The Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds

The Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds

Jul 7, 2010 | By Linda Tarr Kent

Hemp seeds come from a plant that is similar to the marijuana plant, but has lower levels of psychoactive cannabinoid compounds. The seeds and seed oil are used in cooking and for food. Typically, the seed’s hard shell is removed before it is eaten. Seeds also are treated so they can’t be planted and grown. Hemp seeds can have health benefits, but you should consult your doctor before adding them to your regimen if you plan to use them to treat a specific condition.

Learning, Memory and Immune Boost
Hemp seed extract has an unidentified compound in it that may help to promote learning, memory and immune function. It may stimulate the brain enzyme known as calcineurin, according to the University of Michigan. Calcineurin plays an essential role in some brain synapse activities, according to J. Luo, who studied its effect on immune response and memory in mice and found that it improved both. The study was published in the journal Pharmacology, Biology and Behavior. In a second study on mice featured in Acta Pharmacologica Sinica, Luo noted that calcineurin helped to improve learning and memory that were impaired by chemical drugs.

Vitamin E Effects
Hemp seeds are a source of vitamin E, which can help to boost immune function and alleviate symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, according to the University of Michigan. Vitamin E also has a role in red blood cell formation in your body, and helps your body utilize vitamin K, which helps your blood stick together, or coagulate, according to the National Institutes of Health.

EFA Benefits
Hemp seeds are rich in essential fatty acids. The oil in the seeds is a source of the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid, ALA, as well as omega-6 fatty acid gamma-linolenic acid, or GLA, advises the University of Michigan. Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation in your body. They also may lower risk for cancer, heart disease and arthritis, advise the experts at the University of Maryland Medical Center. These fatty acids also are important for your brain performance and memory. GLA also may be an inflammation fighter, according to UMMC. In fact, GLA might reduce your nerve pain symptoms if you are diabetic.

Other Benefits
Hemp seeds can help you if you are constipated because they act as a bulk-forming laxative, according to the University of Michigan. Bulk-forming laxatives can improve the frequency and consistency of stools, according to M. Borgia, lead author for a study published in the Journal of International Medical Research. Hemp seeds also traditionally are used to treat atherosclerosis, exzema and attention deficient-hyperactive disorder, according to the University of Michigan. However, scientific evidence to back these uses lags, the school advises.


University of Michigan: Shelled Hemp Seeds

PubMed: “Acta Pharmacologica Sinica;” Extract from Fructus cannabis activating calcineurin improved learning and memory in mice with chemical drug-induced dysmnesia; J. Luo et al.; 2003

PubMed: ”Pharmacology, Biology and Behavior;” The effect of calcineurin activator, extracted from Chinese herbal medicine, on memory and immunity in mice; J. Luo et al.; 2003

University of Maryland Medical Center: Omega 3 Fatty Acids

PubMed: “Journal of International Medical Research;” Treatment of chronic constipation by a bulk-forming laxative; M. Borgia; 1983

Article reviewed by GlennK Last updated on: Jul 7, 2010


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