Gamma-linolenic acid, or GLA, is another significant component of hemp (1–6%, depending on species of Cannibis).
GLA is an omega-6 fatty acid that has impacts ranging from inflammation and vascular tone to initiation of contractions during childbirth.
GLA has been found to alleviate psoriasis, atopic eczema, and PMS, and may also benefit cardiovascular, psychiatric, and immunological disorders.
Aging and disease (diabetes, hypertension, etc.) have been shown to impair GLA metabolism, making dietary sources desirable.
GLA supplementation may be helpful for body weight regulation after significant weight loss.
Researchers studied obese women who lost a large amount of weight (~60 lbs) and provided them 890 mg of GLA from 5 g of borage oil (to give ~1 g of GLA to each person), or a placebo (olive oil), for one year following weight loss.
The women not receiving the GLA regained over 16 lbs in the subsequent year. Those who received GLA only regained 4 lbs.
The proposed mechanisms for this effect include:
1. Increased arachidonic acid (AA) levels in blood lipids due to GLA supplementation. Obese individuals and those with metabolic syndrome usually have lower AA levels in tissue lipids. Further, increased AA in blood lipids is related to enhanced lipid sensitivity, down-regulation of lipogenesis (creation of new fat), up-regulation of lipid oxidation, and increased leptin secretion.
2. Conversion of GLA to its elongation product, DGLA, which has anti-inflammatory effects, via production of beneficial eicosanoids that may operate in weight gain suppression.
Hemp oil contains ~450 mg of GLA per tablespoon. To achieve an intake of ~1 g of GLA you need 2 tablespoons per day.
Although you can achieve the same dose of GLA with a smaller dose of borage or evening primrose oil, hemp oil is the only natural food oil that doesn’t require packing into supplement form. Also, it’s a higher-yielding crop that is much easier to cultivate.
Hemp fibers are usually saved for production of durable fabrics and specialty papers, leaving the seeds as the food byproduct.
Of the whole seeds, about 25% to 50% of the total carbohydrate content is fiber, both insoluble and soluble. Some brands of hemp protein powder even contain up to 14 grams of fiber per serving.
Theoretically, hemp food products could supply a person with all the fiber they need in one day.
What you should know about hemp?
The green color of hemp oil, hemp butter, and hemp protein is due to the high content of chlorophyll within the mature seed that is not destroyed during low-temperature processing of hemp foods.
Although this chlorophyll can quicken auto-oxidation of oil exposed to light, as long as the oil is kept in a cold, dark container, this won’t be an issue.
Benefits of chlorophyll in food include protection against several types of cancers, including colon and breast. So, when you try your hemp products, know that green is good.
The fruit of hemp is not a true seed, but an “achene”, a tiny nut covered by a hard shell.
Whole hemp seed contains roughly 20-25% protein, 25-35% oil, 20-30% carbohydrates and 10-15% insoluble fiber (1), plus minerals like phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, sulfur, calcium, iron and zinc (2). It’s also a source of carotene, a Vitamin A precursor.
Hemp seeds provide all essential amino acids. The seeds contain 25–35% protein, and some of the hemp protein products today contain as much as 70% protein per 100 grams – similar to whey protein isolate.
The protein in hemp comes from two high-quality storage proteins, edestin and albumin, which are easily digested.
When compared to soy protein isolate, the protein in hemp might actually be superior due to the higher content of some essential amino acids and methionine, cysteine and arginine.
Overall, the protein makeup of hemp is highly complete, highly absorbable, and hypoallergenic. It’s also a sustainable and earth-friendly source of amino acids.
The oil of hemp also contains high concentrations of :
- Phytosterols, known to have beneficial effects on health
- Chlorophyll, which is shown to be anti-carcinogenic
- Carotenes, necessary for healthy eyesight and growth
- Lecithin, for cell-membrane composition and brain function