HEMP = BRAIN HEALTH
FOOD FOR THOUGHT?
With the back to school season just around the corner, we share 6 reasons hemp is the perfect food for brain health.
1) ESSENTIAL FATS
All of our body’s tissues contain fatty compounds, but for the brain, fat is a vital substance. The human brain consists of nearly 60 percent fat! Fatty acids are crucial to the brain’s performance. The human body uses these special fats to build brain cells, as well as support brain functionality and behavior.
Essential Fatty Acids (EFA’s) must be consumed from the foods we eat, because our bodies do not make them. There are only two known EFA’s, which are:
- Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), a major component of Omega-3
- Linoleic acid (LA), a major component of Omega-6
These 2 EFA’s metabolize* in the body, each forming a longer chain of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA’s).
- ALA is converted into Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), as well as other PUFA’s with less significance to brain health.
- LA is converted into Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and Arachidonic acid (AA).
Omega-3 fatty acids
Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA)
Stearidonic acid (SDA)
Eicosatetraenoic acid (ETA)
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)
Docosapentaenoic acid (DPA)
Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA)
Omega-6 fatty acids
Linoleic acid (LA)
Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA)
Dihomo-Gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA)
Arachidonic acid (AA)
Arachidonic acid (AA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) account for approximately 20% of the brains fatty acid content. As long as you consume enough ALA & LA, your body will manufacture as much DHA, EPA, GLA and AA as it needs.
These EFA’s promote learning, processing, and memory storage; improve academic performance, behavior, focus and attention; benefit cognitive development and function; regulate our stress response; and are neuroprotective (offering protection to the brain cells from oxidative stress). They are involved in neurological development, growth and formation, repairing of neurons, and improving intelligence.
An improper balance** of Omega’s can lead to a variety of mental disorders and neurodegenerative diseases, or have negative effects on your mental and physical health. EFA’s correlate with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), learning deficits, autism, brain allergies, dyslexia, bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, dementia, alzheimer’s, brain deterioration, cognitive decline, schizophrenia, dyspraxia (DCD), huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), parkinson’s, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), depression, and aggression.
*The bodies ability to convert EFA’s can be impacted by too much trans and saturated fats, high cholesterol, low protein, and vitamin deficiencies of B3, B6, magnesium, zinc, vitamin C, and calcium. Intake of these vitamins and minerals helps optimize the conversion of EFA’s to the long chain PUFA’s. Hemp seeds are low in trans and saturated fats and cholesterol, and an excellent source of protein, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin B’s. Hemp provides Stearidonic acid (SDA), an Omega-3, and GLA, an Omega-6, which further assist the conversion of Omega’s effectively, and maximizes the benefit of EFA’s.
**The ideal Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio is anywhere between 1:1 and 4:1. Hemp naturally provides us with a 3:1 ratio, food for a healthy brain!
2) OLEIC ACID
Omega-9 (Oleic acid), though not considered an EFA, is present in Hemp and seems to be necessary for proper brain function. Oleic acid has been associated with positive emotion, enthusiasm, sociability, assertiveness, imagination, intelligence, curiosity and creativity. Made of 70% fat (mostly Oleic acid) and 30% protein (hemp being a great source of), myelin is the protective covering around the nerves (neurons) in the brain. Myelin is vital for nerve functioning, enabling effective communication of information.
3) VITAMIN E
Vitamin E helps preserve brain function and protects neurons from oxidation, playing an important role in healthy neurological aging. Thus, a healthy intake of vitamin E (you guessed it, Hemp) can prevent or slow the rate of cognitive decline, and the onset of serious neurodegenerative disorders.
4) B VITAMINS
“B” complex vitamins, perhaps should stand for Brain! Sometimes called the happy or anti-stress vitamins, they improve energy levels, assist with depression, and increase tolerance to stress. B vitamins produce and help balance your neurotransmitters known as serotonin, dopamine, and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). A deficiency in serotonin can cause anxiety, insomnia, low self-esteem, negative thoughts, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Without adequate GABA you may be easily stressed or feel overwhelmed. Dopamine helps you focus. If you lack dopamine you may experience a lack of energy and motivation. Hemp provides Thiamine (B1), Riboflavin (B2), Niacin (B3) and B6.
Magnesium is fundamental to the learning process, quality of sleep, and short and long term memory. Manganese is also necessary for normal brain and nerve function. Hemp is a good source of both magnesium and manganese.
6) ENDOCANNABINOID SYSTEM
Humans have an Endocannabinoid System (ECS) which is comprised of CB-1 and CB-2 receptors. Our bodies make cannabinoids for the receptors throughout our body. The cannabinoids associated with mood, behaviour and neurological health are Cannabidiol (CBD), Cannabigerol (CBG), Cannabinol (CBN), Cannabichromene (CBC), Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCa), Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THVc), and Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Although Industrial Hemp is not a significant source, trace cannabinoids still exist and stimulate this system.
ARE YOU READY?
Hemp can be added to your daily diet in so many ways! I personally take the hemp seed oil capsules every morning, and incorporate seasoned hemp seeds into my meals throughout the day.