Lipid profile of hempseeds

The oil fraction of hempseeds is highlighted for its enormous proportion of non-saturated fatty acids (90%) and its high level of essential fatty acids, with a very optimum balance between them (figure 1) (Leonard et al. 2019; Farinon et al. 2020).

The only fatty acids that are considered essential for human beings are the 𝛼-Linoleic Acid (ALA) and the Linoleic Acid (LA), from the omega-3 and omega-6 family respectively. Being essential means that our organism cannot synthesize them, therefore, they have to be consumed obligatorily in the diet. The lack or deficit of these essential fatty acids in the diet can cause serious metabolic alterations.

According to the current dietary recommendations, essential fatty acids should be consumed in an adequate proportion, ideally in a relation 4:1 of omega-6: omega-3, until a maximum of 10:1 (Simopoulos, 2002; Gómez-Candela et al. 2011). 2011).

Somestudies show that even if there is evidence that keeping the proportion omega-3: omega-3 is important- especially under certain health circumstances-, what is really important is to keep a high intake of omega-3, even if the omega-6 is also high.

Hempseed oil has on average a 3:1 relation, which is only exceeded by the linseed oil (1:4). Olive oil has a relation 10:1 of omega 6: omega-3 (Figure 1).

These fatty oils and their intake in a correct proportion have been widely investigated for their antiinflammatory properties and their possible protective effects against hearth diseases, obesity, diabetes, inflammatory diseases, autoimmune diseases, and cancer (Sokoła-Wysoczańska et al., 2018; Simopoulos, 2002).

Furthermore, hempseed oil has 𝛾-linolenic acid (GLA), a long chain omega-6 fatty acid, which has high nutritional and metabolic importance. Kapoor and Huang (2006) describe the role of GLA in the regulation of inflammatory responses, acting as a biosynthetic precursor of the synthesis of anti-inflammatory eicosanoids.

Other important data is that the synthesis of this long chain fatty acid could be insufficient under some biological states as fetal development or breastfeeding. This is because the immature organism of the fetus and of the new born cannot synthesize it at a sufficient pace; therefore, they have to take it from their mother. Mothers can see their need to ingest essential fatty acids increased, and/or their correspondent derived long chain fatty acids, as GLA,, during those periods (Gómez Candela et al. 2011).

Finally, there is a scientific consensus regarding the idea that decreasing the ingest of saturated fats is beneficial for health (Kennedy et al. 2009). In comparison with other vegetable oils, hempseed oil has the highest proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA; Callaway, 2004; Leson, 2005). A reduction in the risk of heart diseases, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, hypertension, inflammatory and autoimmune illnesses has been related to a higher ingest of PUFA (Abedi & Sahari, 2014).

Figure 1.

Hempseed fatty acid composition compared to other vegetable oils. Orderly, from left to right: almond, hazelnut, nut, hemp, linen, canola, soy, sunflower, and olive oils. Figure taken from Callaway, 2004 and Leson, 2005.


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