Hemp seed oil as a dietary supplement in Medical practice
Jonas Elia*, Belotherkovsky Dany**
* Jonas Elia, MD specialised in Paediatrics and Infant Neuropsychiatry
** Belotherkovsky Dany, MD Graduated in Conventional Medicine , in Reflexology and Homeopathic Medicine
Hemp seed oil is a nutrient derived from the cold pressing of the Cannabis Sativa (grown Sativa) fruits, i.e. the hemp plant.
The history of the use of the hemp seed oil dates back to Neolithic China, ca. 3.000 BCE, when the hemp seeds were used to fight skin inflammations. They were considered to have energizing, reinvigorating, laxative, and diuretic effects.
The first therapeutic use of the hemp plant, documented in Arabic literature, dates back to the 8th or 9th century. The most commonly used part of the plant at that time, were the seeds, and, to a smaller extent, the leaves.
Hemp oil is particularly rich in the essential polyunsaturated fatty acids of the Omega type. Technically speaking, Omega (Ω) are the polyunsaturated fatty acids that are chemically characterized by a first carbon-carbon double bond in the ω−3 position or in the ω−6 position starting from the last carbon atom of their chain.
Today we know that the essential fatty acids act through various action mechanisms such as the metabolites and the messengers. They play crucial roles in the metabolic traffic due to their effect on the nuclear receptors. These fatty acids can directly affect the nuclear receptors, by activating or repressing a series of metabolic pathways that are necessary for the correct defensive response of a cell. They also allow an organism to form the eicosanoid molecules involved in the reproductive functions, inflammation processes, fever and pain production. The essential fatty acids have an impact on the traumas and diseases, in the formation of blood clots, regulation of blood pressure, secretion of gastric acid and on many other processes that are important for human health.
Most vegetable oils do not contain the optimal ratio of Ω6 and of Ω3 fatty acids and tend to foster the accumulation of the intermediate products, which act as an obstacle to the fatty acid metabolism. Hemp seed oil, on the contrary, is a correctly balanced substance, which does not cause the accumulation of the metabolic products.
In the hemp seed oil, the ratio between Ω6 and Ω3 essential fatty acids is 3 to 1 respectively, i.e. the recommended ratio according to medical research on the consumption of the essential fatty acids. Past studies on the Omega ratio indicate that during the human evolution the ratio between Ω6/Ω3 was 1-2/1. In the contemporary Western societies, this ratio varies between 10-20/1.
In a study on the secondary prevention of cardiovascular diseases, the Ω6/Ω3 (LA/ALA) ratio of 4/1 was found to cause a 70% reduction of overall mortality. The follow up study conducted two years later discovered that while the 4/1 Ω6/Ω3 (LA/ALA) ratio seems to be optimal for mental functions, a 2-3/1 Ω6/Ω3 ratio suppresses the inflammations suffered by patients affected by the rheumatoid arthritis. The 5/1 ratio had a positive effect on patients suffering from asthma, while a 10/1 ratio had negative effects. The conclusion reached by these studies demonstrates that a low Ω6/ Ω3 essential fatty acid ratio is desirable due to its ability to counteract the complications of the chronic degenerative diseases.
Just like the Omega 3 and Omega 6, the hemp oil also contains the family of tocopherols (vitamin E), which are the natural antioxidants, phytosterols, and some components of the cannabinoids, such as Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). The latter has no psychoactive effects but it does affect the system of anandamids. The anandamids are produced by human organisms (endogenous cannabinoids). They determine the organism’s response when the immune system is disturbed as well as facilitate the cognitive and mental functions through the activation of the certain, recently discovered, receptors.
The THC level in hemp seed oil is very low12, less than one part per million. In order to experience the “toxic” effects from this substance, a person should ingest between six and nine litres (better try a different way). Up to date no health problems caused by the consumption of the hemp oil have been reported. While the numerous benefits for both children’s and adults’ health, in particular in preventing and curing all the diseases originating from an inflammatory reaction, have been observed.
Hemp seed oil represents a basic remedy. It is a nutrient, which, by its own nature, can optimise the response of the immune system, when it comes to the prevention as well as the treatment of pathologies and illnesses caused by the imbalance of metabolic homeostasis and functional alterations of the metabolic system. When added to the diet on a daily basis, hemp oil, which carries all the effects of a protective nutriment, carries the benefits of a nutritional vaccine. Hemp oil smells and tastes good and can be used to season salads, pastas, and fish. It can also be used daily to replace any other seed oil.
The scientific world is familiar with the extraordinary importance of an adequate consumption of the essential fatty acids and a number research projects concerning this matter are underway. A randomised blind placebo-checked study on the four-week-long intake of the hemp seed oil in patients affected by atopic dermatitis showed an improvement in the clinical symptoms of their illness. Such results seem to be linked to the correct ratio of the essential fatty acids that this oil contains. A further double-blind randomised study marked a statistically significant drop in the triglycerides and cholesterol haematic levels in healthy volunteers after four weeks of hemp oil consumption.
- Asthmatic and respiratory infections, both of the upper and of the lower respiratory tract.
- Atopic dermatitis and other skin diseases (vitiligo, psoriasis, seborrhoeic dermatitis, acne – even in its more severe forms -, skin lupus, rosacea, burns).
- Gastrointestinal pathologies (reflux, colonopathy, muco-hemorrhagic rectocolitis).
- Vascular diseases (arterial hypertension and vasculopathies).
- Female conditions (fibrocystic breast disease, ovarian cysts, menstrual disorders, climacterium).
- Arthrosis and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
- Convulsive fits.
- Language disorders, youth autism, behavioural disorders, impulsiveness.
- Specific Attention Disorder, psychomotor retardations;
- cysts in any area.
- Multiple sclerosis.
- Auto-immune diseases.
- Tumours in general.
Doctor Jonas advises to start taking hemp seed oil in the womb (during the mother’s pregnancy) until the age of 120. Daily amount may vary from 1 teaspoon for prevention purposes (avoid such use July trough August) to 1 tablespoon, two or three times per day, as an “attack” therapy. In the most severe cases, the medical advice concerning the optimal intake is necessary in order to achieve the best results.
Various international research and medical organizations provide information regarding this issue. For example our online Modin forum, (www.modin.org) that focuses on the hemp oil use in the medical practice. Institutions such as ISSFAL – the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids www.issfal.org.uk ), as well as some vegan and vegetarian organizations, whose members need the essential fatty acids in their diets as well, are good sources of this information. The differences between various oils, that are considered good sources of the essential fatty acids, are listed below:
Linseed oil: contains an inverted ratio between fatty acids Ω6/Ω3 and may contain Linamarine, as a consequence of the action of an enzyme called linase, which produces cyano-genetic glycosides. To avoid toxic effects, whole seeds should be consumed or boiled for ten minutes. Consumption of the large quantities of seeds is not recommended.
Borage oil does not contain Omega-3, only Omega-6. It contains traces of natural toxins called pyrrolizidine alkaloids, i.e. the toxic alkaloids that tend to accumulate in the body’s tissues and may cause tumours and harm the liver, kidneys, gastrointestinal duct, and the respiratory system.
Concerning fish-oil-based Omega 3 integrators; these oils are concentrated and produced with a purification process in which the fish oil reacts with ethanol, forming a synthetic substratum called “Ethylic ether of Omega-3 fatty acids”11. The solution obtained is then distilled in vacuum and condensed. On the other hand the natural chemical structure of Omega-3 fatty acids in fish is a natural triglyceride structure. The production of the Omega-3 fatty acid forms concentrations in their most natural form but requires a further step in the procedure, resulting in a more costly finial product. The worst aspect of the fish oil production is the possibility of it being polluted with mercury, dioxins, furans and heavy metals coming from the fish itself, and in case of a long-term consumption (which is usually recommended when it comes to the essential fatty acids). These contaminants can reach highly toxic, potentially harmful levels. It is, therefore, necessary to pay close attention to the choice of these products.
For the hemp oil, just like for all other vegetable oils, the quality of the seeds is very important. Other factors that are of great significance are the cold-pressing procedures and the preservation of oil in the fresh and dark environment in order to prevent oxidation and rancidity, which can also be avoided through the use of dark glass containers, keeping the bottle in a fresh place or in the fridge after opening.
- Artemis P. Simopoulos, MD, Alexander Leaf, MD,Norman Salem, Jr, PhD. Workshop on the Essentiality of and Recommended Dietary Intakes for Omega-6 and Omega-3 Fatty Acids. (National Institutes of Health campus in Washington DC, April 1999)
- Artemis P. Simopoulos MD. Omega-6/Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acid Ratio: The Scientific Evidence. (Biomed Pharmacother. 2002 Oct;56(8):365-79)
- Cary Leizer, David Ribnicky, Alexander, Poulev Slavik, Dushenkov Ilya Raskin. The Composition of Hemp Seed Oil and Its Potential as an Important Source of Nutrition. (Journal of Nutraceuticals, Functional & Medical Foods Vol. 2(4) 2000)
- Callaway J, Schwab U, Harvima I, Halonen P, Mykkanen O, Hyvonen P, Jarvinen T. Efficacy of dietary hempseed oil in patients with atopic dermatitis. (Journal of Dermatological Treatment. 2005; 16: 87-94)
- Ursula S. Schwab James C. Callaway Arja T. Erkkila¨ Jukka Gynther Matti I.J. Uusitupa Tomi Ja¨rvinen. Effects of hempseed and flaxseed oils on the profile of serum lipids, serum total and lipoprotein lipid concentrations and haemostatic factors. (Eur J Nutr (2006) DOI 10.1007/s00394-006-0621-z)
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