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Our proprietary "Star-Rating" system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.
For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.
Hemp protein is high in arginine, an amino acid that keeps blood vessels healthy and can reduce high blood pressure.1 There is also evidence that peptides (short chains of amino acids) produced through hemp protein digestion could contribute to lowering blood pressure.2 In one study, the blood pressure of hypertensive rats came down after four weeks of treatment with hydrolyzed hemp protein but not after casein protein.3 The same study found that hydrolyzed hemp protein prevented high blood pressure from developing in young rats bred to be hypertensive. Whether hemp protein can prevent or reduce high blood pressure in humans is not known.
1. Dong J, Qin L, Zhang Z, et al. Effect of oral L-arginine supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials. Am Heart J 2011;162:959-65. doi: 10.1016/j.ahj.2011.09.012. Epub 2011 Nov 8. [review]
2. Girgih A, He R, Aluko R. Kinetics and molecular docking studies of the inhibitions of angiotensin converting enzyme and renin activities by hemp seed (Cannabis sativa L.) peptides. J Agric Food Chem 2014. [Epub ahead of print]
3. Girgih A, Alashi A, He R, et al. Preventive and treatment effects of a hemp seed (Cannabis sativa L.) meal protein hydrolysate against high blood pressure in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Eur J Nutr 2013. [Epub ahead of print]
Researchers have found that small amino acid chains found in hydrolyzed hemp protein can act as antioxidants, and suggested that these same amino acid fragments are likely formed during normal digestion of hemp protein.1 These antioxidants could protect blood vessels and cell membranes from the free radical damage linked to cardiovascular disease progression.
In animal research, hemp seed meal was found to increase antioxidant activity and reduce cholesterol absorption in the digestive tract.2 Whether hemp protein has antioxidant and cholesterol lowering effects in humans is not yet known.
1. Girgih A, Udenigwe C, Aluko R. Reverse-phase HPLC separation of hemp seed (Cannabis sativa L.) protein hydrolysate produced peptide fractions with enhanced antioxidant capacity. Plant Foods Hum Nutr 2013;68:39-46. doi: 10.1007/s11130-013-0340-6.
2. Lee M, Park S, Han J, et al. The effects of hempseed meal intake and linoleic acid on Drosophila models of neurodegenerative diseases and hypercholesterolemia. Mol Cells 2011;31:337-42. doi: 10.1007/s10059-011-0042-6. Epub 2011 Feb 10.
Researchers have found that the amino acids in hydrolyzed protein supplements are highly available for muscle repair after muscle fiber damaging exercise and other causes of muscle injury.1 Some, but not all, studies show that protein supplements may help athletes by reducing soreness and speeding recovery after exercise, and increasing muscle mass gains.2 Hemp protein has lower levels than soy and egg proteins of branched-chain amino acids, which are especially important for muscle growth and repair.3
In one study, mice fed hemp protein had more stamina and reduced lactic acid levels after exertion than mice fed other sources of protein.4 Muscle soreness and fatigue tend to increase in the conditions that produce high levels of lactic acid.5 The effect of hemp protein on stamina and muscle function in athletes, however, has not been studied.
1. Thomson R, Buckley J. Protein hydrolysates and tissue repair. Nutr Res Rev 2011;24:191-7. doi: 10.1017/S0954422411000084. Epub 2011 Nov 21. [review]
2. McLellan T. Protein supplementation for military personnel: a review of the mechanisms and performance outcomes. J Nutr 2013;143:1820S-1833S. doi: 10.3945/jn.113.176313. Epub 2013 Sep 11. [review]
3. Callaway J. Hempseed as a nutritional resource: An overview. Euphytica 2004;140:65?72.
4. Li Y, Yang R, Hu X, et al. Initial study of Hemp seeds protein on antifatigue and the immunomodulation effects in mice. Wei Sheng Yan Jiu 2008;37:175-8. [in Chinese]
5. Cairns S. Lactic acid and exercise performance: culprit or friend? Sports Med 2006;36:279-91. [review]
Researchers have found that a high-protein diet might help reduce appetite and improve blood glucose control,1 help people lose weight and keep it off,2 and help preserve muscle mass during weight loss.3 Although most hemp protein supplements have less protein than other protein supplements, they are higher in fiber, which has also been shown to reduce appetite, improve glucose metabolism, and contribute to weight management.4 Whether hemp protein has real benefits or drawbacks compared to other sources of protein for people trying to lose weight is not known.
1. Potier M, Darcel N, Tome D. Protein, amino acids and the control of food intake. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 2009;12:54-8. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e32831b9e01. [review]
2. Johansson K, Neovius M, Hemmingsson E. Effects of anti-obesity drugs, diet, and exercise on weight-loss maintenance after a very-low-calorie diet or low-calorie diet: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Am J Clin Nutr 2014;99:14-23. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.113.070052. Epub 2013 Oct 30. [review]
3. Devkota S, Layman D. Protein metabolic roles in treatment of obesity. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 2010;13:403-7. doi: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e32833a7737. [review]
4. Chutkan R, Fahey G, Wright W, McRorie J. Viscous versus nonviscous soluble fiber supplements: mechanisms and evidence for fiber-specific health benefits. J Am Acad Nurse Pract 2012;24:476-87. doi: 10.1111/j.1745-7599.2012.00758.x. [review]
In an animal study, kidney health improved in kidney-diseased rats fed hemp protein or soy protein diets, but not pea protein. In addition, the soy and hemp protein-fed rats had less heart damage due to kidney disease.1 It is not known whether these effects would be seen in people with kidney disease.
Hemp protein is extracted from the shelled seeds (hearts) of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa L., and is used in some protein supplements and protein-enriched foods. Hemp and marijuana plants are closely related; however, hemp generally refers to varieties that are grown for food and industrial uses. Hemp plants are very low in the chemicals that give marijuana its intoxicating and psychoactive properties.1
Hemp protein usually refers to a dry hemp seed meal made by removing the outer shell of the hemp seed, expelling most of the oil through cold-pressing, and removing some of the fiber through milling and sifting. Hemp protein is usually lower in protein (35-50%) and higher in fat (about 10%, mostly essential fatty acids) and carbohydrate (20-35%, mostly fiber) than other protein supplements.2, 3
Hemp protein is lactose-free and safe for people with allergies or sensitivities to dairy and eggs, as well as those with allergies to peanuts, soybeans, and other legumes. Vegetarians and vegans may prefer supplements with hemp protein to supplements with protein derived from dairy (such as casein and whey proteins), eggs, or meat. Like proteins from other seeds and nuts, hemp protein is low in the essential amino acid, lysine, and is therefore not considered a complete protein.4
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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2016.