One of the most interesting questions posed to us at Manitoba Harvest Hemp Foods & Oils, regards the consumers attempt to balance their intake of Omega 6 and Omega 3 essential fatty acids (EFA).Originally posted by Twin Peak
This is directed to J'bo....I am curious what all the fuss is about hemp oil, can you please explain?
Modern nutritional research shows that we generally need 3 or 4 times as much Omega-6 as Omega-3. The common perception among people aware of the issue is that they are getting enough Omega-6 in their diet but not enough Omega-3. This prompts the repeated question;
"Shouldn't I be eating flaxseed oil, which has high Omega-3 instead of the balanced Hemp seed oil?"
Perhaps, but the person who feels they are getting enough Omega-6 in their diet has five things to consider:
1) Omega-6 and Omega-3 can also be bad fats. If they have been heated past 360 degrees F, hydrogenated, bleached, winterized, deodorized or refined in any way, chances are that the fatty acid has been altered from its good "cis" configuration to its bad "trans" configuration.
2) Is their current source of Omega-6 a quality source of Omega-6? If the Omega-6 they are getting hasn't come from a light and oxygen impermeable container, which has been refrigerated, the Omega-6 will be either "trans" or rancid. Looking at the common sources of Omega-6 we see that Canola oil is usually bleached and deodorized and comes hydrogenated or deep-fried. Corn oil is usually bleached and deodorized as is sesame and soybean oil. If one takes a walk down the grocery isle they will see that all of the corn, canola, sunflower, safflower, peanut and soybean oils are sitting at room temperature, in clear containers with no expiry date. The Omega-6 fats in these products are not in their good configuration. Therefore anyone relying on these sources for good Omega-6 fats is deceiving themselves.
3) There is a question of mutual presence. If you are eating a good supply of unrefined sunflower or safflower oil, flax may be the optimum choice to balance the omega-6 and the Omega-3 ratio. But, one should ask, "Is it best to get your Omega-6 in one meal and your Omega-3 in another, or is it best to have them both present at the same time?"
4) Hemp seed oil offers the direct metabolites of Omega-6 and 3, Gamma-Linolenic Acid and Stearidonic Acid. These metabolites are the same fats that are found in fish oils and are involved in the production of prostaglandin for hormones and in immune functions. Even if one did get unrefined sunflower oil and mixed it with unrefined flaxseed oil, you would mimic Hemp seed oil's Omega-6 to 3 ratio, but still be missing their direct higher metabolites.
5) Taste. Our experience has shown that after a certain time, most flaxseed oil consumers become tired of its taste. For these people, the pleasant nutty flavor of hemp seed oil is a welcome change.
Nutrients in Hemp Seed
The most basic hemp seed product is the shelled seed, sometimes referred to as the "hemp seed nut." The other major hemp food products are hemp seed nut butter, which resembles peanut and other nut butters, and cold-pressed hemp seed oil and hemp seed flour. These basic products can be consumed alone or used along with or instead of other grains, seeds, nuts, and oils in any appropriate recipe.
In terms of its nutrient content, shelled hemp seed is 34.6% protein, 46.5% fat, and 11.6% carbohydrate (Table 1). The most important feature of hemp seed is that it provides both of the essential fatty acids (EFAs) needed in the human diet--linoleic and alpha-linolenic acid--as well as a complete and balanced complement of all essential amino acids.
As compared with most nuts and seeds, the 46.5% fat content of shelled hemp seed is relatively low, and hemp food products have a low cholesterol content and high content of the natural phytosterols that reduce cholesterol levels. Hemp seed oil has on average the highest mono and polyunsaturated fat content of all oils, taken collectively, of 89% (Table 2). The polyunsaturated linoleic acid, an omega-6 fatty acid, is present in hemp seed oil in a content of 55.6 g/100 g, and alpha-linolenic acid, a polyunsaturated omega-3 fatty acid, is present at 17.2 g/100 g. The ratio of the two EFAs is 3.38, closely approximating the 4.0 average ratio recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO), Sweden and Japan for the human diet.5
Conveniently, hemp seed oil is also one of the only food oils to contain the direct metabolites of linoleic and alpha-linolenic acid--gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and stearidonic acid (SDA), respectively. Because of this, it can circumvent the impaired EFA metabolism and physical compromise that can result from genetic factors, intake of other fats, aging, and lifestyle patterns.
By contrast with unsaturated fat, only 6.6% of the total calories in shelled hemp seed come from saturated fat--a percentage that contrasts sharply with the 13 to 14% of saturated fat calories in the modern American diet.6 This gives hemp seed oil a polyunsaturated-to-saturated fat ratio of 9.7, in comparison to the current ratio of 0.44 in the American diet,6 and indicates that consuming even a small portion of hemp seed oil daily can contribute strongly to bringing this dietary imbalance back toward the U.S. Senate Select Committee recommended goal of 1.0.
Besides providing the human EFAs and having a favorable unsaturated-to-saturated fat ratio, hemp seed is an excellent dietary source of easily digestible, gluten-free protein. Its overall protein content of 34.6 g/100 g is comparable to that of soy beans and better than that found in nuts, other seeds, dairy products, meat, fish, or poultry.
Hemp protein provides a well-balanced array of the 10 essential amino acids for humans. An important aspect of hemp seed protein is a high content of arginine (123 mg/g protein) and histidine (27 mg/g protein), both of which are important for growth during childhood, and of the sulfur-containing amino acids methionine (23 mg/g protein) and cysteine (16 mg/g protein), which are needed for proper enzyme formation. Hemp protein also contains relatively high levels of the branched-chain amino acids that are important for the metabolism of exercising muscle.
Other Hemp Nutrients
The carbohydrate content of shelled hemp seed is 11.5% and its sugar content is 2%. Of the shelled hemp seed carbohydrate, 6% is in the form of fiber. The fiber content of hemp seed flour is 40%, which is the highest of all commercial flour grains. In addition to containing the basic human nutrient groups, hemp foods have a high content of antioxidants (92.1 mg/100g) in the form of alpha-, beta-, gamma-, and delta-tocopherol and alpha-tocotrienol. Additionally, hemp seed contains a wide variety of other vitamins and minerals.
Hemp in Health and Disease Prevention
The high content of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, and the relatively high phytosterol content of hemp foods, make them beneficial to cardiovascular health.7 Numerous human and animal studies have shown that substitution of polyunsaturated for saturated fats can reduce the risk of sudden cardiac arrest 8 and fatal cardiac arrhythmia,9 as well as reducing blood cholesterol levels and decreasing the cellular proliferation associated with atherosclerosis.10 A high polyunsaturated-to-saturated fat ratio, especially when it includes linoleic acid, has also been positively associated with reduced arterial thrombosis.11 Additionally, phytosterols, of which hemp seed contains 438 mg/100g, have been shown to reduce total serum cholesterol by an average of 10% and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol by an average of 13%.12
Polyunsaturated fatty acids, and especially GLA, have also been found beneficial in treating various human cancers,13-17 and studies have shown that phytosterols may offer protection against colon, breast, and prostate cancers.18
Besides the importance of a proper dietary ratio of linoleic to alpha-linolenic acid in maintaining the polyunsaturated fatty acid composition of neuronal and glial membranes,19 membrane loss of polyunsaturated fatty acids has been found in such neurodegenerative disorders as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, and it has been suggested that a diet with a proper balance of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids may help delay or reduce the neurologic effects of these diseases.20 A fatty acid preparation with a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids of 4, which is practically identical to that in hemp oil, has been shown to improve the quality of life of Alzheimer's disease patients.21
Additionally, GLA has been found effective for treating rheumatoid arthritis and active synovitis,22-24 and the GLA and vitamin D content of hemp foods may make them beneficial in preventing and treating osteoporosis.25 Moreover, supplementation with products containing EFAs has been found capable of reversing scaly skin disorder, inflammation, excessive epidermal water loss, itch, and poor wound healing caused by EFA deficiency,26 and GLA has been shown to be beneficial for atopic eczema and psoriasis.27
sorry about the long drawn out article...but i couldnt have said it better...if anyone would like to try the hemp seed nuts of hemp seed oil please pm me and i will send you some samples