Hemp protein: Valuable nutrients & amino acids with good tolerance

Hemp protein

General information about hemp protein

The annual hemp plant (Cannabis Sativa L.) has received more and more attention in recent years. The plant is also increasingly used in the field of nutrition.

Hemp oil is produced from the seeds of the hemp plant, and hemp protein is also obtained in parallel with the production of hemp oil. By pressing hemp seeds, the oil is extracted, and the resulting press cake is then processed into hemp protein.

High quality vegetable protein source

Hemp seeds have a high protein content of 31.6g per 100 grams, making them one of the best vegetable protein sources. The protein absorbed from hemp protein can also be used efficiently by the body. 1-3 Hemp protein thus serves as a high-quality protein source for muscle building. 

The protein content in hemp protein powder is in the range of 40 to 52 percent for conventional powder. If hemp protein is isolated through further processing, as in the production of a concentrate (or isolate), the protein content can increase up to 90 percent.

Along with the increase in protein content, the carbohydrate content is reduced accordingly.

Very good compatibility

Hemp protein is gluten-free. This makes hemp protein an optimal protein source for people with celiac disease (gluten intolerance) or with gluten sensitivity.

In addition, hemp protein generally has a very good tolerability. Also 
with optimal digestion hemp protein can convince. 

Thus, of hemp protein isolate is digested about 88-92%. For comparison, soy protein has a digestion rate of 71%.

Balanced amino acid profile

Hemp protein has a balanced amino acid profile. All nine essential amino acids are contained in hemp protein (histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, methionine, phenylalanine, threonine, tryptophan, valine).

Since lysine is only present in small amounts in hemp protein, it is considered a limiting amino acid. To cover the lysine content, hemp protein can be combined with pea or rice protein powder, for example. These have a higher lysine content and therefore complement hemp protein well.

The amino acids arginine (5.85g/100g) and methionine (1.01g) are found in high amounts in hemp protein. These perform important tasks in the body.

In the body, the conversion of arginine to nitric oxide (NO) takes place. Nitric oxide is an important neurotransmitter in the cardiovascular system and is involved in various regulatory processes. Among others, in the control of hemostasis, the dissolution of blood clots (fibrinolysis), the regulation of blood pressure and vascular tone.

Methionine possesses is important for the functioning of the nervous system and for protein biosynthesis. Methionine is also needed for growth and tissue repair.

Rounded macronutrient profile

As discussed earlier, hemp provides a balanced amino acid profile. This makes hemp isolate a good source of protein. But how is it different from other protein supplements? Finally, there are many protein sources with balanced amino acid profiles.

Compared to other protein products, hemp provides much more than “just” protein. The vegetable protein source hemp also provides fiber and essential fatty acids.

This leads to the fact that the protein metabolism is well boosted by hemp protein and the digestion of the supplied protein is optimized.

Likewise, hemp protein supports general health through these properties and not only muscle building. This is especially interesting for athletes, as they often have few opportunities to eat a balanced diet due to the high frequency of training.

Macronutrient

Macronutrients per 100 g hemp protein

Protein

47.7 g

Dietary fiber

23.7 g

Fat

13.9 g

Carbohydrates

5.4 g

Optimal fatty acid pattern

Another advantage of hemp protein is the composition of the fatty acid pattern.

Hemp protein provides about 11 grams of hemp oil per 100g of protein. This is known for the optimal ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

The fatty acids omega-3 and omega-6 should ideally be taken in by humans in a ratio of 1:3. However, this recommendation can hardly be implemented.

While southern countries with high fish consumption have higher omega-3 intake, typical central European cities have very poor consumption. Thus, the ratio is more like 1:50 than 1:3. For this reason, the increased presence of omega-3 in hemp protein is very beneficial.

Especially for athletes such as skiers or field hockey players, who have an increased risk of falling, omega-3 plays a major role. It has been shown several times that an optimized ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 has a beneficial effect on concussions.[5]

Minerals and vitamins

Hemp seeds provide a balanced micronutrient profile in addition to macronutrients (protein, fat and fiber).

Thus, hemp seeds contain the important nutrients zinc, iron and magnesium in appreciable quantities. These three minerals are very important, especially for athletes.

Iron plays an important role in oxygen transport and blood formation. Especially among female athletes, iron deficiency is very common. This significantly affects the performance and quality of life of those affected. So any additional source offers an advantage here.  

Among other things,zinc plays an important role in the immune system. This is important for everyone, of course, but especially for (competitive) athletes. Figures show that these are 3-5 times more susceptible to infection compared to less active individuals. [4]. So an extra serving of nutrients for the immune system is always important.

Magnesium plays a role in muscle and nerve excitability, is a component of the skeleton and teeth, and is involved in carbohydrate and protein metabolism.

For athletes, the intake of magnesium plays a major role due to the increased magnesium excretion through sweat and urine.
 

If the added protein already contains magnesium, you kill two birds with one stone, so to speak.

Minerals and vitamins per 100 g hemp protein

Magnesium

750 mg

Iron

23 mg

Zinc

12 mg

Vitamin B6

1.5 mg

Vitamin B1

1.3 mg

Folic acid

220 µg

Sources
1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10681-004-4811-6
2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0308814607006358
3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27265319/
4. Micheal Gleeson et al. Immune function and exercise
5 Andrew Ashbaugh et al. The Role of Nutritional Supplements in Sports Concussion Treatment

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