Grape Seed Oil
Hi Vanessa, I thought grape seed oil wasn’t a good choice, but I see it popping up in some low-carb/paleo/primal recipes. Will you please clarify for me? Thanks! Linda D.
You are wise to question the use of grape seed oil. Derived from grapes and primarily a polyunsaturated fat, the drawback of grape seed oil is its omega-6 content. One tablespoon of grape seed oil contains 9395 mg omega-6 and only 13.5 mg omega-3. Source
The typical American has an omega 6:3 ratio somewhere along the lines of 17-30:1 — with an ideal ratio falling between 4:1 and 1:1. This trend represents how deficient the Standard American Diet is in omega-3 as well as how excessive and prevalent omega-6 is. Excessive amounts of omega-6 and a very high O6:3 ratio, promotes the development inflammation in the body. Whereas increased levels of omega-3s and a low o6:3 ratio eliminates or lessens the risk. Prior to the 1960′s saturated fats like beef tallow, lard and butter were preferred and encouraged. By the early 1970′s the American Heart Association had successfully convinced Americans that fat, particularly saturated fat was to be avoided at all cost. Then in the late 1970′s the USDA followed suit by recommending Americans consume less fat as well.
With the onset of the low-fat craze, saturated fats were replaced with “heart healthy” and “figure friendly” polyunsaturated fats. The problem here lies, most of these so-called healthy fats, corn oil, safflower oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil, soybean oil and grape seed oil are predominantly omega-6. So, while omega-6 is essential, in large or excess amounts it becomes detrimental, even more so, when it is not in balance with omega-3 intake. In addition, omega-6s and omega-3s compete for the same conversion enzymes. These enzymes make sure the fatty acids are fully used and metabolized by the body.
Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation, where, most omega-6 fatty acids tend to promote inflammation. Chronic inflammation is a symptom of virtually every disease process. In order to reduce inflammation, not only do we need to reduce the amount of omega-6 in our diet, we also need to increase the amount of omega-3.
Recommended Reading: The Inflammation Syndrome
Hello Vanessa, I came across your website and I appreciate you sharing your story and ability to reverse melasma. I am going through something similar, I have had melasma on my forehead for 2 years and now on my cheeks. I am being treated for stress and anxiety. I wanted to know what my next step can be, should I see an endocrinologist for adrenal stress? I am not sure of the direction I should take. Please help with any advice you can give. Thank you very much. Hemal S.
While conventional thought is that melasma is caused by the sun, it is not the root cause. The sun may worsen melasma, but it does not cause it. Melanocyte-stimulating hormones (MSH) are responsible for melasma. These hormones stimulate the production of melanin. In both humans and animals an increase in MSH causes an increase in skin darkening.
Stress of any kind causes an adaptive response from the body. The stress response begins in the brain in the hypothalmus. The hypothalmus sends a signal to the pituitary gland to secrete adreno-corticotropic hormone (ACTH). ACTH stimulates the adrenal glands to release cortisol. The adrenals convert cholesterol into pregnenolone which is the building block for both sex hormones and cortisol. When the body is under chronic stress, the body uses pregnenolone to produce more cortisol, limiting what’s available for producing sex hormones. In a female, the result can be low testosterone (reduction in sex drive) and low progesterone which throws off the balance of estrogen. And, here is the connection to melasma; elevated estrogen (or estrogen not balanced by progesterone) increases MSH and as we learned above, this causes an increase in skin darkening or melasma.
In my experience, melasma was a symptom of hormone imbalance, specifically stress and sex hormones. You indicate your are being treated for stress and anxiety which has an impact on sex hormone balance and production. Instead of seeing an endocrinologist, I recommend finding a doctor that practices integrative medicine who will get to the root cause of your symptoms.
Where to Start
Hi! I love your website and FB page. I read it all the time, but have not made any changes to help me start a healthier lifestyle. I am just wondering if you can suggest 1 or 2 books that would be a good starting point to get me headed in the right direction. Thanks for sharing your stories and expertise with all of us! Paige
Thank you for your readership. I can absolutely help with resources for living a healthier lifestyle. My library is loaded. Since you don’t indicate any specific area of interest, I am going to suggest two of my favorite books related to nutrition, since really that is the foundation of health.