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Hemp Protein

Hemp is a food product derived from the same plant of which Marijuana originates from, but without intoxicating components; the protein fragment appears to be a popular meal replacement supplement but is not yet linked to unique properties (relative to other Protein supplements).

Our evidence-based analysis on hemp protein features 23 unique references to scientific papers.

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Last Updated:
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Summary of Hemp Protein

Primary information, health benefits, side effects, usage, and other important details

Hemp protein is a industrial byproduct from hempseed where the seeds (balanced macronutrient profile) have their oil extracted into Hempseed oil, and the remainding seedmeal that is high in protein relative to the seeds is then processed into Hemp protein supplements.

Hemp that is currently on the market is a strain low in THC (the intoxicant and psychoactive agent in Marijuana) and does not confer intoxicating properties. It is usually not a pure protein supplement, as it has up to 10% fatty acids by weight (pretty balanced between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and generally high in polyunsaturated fatty acids) and confers a higher inherent fiber content relative to other Protein supplements. The protein portion of hemp is not a complete protein source, due to being low in Lysine (the rate limiting essential amino acid); it is also relatively low in leucine, but is relatively high in both L-Tyrosine and Arginine.

There is a cannabinoid content in Hemp, although they are cannabinoids that do not interact with the two classical cannabinoid receptors in the human body and are unlikely to have the same neural properties attributed to marijuana. These may confer some health properties unique to hemp products (either hempseed protein or Marijuana) but in the context of using hemp protein as a meal replacement they are not studied.

Currently, hemp protein appears to be a viable meal replacement option and has the benefit of having a higher fiber content but is not yet linked to unique health benefits (or harms) to establish its importance over other dietary sources of protein.

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How to Take

Medical Disclaimer

Recommended dosage, active amounts, other details

Like any protein supplement, hemp protein supplements are dosed in relation to dietary protein goals and how much dietary protein is consumed via other sources. Protein goals vary from person to person, but a general guide is:

  • If you are an athlete or highly active person currently attempting to lose body fat while preserving lean muscle mass, a daily intake of 1.5-2.2g/kg bodyweight (0.68-1g/lb bodyweight) would be a good target

  • If you are an athlete or highly active person, or you are attempting to lose body fat while preserving lean mass, then a daily intake of 1.0-1.5g/kg bodyweight (0.45-0.68g/lb bodyweight) would be a good target

  • If you are sedentary and not looking to change body composition, a daily target of 0.8g/kg bodyweight (0.36g/lb bodyweight) and upwards would be a good target

Supplementation of hemp protein should be in the dose that is required to meet these ranges after dietary protein has been accounted for. If dietary protein has adequately reached these ranges, then protein supplementation is not required.

Obese individuals (body fat over 20/30% for males and females or a BMI greater than 30 without significant levels of muscle mass) should not follow the above recommendations exactly as the state of obesity would overshoot requirements. In these instances, calculate your targets based upon what your weight would be assuming an overweight BMI.

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Human Effect Matrix

The Human Effect Matrix looks at human studies (it excludes animal and in vitro studies) to tell you what effects hemp protein has on your body, and how strong these effects are.
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
Notes
grade-c - Very High See 2 studies
No detectable differences in HDL-C levels
grade-c - Very High See 2 studies
No significant modifications in LDL-C levels
grade-c - Very High See 2 studies
No significant influence of oral hemp seeds on triglycerides
grade-d Minor - See study
Topical application of the oil of hemp may confer some aid to atopic dermatitis; oral intake of the protein not tested
grade-d - - See study
No significant influence of topical hemp oil on skin quality

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Things to Note

Primary Function:

Also Known As

Hemp, Cannabis sativa, Hempseed meal

Do Not Confuse With

Marijuana (same plant, but this refers to variants with a high psychoactive content)

  • There is a low THC content in hemp protein and supplementing the protein will likely not confer any intoxicating properties

  • Hemp protein is known to not have the most desirable taste. It may be prudent to taste hemp first (via free samples or a friend) before making a purchasing decision

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Click here to see all 23 references.