Posted on

amino acids in hemp seeds

Amino acids in hemp seeds
Additionally, animal studies have shown that hemp seeds or hemp seed oil may reduce blood pressure, decrease the risk of blood clot formation and help the heart recover after a heart attack ( 10 , 11 , 12 ).

Amino acids in hemp seeds

Hemp seeds are the seeds of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa.

They are from the same species as cannabis (marijuana) but a different variety.

However, they contain only trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana.

Hemp seeds are exceptionally nutritious and rich in healthy fats, protein and various minerals.

Here are 6 health benefits of hemp seeds that are backed up by science.

Technically a nut, hemp seeds are very nutritious. They have a mild, nutty flavor and are often referred to as hemp hearts.

Hemp seeds contain over 30% fat. They are exceptionally rich in two essential fatty acids, linoleic acid (omega-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3).

They also contain gamma-linolenic acid, which has been linked to several health benefits (1).

Hemp seeds are a great protein source, as more than 25% of their total calories are from high-quality protein.

That is considerably more than similar foods like chia seeds and flaxseeds, whose calories are 16–18% protein.

Hemp seeds are also a great source of vitamin E and minerals, such as phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc (1, 2 ).

Hemp seeds can be consumed raw, cooked or roasted. Hemp seed oil is also very healthy and has been used as a food and medicine in China for at least 3,000 years (1).

Summary Hemp seeds are rich in healthy fats and essential fatty acids. They are also a great protein source and contain high amounts of vitamin E, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc.

Heart disease is the number one cause of death worldw >3 ).

Interestingly, eating hemp seeds may reduce your risk of heart disease.

The seeds contain high amounts of the amino ac >4 ).

In a large study in over 13,000 people, increased arginine intake corresponded with decreased levels of C-reactive protein (CRP), an inflammation marker. High levels of CRP are linked to heart disease ( 6 , 7 ).

The gamma-linolenic ac >8 , 9 ).

Additionally, animal studies have shown that hemp seeds or hemp seed oil may reduce blood pressure, decrease the risk of blood clot formation and help the heart recover after a heart attack ( 10 , 11 , 12 ).

Summary Hemp seeds are a great source of arginine and gamma-linolenic acid, which have been linked to a reduced risk of heart disease.

Studies suggest that your immune system depends on the balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids.

Hemp seeds are a good source of polyunsaturated and essential fatty acids. They have about a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, which is considered in the optimal range.

Studies have shown that giving hemp seed oil to people with eczema may improve blood levels of essential fatty acids.

The oil may also relieve dry skin, improve itchiness and reduce the need for skin medication ( 16 , 17 ).

Summary Hemp seeds are rich in healthy fats. They have a 3:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3, which may benefit skin diseases and provide relief from eczema and its uncomfortable symptoms.

About 25% of calories in hemp seeds come from protein, which is relatively high.

In fact, by weight, hemp seeds provide similar amounts of protein as beef and lamb — 30 grams of hemp seeds, or 2–3 tablespoons, provide about 11 grams of protein (1).

They are considered a complete protein source, which means that they provide all the essential amino acids. Your body cannot produce essential amino acids and must obtain them from your diet.

Complete protein sources are very rare in the plant kingdom, as plants often lack the amino acid lysine. Quinoa is another example of a complete, plant-based protein source.

Hemp seeds contain significant amounts of the amino acids methionine and cysteine, as well as very high levels of arginine and glutamic acid (18).

The digestibility of hemp protein is also very good — better than protein from many grains, nuts and legumes ( 19 ).

Summary About 25% of the calories in hemp seeds come from protein. What’s more, they contain all the essential amino acids, making them a complete protein source.

Up to 80% of women of reproductive age may suffer from physical or emotional symptoms caused by premenstrual syndrome (PMS) ( 20 ).

These symptoms are very likely caused by sensitivity to the hormone prolactin ( 21 ).

In a study in women with PMS, taking 1 gram of essential fatty ac >22 ).

Other studies have shown that primrose oil, which is rich in GLA as well, may be highly effective in reducing symptoms for women who have failed other PMS therapies.

It decreased breast pain and tenderness, depression, irritability and flu >25 ).

Because hemp seeds are high in GLA, several studies have indicated that they may help reduce symptoms of menopause, too.

The exact process is unknown, but the GLA in hemp seeds may regulate the hormone imbalances and inflammation associated with menopause ( 26 , 27 , 28 ).

Summary Hemp seeds may reduce symptoms associated with PMS and menopause, thanks to its high levels of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA).

Fiber is an essential part of your diet and linked to better digestive health ( 29 ).

Whole hemp seeds are a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, containing 20% and 80%, respectively (1).

Soluble fiber forms a gel-like substance in your gut. It’s a valuable source of nutrients for beneficial digestive bacteria and may also reduce spikes in blood sugar and regulate cholesterol levels ( 29 , 30 ).

Insoluble fiber adds bulk to your stool and may help food and waste pass through your gut. It has also been linked to a reduced risk of diabetes ( 31 , 32 ).

However, de-hulled or shelled hemp seeds — also known as hemp hearts — contain very little fiber because the fiber-rich shell has been removed.

Summary Whole hemp seeds contain high amounts of fiber — both soluble and insoluble — which benefits digestive health. However, de-hulled or shelled hemp seeds contain very little fiber.

Though hemp seeds have only recently become popular in the West, they’re a staple food in many societies and provide excellent nutritional value.

They are very rich in healthy fats, high-quality protein and several minerals.

However, hemp seed shells may contain trace amounts of THC (

Amino acids in hemp seeds
In Canada, the production of hemp seeds is tightly regulated to prevent cross contamination of THC from the cannabis plant.

Health benefits of hemp seeds

Although hemp seeds come from the Cannabis sativa plant, they do not produce a mind-altering effect.

These small, brown seeds are rich in protein, fiber, and healthful fatty acids, including omega-3s and omega-6s. They have antioxidant effects and may reduce symptoms of numerous ailments, improving the health of the heart, skin, and joints.

In this article, we look at the various benefits of hemp seeds and provide tips for adding them to the diet.

Nutritional benefits of hemp seeds

These seeds are full of nutritious compounds, including:

1. Protein

Hemp seeds contain almost as much protein as soybeans. In every 30 grams (g) of seeds, or about 3 tablespoons, there are 9.46 g of protein.

These seeds are a complete source of protein, meaning that they provide all nine essential amino acids.

Amino acids are the building blocks for all proteins. The body cannot produce nine of these acids, so a person must absorb them through the diet.

Relatively few plant-based foods are complete sources of protein, making hemp seeds a valuable addition to a vegetarian or vegan diet.

Hemp seeds are especially rich in an amino acid called arginine, which has benefits for heart health.

2. Unsaturated fats

The health benefits of polyunsaturated fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids, are becoming increasingly well known.

Hemp seeds are a great source of essential fatty acids, such as alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which is an omega-3.

The body cannot produce essential fatty acids, and the body must absorb them from the diet. They are crucial for long-term health.

The ratio of omega-3s to omega-6s is also important.

In general, people tend to eat too many omega-6s and too few omega-3s, but adding hemp seeds to the diet may help to promote a balance.

According to results of a 2015 animal study, incorporating hemp seeds and hemp seed oil to hens’ diet led to eggs with increased levels of omega-3s in the yolks and a more healthful omega-3 to omega-6 ratio.

Also, hemp seeds are low in saturated fats and contain no trans fats.

3. Fiber

Much of the fiber in a hemp seed lies in its outer hull, or shell. If possible, purchase hemp seeds with the hulls intact.

However, even without the shells, hemp seeds are a god source pf fiber, with three tablespoons containing approximately 1.2 g of fiber.

Consuming enough fiber every day can:

4. Minerals and vitamins

Hemp seeds contain an impressive array of vitamins and minerals and are especially rich in:

They are also a good source of iron, zinc, and B vitamins, including:

Health benefits of hemp seeds

Alongside the nutritional benefits, some research suggests that hemp seeds have a wide range of positive health effects. They may:

5. Protect the brain

A study published in the journal Food Chemistry found that hemp seed extract has antioxidant effects in lab tests. These effects may result from the seeds’ cannabidiol (CBD) content.

Results of a review from 2018 suggest that CBD and other compounds in the seeds may have neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, effects and may also help to regulate the immune system.

The review suggests that, because of these potential properties, CBD may help with neurological conditions, including:

6. Boost heart health

The medical community believes that omega-3 fatty acids improve the health of the heart and reduce the risk of issues such as arrhythmias and heart disease.

Hemp seeds contain high levels of omega-3s and a healthful ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids.

The seeds also contain high levels of arginine, an amino acid that turns into nitric oxide.

Nitric oxide is essential for artery and vein dilation, and it helps keep blood vessel walls smooth and elastic.

Lowering blood pressure, eating a healthful diet, and participating in varied forms of exercise may help to decrease the risk of heart failure.

7. Reduce inflammation

The amount of omega-3s in hemp seeds and the seeds’ healthful omega-3 to omega-6 ratio can together help to reduce inflammation.

In addition, hemp seeds are a rich source of gamma linolenic acid (GLA), a polyunsaturated fatty acid which may also have anti-inflammatory effects.

Some studies on animals suggest that GLA can act as a potent anti-inflammatory. However, recent studies in humans suggest that the acid is not always effective.

A review in The European Journal of Pharmacology states that humans process GLA in a very complicated way, which may explain why the studies in humans produce more varied results than those on animals.

When looking at these studies, it is important to note that researchers usually use high concentrations of hemp seed extracts and that eating the seeds may produce less dramatic effects.

Reducing inflammation may help manage the symptoms of chronic diseases, such as:

  • metabolic syndrome
  • type 2 diabetes
  • arthritis
  • heart disease
  • non-alcohol-related fatty liver disease

8. Improve skin conditions

Atopic dermatitis (AD) and acne can both result from chronic inflammation. The anti-inflammatory compounds in hemp seeds may help.

Among other possible dietary causes, acne may be linked to a deficiency in omega-3s. The high omega-3 content in hemp seeds may help to manage and reduce acne symptoms.

A 2018 review explored the effects of dietary changes on skin diseases. While the authors found evidence that eating more omega-3s may improve symptoms of acne, determining the extent of the effects will require more research.

The authors also note that prebiotics and plant fibers may help to manage symptoms of AD. Hemp seeds are a rich source of plant fiber.

9. Relieve rheumatoid arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition. It causes the immune system to attack its own tissues, which leads to inflammation in the joints.

In 2014, research conducted in human cells suggested that hemp seed oil could have anti-rheumatic effects.

However, a 2018 review found a lack of conclusive evidence to suggest that cannabinoids could effectively treat rheumatic diseases. The authors noted that more research is needed.

Nutritional profile of hemp seeds

Hemp seeds contain plenty of protein, healthful fatty acids, and fiber.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 3 tablespoons of hemp seeds contain 116 calories and the following nutrients:

Protein 9.47 g
Carbohydrates 2.60 g
Fat 1.20 g
Total fatty acids 14.62 g
Monounsaturated fatty acids 1.62 g
Polyunsaturated fat 11.43 g
Saturated fatty acids 1.38 g

Hemp seeds are also a healthful source of vitamin E and minerals, such as calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.

How to add hemp seeds to the diet

When considering the results of studies, it is important to note that researchers often use hemp seed extract, rather than whole hemp seeds.

People can purchase shelled, ground, or split seeds. To remove the seeds’ hard outer shells at home, a person can use a mortar and pestle or a food processor.

Whole seeds act as a bulking agent, and they also add fiber to the diet, which can aid digestion.

Try incorporating hemp seeds into the diet by:

  • sprinkling whole or ground seeds on cereal or yogurt
  • adding the seeds to smoothies
  • baking with hemp seeds and others rich in omega-3s
  • making hemp milk at home using whole seeds
  • sprinkling hemp seeds, along with other seeds or nuts, on a salad

People can find hemp seeds in some supermarkets, health food stores, and online.

Online stores also offer other hemp products, such as hemp milk, which may be fortified with extra nutrients, and hemp protein powder, which is a plant-based alternative to whey protein powder.

Risks

Although hemp seeds come from the cannabis plant, they ideally contain no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the active ingredient in cannabis.

Hemp seeds will not produce a mind-altering effect.

However, athletes and others who undergo drug testing should be aware that consuming hemp products can, in some cases, lead to failed urine tests. The level of THC in any hemp-based product depends on the suppliers and the manufacturing process.

In Canada, the production of hemp seeds is tightly regulated to prevent cross contamination of THC from the cannabis plant.

A legal principle in the U.S. prohibits people from growing hemp seeds with THC concentrations higher than 0.3 percent. The U.S. government also strictly regulates the importation of hemp seeds and hemp-based products.

Takeaway

Hemp seeds have a rich nutrition profile. They contain high levels of antioxidants, fatty acids, minerals, and vitamins.

The shells add fiber to the diet, and grinding the seeds helps the body to absorb more of the other nutrients.

Some research has suggested links between hemp seeds and health benefits, but these studies tend to use extracts with high concentrations.

While there are potential health benefits to consuming hemp seeds, avoid eating excessive amounts. There is evidence that some seeds contain levels of THC that exceed the legal limit.

The most healthful choice is to eat a varied diet that contains a wide range of nutrients.

Related coverage

Additional information

Article last reviewed by Tue 11 September 2018.

Visit our Nutrition / Diet category page for the latest news on this subject, or sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest updates on Nutrition / Diet.

All references are available in the References tab.

References

Bozetto, L., Costabile, G., Della Pepa, G., Cicola, P., Vetrani, C., Vitale, M. … Annuzzi, G. (2018, July 21). Dietary fibre as a unifying remedy for the whole spectrum of obesity-associated cardiovascular risk. Nutrients, 10(7), 943. Retrieved from http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/10/7/943/htm

Carlson, J. L., Erickson, J. M., Lloyd, B. B., & Slavin, J. L. (2018, March). Health effects and sources of prebiotic dietary fiber. Current Development in Nutrition, 2(3), 5. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6041804/

Frasinetti, S., Moccia, E., Calavuturo, L., Gabriele, M., Longo, V., Bellani, L., … Giorgetti, L. (2018, October 1). Nutraceutical potential of hemp (Cannabis sativa L.) seeds and sprouts [Abstract]. Food Chemistry, 262, 56–66. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814618307180?via%3Dihub

Jeong, M., Cho, J., Shin, J.-I., Jeon, Y.-J., Kim, J.-H., Lee, S.-J. … Lee, K. (2014, July 3). Hempseed oil induces reactive oxygen species- and C/EBP homologous protein-mediated apoptosis in MH7A human rheumatoid arthritis fibroblast-like synovial cells [Abstract]. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 154(3), 745–752. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378874114003511?via%3Dihub

Katta, R. & Kramer, M. J. (2018, January 1). Skin and diet: An update on the role of dietary change as a treatment strategy for skin diseases. Skin Therapy Letter, 23(1), 1–5. Retrieved from http://www.skintherapyletter.com/dermatology/diet-change-treatment-skin-disease/

Katz-Talmor, D., Katz, I., Porat-Katz, B.-S., & Shoenfield, Y. (2018, June 8). Cannabinoids for the treatment of rheumatic disease – where do we stand [Abstract]? Nature Reviews Rheumatolgy, 14, 488–498. Retrieved from https://www.nature.com/articles/s41584-018-0025-5

Maroon, J., & Bost, J. (2018, April 26). Review of the neurological benefits of phytocannabinoids. Surgical Neurological International, 9, 91. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5938896/

Melnik, B. C. (2015, July 15). Linking diet to acne metabolomics, inflammation, and comedogenesis: An update. Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology, 8, 371–388. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4507494/

Minihane, A. M., Vinoy, S., Russell, W. R., Baka, A., Roche, H. M., Tuohy, K. M., … Calder, P. C. (2015, October 14). Low-grade inflammation, diet composition and health: Current research evidence and its translation. The British Journal of Nutrition, 114(7), 999–1012. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4579563/

Mohajeri, S., & Newman, S. A. (2014). Review of evidence for dietary influences on atopic dermatitis. Skin Therapy Letter, 19(4). Retrieved from https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/4bb2/971f1298e45a03677126b2edbc9588ed4917.pdf

Neijat, M., Suh, M., Neufeld, J., & House, J. D. (2016, May). Hempseed fed to hens effectively increased n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in total lipids, triacylglycerol and phospholipid of egg yolk [Abstract]. Lipids, 51(5), 601–614. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11745-015-4088-7

Rezapour-Firouzi, S., Arefhosseini, S. R., Ebrahimi-Mamaghani, M., Baradaran, B., Sadeghihokmabad, E., Torbati, M. … Zamani, F. (2014, December). Activity of liver enzymes in multiple sclerosis patients with Hot-nature diet and co-supplemented hemp seed, evening primrose oils intervention [Abstract]. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 22(6), 986–993. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0965229914001575?via%3Dihub

Rodriguez-Leyva, D., & Pierce, G. N. (2010, April 21). The cardiac and haemostatic effects of dietary hempseed. Nutrition & Metabolism, 7, 32. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2868018/

Sandqvist, A., Schneede, J., Kylhammar, D., Henrohn, D., Lundgren, J., Hedeland, M. … Wikström, G. (2018, March). Plasma L-arginine levels distinguish pulmonary arterial hypertension from left ventricular systolic dysfunction. Heart and Vessels, 33(3), 255–263. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00380-017-1055-7

Sergeant, S., Rahbar, E., & Chilton, F. H. (2016, August 15). Gamma-linolenic acid, dihommo-gamma linolenic, eicosanoids and inflammatory processes. European Journal of Pharmacology , 785, 77–86. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4975646/

Slavin, J. (2013, April 22). Fiber and prebiotics: Mechanisms and health benefits. Nutrients, 5(4), 1417–1435. Retrieved from http://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/5/4/1417/htm

Yang, Y., Lewis, M. M., Bello, A. M., Wasilewski, E., Clarke, H. A., & Kotra, L. P. (2017, October 1). Cannabis sativa (hemp) seeds, Δ9 –tetrahydrocannabinol, and potential overdose. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research, 2(1), 274–281. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5665515/

Citations

Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

MLA
Crichton-Stuart, Cathleen. “Health benefits of hemp seeds.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 11 Sep. 2018. Web.
12 Oct. 2019.

APA
Crichton-Stuart, C. (2018, September 11). “Health benefits of hemp seeds.” Medical News Today. Retrieved from
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323037.php.

Please note: If no author information is provided, the source is cited instead.