish it would be added to allergy labels (Contains or made in faculty with dairy, soy etc.)
    Lastly, Starbuck’s cakes/breads have ground flaxseed, for all of you needing to avoid it, beware, it is typically in the least harmful looking things you think of.

  8. Flax (ground) kills my gut. Bloat makes my whole body out of sorts. Physillium does the same. True to use the flax in Dr. Davis Wheat Belly bread recipes. Have replaced with hemp seed. No problem.

    1. Any reactions to other seeds? Chia, fennel, hemp? Could this be a psyllium allergy? I can take flax oil but have the severe reactions to the seeds.

  9. I just found out (via a food allergy blood test) that I am VERY allergic to flaxseed. I’d never have figured this out by myself, as I don’t get a typical allergic reaction to it. I was having constant migraines, and once I got the blood test results and cut the flaxseed out — no more migraines! Food allergies can manifest themselves in different ways. So many migraines…

    1. I have had chest palpitations after eating wheat and gluten, so I had a blood test for food allergies. There are several foods that show up but wheat and gluten are the only ones I notice any symptoms from. I was trying to do low carb and gluten free, so I was eating a fair amount of flax products. Guess what food shows the highest allergy? Flax! But I don’t feel any reaction in any kind of way. I don’t understand that.

    2. i am just coming to the fact that flax seeds cause me serious migraines… i used flax seed for the omega 3 fatty acids, i will try chia seeds to replace… i hope i am not allergic to those.

  10. I recently was informed about my flaxseed allergy (along with many other allergies which make it hard to decipher what is causing each reaction) and am curious if anyone knows of any foods that could contain flaxseed without me actually adding it in myself?

    1. Lots of bread products use it and some companies are adding it to existing products. I had fajitas this week and brought some wraps from the Coop instead of the Tesco ones I usually buy. I didn’t think to check the ingredients as I thought all white wraps were the same. The Coop wraps contain ground Flaxseed! I was extremely ill. What shocked me the most was the wraps had a small amount of flaxseed in them and they were only a small part of my meal but the reaction was just as bad if not worse than the first bad experience, when I consumed about 25g of flaxseed.

      I think maybe the reaction is a genetic thing as immature raw flaxseeds are poisonous so maybe over time some of us have become allergic to protect ourselves.

      1. Thank you for this! I known about my fax allergy for like 20 years. It’s awful. I’ve almost gone to the ER. I’m afraid if I have it by mistake one more time it WILL send me there. My fear is what products are slipping it in. Someone mentioned Starbucks breads (which now explains a reaction I had once). I know a lot of butter substitutes have it too. Are there any other common meals served at chains that we know to be aware of?

  11. I had a horrible reaction to Chick-fil-a’s wrap – so bad, an ambulance was called. My oxygen level ws very low, terrible diarrhea (sorry) and stomach cramps, asthma attack, hives, throat swelled, Etc. This food allergy was later confirmed with allergy testing. What is scary is flaxseed is becoming so popular but it does not have to be listed as an allergen ingredient. Subway multi grain rolls have flaxseed. Wendy’s flatbread has flaxseed. And it doesn’t stop at food. READ MOISTURIZER LABELS!!! Noxema has linseed oil (aka flaxseed). I’m sorry to hear there are others with this – but maybe we are only seeing this now because of the increase in flaxseed use. Maybe it is not that rare and maybe it should be labeled along with wheat, shellfish, etc.

    1. I had the same reaction to the Chick-fil -A wrap… ended up in the ER too…I’m going to contact company so people realize they are multigrain. Maybe it will save someone else.

    2. So glad you posted this vital information so I can stay away from those products and I completely agree with your comment about flaxseed becoming a popular hidden ingredient. Subway’s whole wheat bread also has flaxseed in it. Here’s another product to beware of: OPEN NATURE BROCOLLI CRUST PIZZA . It’s in the frozen section at the supermarket. I inadvertently ate some and then after read the label. I tried to vomit it up before it was digested, but got VERY sick anyway, for many hours, even after I took an anti-nausea pill. Horrible allergy.

  12. I found out a few years ago I have a pretty bad flaxseed allergy. Even though I try so hard to avoid it they are sneaking it in everything now! I went to my brothers for supper just last night and he had picked up a McCain’s chocolate cake for desert. I was itchy everywhere after two bites and violently throwing up within 20 minutes. Turns out the company has added ground flax seed to alot of their products including cakes and pizza pockets! Who would ever think to look for flax seeds in products like that!

  13. My mom started this flaxseed kick so I joined I added it my yogurt, my cereal ate it in my toast! I started getting this severe pain right above my belly button as if someone stuck a knife in my gut and was twisting it! Severe nausea along with the pain only thing I could do was curl up I. Fetal position and pray for it to pass! Had upper and lower GIs, Drs told me that I was having panic attacks! Lol. I would go to the ER and the only thing to get it to subside was a morphine shot! Then they put me on lithium, so I started taking note when these attacks would happen! Overtime my symptoms got worse where I would just vomit seconds after eating anything with flax meal in it! Stopped eating anything that had flax in it haven’t had an attack in years till I went to a friends house for dinner and she used whole grain pasta in her chilli Mac and up it came 5 minutes after it went down! Definitely Allergic hope this helps someone, I’m not the panic attack type! But doctors will have you believing it when they can’t figure things out!

    1. I am the same, i have just had an attack, it nearly killed me. I coukdnt get iff tge floor, sweating, pooing, being sick. My body just wants it out. It is a purgitive and contains arsenic. That is why bodies want it out. Why dont people tell you what they sell has ingredients that make people ill. I am very ill and then i cant get home. I cant drive, walk, carry anything. I am sick in the local public loo and lying on the floor. Really dangerous. In Edinburgh, i had to get out of a ballet and lie on the pavement to be ill.

      1. I am also a coeliac and have thyroid condition. What weak specimens we are.

  14. I get the same allergic reaction from fish oils, walnuts and statins! Leg cramps, lethargy, itchy skin, brain fog, etc. I also suffer from Hashimotos.
    I have experimented by staying away from all those foods for a few months then adding one item. In about 3 days the symptoms come right back! I am not surprised by the foods that have
    The Omega 3’s but the statins?!

  15. I have been having severe stomach propblems, thought diary, eggs…allergy test just came back. Severe flaxseed allergery. Can’t figure out what I am eating with flaxseed. Maybe chickens are eating it and then eggs cause the problem. I do not eat bread, pasta…

  16. I have been itching on my head and upper back for about a month and it had been getting worse. Today I came home and took a second shower I was so miserable. My husband said it might be my shampoo and I started reading the ingredients and found that they both had linseed oil which I looked up to find out is another word for flaxseed oil. So people need to start looking in these kinds of products as well.

  17. My boyfriend and I were made smoothies last night and added a teaspoon of flaxseeds. Within three sips my mouth and throat were itchy and my lips started to swell and were numb. Afterwards, my throat swelled up and I started throwing up. When I tried to talk I couldn’t make any noise. I ended up going to the ER where I had to have an IV and an epi pen. It was so scary; I’ve never been allergic to anything in my life and now I’m really going to have to watch out for flaxseeds! That’s the only ingredient that was different from our usual smoothies. I’m still not great today…very weak, headache, throat hurts, etc. I’ve never been so happy to take a deep breath… I never want to go through that again. I will definitely be checking labels from now on.

    1. Not all foods have labels. Especially those in pop up cafes or community do’s.

  18. I have a severe flax allergy and suffer anaphylaxis after ingesting it and now carry epipens. You should be very serious about looking at labels because it is found in many foods.

    Each time I visit an ER due to the reaction the docs there do not believe that I am allergic. Flax should be listed with the FDA and USDA as an official allergen.

    My early symptoms are itchy gums, palms, face, then followed by serious stomach pain, and then I get very weak and my breathing starts to slow, followed by a swelling throat and chest pain. It is VERY serious. Flax is dangerous.

  19. I discovered my flax allergy while I was pregnant in 2004. I ate a “whole wheat” wrap at home, while my entire family, including my husband, was out of town. My sister stayed on the phone with me until my breathing and heart rate eased. I was blowing out both ends, shaking all over, and had the itchy throat swelling, stomach itching and hurting and bloated, and eustachion tube/ears felt like they were on fire. It was scary! I’ve probably had 4 or 5 exposures since then, and they have been progressively worse each time. The last one, my whole body itched and swelled and broke out in hives, my eyes swelled shut, I vomited and pooped violently, and the pain and internal itching were awful. My husband tried to take me to the ER, but I used my epi pen, took a bunch of benedryl, and refused to go. I probably wasn’t very rational at the time…

    I have recently discovered I’m starting to react to sesame seeds and raw cucumbers too, although not as severely. I’ve always been allergic to raw tree nuts (although they are fine if cooked), but that reaction is nothing compared to flax. Naproxen sodium (Aleve) does the same thing to me as flax, although it’s easier to avoid so I haven’t had as many exposures (2 was all it took).

    The sneaking of flax products into foods is getting crazy. I recently went to a nice steakhouse in Dallas, and when I started chewing my first bite of bread realized there were seeds in it, so I spit them out before crushing them. The waiter confirmed it was flax, and the poor manager spazzed out. I was fine, but it kind of ruined the meal, waiting to see if I was going to start reacting or not.

  20. I’m also severely allergic to flaxseed. I agree that it’s becoming more and more common in food products, and that flaxseed should be included in allergy warning labels. Some progress though: for the first time the other day I saw flaxseed included in a list of allergy warnings on a bag of chips!

  21. Totally agree!!! And it should be one of the standards to test for in allergy testing. When I went for my test, the nurse had to go to a grocery store for flaxseed so they could test me. It wasn’t even on their list of allergens to test.

  22. I think it’s really interesting that someone else had a reaction to both Aleve and flax. I am VIOLENTLY allergic to flax, but I also can’t take any kind of ibuprofen because it makes my face swell, or Aleve because it makes me feel sick all over. Naproxen sodium (Aleve) and ibuprofen are similar drugs, so maybe the allergen molecules are similar? I’m curious if anyone else has the same reactions.

    1. I am horribly allergic to flax, and also have had reactions to linen. It’s interesting you mention Aleve, because my son has had horrible reactions to Naproxen. Since we are very careful with flax due to my allergy, I don’t know if he is also allergic to flax but I will let him know he may be.

  23. Wow…glad I found this site. I discovered my allergy to flax after about 3-4 times of getting the horrible itchy thorough, mouth, and cramping. Taste testing at Costco! Multi grain chips. Sara Lee started adding it to their while wheat bread….it’s everywhere. Hadn’t gotten sick,in almost 2 years,,but ate the chicken wrap,at Chick-fil-t this week and had to pull over and was violently sick. They are made with flax flour. What a strange allergy, wish it would get on the national allergen list.

  24. i had a violent reaction today after having ground flaxseed on steamed vegetables for lunch. within 30 minutes,i had explosive diarrhea and terrible stomach cramps .i felt my blood pressure drop too. very frightening !no more flaxseed for me!

  25. Be careful some “white” looking potato rolls bought at Safeway have flax in them. Be sure to read your labels and if labels are not available do without your breads.

  26. Beware, everyone, of this, Whole Foods just started carrying it so it may go nation-wide. I love the initiative of this young woman and glad her business is successful, but who amongst us would have thought of questioning the ingredients of lemonade? Ack……..http://beesweetlemonade.com/pages/about-us

  27. A few years back I was hosting friends for dinner and, knowing everyone was eating a ‘healthy’ diet, I served up whole grain pasta. After a couple of bites I had to dismiss myself to the bathroom with violent pain, so violent that I felt like I would die. I broke out in an intense sweat and, after it was out of my system, I was exhausted and it took several hours to fully recover. When this happened a second time after ingesting a whole grain bread, I realized the common factor was flax seed and now avoid it at all cost.

  28. I can no longer eat bread products from Chik-Fil-A or Burger King. I’m kind of sticking to Taco Bell at this point. Salads also may have flax seed sprinkled on them. I’ve been served bread pudding with flax seed, etc. Thanks for telling me to watch out for linseed oil in toiletry products as well. It gets worse every time…

  29. I am also highly allergic to artificial/zero calorie sweeteners – even stevia. Is this common to anyone else? I check on the menu, but found out the hard way that ‘everything’ at TGIFriday’s contains artificial sweetener. And, no, it is not even listed on their website as an ingredient.

  30. So happy to have found this forum! Really felt like I was the only one out there. Not fun to have folks including health professionals tell you it’s not possible and make you feel like a hypochondriac. I even went to an allergy specialist with no help there either. It took me forever to figure out what is was because I have taken flax oil for years. Apparently for me only the seed itself causes this reaction. Anyone else experience this or have any info they can share? Anyone else have any issues with other seeds i.e. Hemp, chia, fennel?

  31. Last Sunday at 1:00 p.m. I bought the Odwalla “100% Fruit Juice Smoothie” and without thinking about my extreme allergy to Flax seed drank about 1/4 cup – probably no more than 4 tablespoons. The list of extra ingredients is minusculely small, but of course ground flaxseed is how they thicken it, which I saw as soon as I felt symptoms and looked because within 5 minutes my throat tingled and itched and partially closed, my ears burned bright red as blood rushed to them.

    I drank a big glass of water hoping that would dilute it – not knowing that the water helps the flax to swell and then turn into a gel and maybe made the reaction worse. Within 15 minutes I threw up violently three times. Felt better for about 1/2 hour, then intense pain in my stomach followed eventually by more vomiting and then diarrhea began as well. This continued on and off all day, with only the vomiting to bring short periods of relief.

    Soon after vomiting, I again writhed with intense stomach pain. As late as 9:00 p.m., 9 hours after I had anything left in my stomach, I was still vomiting from both ends. When I went to bed at midnight, my stomach hurt a lot and it took a long time to fall asleep. By 8 a.m. in the morning when I woke up, I was normal again, at last.

    A note that I checked with Subway when I went to get a submarine sandwich there last week. The Whole Wheat and the 9 Grain Breads they serve both do contain flax. I had them check for me before I purchased. I went with one of the Italian breads and had no problem.

    I just have to remember with all processed foods to be vigilant. And yes, Flax should be listed as an allergen, for certain, and I wish it would be.

    1. November 19, 2020: I just discovered a new offender: Icelandic Provisions Skyr (a type of thick yogurt), Fruit and Nuts variety. I ate one 4.4 oz. container of the Peach/Apricot and Almonds variety that I’d bought at Whole Foods. After about 1 hour I felt slightly sick. By the second hour I had painful stomach cramping, nausea and “the runs.” A search of the ingredients and sure enough, it includes flax seed. I never thought to read the label because IT’S YOGURT! So beware.

  32. I have all the same reactions regarding bloating stomach, violent vomiting, stomach pains. Luckily I do not suffer from the issues of airway swelling. However, to all readers, be careful also of LINSEED, as this is part of the same product. Unfortunately when getting tested for allergies they do NOT test for flaxseed/linseed. I had to take my own product for them to use in their testing.

  33. I had a terrible episode last year when I ate flaxseed oatmeal (twice) with severe stomach pains for a few days afterward. I quickly disposed of the rest of the package. I wasn’t quite sure that was it until yesterday and today when I ate a grainy bread and got the same severe stomach pain. I checked the ingredients, and sure enough, it contains some flaxseed! I now know I have to be very careful and read labels before eating stuff. It’s the worst stomach pain one can imagine!

  34. Anu, I found your site this afternoon when I was looking up “flaxseed allergy”.

    Yesterday, I decided that I’d try to add flax to my diet because it’s so healthy in several ways, so I looked up “flaxseed” on a search engine for a few hours and in all that reading, I didn’t see anything about a possible allergic reaction to it, except for the very last article I clicked on — it cautioned that some people do have an allergic reaction to flax, so if you are just starting out adding it to your diet, don’t go by the “serving size” on the package, but take a little bit and see how you go, adding more to your diet gradually if you are not having reactions.

    I do have long-standing contact and food allergies and/or sensitivities to several other things — shrimp, chamomile tea (and most other members of the ragweed family, including airborne plant pollen, marigold flowers, milk thistle herb, etc.), MSG/artificial flavors, tea tree oil, eucalyptus, all pine products (including pine-scented cleaning solutions, pine essential oil, pinecones, mastic gum), and so forth.

    My diet is pretty plain anyway, I live in an area where there isn’t much of a variety of retail stores/restaurants or healthy foods on offer, and I don’t go to fast food restaurants or eat many processed foods from the supermarket, so I expect that I haven’t been exposed to the great increase of foods in the typical American diet that have had flax added to them in recent years, as reported by your other commenters here (everything from Chick-fil-A and Subway breads to bottled fruit juices to packaged dry oatmeal to skin lotions).

    This morning I decided to open up the package of ground flaxseed I bought last week and give it a try. The serving size on the package said 2 tablespoons, and a text box on the side of the package suggested to add 1 tablespoon to a serving of morning oatmeal. I decided to be cautious and just add 1/2 tablespoon and see if I had any reaction after breakfast. (Now, after reading everyone else’s comments on Anu’s 4 posts about flax allergy, I realize that 1/2 tablespoon was a huge amount to start with if I was worried that I might have an allergic reaction to it, since people are reporting here that they are having terrible life-threatening, emergency-room-visit reactions when eating much, much less than 1/2 tablespoon at a time.)

    I had eaten about 3/4th of my bowl of oatmeal, and I was reading a newspaper and had actually even forgotten about the flax being in it, when I noticed that I was unconsciously scratching both my eyes and that they felt dry, uncomfortable, and hot. If it had happened to just one eye, I would have assumed that something irritating had blown into it from the air, but for it to happen simultaneously in both was odd. I looked in a mirror and noticed that my face had red patches in two lines down my face, from my eyes on either side of my nose, past my mouth, down to my jawline. This is one way that my body signals that it’s reacting negatively to something. I have just spent the last 4 years trying to get rid of recurrent perioral dermatitis, which has fortunately been about 90% clear in the last 6 months, but anything at all that my body does not like can wake up those reactive areas on my face and make them red, dry, itchy, with a rash of tiny red dots/bumps. I didn’t have full-on perioral dermatitis this morning, just 2 red lines about an inch wide from my lower eyelids, to my cheeks near the nose, around the sides of my mouth, to my jawline. Since my oatmeal was 100% dried oatmeal which I eat often and have never had a reaction to, and everything else I had with it I’ve had many times before (a few raisins, a teaspoon of maple syrup), I was probably reacting to the flaxseeds.
    …Maybe, maybe not — I occasionally get perioral dermatitis for no observable reason so it could have been chance.

    The dry, itchy eyes and facial redness went away after about half an hour.

    I looked up “flaxseed allergy” online this afternoon to see if people were saying that this is a typical reaction to flaxseeds. It doesn’t seem to be that typical (most people seem to have had much more extreme reactions) — but maybe with those who have a more subtle reaction, most people never put 2 and 2 together about the flax, because given that the medical community seems not to think that flax allergy is as common as it seems to be, maybe the people who have a small initial reaction don’t think much of it, don’t connect it to what they’ve just eaten, or blame something else that they’ve eaten/come in contact with.

    I have read that some people react worse to uncooked, ground flax than they do to cooked ground flax, cooked whole flaxseeds, or flax oil. This morning, I stirred the half-tablespoon of flax into my pan of oatmeal when it was almost done on the stove, so it was probably mainly still uncooked when I ate it.

    I have considered trying flax oil, since my reason for adding flax to my diet is to address a few specific health concerns, but there seem to be a lot of cautions online about how it can go rancid so quickly (even when enclosed as a pill) and actually become negative for the body when taken as a supplement.

    I think what I will do is wait a few days and again try 1/2 tablespoon of flax in something else that is fully cooked, maybe follow the baked cracker recipe on the package of ground flax meal that I have. I am also going to get some antihistamine at the store to have on hand at home before I do that. And I’ll do my experiment when someone else is with me, so they can get me to the doctor if necessary. I realize that each exposure to an allergen can cause worsening symptoms, but I think that a second exposure will tell me if I should stay well away from flax or not, and that will be good to know.

    One reason that I’m posting a comment here is to explain one of the health reasons that I was interested in adding flax to my diet, because it seems to be something that a lot of people don’t know about yet, but it will probably become more known-about in time. In several of the comments here, I have noticed that people were recommending that those allergic to flax could get their Omega-3 oils with fish oil supplements instead of eating flaxseed. However — I have actually learned this week that this is not the case for about 25% of the U.S. population (the percentages differ in each country). There is a genetic “polymorphism” that relates to how the body processes fats, and it’s called APoe. There are several versions of APoe: 2, 3, and 4. Each of us inherits one from our father and one from our mother. If you have one instance of APoe4, you are from 2 to 4 times more likely to get Alzheimers than the general population. If you have two instances of APoe4 (if you got one from your mom and one from your dad), you are about **22** times more likely to get Alzheimers. It’s something that more and more people are being genetically tested for, especially if Alzheimers runs in their family.

    I have been genetically tested and I have one version of the APoe4. Not only am I 2 to 4 times more likely to get Alzheimers, but they also say that the average age of onset of the Alzheimers is about 3 years earlier for people with 1 copy of APoe4. I am now looking into research on the APoe4 polymorphism to see what steps I can take to try to keep my brain healthy and working well. It’s actually amazing how many “healthy” practices that we are all told to adopt do not work for people with APoe, or actually harm them instead of helping them. One of those is having a moderate intake of wine (such as one glass a few times a week) — apparently it’s very healthy for most people and part of the Mediterranean diet etc., but for people with APoe4, it seems from studies that any quantity of alcohol/wine at all, any more than 1 or so glasses per month, is a destructive thing for their chemistry. Another healthy practice that is supposed to be great is to take fish oil capsules for the Omega 3s — it’s great for the circulation, brain, skin, etc. BUT for people with APoe4, fish oil supplements often do not work! They can actually be harmful for these people. I have read on a dedicated website forum that was started for people with APoe4 that most of them have stopped taking all fish oil supplements. (Eating whole fish as a food is a different story — it has been shown to be healthy for people with APoe4.)

    One of the pieces of advice I’ve read for APoe4 people is that Omega-3s from plants are the best source for APoe4 people, and will help to keep their brain healthy. The brains of APoe4 people have a harder time incorporating and storing Omega-3s in the brain cells, apparently, so we need to pay attention to our diet sources and get enough, without relying on fish oil capsules. This is the main reason why I decided the other day to try to add flaxseed to my diet (I also had hopes that it would help with my facial skin and help me with my symptoms of peri-menopause).

    But in all (but one) of the internet articles I’ve read that are extolling the many benefits of flax, I didn’t see anything about being aware that you possibly could have an allergic reaction that could be very serious right from the first ingestion of flaxseed. I am already used to having allergies and I respect their seriousness, so when I saw the one mention of flax allergy last night right before I finished my research into the benefits of flax and turned off the computer to go to bed, I knew to be cautious with it.

    (By the way, if you are interested to know about your APoe polymorphisms that you have inherited, one relatively inexpensive way to get them tested without going through your medical doctor or health insurance, is to get the 23andme genetic test. It is simple, you just spit in a test tube and mail it off to their lab in California. When I got mine done it was under a hundred; I think now it’s a little more, but I’m not sure. I have found out a lot of very useful things about my health from my genetic results, including that I am compound-heterozygous for the MTHFR gene, which also has to do with how the body processes substances and uses nutrients, the health of the cardiovascular system, and hundreds more important things.)

    I empathize with people here who are having a hard time avoiding flax since it goes under the radar in so many products (even pillows and skin lotion!) I have long had to read every product label, ask tenaciously in restaurants, even gingerly ask people who invite me to their house for a meal, to see if there is a smidgen of seafood, MSG, or other things in food, and it’s hard to deprive yourself of many convenience foods, and many tasty foods, while others (even your own doctors and family members) don’t have to worry about what they eat and half-suspect that you are exaggerating or just making it up to get attention.

  35. Just wanted to add that I’ve been looking at an “allergenic food” website of the University of Manchester (England, UK), and under the Flax seed / Linseed listing they have got this:
    “Allergy to linseed was one of the first food allergies described in the modern literature (Black 1930 [576], Grant 1931 [577]).”
    source: http://www.inflammation-repair.manchester.ac.uk/informall/allergenic-food/?FoodId=26
    This (print out the whole page) might be something to show your GP if he/she finds it hard to believe that flax could cause an allergic reaction.

  36. I have found some interesting info on flaxseed on the following website:

    “The oil in the seed contains 4% L-glutamic acid, or MSG, and therefore might cause MSG-type reactions.”

    “Linseed may be a source of cyanide exposure.”

    “In 102 patients initially diagnosed with idiopathic anaphylaxis and then evaluated with a battery of 79 food-antigen skin prick tests, 10 different antigens provoked anaphylaxis, including Linseed.”

    “Linseed may be “hidden” in cereals, milk from cows fed flax, laxatives (Flaxolyn, etc.), shampoo, hair tonic, infusions, depilatories, cattle feed, dog food, patent leather, insulating materials, carpets, cloth, cough remedies, breads, health shop muffins, and other “health food” products”

    “Linseed contains potent allergens”

  37. I ate a dozen organic flaxseed crackers containing safflower oil and shortly thereafter started sneezing, had a runny nose, had painful abdominal bloating, and pain in my back. I felt really bad and took a baby aspirin as I wondered if I was having a heart attack. I then took a Zyrtek and got on line to look up Safflower allergies. I wasn’t convinced that oil in the crackers could cause my symptoms, so I looked up flaxseed allergies and found this blog. Two hours later, I am feeling better and am convinced that it was the flaxseed. I will be avoiding flaxseed from now on. I am also allergic to soy and many legumes and am allergic to MSG.

  38. I had my first reaction in over a year on Saturday from a frozen pizza, of all things. My son had cooked it the day before, and I was going to eat a leftover piece for breakfast. Got about 3 bites in when the itching started. I spit out what was in my mouth, and found another one of the same kind in the freezer to see if it was what it felt like. There was no indication on the front that it would contain flax, but on the ingredient list was multi grain crust with flaxseed. So stay away from Newman’s Own frozen pizza.

    I was ok, btw. I immediately drank warm salt water, successfully gagged myself and got it all up. This made my throat swelling worse, and I barely got the benedryl swallowed after but I was able to stop/prevent a severe reaction.

  39. I also have had an anaphylactic reaction to flax seed since 2002. After numerous trips to the ER and many accidental ingestions, I now carry an EpiPen and am extremely wary of foods I do not have ingredients for. I would encourage anyone who is experiencing allergy symptoms to go in and get checked by an allergist. Anaphylaxis symptoms can become worse with each occurrence. See this link: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anaphylaxis/basics/risk-factors/con-20014324
    Thank you for putting this blog together. I have only met one other person face to face who has an allergy to flax, but now after reading this, I know more people are out there experiencing the same allergy! Thank you!

  40. I learned about 5 years ago that I had a flax seed allergy. I somehow got this allergy after I gave birth to my first child. I was never allergic before as I would always eat anything multigrain. My allergy is so severe that just the smallest amount results affects my GI tract where I have uncontrollable vomit…cold and hot sweats, pain throughout torso, headaches and violent vomiting. It took years for doctors to diagnose but I’m alway so fearful of anything I eat they may come into contact with flax since it’s advertised to be so healthy for your body!

  41. Just had my second reaction to linseed/flaxseed. First time around I was pregnant 7 years ago and I was looking to be healthier so bought a bag of mixed seeds and added a spoonful to yoghurt. Violently sick and diarrhoea afterwards but it passed quickly. I mainly avoided linseed since then but I was never quite sure that the reaction wasn’t just down to being in the early stages of pregnancy. This morning, on a health kick I added 2 large teaspoonfuls of ground linseed to my cereal. Never ever again – less than three hours later i had chills with vomiting and diarrhoea all day so I am exhausted and feel awful!. I will obviously be strictly avoiding it from now on. I am glad I found this website to confirm it is a definite allergy, there isn’t much information on it out there.

    1. Most health professionals do not believe it. I had arguments with two docs about how to treat me and forced them to look it up on their intranet info sites.

      1. I’ve had similar issues with doctors not believing me – and just saying I must have a food intolerance.

  42. I had a similar experience. I had eaten flaxseed in the past with no reaction but then developed a severe allergic reaction to it. The first time I vomited up the ground flaxseed that we put in a cottage pie and that was pretty much it. The second reaction was much worse. I had hives, sickness and diarrhoea, cold sweats and felt extremely unwell. The reason I ate the flaxseed was due to a manufacturer changing their tortilla wraps to include ground flaxseed.
    I now check everything I eat. Unfortunately flaxseed is listed as a superfood so some food manufacturers are actively trying to put it in to foods!

  43. It started with a pin prick rash like hives – head to toe, I experienced it every year from age 10 – 14 years old; every year at summer camp!
    Fast forward…ten years, tried something new and it was not tasty! Had the same hive like reaction! So, I compared ingredients and the common denominator was, flax seed. Year 2000. So just like any young lady who knows everything, I took off to the health food store! Bought me a table spoon of ground flax seed. That didn’t dissolve in water, I remember it being very grainy! There’s a small gap in my memory – I remember drinking the water and flax seed in my kitchen…woke up in the hospital. (Glad my Québécois roommate was home! – I couldn’t understand her at all (staff accommodation), but 911 understood her just fine!)
    Turns out I had an anaphylactic reaction. They brought me back from dead.
    I must carry an epinephrine pen due to the severity of my flax seed allergy now. They keep putting it (Flax) in everything.
    Just a head up for if you all didn’t know, and I only found out by mistake. They have alpha linolenic acid in meal replacement shakes. (The canned ones – ready to consume.) They were super apologetic to me, when I contacted their company. They even said, normally when a customer is unhappy they replace the product. But they can’t in my case, cause their additive although healthy for many nearly cost me my life.

    When Flax seed is added to a formula in someone’s recipe for a consumable product for public use, it should be noted on the label in advance. That error nearly cost me and my whole entire family our lives. For I was driving my minivan when I had another anaphylactic reaction due to flax seed. For had I been warned that it was ‘now’ in the meal replacement item, I wouldn’t have bought and or consumed it.

    I must let every restaurant that I eat at, know of my severe flax seed allergy. I also normally end up waiting “Hell’s Kitchen Long” for my meals. LOL – But at least the restaurant and I know that I am safe!

    Also, a lot of people do not know that Lin Seed is also found in paint. So, careful if you paint your house. I also found out the hard way.
    There are also over 25 different names for Flax seed.
    I agree, it should be a known allergen like peanuts.

  44. I began using it in smoothies and broke out in rash. This happened after thyroid removed. I don’t know if there is a connection. No itching. No other symptoms just pink rash. 3x now

  45. I now have allergic pinkeye in my right eye as a result of taking flaxseed oil pills. I had one pill each day for 2 days, then ate my gluten-free “Pumpkin Spice Flax” waffles. No more ANYTHING with flax for me! I’ve taken Zaditor drops and Benadryl; there’s been a little relief, but I guess I will have to wait this one out for a few days. Never again.

  46. We discovered that our daughter has a sever allergy to flax seed. She saw many doctors and several trips to the ER when we decided to take things into our own hands. We had her keep a food diary and looked at ingredients when she had an episode. Common ingredient.. flax. These episodes where painful. Severe abdominal pain, severe knife stabbing back pain, nausea. The last trip to the ER we tell the docs that its an allergy to flax. They look at us like we are nuts. They order CT, bloodwork, and monitor. They cime back and want to do an internal ultrasound.. at that point we refuse. They send us home with a diagnosis of a cyst on ovary and tell her to see gyno… Trip to gyno confirms ER doc has no clue. On to the gastroenterologist. After a discussion with him he was amazed that we used our detective skills and found the culprit. He told us it would have taken him months of testing. Basically told us nothing he could do for her, stay away from flax. Easier said then done. Flax is the new health fad. Although she is really good about asking and checking ingredients others dont believe the allergy exists and dont check when she is at restaurants. This last episode she was at a shake place, asked first if they put flax in the shake, they said No. They lied. Only drank 1/3 of shake and severr pain. This time her lips and throat started to swell. Only thing that helped was throwing up and drinking lots of water.

    1. I have to carry an epi-pen with me at all times due to Flax seed. What started off as a violent rash and illness when I was a very little girl from eating red river hot cereal, developed over time to a life threatening allergy. You are correct, flax seed is found in almost all prepackaged foods. So we now don’t eat prepackaged foods. We eat some, but I read everything I bring into the house. I can’t eat out at unknown buffets or friends places with potluck dishes; not even worth it. I eat at home or the few restaurants that are literally flax free. (eg. sushi & Chinese restaurants are pretty safe.) Never assume it is safe. You must announce you have an allergy to your server, so they can either prep your food in a safe allergy kitchen or tell you that you shouldn’t eat in their establishment. It could kill her.
      Flax seed is also known as 25 other different names. It is also found in household paint. Ask me how I found that one out? And after reading just a little bit more information on our allergy; I found out that some bed linens are made with flax seed.
      A long time ago, we couldn’t afford to get an epi-pen; yet my physician said it was imperative that I get one right away due to the severity of my allergy. At the time (ten years ago) they were 100 dollars. My doctor asked me this, “If you had a 1 in a 100 chance of winning a million dollars, would you buy a ticket?”
      My reply, “Of, course.”
      He replied, “You are worth way more than that, buy that epipen.”

    2. I’m not sure, but I believe Benydryl helps? I’d be interested to hear from people who have used this as a remedy, even if it means a trip to the Urgent Care or ER during an episode.

      1. I have a severe flax seed allergy that requires epi pen and Benadryl does not work for me.

      2. Benedryl stopped working for me years ago; epipen is a life saving needle that has been used three times due to the severity of my flax seed allergy.

      3. My last reaction, a few weeks ago seemed less severe because I took several Benadryl. It seemed to help my throat not to swell and kept me out of the ER this time, but I still recommend an epipen.

    3. I have the same reactions to flax. I suggest keeping Benadryl on hand, as well as an epipen. These reactions can be quite serious.

  47. Does anyone who has a flax allergy also have a reaction to soy? I drank soy milk today and felt like I was having a mild reaction. Thanks!

    1. Interesting; we are cutting soy out of our diet as well. My mother is severely allergic to it (now) – built up over time – and now she can’t have it at all. (We live in separate places, but when I make huge soups; I’d like to be able to give her some.)
      I’ve been doing some recent studies on flax seed and the use of it. “The textiles made from flax are known in the Western countries as linen, and traditionally used for bed sheets, underclothes, and table linen”
      Have you eve been some place and had the worst itchiest sleep ever? Chances are…

    2. I found the aaa.org website had an article about flax seed allergy and cross reactivity with soy and several other allergens.

  48. I also had flax allergy develop while pregnant, and it became so severe that within a couple years I was labeled with anaphylaxis to flax. Literally the word “flax” is nauseating to me:)
    The neck pillow with flax when heated gave me a reaction, and when I eat it, I get hives, vomiting, and swelling…it’s AWFUL.

  49. I am also highly allergic to flax! Most recently, I was out of the country in Austria, and grabbed a drink in the grocery store, all ingredients were in German, but it looked safe. I drank about 1/3 of it and realized it had flax in it. When I have flax, my whole mouth burns, I get hives all over my entire body, my face swells, and I get horrible stomach pains with diarrhea. So crazy! I take Benadryl and Pepcid when I accidentally ingest flax. Both of those block histamines. But man, it makes for an AWFUL day! I also can’t have Chik Fila wraps, Burger King (I can’t find flax in their ingredients, but based on my reactions, it’s in their food somewhere.), Subway changed their wheat bread to multi grain, so I can’t have most breads anymore “just in case”. I’m glad I’m not the only one with this strange allergy! Stay well, everyone.

  50. Hi, I took flaxseed for two weeks and developed a red pin prick rash all over my legs feet ,upper arms and face. I knew it was an allergic reaction.I immediately stopped taking flaxseed and the rash is slowly disappearing.

    1. I began to take 1-2 T ground flaxseed either in my morning smoothie or on my oatmeal because my doctor told me I was low in folate. But then I began to break out in hives. I didn’t connect the dots for several months, unable to figure out what was causing the problem until I did a strict elimination diet. I’ve been hive free for months, but broke out again today – accompanied by severe diarrhea – after consuming some powdered greens in my smoothie. Sure enough, checked the label and flax seed is one of the main ingredients. I do agree – flax needs to be listed somewhere as an allergen. Does anyone have a list of things to watch out for that contain flax? This allergy really eliminates a lot of “health foods.”

      1. It is in tons of stuff, grassfed meats, eggs, salad dressings, whole grain breads…lots of restaurants have food with it in there. Olive Garden whole grain pasta, chick fi A meat and wraps…I ate at chipotle and they serve grassfed meats. I ate beans and rice and still broke out in a blistered rash around my mouth because apparently they cross contaminate. I read the ingredients on everything I eat and am very limited.

  51. December 2012
    I’ve developed an allergy to flaxseed! After consuming 2 tbs of ground flaxseed in my fruit and veggie smoothies every single day for the past year, last month, out of the blue, I became violently ill within an hour of drinking a smoothie (severe abdominal and chest pain, chills, sweats, headache, shortness of breath, nausea & diarrhea). After vomiting and diarrhea, I felt much better. The vomiting was so severe that it caused me to spit blood. *At the time I didn’t relate it to flax…I thought it was flu bug. But the next 3 smoothies produced the exact same symptoms. I’ve never been so sick in my life!! I began a process of elimination over the period of a week…tried carrots the first day, then kale, spinach, apples, etc…none of them made me sick. THEN I put 2 tbs of flax on my oatmeal and within an hour the symptoms occurred! It was AWFUL!

    Jan 23, 2013
    I ate 2 tbs of Flaxseed on my oatmeal last night and within 20 minutes I began to feel lethargic, then a short while later I became VERY ill (same exact symptoms as last month). After throwing up (violently) I felt much better immediately.

    *I drank smoothies with flax every day from end of Jan 2012 to Nov 15, 2012. I’ve concluded that consuming flax every day for a long period of time is what caused my allergy…my body said “Okay, too much flax already!”

    August 2018
    Still allergic to flax! Ugh!

  52. So sorry you went through that. I know exactly how that feels. I don’t ever eat anything that doesn’t have a label on it.

  53. I discovered I have a flax seed allergy back in 2013. When i did a google search it said its a very rare allergy to have but now I’ve found this and realizing I’m not the only one! I have eaten pasta with flax seed without issue (I think bc it was cooked) but ate a burrito with flax in the tortilla at Lime mexican Grill and after taking one small bite I immediately got severe stabbing pains in my stomach. I stopped eating it and went to get some Benadryl. Benadryl did not work, either because the reaction was so severe or because I began violently vomiting not long after taking it. I even thought it might be a stomach bug because the vomiting was so bad. Only after my throat start closing did I know for sure I was having an allergic reaction and needed to go to the ER. ER administered antihistamines and epinephrine and I started feeling better right away. I am allergic to tree nuts and sesame seeds as well and called the restaurant after wards to find out what went wrong and what they had in their food. They said no sesame or nuts but their tortilla is made out of flax seed. I also had a skin test done and had a mild skin reaction. The real reaction was very severe though. I already avoid most breads with my sesame allergy but it seems like flax is becoming increasingly popular and finding its way into lots of different foods (and drinks!!). I wish it could be acknowledged as a common allergen (sesame too)!

  54. I ran into your site because I googled “flaxseed allergy”. Last night at 6:30 pm I ate 1/3 cup of a non-grain granola. It contained flaxseed, which I do not believe I have tried before. Within 15 minutes the palms of my hands were itching like crazy, then the bottom of my feet, armpits and groin. My eyes felt swollen and “buldgy”. My heart began to race, then I began to cough and have difficulty breathing. My Mom was there, it was obvious that I was having a reaction. She called 911. Just after the Fire Department arrived, I broke out in full body hives and my skin was bright red. My pulse was racing, yet my blood pressure was low. The tech hit me with an epi pen. I was asked if I could walk. I said that I thought I could. They strapped me in a chair and we were going to go out the door and down steep stairs to where the ambulance was. I woke up in the parking lot, I live in a Condo on the top floor. I could hear myself struggling to breathe. I passed out again in the ambulance, they hit me again with another injection of epi. I was hospitalized for five hours and stabilized. I will now carry an epi pen for life. I will be making an appointment with my doctor for further allergy tests.

  55. I lost my original links where several of us were talking about restaurants that have flaxseed in some of their stuff. I have eaten at Chipotle twice and got rice and beans and both times broke out in a rash around my mouth. They serve grass fed meats so believe they have cross contamination. Spring Creek BBQ also serves grass fed meats they told me, from their farms in Kansas and they feed them flaxseed. So be aware of meats when you eat out too!

  56. I had a blood test taken for allergies. It came back that I was highly allergic to flaxseed. I was taking supplements that had flaxseed in them. I went off my supplements and don’t eat anything with flaxseed in it. I had some lotion that had linseed in it and it broke me out. I didn’t realize linseed is flaxseed. I’m also highly allergic to Kale and some other things. Just because people say it’s healthy. It might not be healthy for you. I’m feeling so much better staying away from my allergies.

  57. Hi all

    just wondering if anyone experiences reactions to flax linen as in bedding or clothing. I am having nighttime symptoms and wondering if my Belgian flax linen bedding could be the problem. Anyone else experience this? In hindsight I also have a linen shirt that causes me to itch. Thanks!

    1. Yes if you are allergic to flaxseed it can also be topical. I react both topically and when ingested.

  58. Thank you so much for this website/ blog. I had been using flax milk for a few years but always noticed I would get a few hives on my ribcage and shortness of breath whenever I would use too much. I had thought about maybe trying ground flaxseeds but after reading this I now realize it is best to stay away.

  59. I have had a problem with painful roof of my mouth and painful and swollen tongue for several months. I’ve eaten flaxseed for years but I’m wondering now if that is the problem. I have no other symptoms.

  60. We really need to watch out for flaxseed in ‘health’ food products. UK company Huel that produces whole meal nutrition drinks says it uses flaxseed in most of it’s products. Sadly it produced an affordable £1 per meal product, and then went and included flaxseed in the ingredients.
    Not sure if it is an allergy, but if I eat flaxseed I get the weirdest reaction. My skin ‘ages’ rapidly, so within hours I look as if I am 150 years old. It is as if the flaxseed either blocks or changes some vital processes in my body, pathways, chemical or signalling cascades, that affect hydration of my skin and epidermal layers. It is a really frightening experience. Ever see that old film ‘She’, from the H Rider Haggard book of the same name? In which intrepid Victorian archeologists discover in deepest whichever continent, a beautiful young woman called Ayesha, who is thousands of years old. She renews her youth annually in a fire that comes up inside a cave, etc etc. Only the last time it does not work, and in front of their eyes she ages all those years, at speed, until she is dust.
    That is what it reminded me of when I ate flaxseed. Not that I am beautiful. But the rapid ageing thing. I was scared it might be permanant. It took a day for the effect to wear off.

  61. I have an allergy to Flax seed. I found out after eating a few raw vegan items that my friend who is vegan recommended. My lips get swollen, my throat gets dry and itchy and I can’t seem to breath, I vomit and have diarrhea. It’s the worst feeling in the world. Recently I purchased a stress ball with lavender beads and flax seeds, I didn’t think anything of it, I used it a couple of times and I’ve been ok. Today I smelled the ball a lot and I started sneezing and my nose was itching. I immediately put it away and I feel better, I will try again to see if indeed it is the smell of the lavender mixed with the flax seed. I know I am not allergic to lavender for sure, so we’ll see. I didn’t know so many people out there had the same allergy as me, it’s a rare allergy but a killer, If I accidentally eat flax again, I know I will end up in the hospital.

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