Your Ultimate Guide to Hemp Seed Oil Capsules
Your Ultimate Guide to Hemp Seed Oil Capsules
In this article, we’ll be exploring some of the wide-ranging nutritional factors that are inspiring increasing numbers of people to use hemp seed oil as a food supplement in capsule form.
Hemp Seed: An Underrated Superfood?
Humble in size and impressive in nutritional content, hemp seeds (also called ‘hemp hearts’) are a protein-rich food source.
As the name suggests, hemp seeds come from hemp - a legal variety of the cannabis Sativa plant with plenty of nutrients, and with hemp-derived products containing no more than 0.2% of the intoxicating THC compound, depending on the legal limit where you live and whether or not your hemp seeds include their shells. Hemp seeds are green-brown, and take between 50 and 70 days to ripen.
With their desirable combination of essential healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, hemp seeds are suitable for most nut allergy sufferers.
They have gained publicity in recent years as a health supplement you should be adding to your diet. In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at what these seeds have to offer - particularly in the form the food supplements, such as hemp seed oil capsules. First, let’s start with some nutritional basics.
The Importance of Diet
According to the National Health Service (NHS), eating a nutritious and well-balanced diet is a crucial part of keeping in good health. The foods and drinks that we habitually consume should ideally provide us with the sufficient hydration, energy, and nutrients to support our daily tasks.
These tasks can range from the vital bodily processes we often take for granted (for example, breathing and digestion) to deliberate actions (like studying or going to the gym).
The influence of diet is not just limited to our physical bodies. There is a growing base of evidence to suggest that what we eat can influence our mental health, wellbeing and self-esteem.
Furthermore, researchers from St Andrews University made the sensational claim that maintaining a balanced diet may enhance your appearance more successfully than wearing makeup or having cosmetic surgery. Intriguing? Definitely.
What is a Balanced Diet?
Today, there are many different schools of thought when it comes to the ‘ideal’ diet - especially since the unique health needs of our bodies can be incredibly varied. However, there is a relatively worldwide consensus that a balanced diet is a diet that supplies all of the essential nutrients that your body cannot generate on its own.
These nutrients range from macronutrients (eaten in bulk portions) to micronutrients (consumed in small amounts). When these nutrients are appropriately consumed (particularly in the form of a balanced diet), they may make you less vulnerable to certain nutrition-related diseases. Nutrients may also help your body to grow and support good overall health.
The following food groups are considered a priority within a balanced diet:
- High-fibre carbohydrates (i.e. whole grains, potatoes, etc.)
- Fruits and vegetables (a key source of vitamins and minerals)
- Dairy or plant-based alternatives (i.e. milk, hemp seed milk, etc.)
- Proteins (i.e. meat, legumes, pulses, etc.)
- Unsaturated fats (i.e. olive oil, hemp seed oil, etc.)
If you’d like to explore this topic further, there are some excellent government resources which explain healthy eating in detail. It may also be worth speaking with your doctor if you need further clarification.
Obstacles to Healthy Eating
As we know, not everyone in the world has access to the same quality of nutrition. The United Nations reports that the challenges of global food distribution remain persistent, while authorities are under increasing pressure to monitor the standards of what we eat.
Having practical access to diverse food choices certainly puts us in a privileged position, but it doesn’t guarantee a balanced diet.
Research suggests that some of us may disengage from healthy eating due to:
- Time limitations
- Busy schedules
- A reluctance to invest in more nutritious foods
- Deep-seated habits that require considerable effort to change
Increased Public Demand for Health Foods
Despite the challenges presented by busy modern lifestyles and old habits, recent industry statistics suggest that the combined global sales of natural, organic, and food supplement-type health foods have soared to the sum of $631 billion.
In the UK, the organic food and drink sector has grown steadily over the past eight years - with sales rising by an impressive 6.1% in lockdown alone. As featured in Forbes magazine, James Russo of the Neilsen research group connects these trends with a significant shift in how the average person is focusing on the role diet has to play in connection to their health.
What Are Food Supplements?
According to the European Food Information Council, food supplements are natural or enhanced food products that can potentially supply our bodies with the essential nutrients that may otherwise be lacking in our diets.
Food supplements often come in the form of tablets, capsules, and liquids containing concentrated doses of vital dietary substances such as vitamins and essential fats. In conjunction with a healthy lifestyle and sound medical advice, food supplements may potentially help some of us to avoid nutrient deficiencies.
How Are Food Supplements Regulated?
In the UK, food supplements are subject to national laws that aim to ensure that they are manufactured, marketed, and sold responsibly.
These food laws, such as the flagship 1990 Food Safety Act, require that all food products are safe to consume and presented to the public transparently. It is currently deemed unacceptable for food products (including supplements) to be promoted as medical cures, preventions, or forms of treatment for diseases or ailments.
The regulation of food supplements and transparency of marketing makes it possible for us to make informed decisions. It also protects us from false advertising when it comes to the ingredients, potential benefits, efficacy and integrity of the food supplements on the marketplace.
Top Three Myths About Food Supplements
Before we move on to appreciate hemp seed oil, let’s tackle some common myths about food supplements and set the record straight.
1. Food Supplements Give You Instant Results
In most typical cases, your body can process food supplements within hours of consumption and begin to perform immediately at a cellular level. Since your diet represents the foods and drinks you consume habitually, it stands to reason that most food supplements require consistent intake before they can produce any noticeable results. Dr Prastedes suggests that the three-month mark is a good point at which to review things.
2. Food Supplements Can Replace Healthy Eating
According to the Food Supplements Information Service, this is far from reality. Food supplement labels are legally required to disclose the fact that taking food supplements can in no way compensate for a healthy and balanced diet. While many people opt to take supplements as an extra dietary precaution, it’s also important to prioritise healthy eating.
3. There’s No Need to Speak to Your Doctor First
On the contrary, it is wise to include your doctor in any decisions relating to your diet and wellbeing. Particularly in instances where you have broader health concerns, or are on prescribed medications, it is a good idea to notify your doctor of the food supplements you plan to take.
Supplements like hemp seed oil capsules may not be suitable for pregnant women or those under the age of 18, so it’s vital to discuss your situation with a professional before making any purchases or commitments.
Do Food Supplements Work?
Thankfully, you’re not the first person to ask this question. Food supplements have been a topic of increasing debate over the past few decades - particularly in terms of how effectively they can deliver nutrients for our bodies to absorb.
In conversation with Harvard Medical School, Dr Lo suggests that natural food sources (such as hemp seed oil) offer essential nutrients in a more potent form than most food supplements can replicate.
Like many others, he believes that raw foods are of superior nutritional value, because they contain flavonoids, antioxidants, and other components that may enhance the absorption of nutrients. However, he also suggests that food supplements may be necessary for people with diagnosed nutritional deficiencies or restricted diets.
Currently, available research into the performance of food supplements suggests that there is limited evidence to confirm their safety and effectiveness. However, Vitamin D and fatty acid supplements may stand out as possible exceptions.
What is Hemp Seed Oil?
Hemp seed oil (sometimes called ‘hemp oil’) is a plant-based oil that comes from hemp seeds. It is a multi-functional ingredient that can be useful in the production of cosmetics, industrial materials, and even biofuel. Hemp seed oil is not to be confused with CBD oil.
Although both substances come from the hemp plant, CBD oil is a different substance altogether, containing a whole range of cannabinoids from the hemp plant, along with terpenes and flavonoids.
When developed as a food product, hemp seed oil is extracted by applying pressure and minimal heat to ripe hemp seeds until they release a natural oil that has a green tint and nutty flavour. This cold-pressed method helps to protect the oil from any heat damage that may occur at higher temperatures.
Hemp seed oil is rich in essential fatty acids, as well as diverse micronutrients that can all play their part in supporting good health. As a result, many people choose to use hemp seed products as a food supplement. Hemp seed oil is convenient to take in capsule form - which we will be revisiting shortly.
Hemp and Sustainability
Many climate-conscious commentators praise hemp for its eco-friendly nature. Journalist Chloe Fox even goes as far as to call hemp a ‘sustainable wonder crop’. Due to its dense coverage, fast-paced growth, and natural resilience, growing hemp requires little human intervention.
Often, hemp works to the advantage of farmers and the environment by cleaning both the air and soil around it. Since hemp seed oil comes from the hemp plant, it is potentially a ‘greener’ alternative to the popular omega-3 supplement cod liver oil - which may damage the environment and contribute to the current overfishing crisis.
Hemp Seed Oil as a Healthy Fat Source
Food Data Central offers a nutritional breakdown of the substances represented in hemp seed oil; including healthy fats, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
Data suggests that over three-quarters of the fatty acids found in hemp seed oil are unsaturated - which means they are nutritionally-preferred. Hemp seed oil is often said to be “nature’s most perfectly balanced oil” because it represents the perfect 3:1 ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fats.
Omega-3 (Alpha-Linolenic Acid)
Omega-3 fatty acids are essential to our bodies, and there is evidence to suggest that a lack of omega-3 may be a prevalent issue. Alpha-Linolenic Acid (ALA), a form of omega-3, is found in hemp seed oil, and can be used as a ‘building block’ to create other fatty acids.
Studies have shown that supplementing your diet with omega-3s may potentially:
- Reduce anxiety symptoms
- Fight symptoms of inflammation
- Support mental health
- Help strengthen bones and joints
Omega 6 (Gamma-Linolenic Acid)
Our bodies cannot produce essential fatty acids independently, so we need to source omega-3s and 6s through our diet. Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA) is a crucial type of omega-6 fatty acid found in hemp seed oil.
Research suggests that consuming adequate quantities of GLA may potentially:
- Reduce symptoms of inflammation
- Improve symptoms of dry skin and dermatitis
- Improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis
Antioxidants in Hemp Seed Oil
Well-documented for their ability to counteract the unstable atoms in our bodies known as ‘free radicals’, antioxidants may help to reduce some forms of cell damage caused by factors such as stress and UV-ray exposure. Hemp seed oil contains two primary antioxidants which have gained considerable attention.
A-Tocopherol (Vitamin E)
Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that comes in the form of eight different compounds - including A-Tocopherol. This compound is present in hemp seed oil and may help to promote healthy skin and potentially have an impact for the better on the immune system.
Minerals in Hemp Seed Oil
In addition to being a source of essential fats and antioxidants, hemp seed oil also contains several essential minerals that our bodies require to perform correctly. We have summarised the minerals most abundantly represented in hemp seed oil below.
Our bodies rely on phosphorus to develop strong bones and teeth, as well as to produce energy and support general mobility. It can also assist with a variety of other survival processes, such as cell maintenance and waste removal.
Potassium supports healthy heart functioning, and is also one of the minerals responsible for managing our internal fluid levels.
Alongside promoting healthy functioning in the heart and brain, magnesium supports smooth muscle relaxation and contraction.
Potential Benefits of Hemp Seed Oil
As we have learned so far, hemp seed oil is an excellent source of vital unsaturated fats, protective antioxidants, and essential minerals which may possibly contribute to healthy body functioning and wellbeing. Since we’ve already looked at some of the key components found within hemp seed oil, it makes sense to review some of the potential benefits of supplementing your diet with hemp seed oil.
Potential Skin Benefits
Did you know that skin dryness can trigger excess oil production as your skin cells attempt to compensate? Mainly due to its Vitamin E and fatty acid content, hemp seed oil may potentially help by:
- Preventing symptoms of acne caused by clogged pores
- Reducing symptoms of skin inflammation and promoting new growth
- Improving the condition and appearance of the skin
- Helping to manage age-related skin problems
Hemp Seed Oil and Pain
Inflammation is recognised as a component of pain, since swelling applies pressure to our nerve endings and can trigger a pain response. The essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids found in hemp seed oil may have anti-inflammatory properties. Emerging evidence suggests that hemp seed oil may have the potential to:
- Soothe symptoms of inflammation-related pain
- Improve symptoms of localised joint pain (though evidence for this is mainly anecdotal)
- Improve symptoms of chronic pain
Brain and Heart Function
The healthy fats found in hemp seed oil have prompted scientists to consider its ability to potentially help to support the brain and heart. While the evidence for this is limited, hemp seed oil may potentially assist these organs by:
- Possibly improving blood flow and artery health
- Impacting symptoms of inflammation within the brain
- Providing fats which may impact symptoms of age-related brain deterioration
Hemp Seed Oil and Hair
Studies have shown that plant-derived oils could help to prevent hair breakage and excess water absorption. Some researchers believe that hemp seed oil may potentially enhance hair health by:
- Positively impacting some forms of diet-related hair loss
- Nourishing the hair with essential nutrients
- Moisturising the skin - including the scalp
How to Take Hemp Seed Oil Capsules
With all these potential benefits, it’s not a surprise that hemp seed oil has become an incredible force in the food supplement world. Hemp seed oil capsules are made by encasing cold-pressed hemp seed oil in a gelatine shell for a pre-measured dose and easy consumption.
These capsules are designed for daily use. In some cases, they are fortified with extra vitamins, minerals, and botanical extracts to create a more potentially potent product.
Reasons to Take Hemp Seed Oil in Capsule Form
Health-conscious consumers often prefer hemp seed oil capsules because they are:
- Quick and straightforward to consume
- Highly portable
- Very mild in taste
They may also be a plant-based alternative to cod liver oil capsules.
Establishing the Right Hemp Seed Oil Dose
Once you have consulted your doctor and considered any relevant advice, you may decide to incorporate hemp seed oil capsules into your diet. Capsules containing one gram (1000mg) of hemp seed oil are the most common.
When it comes to deciding the amount of hemp seed oil that is right for you, we would like to suggest that you start by taking one capsule per day. It is best to take such food supplements on a full stomach and with a glass of water. In general, you should avoid exceeding the recommended daily intake stated on the bottle or packaging.
Judging Possible Side Effects
When assessing your progress with hemp seed oil capsules, you should observe how you feel along the way, and be mindful of any possible side-effects.
In review, hemp seed oil is a sustainable and nutritionally-rich resource that may potentially help to supplement our diets with some of the essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and minerals that our bodies require.
Like other food supplements, hemp seed oil is designed to support a healthy diet and lifestyle, rather than compensate for unhealthy habits. If you’d like to try out hemp seed oil for yourself, it is good practice to discuss things with your doctor first. With that being said, it is a natural and relatively low-risk supplement.