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Hemp Seed Oil “Liquid engineering for the human body” by Stuart FitzSimons


About the author

About the author Stuart FitzSimons MNIMH has been a medical herbalist for over 25 years, and unusually, during that time his work has involved him in all aspects of herbal medicine. Most herbalists rarely venture from their clinics but Stuart lectured for nearly 10 years, on a part-time basis, for the School of Herbal Medicine (Sussex), taught at training clinics and acted as an examiner for the School and the National Institute of Medical Herbalists, as well as setting up and running clinics in different towns in the UK. Stuart has also formulated products and advised companies in the herbal industry on product placement and promotion.

His interest in “over the counter” herbals led him to set up “Swiss Herbal Remedies Ltd”, a company supplying the highest quality herbal extracts to health food stores and pharmacies. The initial reason for setting up the company was to promote the “Eicosanoil” range of hemp seed oil products, but it soon grew to the point of supplying over 50 herbal products to outlets around the UK and Ireland. In his role as director and product designer/developer he has travelled the length and breadth of the UK and Ireland visiting health stores, training staff in the use of herbal products and advising customers on behalf of stores. This work with “OTC” herbals has also seen him take an active part in the new European legislation surrounding herbal medicines and herbal products. Having left “Swiss Herbal Remedies Ltd” a few years ago, Stuart is now running a clinic at Alliance Therapy, 24 King St, Carmarthen. He is also deeply involved in researching and producing extracts of the medicinal mushrooms such as Reishi, and he is helping a company on work to register a herbal product for OTC sale under the new European regulations. Stuart has also adopted the persona of “Plantasmagorical” and this booklet will be available through his new web site, www.plantasmagorical.com. Stuart is keen to hear from anyone interested in hemp in any way, particularly growers, suppliers, cosmetic and medicinal product manufacturers etc. Otherwise, please just stop by and say hello! Stuart can be contacted by e-mail at stuart@plantasmagorical.com

Alternatively, please call any time on 07802 408146 All Rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the author. The author can accept no liability for the use of any of the materials or methods recommended in this booklet or for any consequences arising out of their use, nor can they be held responsible for any errors or omissions that may be found in text or may occur at a future date as a result of changes in rules, laws or equipment. Always consult your medical practitioner before commencing on a course of treatment. The information in this booklet is not intended to act as an alternative to the advice from a healthcare professional.

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Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil

“ Liquid Engineering for the Human Body” Introduction I now find it quite difficult to believe that it was almost 30 years ago when I first encountered hemp seed oil. Back then, in the early 1980’s, I was a newly qualified herbalist, and I let myself loose on an unsuspecting public with one aim…to get people better…as fast and efficiently as possible! I knew, as every other practitioner of every type of medicine knows, that one therapy can not cure everything, but, herbal medicine could be adapted to be a part of the treatment of just about any medical condition out there, and I was armed and ready with a huge dispensary bursting with all types of herbal extracts, tinctures, capsules, creams, lotions etc. It was not long into my life as a practitioner that I discovered just how perplexing trying to control some conditions can be. To my intense annoyance and frustration the one condition that gave me more grief than any other was eczema/dermatitis, especially the atopic/allergic type so commonly seen in children. As a student of herbal medicine I had learned of and used a list of herbs that have been used to treat eczema that was as long as your arm, and there were hundreds of creams, lotions and potions that could be variously smeared upon the poor patient. Suffice to say, that by the time my first year in practise was over I had tried just about every herb and herbal combination ever imagined, both internally and externally for this annoying condition. Unfortunately, my simple, honest assessment of my work with eczema was that there was absolutely nothing I had done that produced a repeatable, reliable result in any of my eczema patients! I was reminded of the old adage from the medical schools which reminded the more financially minded of medical students that if you wanted to make a lot of money fast, become a private dermatologist! Now I could see the truth of that statement, your patients have to keep coming back, or seeking other treatments and paying out time after time in an effort to gain some relief from their ghastly skin irritation. I reached a point where I decided that I would not take any more eczema patients as I was simply not happy to take a patient’s money without the ability to predict some sort of outcome or guarantee any long-term relief whatsoever. I resolved however that I was not going to let eczema win and I decided to go back to college, so to speak. I decided to research and study every natural ‘thing’ that had ever been used to treat eczema and to examine in exacting detail the underlying mechanism of eczema itself, hoping to find an Achilles' heel or a method of treatment that I had not considered. My studies threw up some interesting avenues of treatment. For example, the now famous although practically forgotten 10 herb Chinese formula for eczema, which definitely was the most effective herbal combination I had used. I also became intensely interested in the balance of factors that exist inside the body that cause inflammation and the opposing factors that tend to suppress inflammation and how this balance can be pushed in one direction or the other using natural substances or even the diet. One of the things that kept cropping up in my research was the effect of the essential fatty acids on inflammatory conditions. There is an awful lot of research work out there on the various fatty acids and because they are found in a wide variety of vegetable and animal oils they represent a ready source of potentially beneficial medicines. Interestingly, plant oils such as evening primrose oil and borage oil were just coming to prominence in the health food world at the time, in the early 80’s, but herbalists such as myself never stocked or used such oils, unless they were part of a cream formula for external use. I decided I was going to test as many different oils as I could lay my hands on. I invested in a special refrigerator and began to buy in as many oils as I could. To cut a long story short, I tested several oils and several oil combinations on eczema patients. I also began experimenting with various oils in skin cream formulations for external applications.

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Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil One of the frustrations in my early experiments was that every oil has different ratios of fatty acids, some have Omega-6, some have Omega-3, some have Omega-9, some will have all three or one or two, some will have none, some will have other interesting fatty acids and any and every combination of these fatty acids is out there somewhere in an oil! The information regarding the relative importance and optimum balance between these fatty acids was also confusing, to say the least. Just to confuse the issue further is that there is also fish oil to consider as a source of Omega-3 fatty acids, but I decided upon the use of vegetable/herbal oils exclusively. It became apparent to me that the use of oils, internally and externally, definitely gave me more reliability in my treatment of eczema, more chance, at the very least, of taking the edge off the patients symptoms, and more chance of gaining some kind of long-term control over the condition. It is important to stress that factors such as the essential fatty acids found in oils are not cures. Eczema and other atopic conditions such as asthma are constitutional. People with them are born with an increased chance of developing these conditions and as such have basically inherited an instability in the part of the immune system that deals with allergy. In these patients this part of the immune system, to draw an analogy, is on a hair trigger, likely to go off and cause the typical inflammation of the conditions such as eczema with far greater ease than in those not suffering such conditions. Once triggered, the inflammation is extremely difficult to get back in check, and it tends to rumble on in the background under its own steam. These people live with the chemicals in the body that cause inflammation out of balance with, and in the ascendancy over, the chemicals in the body that tend to damp down inflammation. This is an extremely simple way to look at this condition, but in a way it is that simple, the pro-inflammatory team versus the anti-inflammatory team. What sufferers can do to help themselves is to get more players on the anti-inflammatory team. Which is where essential fatty acids come in. They are basically converted into natural antiinflammatory chemicals in the body. By using them daily you are encouraging a shift in the balance of inflammatory factors in your favour, so to speak. This word, ‘balance’, is extremely important regarding the things I learned about the activity of the oil and we will come back to the concept of balance again and again. Anyhow, after a while of using the oils on eczema patients I bumped into an old friend who had been at a conference, somewhere in Europe, regarding hemp and its industrial applications. There he had seen a company pressing hemp seed oil, remembered my interest and jotted down, on the back of a match box, an analysis of the fatty acids in hemp seed oil. When we next met he pressed the ragged analysis into my hand and said I may be interested in it! I was indeed interested, but I knew of hemp oil from history, not current commerce. This analysis I had never seen before, it showed a full spectrum of essential fatty acids, Omega-6 and 3, in an interesting ratio, and some other interesting fatty acids to boot. But, there was no appreciable quantity available in the UK at the time. Hemp had been use in the UK for centuries, but its use withered away after the second world war as a result of it being connected to Cannabis. So, I looked around Europe and found a supplier in Switzerland. I ordered a large quantity and made room in my refrigerator! My initial observation on using the oil was that it was definitely the most acceptable in terms of patient tolerance. It tasted better, and this is especially important for long-term use with children of course. Then, to keep it short, slowly but surely this oil took over my fridge, every other oil slowly disappearing as hemp seemed to be the most consistent and reliable in helping my patients. Ironically, I was not all that happy about this situation…I was still paying huge sums to import it from Switzerland! It was the most expensive of the lot. However, I had been talking to British oil pressers and as oils were becoming more commercial in the health food trade so hemp had started to gain attention from the British public. I had managed to get some national newspaper coverage for the oil for example. Other companies began offering hemp oil products and before too long we had a full blown pressing operation here in the UK with abundant supplies and more realistic prices. I was also now determined to work out the reasons why this oil seemed to gain far better results than other oils and oil combinations…and that’s where this booklet comes in.

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Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil One of the most important aspects of my research and experimentation with oils was that I took every chance I had to question both eczema sufferers and other people, even if they were healthy, on their diets. What do people eat? Most people thought I was interested in how many burgers they were eating, or how much junk food they were getting through. That was a good thing because I was really interested in examining how much essential fatty acids were in the diets of the population I was a part of. At the time I was based in South Wales in the UK, ostensibly an area that has connections with seafood and fishing…so maybe plenty of fish oils at least. It did not take long before I realised that the typical diet of the population I was a part of very rarely encountered any essential fatty acids at all! I was horrified, and I recommend you do this yourself with your own diet and your friends and family. Even people who used a lot of fish don’t realise that cooking that fish destroys a major part of the essential fatty acid content. The connection between the health benefits of fish oils and heart health is based in the main on populations of people that eat raw fish, Eskimos for example! So, even people that thought they were getting lots of essential fats were not and the main source of these essential nutrients were in foods that had had them added deliberately as a health benefit. When it came to vegetable oils, the only ones deliberately added to the diet were those such as sunflower and corn oil, invariably used to fry food, often re-used, and consequently also destroyed! This paucity of these essential nutrients in the typical diet was particularly startling to me when applied to children as children need far more essential fatty acids than adults for active growth and they are vital for development of the brain and nervous system. It seemed to me that I had identified a major, serious dietary deficiency in the general population of the UK! Bringing this right up to date in 2013, children's diets, if anything, have deteriorated even further and the situation has worsened! However, I eventually took the oil and the cream I had developed containing it from the clinic into the ‘over the counter’ health food world when I launched the EICOSANOIL range through Swiss Herbal Remedies Ltd. We sold 2 sizes of the pure, organic oil, the skin cream and both a normal capsule and vegi-cap. I believe we may have been the first people to put 1000mg of pure hemp seed oil into a vegi-cap. These products were received really well by the public and whole families took it, some even giving it to their pets! My main concern was always the quality of the oil and for that reason we were the only people to declare the pressing date of the oil on the bottle. I am no longer connected with EICOSANOIL or Swiss Herbal Remedies Ltd and this has allowed me to look at other sources and varieties of oil and hemp seed. In those early days the main source of seed for the oil was China or Russia. Nothing wrong with that, but there are many other varieties of oil that were being developed, the variety called "Finola" is a great example of this. I was always eager to use Finola as it was developed in the colder northern European climes of Finland and it has a higher quantity of polyunsaturates such as GLA as a result. I also hoped that the UK might one day get back to growing enough hemp to provide appreciable quantities of hemp seed oil, but this has not happened, even though some people like to give the impression that they are using British hemp. Over the last 20-30 years or so the hemp growing world-wide has moved on dramatically and Canada has become the leading light in production of oil seed with the Finola variety being amongst the seed they prefer. Now I am glad to say I can avail myself of these other varieties such as Finola, and I now get my oil from the wonderful varieties grown in Canada. The object of this booklet is to educate and inform consumers. I want to take you through the process I launched upon myself in order to explain the effectiveness of this oil. Not only do I want to describe the potential health benefits of the essential fatty acids I also want to help people to understand some of the basic chemistry of fats, oils and essential fatty acids. I want people to understand what terms such as Omega-3 etc., actually means and how the quantities of these elements varies quite dramatically from oil to oil. We will touch upon the important aspects of oil production and storage and we will also step into the mine-field of opinion regarding which sources of essential fatty acids are best, if indeed there is such a thing as best, and I would warn readers

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Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil before proceeding that this is a world full of controversy, conflicting opinions, vested commercial interest and sometimes outright nonsense along with some amazing scientific findings and insights. What's more, another few years years worth of accumulated research and commercialism has to be sifted since I first began my study of oils and essential fats. This is the minefield I leaped into in my attempt to explain what I witnessed when I gave this oil to my patients, why it was that this oil seemed to stand head and shoulders above the rest in my approach to eczema.

Hemp seed: The Historic Perspective The story of hemp is the story of man. In fact, there is so much historic information on the use of hemp, you could fill a library with it! I'm therefore keeping this section brief and hope to make you realise that hemp has been a constant companion for mankind, world-wide, until the modern era that is! There are even places and people in the UK named after the stuff, Hemel Hempstead for example. The number of uses human beings have found for it are also too numerous to list but as examples, the fibre from the stems has been used to produce, plastic, bricks, surf-boards, the first Levi jeans, paper, rope, sails and fibreglass. The seed, apart from the oil, has a protein that contains all the essential amino acids (a complete protein similar to egg, called edestin) and the oil was also used as a lubricant and cosmetic as well as fuelling the first Model T Ford motor cars that were also partially constructed from hemp fibres! As a crop it requires no pesticides and produces the largest amount of biomass of any crop, meaning that it sucks the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, right out of our atmosphere with amazing efficiency and it could easily replace trees in the paper industry. This plant could save the planet by itself‌really! Thought to be of Asian origin, the hemp (Cannabis sativa) plant has spread the world over. In the earliest medical texts we find reference to use of every part of the plant and some anthropologists have suggested that agriculture was developed by mankind in response to the need for a steady supply of useful plants such as hemp. This is yet another example of a plant that controls the course of human history by offering us commodities we simply can not do without!

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Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil An interesting point that emerges from the study of hemp use in the past is that although the Cannabis plant was certainly used for its psychoactive, pain-killing drug, this use was limited and insignificant compared to the use of the seed, the oil and the fibre. This of course reflects the fact that our ancestors were far more urgently occupied with the need for life sustaining foods and medicines rather than recreational drugs. From the Egyptian Ebers papyrus dating from the sixteenth century BC we have information relating to the use of hemp. The Egyptians were adept at pressing oils from seeds and would have been well aware of the benefits of hemp seed oil. In the Indian (Ayurvedic) tradition of medicine hemp seed is held in high esteem. There are many Ayurvedic formulas incorporating hemp seed, and in common with the Chinese system of medicine many of these formulas are said to be rejuvenating and able to delay ageing. Some authors even claim immortality can be achieved by taking hemp seed formulas regularly and for long enough. Whilst immortality may seem a little far-fetched to us, all our forebears were doing was noting the positive and visibly obvious benefits ingestion of hemp seed was having on the people taking it regularly. Little wonder it was marvelled at and held in such high esteem. The Chinese materia medica called The Divine Husbandman’s Classic of the Materia Medica, which is ascribed to the emperor Shen Nong, and dating from around the first century AD, contains in depth information on the cultivation and processing of hemp for its use in fibre production, seed and drug production. Over the centuries the use of hemp seed in the Chinese system of medicine was continued and in the sixteenth century Li Shih-Chen in his materia medica called Pen T`sao Kang Mu, states that hemp seed can be used to; ‘Increase chi, slow ageing, stimulate and enhance the circulation helping to overcome obstructions to blood flow and restore the arteries and veins. It helps treat the paralysis and neurologic impairment due to stroke. Milk flow is increased in nursing mothers and if the hair is washed with the oil its growth accelerates’. We also find reference made to the beneficial effects of hemp seed preparations on painful joints, inflammations, burns and wound healing. From what we now know of the essential fatty acid content of hemp seed oil and how it affects human physiologic activities we can say that the above statement, and the other uses for which hemp seed was employed is based on the beneficial effects of these fatty acids. What’s more, the Chinese are still one of the biggest producers and users of hemp seed oil today. These old texts, amazingly, were correct. In other words, the effects of hemp seed oil are visibly obvious; you don’t need a microscope for this one! It was not just in the Orient that hemp seed was used. The European physicians such as Dioscorides, the Emperor Nero’s private physician, described the multitudinous uses of hemp. He is the man responsible for naming it Cannabis sativa, which basically means ‘useful hemp’. This usefulness being only too obvious to our own King Henry the Eighth who passed a law making it compulsory to plant all spare land with hemp such was its nutritional and commercial importance. Even the United States has had a long love affair with this most valuable plant, both Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were hemp farmers! It is interesting to note that in 1937 The National Institute of Oilseed Products of the United States reported to Congress that; ‘hemp seed is used in all the oriental nations and Russia as food. It is grown and used as oatmeal. Millions of people every day are using hemp seed in the Orient as food. They have been doing this for many generations, especially in times of famine’.

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Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil During the second world war hemp production was undertaken on a massive scale in all countries due to the importance of the oil and fibre in the production of goods required to maintain the war effort. The dual role of hemp seed as food and medicine has given mankind many benefits over the millennia and we will see how the oil in particular with its pivotal role in the formation of every cell membrane in the body is the element responsible for its remarkable rejuvenating properties. The use of the oil resonates perfectly with the words of Hippocrates, the father of western medicine, who also described the benefits of hemp seed;

‘let medicine be your food, let food be your medicine’.

Important information regarding Cannabis and the type of Cannabis from which hemp seed oil is derived Hemp seed oil is derived from the seed of Cannabis sativa. Most people are still only aware of Cannabis as being the source of a psychoactive and illegal drug. Well, the type of Cannabis that yields the oil and the drug are basically the same plant! However, the oil yielding type is government licensed and legal, but the drug yielding plant is not legal and banned. So, how can they be the same plant but different? I like to begin to answer this question by drawing the analogy of the rose. We would be familiar, for example, with damask rose. However, if I told you to go and buy one for me you would get to the store and there realise that there were 10 or more plants labelled as Rosa damascena/damask rose. What’s more they would have different colours, shapes etc. If you knew nothing about plants you might end up scratching your head!

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Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil These differences in plants that are genetically identical and belonging to the same species are actually easy to explain. The differences are the result of years of selected breeding by humans, or sometimes a difference, say in flower colour, may arise spontaneously, and that spontaneous change can then be carried on by plant breeders developing further plants, cuttings etc., from the original plant in which the change occurs. Some genetically identical plants can look different because they grow in habitats with different soil or environmental conditions. A good example of this in relation to Cannabis is that most people would know that in order to produce the drug an awful lot of sunlight is required or as alternative, powerful lighting. On the other hand, the best hemp oil (and fibre) is derived from Cannabis plants grown in cold climates…and I mean cold, Finland/Scandinavia and Russia for example! What this demonstrates is that these plants have an extremely adaptable genetic constitution. We should also remember that the plant has to expend energy to produce these end products, and if it uses its energy in oil and fibre production it will produce very little in the way of the drug and vice versa. So what has happened with Cannabis over the centuries is much the same as has happened with many plants, fruits, vegetables etc. The original great grandmother Cannabis was a plant that produced some of the drug and some of the oil and fibre, and as we have briefly discussed in the previous section, the whole plant would have been used by our ancestors for food, fibre and medicine. As time progressed mankind has manipulated the plant to produce types of Cannabis that produces large quantities of the drug, which is called THC, and which have become illegal, and other types which contain at most only traces of the drug, but large quantities of fibre and oil, and these are the legal types. In fact there is now a catalogue full of the legal fibre and oil producing varieties. It is informative to view some facts and figures at this point. If we were to look at Cannabis of the oil and fibre type left to its own devices, so to speak, to grow naturally without human intervention, then the THC level would be below 1%. Any THC that may be in the plant is found in the upper part of the plant and the flowers as they develop. The seed develops from the flowers, but inside the seed itself and on the seed shell there is never any THC regardless of the type of Cannabis it comes from! However, the seed, before removal from the plant for oil pressing, is contained within the material of the flowering top, and this has to be cleaned and removed before the seed is clean of any possible trace of THC. Fortunately, extracting the clean seed, so to speak, is very simple, and all trace of any part of the plant that may have contained THC is completely removed. This cleaning process has become even more efficient with time. However, if we now look at a high THC yielding type of Cannabis then this could contain anywhere between 1-20% THC. Another thing that has happened with time is that the oil and fibre type Cannabis has been even more selectively bred to achieve even lower levels of THC. A great example of this is the European Union’s legal requirement for hemp which requires that hemp used in the production of fibre and oil be below 0.2% THC. A couple of years ago the standard was set at 0.3%. If you were determined to get high on this type of Cannabis you would have to smoke several acres in under 5 minutes…and it would still not be enough! Another important figure to consider is that we are talking about oil and oral ingestion of a hemp product. It is known that of any quantity of THC taken by mouth about 6-18% would be absorbed and active. Which is not a lot of course. So, let’s go back and start again to define as clearly as we can the likelihood of anyone getting an appreciable dose of THC from legal hemp. First off, there is never any THC in the seed or seed shell regardless of the type of Cannabis used. Second, we can only use a plant that at the maximum contains 0.2% THC. Third, if any miniscule trace of the miniscule 0.2% did happen to get into the oil, by contamination with other flower material for example, then you would only actually absorb 6-18% of that. In summary, if anyone tells you that they got high off hemp seed then you better duck…getting hit by one of those flying pigs could prove fatal!

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Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil Even though I’m beginning to sound flippant the reason I am stressing this issue is that over the years of my connection with hemp seed oil there are two important things that I have witnessed. The first thing is that I have actually had people use oil I have provided, pressed from the legal EU registered hemp seed and then return to me convinced they got high off its use. This, it has to be said is extremely rare, but the individuals themselves were extremely serious in their convictions. At one point I actually got a private second analysis of a batch of oil pressed in the UK, as much for my own peace of mind as anything else. Second, many military personnel and others over the last couple of decades or so have been tested positive for the use of Cannabis/THC on random/routine testing and then blamed it on the use of hemp products such as hemp seed oil. In order to address these issues I will resort to cold, hard science, science that was carried out by people with a vested interest in getting these concerns addressed categorically. If we look at the study of Holler JM et al 2008 we find a US based team of scientists with more than just a passing interest in drug testing and if hemp products such as hemp seed oil can produce positive drug tests. The team in question are working for the “Division of Forensic Toxicology” for the US armed forces and are concerned with screening military personnel for drug use. In the 1990’s there are some controversial studies that appear to show a relationship between hemp product use and positive tests for THC, but the link between the test result and the products is not defined exactly, especially in terms of the person being tested having other exposure to Cannabis of the high THC variety. Holler et al actually name and test 79 commercially available hemp based products for their THC content and if they could produce a positive test for THC on random testing of personnel. They remark that they do indeed find traces (and this means extremely low traces) of THC in some products but that they are much lower than pre 2003 levels, a fact they put down to improved processing and tighter legal regulation such as the reduced EU level recommendations. Their overall conclusion regarding their study is that “modern hemp based products should not be considered as a realistic cause of a positive urine test for THC”. That’s about as authoritative and definite as it gets!

Let’s learn more about fats, lipids and oils. What are fats and oils made up of? Fats found in humans, animals and the oils contained in plants are stored as triglycerides. The triglycerides are found in all areas of the body and are transported in the blood-stream. A triglyceride is one molecule of glycerol with three fatty acids attached to it, like this:

G L Y C E R O L

FATTY ACID

FATTY ACID

FATTY ACID

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Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil

11

As you can imagine these molecules are large, and when the body breaks them down they can produce a lot of energy. This fact, the high-energy value of triglycerides, is exactly why the body stores so many of them around your mid-riff. Humans have evolved to store fat as triglycerides in times of dietary plenty so that the large quantity of energy they provide can be called on during times of dietary hardship. Of course, we in the western world live with constant dietary excess which is why most of us are "expanding" continuously. Human evolution did not take into consideration the fact that one day we would have cake shops on every corner, and so the adaptation to store fat has actually been a life saver for our ancestors and still is today for those living close to starvation. When we, in the world of excess try to fight the flab we are actually trying to reverse tens of thousands of years worth of hard won evolutionary necessity. No wonder it can be so hard to get trim! Incidentally, another word for fat is lipid, so where you see this word don’t be thrown by it, just read fat. Fats though are not just a store of energy they have other general functions in the body such as insulation of the body and cushioning of the organs. They are also important structural elements in every cell membrane, they allow metabolism of certain vitamins such as vitamins A, D, E and K and they insulate and provide important structural elements in our brains and nervous systems. We can see then, that fats are not the enemies we have come to see them as, but an essential basic requirement for our health. The problem is that all fats are not created equal. Some types of fat are viewed as being good for us whereas other fats, particularly in excess, can be harmful. Importantly, all fat is required by the body, it’s really only when the balance between the different kinds of fat is disturbed that some fats begin to behave badly! But how do we tell the difference between potentially good and potentially bad fats? Remember how I said above that the fats and oils are made up of triglycerides. Well, the important difference rests in the type of fatty acids attached to the glycerol molecules. There are many, many different fatty acids found in nature, but regardless of how many there are they can be broadly classified into two categories. 1. Saturated fatty acids 2. Unsaturated fatty acids The fat found in meat, for example, consists of triglycerides containing mainly saturated fatty acids whereas the oil from hemp seed consists mainly of triglycerides containing unsaturated fatty acids. In fact you can usually tell if a fat or oil is composed mainly of saturated or unsaturated fatty acids. Fats and oils with high proportions of unsaturated fatty acids are liquids at room temperature, such as hemp seed oil. Fats and oils with a high proportion of saturated fatty acids are solid at room temperature, lard for example.

So what exactly are fatty acids? Fatty acids are basically long chains of carbon atoms surrounded by hydrogen atoms. The carbon atoms have four bonding sites and in saturated fatty acids each carbon atom is joined to the next carbon by a single bond and every other available bond is with a hydrogen atom, like this;

H

H

H

H

H

C

C

C

C

H

H

H

H

H


Hemp Seed Oil

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Hemp Seed Oil

In unsaturated fatty acids some of the carbons have double bonds between them, like this;

H

H H

C

C

C

C

H

H

H

H

H

If there is one double bond, as in the above example, the fatty acid is referred to as a mono-unsaturated fatty acid, if more than one double bond exists in the molecule it is called a polyunsaturated fatty acid. For example, oleic acid, which is a major constituent of olive oil has one double bond and is therefore a monounsaturated fatty acid. Gamma-linolenic acid, as found in hemp seed oil has three double bonds and is referred to as a polyunsaturated fatty acid. We are all aware nowadays that excess of saturated fatty acids such as those found in animal fats and dairy produce are potentially detrimental to health whilst the unsaturated fatty acids are beneficial to health. This small molecular difference could make a vast difference to our health. Fatty acids then are long chains of carbon atoms (being 14-24 carbon atoms long) and a second defining feature is that they have a methyl group (CH3) at one end of the carbon chain and a carboxyl group (CO2H, the acidic/fatty acid bit) at the other end, like this:

CH3(CH2)4CH=CHCH2CH=CH(CH2)7CO2H methyl end

carboxyl end

A double bond in the carbon chain introduces a `bend`. This bend affects something called the stereochemistry of the molecule. Stereochemistry refers to the way the molecule is orientated about the double bond. There are two basic variations, the "cis" arrangement or the "trans" arrangement. In virtually all cases the stereochemistry of the double bond in fatty acids found in nature is cis. This cis arrangement helps maintain the fluidity of the oil and is the most acceptable molecular configuration for the body and our digestive system. A fatty acid with a cis arrangement would look like this (please note, I have not shown the carboxyl groups in these simple diagrams):

H

H H

C

C

C

C

H

H

H

H

H

The same fatty acid twisted around the double bond gives you the trans form, like this:


Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil H H

C

C

H

H

13

H

H

C

C

H

H

This is a simplistic example, but that really is all there is to it. The proportion of polyunsaturated fatty acids produced by a plant is also affected by climate. The colder the climate the higher the proportion of polyunsaturates. This enables the plant to maintain fluidity of the plants storage oils and membranes, as oils with high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids, as we said earlier, tend to be liquids while saturated fatty acids tend to be solid. I suppose you could say that polyunsaturated fatty acids act like a sort of plant oil ‘anti-freeze’! When processed, as in the production of margarine etc., the fatty acids lose the normal ‘cis` configuration and become ‘trans`. In this trans form they behave like saturated fats and are thought to contribute to heart disease (although they may well be worse than saturated fats in this respect), lowered immune responsiveness, altered insulin sensitivity and several other disease states (Salter AM 2013; Borkman M 1993). The trans form fatty acids also compete with cis-forms and so inhibit their metabolism. People in the western world are thought to ingest on average 6-12g of trans fatty acids daily. They have found their way into all manner of prepared foods. Some countries such as Switzerland have now banned the use of trans fats totally. The trans fats were first popularised at the start of the 1900’s and heralded the “margarine” age! By partially hydrogenating (meaning that you add hydrogen atoms to the fatty acid chain) a liquid oil such as soya oil you end up with a fat that is semi-solid rather than the original liquid. This makes them perfect for applications such as margarines, spreads and shortening for cakes, pastries etc., but it also makes them behave negatively in terms of their effect on the body. Such partially hydrogenated oil food products have often been labelled as a natural alternative as they are indeed derived from a natural oil, but what they actually are is a group of man made products that the body has never before encountered and is therefore not able to digest, metabolise or handle very well. You should always avoid products that have “partially hydrogenated vegetable oils” on the ingredient list, full stop! Another important lesson to be learned about fatty acids is that when unsaturated fats are used in cooking, i.e. heated up, they become saturated, i.e. lose their double bonds, and therefore lose their beneficial qualities. This process of causing the saturation of a fatty acid is also called "hardening". So it is important that all the high quality unsaturated oils should be used cold and raw, as it were.

Fatty acid nomenclature Often, when reading about fatty acids, a great deal of confusion arises over the nomenclature and abbreviations applied to them, so let's try to clear this up right now. As we know, the fatty acid is a long chain of carbon atoms, a methyl group at one end and a carboxyl group at the other end. The carbon atoms are numbered in one of two ways, either from the methyl end or from the carboxyl end. Chemists usually number the carbons starting from the first carbon at the carboxyl end of the fatty acid. However, herbalists and those interested in the nutritional value of fatty acids tend to number the carbon atoms from the methyl end. When a fatty acid is converted into a prostaglandin/eicosanoid (see later) it is elongated from the carboxyl end, or in other words the carboxyl end is changed which is why some of us don’t use this end to number the carbons.


Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil

For example - If we look at linoleic acid.

CH3(CH2)4CH=CHCH2CH=CH(CH2)7CO2H methyl end carboxyl end Chemists terminology In chemists terms (numbering from the carboxyl end) linoleic acid is represented thus; 18:2 (9c, 12c). This means linoleic acid has 18 carbons in its chain, 2 double bonds, the double bonds are at carbon atoms 9 and 12 and the stereochemistry of the double bonds is cis.

Herbalists terminology In our terms, linoleic acid is represented thus; 18:2, w6. This means linoleic acid has 18 carbon atoms in its chain, 2 double bonds and the first double bond occurs at the sixth carbon atom from the methyl end (also known as the w, Omega end). Linoleic acid is subsequently referred to as an Omega-6 fatty acid. Fatty acids with the first double bond occurring at the third and ninth double bond from the methyl end are referred to as Omega-3 and Omega-9 fatty acids respectively. The w is sometimes written as n-9, n-3 etc.

What are the "essential" fatty acids? Because there is such an array of fatty acids the human body has evolved the ability to make some fatty acids out of others. This means that there are some fatty acids the body does not need on a daily basis, and they are therefore non-essential. However, there are two fatty acids the body cannot make from anything else and it has to have a daily supply of them from the diet. These essential fatty acids are; 1. Linoleic acid 2. Alpha-linolenic acid The body cannot manufacture them because mammals cannot introduce a double bond beyond carbon atom 9 (counting from the carboxyl end) and they must therefore be obtained from the diet. Or, in other words, the important chemicals made from linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid cannot be made by the body from anything else and therefore linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid have to be derived from the diet for normal good health to be maintained. Nutritionists generally agree nowadays that we need essential fatty acids daily in the correct balance. Yes, it’s that word balance again, but what constitutes the balance is highly controversial. Right now though, I want to enter this controversy by recalling what I said earlier about people in the UK not actually getting any appreciable amount of essential fatty acids at all. Therefore, my opening gambit on this controversial question is, forget balance, if we are not actually getting that many, just get any you can. I don’t care where you get them from, hemp oil, flax, oil, olive oil, rape oil, fish oil…just get them. We also have to accept that most people would never give the time to consider the balance of essential fatty acids in their diets, so even if it simply came down to taking a spoonful of flax oil, hemp, oil, or a fish oil capsule daily on top of a poor diet…do it! However, I will put my neck on the line and state that I, as do many others, consider the balance of the essential fatty acids in hemp oil, i.e., 3, linoleic acid to 1, alpha-linolenic acid, to be as close to a natural balance as possible. One of my main reasons for believing this is the fact that in nature, or if we were transferred back to a time when mankind lived more naturally, then we would only be able to take the fatty acids that were available in our immediate environment. We could only eat what we could catch or what grew on the trees around us.

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Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil Here in the UK for example we are surrounded by vegetation, and there would have been much more thousands of years ago. We also have plenty of wild animals that we would have hunted for food. However, it does appear that our primitive diet would have contained far more vegetable material than meat. In the vegetable kingdom Omega-6 is far more abundant than Omega-3. There is Omega-3 in various vegetables, seeds and meats, but it is far more scarce a commodity than Omega-6. There would be exceptions of course, such as would be found in communities with access to fish and the greater amount of specific Omega-3 fatty acids in seafood. There is a school of thought that says all humans evolved from people that lived around lakes and so humans have evolved an inefficient or lazy mechanism for converting alpha-linolenic acid (from plant oils) to its important down line metabolites EPA and DHA (only found in meat/fish, and the reason why fish oils are so heavily promoted today). Because we always had EPA and DHA in early human evolution, the argument goes, our genes and enzymes got lazy, assuming they would always be there! I like to extrapolate on points like this, so before going any further, there is a suggestion in this kind of evolutionary study that all humans have evolved to eat fish. A particularly worrying concept I believe for people such as the American Indians who ended up living on the land-locked great plains of the USA or other people in land locked communities, or deserts even! EPA and DHA (eicosapentanoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid), as we will see later, are at the end of the essential fatty acid metabolism chain. In other words, when you take alpha-linolenic acid it gets converted in a stepwise process into EPA and DHA. These 2 fatty acids have caused a huge stir in the fatty acid world over the last few years as DHA in particular is essential for the growth of the brain, nervous system and retina of the eye particularly in a developing embryo and a young growing child. One of the problems with this knowledge, if it is a problem at all, is that it is also known that alpha-linolenic acid is converted quite happily to EPA but only very poorly to DHA, and so it has been suggested that we all need fish oils, and maybe just fish oils, why bother with alphalinolenic acid, the middle-man, at all? This is an extremely important issue that haunted my own use of hemp seed oil and my observations of its efficacy, and we shall return to this point later. However, I still believe our ancestors must have had a balance of essential fatty acids that was skewed in the direction of Omega-6, and 3:1 is not too far away from what you might reasonably expect to encounter in natural circumstances. If we were looking at 5:1 or upwards I would probably have never adopted the opinion I came to hold on this subject. A lot of nutritionists etc., suggest a 1:1 balance may have been what our primitive ancestors obtained, but I find this “perfect� ratio a little impossible to believe. There is enough evidence to suggest that our European ancestors also used large quantities of seed such as hemp and flax/linseed in daily nutrition. Seeds are useful because they will survive without spoiling over winter after harvesting, they are foods with a naturally long shelf life, and thus provide a ready nutrient source during harsh winters. For example Culikova V 2000 studied the medieval diet of Czech countries. They discovered food waste pits that contained not only flax/linseed and other seeds but hemp seed also! I like the Czech angle because those countries are land locked, far from the sea. Yes, they have lakes etc, but they would not be living in a sea-food rich environment. Another factor that should be mentioned at this point, to give all angles on this ratio question, is that because of the preponderance in the commercial western world of the use of sunflower, safflower, soya and corn oils, then if we took high users of these oils we may actually find a massively skewed ratio in terms of an overwhelming preponderance of Omega-6. This type of diet could possibly take ratios to 10:1 or even more in favour of Omega-6. I myself, as a child, rarely saw any other oil apart from sunflower or corn oil. Even here though the question would actually be how much of the Omega-6 essential fatty acids were left after use because they were oils that were generally used for cooking and often re-used. Heating, as we have said destroys the essential fatty acids. Nowadays there is a suggestion that a diet high in Omega-6, or a diet unbalanced in terms of essential fatty acids in the direction of Omega-6, actually promotes inflammation in the body and

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Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil also that it limits the conversion of alpha-linolenic acid to the important chemicals EPA and DHA, and these are extremely important points we will return to later.

Why do we need the fatty acids? For many years in the study of nutrition it was thought that growth and development of the human body relied almost exclusively upon the quantity of protein in the diet. Whilst protein is essential of course, in the early 1980`s it was suggested by researchers that fats and particularly the essential fatty acids (linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid) may well be just as important to human growth and development. In fact, it appeared that they were more important than protein, particularly during foetal development and early childhood. Nutritionists recommend that we should get 30% of our daily calories from fat. Of this fat 70-80% should be in the form of unsaturated fats. In other words, the fat we eat should consist mainly of unsaturated fats. The daily requirement for the essential fatty acids is about 3 per cent of dietary calories (2% for linoleic acid and 1% for alpha-linolenic acid) for adults and a little more for children and pregnant women. These figures will not mean much in real terms right now, but we’ll return to real world dosage recommendations later. A further controversial fact has to be mentioned here, and that is that the daily required amounts are not exact and clearly defined and are based more on the idea of "adequate daily intake" rather than clearly defined absolute minimum quantity needed by the body. As research has continued on the essential fatty acids it has been revealed just how “essential” these fatty acids are, and we can summarise the reasons why they are so essential under the following headings.

The cell membrane Every cell in the body has a membrane or a wall around it consisting of two layers that are composed of phospholipids. Lipid is another word for fat and the essential fatty acids are the type of fats found incorporated into the structure of the cell membrane phospholipids. Apart from anything else, the essential fatty acids maintain fluidity of the membranes. So, essential fatty acids are important in the integrity of every cell in the body. They are like the cement holding together the “bricks” that we are built of. The essential fatty acids contained in the triglycerides found in the membranes will change quite rapidly depending on the diet. If, for example, you begin taking hemp seed oil, or fish oils, then the Omega-3 fatty acids show up there within the first week. So it is important to realise we are talking about every cell in your body here, and that by using oils you can adjust the levels rapidly and effectively. This rapid change in membrane fatty acids, I believe, may account for an important observation I made in my own use of hemp seed oil in eczema patients. I was sometimes startled by the speed of the response that some patients had to the introduction of the oil into their daily regimen. Most of those who respond well to the oil, do so in the first 2 weeks of taking it. It was later that I read about scientists actually measuring how quickly the fatty acids took to show up in the cell membranes when a person starts taking them, and my own experience reflected the research findings (more later)! To add to this observation was the fact that I was absolutely bowled over in some instances in which people literally called me 24 hours after commencing a course hemp seed oil. This is only my opinion, but I believe those people that responded almost instantly may well have been people with actual full-blown essential fatty acid deficiency. I have no proof of this but my observations of these people led me to this conclusion. The cell membrane however is more than just a wall around a cell holding everything in. If you look at the cell membrane under the microscope you will see that it is not just a smooth layer of lipids

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Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil but looks more like a forest with molecules projecting from the surface like trees. These tree like projections are molecules designed for specific tasks, and being on the outer surface of the cell are bathed in the fluids of the body. Some of these projecting molecules are receptor sites for hormones or nervous impulses that once picked up then influence the functions of the cell. Some of these surface molecules are involved in signalling to the cells of the immune system when an infection or inflammation is occurring (see more later when we discuss arachidonic acid). In this way the cell membrane is like a fluid, constantly changing, sensory surface, permanently in touch with the body fluids, able to take what it needs to grow and develop and capable of adapting to changes in the internal environment of the body, with fatty acids being important contact points for modulating activity of the cell. A good example of when these surface molecules in the cell membrane become defective is when cells become cancerous. Abnormalities develop in the molecular structure on the surface of the cancer cell membrane leading it to act differently to normal cells. It is thought that these molecular abnormalities may be one of the reasons why cancer cells do not stay together, as cells in a normal tissue do, and why they spread to different parts of the body. Taking adequate quantities of essential fatty acids in the diet has been associated with protection from cancer and when you think how important essential fatty acids are to the structural integrity of the cell membrane this fact should come as no surprise. As cells go through their life cycle of growth, division and death continuously from the time we are conceived to the time we die a steady supply of essential fatty acids is required and if we fall short in the supply then we literally risk falling apart cell by cell! Remember also, if we go back to the example of eczema, that skin is a high turnover area with cells being made, living and dying relatively quickly. In inflammatory conditions of the skin this life-cycle may be speeded up and become disorganised. It becomes essential therefore that in these disease states the body actually has plenty of the raw materials required to be turning out healthy, new cells.

Baby and child development One of the most important findings in recent times is that as a baby develops in the womb and for the first year after birth the Omega-3 fatty acid DHA which is made in the body from alpha-linolenic acid accumulates in the brain between the 26th and 40th weeks of pregnancy. In fact, this is one instance where fatty acids may well prove to be more important to growth than protein. The human brain develops during pregnancy and the first two years after birth, so the mother’s dietary intake of a balanced ratio of essential fatty acids and feeding of the child in the first two years is of critical importance to the intellectual and behavioural development of the child. The omega-3 fatty acid DHA is concentrated in breast milk and the mothers production of DHA from alpha-linolenic acid is known to increase when she is pregnant and breast feeding.

Maintenance of a stable and healthy internal environment through life Apart from the pivotal role in the growth and function of all cells the essential fatty acids have gained added importance from the discovery that they are converted by the body into substances called eicosanoids. The words eicosanoid and prostaglandin are often used inter-changeably. The word eicosanoid usually refers to three types of chemical: 1. Prostaglandins (abbreviated PG) 2. Thromboxanes (abbreviated TX) 3. Leukotrienes (abbreviated LT)

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Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil There are many different types of each one. In other words, many different prostaglandins, many thromboxanes etc. There are also one or two other classes of eicosanoid but the above are the main groups encountered in most discussions. Eicosanoids are short lived, hormone like chemicals, found throughout the body, that influence many important functions of the body including; • • • • • • • • • •

Blood pressure control White blood cell function and the immune response Regulation of inflammation Wound healing Regulation of the menstrual cycle Stomach acid production Blood clotting The sexual response Pregnancy and childbirth Control of the muscles in the heart, gut and airways of the lungs

Eicosanoids tend to work only in the area they are produced and because of their wide-spread activity are produced and used continuously by the body, again showing how crucial a steady dietary intake of essential fatty acids is.

What happens if we become deficient in the essential fatty acids? Deficiency of alpha-linolenic acid is associated with the following problems: • Growth retardation, particularly in children. • Impaired vision. • Intellectual impairment and muscular inco-ordination. • Behavioural disturbances. • Poor wound healing. • Increased blood fats and high blood pressure. • Susceptibility to joint inflammation. • Pre-disposition to allergic conditions such as eczema and asthma. • Lowered immunity. Deficiency of linoleic acid is associated with these problems: • Dry, eczema like skin condition. • Hair loss. • Susceptibility to infections. • Menstrual disturbances. • Male sterility. • Increased chance of miscarriage. • Kidney problems. • Heart and circulatory problems.

Why the modern western diet fails to provide a balance of essential fatty acids. The reason why we need to supplement our diets with hemp seed oil. When the average western diet is analysed some interesting points arise. The essential fatty acid linoleic acid (Omega-6) is found in a wide variety of plant seed oils that are used in food preparation. It is found in corn oil, olive oil, rape seed oil (commonly known in the U.K. as vegetable oil, or canola oil in the U.S.A.), sesame seed oil, sunflower seed oil and soya oil.

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Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil Alpha-linolenic acid however is not so common in nature, being found in small quantities in green leafy plants. Hemp seed oil provides adequate amounts of this essential fatty acid, in balance with linoleic acid. So in other words it is easy to get linoleic acid (Omega-6 fatty acids) in the diet but not so easy to obtain alpha-linolenic acid (Omega-3 fatty acids). History shows that alpha-linolenic acid was first identified by workers including Burr, Hazura, Montash, Grissner and others in 1887 when they were working on the oils derived from linseed, hemp and walnut. The name Linolenic is taken from linseed (and its Latin name, Linum) of course. It is only in the last 20 years though that the importance of this Omega-3 fatty acid has been realised. Adding to the difficulty in obtaining essential fatty acids is the fact that modern farming methods lead to the production of food with even less Omega-3 fatty acids. Wild plants are good sources of Omega-3 fatty acids whilst cultivated plants are extremely low in these essential fatty acids. Interestingly, the fat contained in red meat derived from farmed animals contains little or no Omega-3 fatty acids due to the fact the animals have been fed on grain very high in Omega-6 fatty acids (e.g. corn) and low in Omega-3 fatty acids. The fat of free range animals that forage on wild plants high in Omega-3 fatty acids can contain up to four percent Omega-3 fatty acids whilst the overall fat content of the animals is much lower than that of their domestic cousins. Another interesting example of a dietary essential fatty acid oddity can be found in free-range eggs. Free-range chickens forage freely, naturally ingesting sources of Omega-3 fatty acids. The battery chicken however is fed a diet high in grains like corn containing high amounts of Omega-6 fatty acids. These are then passed on through the food chain to us. These eggs of course, end up deficient in Omega-3 fatty acids. It is important to remember that mankind evolved in a world where we used to eat wild plants, wild animals and fish from the rivers and sea. These food sources provided us with the naturally higher levels of Omega-3 fatty acids that modern, intensive farming robs us of. Modern life is depriving us of our essential Omega-3fatty acids. I have encountered patients, particularly children, in my own clinical work who have biochemical tests done by their doctors revealing deficiencies in essential fatty acids. At this point I just want to throw in another of the controversial statements I have encountered in my expedition through the essential fatty acid world. It is quite common to hear nutritionists, doctors and others actually saying today that we should stop taking Omega-6 oils totally as nowadays we have developed this bias towards Omega-6 oils which has overwhelmed our bodies with the Omega-6 fatty acids in relation to the Omega-3 fatty acids. Whilst, given the facts I have summarised above about the oils we use and the lack of Omega-3 etc, I still have to go back to the real world of asking people what they eat. When you do, as I said earlier, you will find very little in peoples diets even when they think they may be getting plenty. So, this opinion regarding Omega-6, I believe to be a type of knee jerk reaction to statistics rather than real world situations and we still are left with the important fact that we need Omega-6, it's essential! We just need to be more balanced. As we will see later high Omega-6 levels in the modern world and the lack of Omega-3 is suggested by some as a possible cause for some of the common diseases we suffer today. Even this theory though, as we will see later, has some serious flaws in it! In the body alpha-linolenic acid is converted into eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and they are then the direct precursors of the beneficial series-3 eicosanoids (see later). This connection between alpha-linolenic acid, EPA, DHA and the production of the eicosanoids of series 3 was first made by researchers such as Ralph Holman who was responsible for coining the term Omega-3 and spent his whole life (from the 1940's to the 1990's) in fatty acid research. He'll have the last word in this booklet! Following these early discoveries intense work began, until in 1985 the connection between series 3 eicosanoids and the protection they offer against heart disease was officially recognised. During 1985, for example, there was a series of papers that appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine. They showed how people with a diet high in Omega-3 fatty acids were protected from heart disease because they were able to make lots of

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Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil series 3 eicosanoids which lower blood pressure, reduce blood clotting and control the bad blood fats such as cholesterol. Researchers showed that feeding test subjects high levels of alpha-linolenic acid daily resulted in dramatic increases of levels of EPA & DHA in the blood (Mest, Beitz, Heinroth, Block & Forester 1983). Subsequently it was found that an increase in the bodies stores of alphalinolenic acid only had to increase by 1% to produce a decrease in blood pressure of 5mm/Hg (Berry & Hirsch 1986). A long term study, carried out over a year, of French farming families, by Renaud & Nordoy in 1983, showed that replacing saturated fats in the diet with fat sources rich in the essential fatty acids led to moderate increases in the EPA levels in the subjects blood. What is most significant about this result is that these modest raises in the blood levels of EPA led to marked changes in blood clotting and platelet stickiness. Clotting time was increased and platelets became much less sticky, it is worth quoting the authors: "Alpha-linolenic acid is elongated and desaturated to EPA in humans. This may indicate that minor changes in tissue fatty acid composition in humans may be most significant in the context of thrombosis prevention". Remember that idea of tiny quantities of fatty acids effecting large changes, we'll return to it, it's important! It was back in 1929 that researchers first produced animals with essential fatty acid deficiencies, by feeding them a fat free diet. What they discovered was that feeding the animals linoleic acid only, cured the skin problems that these animals had developed as a result of deficiency but their growth was still stunted. Feeding the animals only alpha-linolenic acid resulted in the animals resuming normal growth. This effect alpha-linolenic acid has on growth was followed up eagerly, particular attention being given to its role in the growth of the brain and nervous system. Walker & Wheeler, two early researchers, produced alpha-linolenic acid deficiency in rats. This led to lower levels of DHA in the brains of their offspring, and in the researchers own words: "Evidence was obtained for a lower proficiency in a simple discrimination learning task and possibly reduction in exploratory activity in these animals". In 1986 the researchers Neuringer, Connor, Lin, Barstad & Luck produced alpha-linolenic acid deficiency in rhesus monkeys and tested the effects this deficiency had on the retina and brain. These monkeys were all found to have abnormalities in the development of the brain and retina and the researchers concluded: "The fatty acid composition of the cerebral cortex described here for control new-born and juvenile rhesus monkeys are very similar to those reported for human new-borns and adolescents respectively. However, the brain and retina of human infants are less developed at birth than those of rhesus monkeys, so that human infants might be even more vulnerable to post-natal dietary deprivation of Omega-3 fatty acids". Stark warning indeed! Human studies following these animal models have showed that there is an increased birth weight and a longer pregnancy when the expectant mother takes adequate amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids. In other words these fatty acids help to prevent pre-maturity and ensure a healthy, strong baby. It should go without saying, but just in case. Human milk has all the fatty acids required for the baby in the right amounts, do not rely on bottle formula to replace something God provides free of charge! There are in fact studies to show that breast-fed babies have a lower incidence of learning difficulties than bottle fed counterparts.

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Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil It was also shown that high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids in the diet helped reduce the inflammatory response in the body by allowing the body to form anti-inflammatory eicosanoids, and were useful adjuncts in the treatment of conditions such as; • • •

Rheumatoid arthritis Psoriasis Colitis

On top of this, the role of Omega-3 fatty acids in the prevention of cancer came to be realised. EPA and DHA are also found in fish oils, but again modern man is not getting the benefit. This is because the best sources are Pacific herring, King Mackerel, Chinook salmon and sea mammals such as whales and seals, all of which are pretty scarce in our diet. Also, our most popular fish, cod, is low in Omega-3 fatty acids and our farmed salmon is high in Omega-6 fatty acids because they are fed grain high in Omega-6 fatty acids. Again, farming and mass production is leading to a deficiency of Omega-3 fatty acids in the food chain. An important point to remember is that if we do eat more Omega-6 fatty acids this tends to bias our metabolism toward them, further decreasing our absorption of the essential Omega-3 fatty acids. Refer to diagram. 1 and you will see that the same enzyme, delta-6 desaturase is responsible for metabolising both linoleic and alpha-linolenic acids. Importantly, delta-6-desaturase is required for more than one step in the conversion process, and it can only deal with so much at once. Too much of one fatty acid relative to the other tends to bias this enzyme towards that one, impeding metabolism of the other. It is thought that it takes about two years to re-balance levels of EPA and DHA when you start increasing your intake of alpha-linolenic acid. People with life-long consumption of alpha-linolenic acid have adequate and balanced levels of EPA and DHA. So what this means is that you must try to get supplies of Omega-3 fatty acids in your diet, daily, for life (preferably starting when you are a foetus...seriously). What easier way than hemp seed oil? Putting all the dietary factors above together it is not difficult to see why it is now thought that most people in the western world are deficient in Omega-3 fatty acids (if not Omega-6 too) and why we should all top up our levels with hemp seed oil. Before going on I have to point out some more of the controversy surrounding what I have written so far. It all seems very simple really, taking alpha-linolenic acid which then leads to higher DHA and EPA levels in the body. These pathways were first defined by Ralph Holman in the 1950's. So, whilst this has been known for a long time, if we look at the work of Burdge GC et al 2005 for example, they make some interesting observations about this process. They found that alpha-linolenic acid converts relatively well to EPA but not very well to DHA. So, it would seem that the conversion to DHA is extremely limited at best. The same team further observe that women convert more than men and especially when pregnant (Burdge GC et al 2002 a). What's more they compare this conversion to the situation in men and find that men experience far less conversion of alphalinolenic acid to DHA (Burdge GC et al 2002 b). The simple fact of this poor conversion rate is responsible for spawning a whole plethora of fish oil products and fish oil advertising. After all, if DHA and EPA are so important, and they are, why not ensure your supply by going straight to fish oil and by-passing the apparently inefficient conversion of alpha-linolenic acid from vegetable oils such as hemp. The implication is that vegetable oils and the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid are not good enough, they simply will not do to cover our health needs and people quote the fact that our ancestors evolved on fish...maybe. I bet you already forgot about tiny quantities of fatty acids effecting large changes...didn't you? If you just stand back though and look at the facts. If our bodies and metabolisms have evolved to need solely DHA and EPA why bother with alpha-linolenic acid at all...it is still essential...our bodies

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Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil still need it. Why did we not evolve that out? It has also been shown, as we have seen above, to have plenty of health benefits by itself. It simply does not make sense that we have evolved to be fish dependent! Even quite recently researchers have looked into the question of if there are effective substitutes for fish oils. Lenihan-Geels G et al 2013 reviewed the available evidence and even looked at feeding fish diets rich in either alpha-linolenic acid or DHA etc to deliberately see how much EPA and DHA was found in their meat after such specific diets. An interesting question that you have to ask here, just as a note to self, why is there such an obsession with maximising everything? They were also interested in looking at stearidonic acid (which is produced from alphalinolenic acid as it is converted to EPA/DHA, see below) to see if it was more efficient at converting to EPA and DHA than alpha-linolenic acid itself. What they found is basically what was already know, and that is that alpha-linolenic acid and stearidonic acid convert to EPA relatively well but very little DHA is produced. Ok, so now we have to ask the obvious question next. If EPA and DHA are required in large daily quantities and can only be obtained from fish, then what on Earth do people who do not eat fish or any other meat do to obtain their EPA and DHA? Surely, if fish is a default food for humans then vegans and vegetarians should be dropping like flies all around us. It is also worth remembering that whole populations of people in certain countries are vegetarian, and have been for generations. The truth is of course that vegans and vegetarians do not generally suffer EPA/DHA deficiency diseases or show any signs of essential fatty acid deficiency across the board, so to speak. I am assuming here that the people in question actually do take care to eat good food to ensure they cover their nutrient requirements, but then that goes for meat eaters too, who may well be just as deficient in essential fatty acids as anyone. Right, so let's go back where we started. We can actually convert alpha-linolenic acid to EPA and DHA. We've known that for years. We do it, forget quantity, we do it, full stop. It has also been shown that people at different stages of life do it at different rates, pregnant women are more efficient for example. So, it appears the conversion mechanism does work in people and it can vary, probably depending on need. Vegans and vegetarians go some way towards proving this point. They may not have as much in their bodies as Eskimos, but they have what the body converts for them. Also they have less by way of heart and cardiovascular disease than the general population! It seems obvious also that it is perfectly normal that the conversion process leads to small quantities. What's the problem with that, if that's the way it is? Even if you go down the evolution path, claiming humans evolved needing fish, you'd need to suck a lake dry to achieve the levels possible from fish oil supplementation! Ok, I may exaggerate a tad but if we never needed that much why are we cramming ourselves full of the stuff now? Personally, I prefer to trust that my body, when given the appropriate raw materials, i.e. good food, water etc., will actually make just what it needs. Why is the fact that the small quantity of DHA and EPA produced from alpha-linolenic acid is such a problem? IT'S NORMAL, it's what we do, it's in the blue-print, genetic even! The funniest extrapolation of all of course, is that not only may our early ancestors have evolved in a fish rich environment, but go back even further in evolution, and we were fish evolving into people. Which may explain how we came to have the enzymes to do these conversions in the first place! One of the factors we have to bring back into this equation is the fact that the enzymes that promote the inter-conversions of the essential fatty acids can be overwhelmed by one type of fatty acid or another. If we do take too much Omega-6 for example then we run the risk of making even less EPA and DHA out of alpha-linolenic acid as the enzyme systems are busy dealing with the Omega-6. Is there any hard science to give an idea of what the best ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 is in order to optimise EPA/DHA production? To answer this we can take the study of Indu M 1992. One of the observations made by this team was that as linoleic acid levels rose so the conversion of alpha-linolenic acid to EPA/DHA decreased due to competition for delta-6-desaturase which is the enzyme responsible for converting both linoleic acid and alpha-linoleic acid to their down-line products (see below). Most interestingly, the researchers carrying out this trial were, as we are now,

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Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil interested in finding the optimal ratio between linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid for optimising EPA/DHA production. They conclude that a ratio of about 4 linoleic acid to 1 alpha-linolenic acid was the best. This ratio drops us right back into the hemp seed oil ball park of course and once again demonstrates that balance is the important factor. Taking this work a little further and bringing it more up to date we have the work of Gibson RA et al 2011. They conduct a review of all the information available (and there's a lot of it) on this question of optimal balance between linoleic and alpha-linolenic acids and come up with the suggestion that a ratio of 2:1 between linoleic and alpha-linoleic is good. It's looking even better for hemp now, averaging out between these two studies like a nutritional slide-rule! An interesting point raised by Gibson et al is that if we look at the diets of populations such as the one I was born into in South Wales in the UK (I was born in the early 1960's) then we are back just before margarine and other vegetable oil products were first popularly marketed. During the 1960's-1970's the major types of fat people would have eaten would have been saturated animal fats from meat, lard and butter. I myself remember as a child that vegetable oils were practically non-existent and dripping (pure animal fat) was still a regular delicacy! Now, we have to remember that a major part of the marketing for vegetable oil products such as the various margarines revolved around telling us that, lard, animal fats, butter, dairy fats etc., were really bad for us, and probably killing us. I think it's true to say that you will not need a government specialist, doctor, scientist or other extremely qualified person to tell you that nowadays, regardless of all the healthy vegetable oil options (not to mention all the fish oil supplements) apparently available today, we all still die of heart disease, and maybe in greater numbers than we did in any era pre-dating the margarine/vegetable oil era! I know I am not being very scientific here with any statistical analysis, but we actually know that the heart disease situation nowadays is not just large, but probably running rampant! The important point I want to raise here regarding this issue is that, as we have already stated several times, we have been told by science (and Omega-3/fish oil marketers) if you take too much Omega-6 as in the vegetable oils it actually hinders the conversion of EPA/DHA from alpha-linolenic acid (Omega-3). What we also know is that eating saturated fats such as lard, butter etc., DOES NOT affect this conversion. So our grandparents and great-parents and so on further back would have nothing interfering with their EPA/DHA levels. So even though saturated fats such as lard etc., are normally demonised nowadays, in the pre-margarine era the potential downside of the saturates may have been balanced by the fact any EPA/DHA which our forebears had was free to counterbalance this problem unhindered! If I now go even further with this then I recall the theory that says we evolved to eat fish. Seems to me there is an argument here which says we have also evolved to eat, butter, lard etc., and we do have all the enzymes required for their efficient digestion, not to mention they are all natural products of course. The Gibson review even goes as far as to say maybe Omega-6 oils should be exchanged for Omega-9 oils such as olive oil as Omega9 does not affect the functioning of delta-6-desaturase or EPA/DHA conversion rates either. Hemp seed oil also contains Omega-9 by the way! Highlighting these issues is crucial because it demonstrates how a little isolated science or little commercial interest can drag us around by the nose and end up with us wondering where the wood is amongst those trees. Well, the basic fact that constantly emerges from these apparently contradictory bits of information is that a BALANCE of the essential fatty acids is the important factor. What I believe is happening with the fish oil frenzy is that we are reacting in a typical modern fashion to a long-term problem that is extremely difficult to fix. The problem is that over the last few decades the average western diet has deteriorated to such a point that most of the chronic diseases we suffer and the diseases we die from such as heart disease are directly related to our diet, which is related to commerce, which is related to agriculture and so on! We are not able to fix our dietary habits and food production methods over-night and so we use substances such as fish oil in order to mask the effects of long-term abuse. We are in short using it like a drug whilst we do nothing to address underlying causes. I have no problem with fish oil other than the way it has been exploited commercially to try to mask the results of decades of poor dietary habits. Sadly, the fish

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oil industry contributes to endangering species of fish and so one problem is fixed by causing another one in typical western world quick-fix style. Nearly every modern scientific review on the oils remarks on the un-sustainability of the fish oil industry long-term. Using hemp seed oil on the other hand, causes no other problems but potentially fixes several others in the process of cultivating it!

How the essential fatty acids are converted into the eicosanoids. Diagram 1, below, shows basically how the essential fatty acids, linoleic and alpha-linolenic acids, have their carbon chains lengthened in a series of enzymatically mediated reactions leading to the production of the eicosanoids.

Diagram 1 : Simplified diagram showing conversion of essential fatty acids to eicosanoids Omega-6 oils

Obtained from diet / plant sources

Linoleic acid C18:2ω6

Omega-3 oils alpha-linolenic acid C18:3ω3

delta-6-desaturase enzyme

gamma-linolenic acid C18:3ω6

Pre-formed in evening primrose, hemp & blackcurrant seed oils

di-homo-gamma-linolenic acid C20:3ω6

stearidonic acid C18:4ω3

C20:4ω3 delta-5-desaturase enzyme / prefers omega-3 oils pre-formed in fish

Prostaglandins of series 1

arachidonic acid C20:4ω6 cyclo-oxygenase Prostaglandins of series 2

lipoxygenase

eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) C20:5ω3

Prostaglandins of series 3

inflammatory Thromboxanes & Leukotrienes

Omega-3 fatty acids (e.g. alpha-linolenic acid) are converted to eicosapentanoic acid (EPA). A few more chemical reactions lead to the formation of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) also, and these fatty acids then go to produce the series-3 eicosanoids. Omega-6 fatty acids (e.g. linoleic acid) are initially converted to gamma-linolenic acid (which is itself found pre-formed in hemp seed oil, evening primrose, borage and blackcurrant oils). This conversion in the presence of the enzyme delta 6-desaturase is inhibited by the presence of trans fatty acids, saturated fats and alcohol and requires adequate quantities of vitamin B6, magnesium


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and zinc. GLA then has its carbon chain lengthened to produce di-homo-gamma-linolenic acid (an Omega-6 fatty acid) which is then a precursor for eicosanoids of series 1, or it is converted to arachidonic acid (an Omega-6 fatty acid. This arachidonic acid then gives rise to eicosanoids of series 2, thromboxanes and inflammation promoting leukotrienes (as described below).

Prostaglandin production There are three major groups of prostaglandins; Series-1 derived from di-homo-gamma-linolenic acid Series-2 derived from arachidonic acid Series-3 derived from eicosapentanoic acid The essential fatty acids, in a stepwise fashion, (see Diagram. 1) are converted into a basic prostaglandin skeleton of 20 carbon atoms which is called prostanoic acid: This is prostanoic acid, the basic prostglandin skeleton. CO2H carboxyl end

methyl end

It is still a fatty acid having a 5 membered ring (cyclopentane ring), with two side groups, one of which has the carboxyl group at the end and one of which has a methyl group at the end. The cyclopentane ring can have nine different structures and these different rings are referred to as PGA, PGB. PGC, PGD, PGE, PGF, PGG, PGH and PGI. O

O R1

O R1

R2

O

R1

R2

R2

PGB

PGA

HO R1

O

PGC

R2 PGD

R1

HO

R2 PGE

O

HO

R1 R1

HO

O

R2

O

PGF

OH

PGG

O R1

O CO2H

HO R2

O PGH

R2

PGI


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These various prostaglandins (PG`s) are then said to be series 1, 2 or 3 depending upon whether the two side groups have 1, 2 or 3 double bonds in them. Series 1 prostaglandins : One double bond in the carbon chains

R1

R2 CO2H OH

Series 2 prostaglandins : Two double bonds in the carbon chains

R1

R2

CO2H

OH

Series 3 prostaglandins : Three double bonds in the carbon chains

R1

R2

CO2H

Hence the shorthand for writing PG’s becomes PGA1, PGA2 etc. (You will also sometimes see an alpha or beta sign after the number in some PG abbreviations, e.g. PGF2a.This simply denotes the structural configuration of the molecule at carbon atom 9). Thromboxane production (See Diagram. 1) Arachidonic acid when acted upon by the enzyme cyclo-oxygenase produces not only the series 2 prostaglandins but the thromboxanes also. The thromboxanes are abbreviated to TXA2 and TXB2. Leukotriene production (See Diagram. 1) When acted upon by the enzyme 5-lipoxygenase, arachidonic acid gives rise to the leukotrienes. The leukotrienes are abbreviated to LTA4, LTB4, LTC4, LTD4, LTE4 and LTF4.


Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil Why are some eicosanoids viewed as detrimental to health whilst others are viewed as beneficial to health? Please be aware that I shall try to keep this as simple as possible as this is an extremely complex area. The popular way of looking at the eicosanoids is that those of series 1 and 3 have favourable physiologic effects and are to be desired whilst those of series 2 are viewed as having un-desirable physiologic effects. Series 2 PG’s are however the most common and are derived from arachidonic acid, found in abundance in the saturated animal fats that form a large part of the typical western diet. Remember also that arachidonic acid is the most important derivative of linoleic acid and a lot of scientists and others (fish oil marketers etc) have demonised linoleic acid and the fact that high intake of Omega-6 oils in the western diet may lead to increased levels of arachidonic acid. The suggestion is that if our diet is high in animal fats or artificially hardened and saturated fats, or high linoleic acid we may therefore be pushing our biochemistry into production of a lot of the ‘undesirable’ eicosanoids. The suggested undesirable effects of increased arachidonic acid production are many and include inflammation that could contribute to diabetes, heart disease and many other degenerative conditions that have become so common in the western world today. Looking again at Diagram. 1, the enzyme delta-5-desaturase prefers to act on the Omega-3 fatty acids. Therefore, preformed arachidonic acid from the diet (by way of animal fat) may well be the major source of arachidonic acid in the body (as opposed to being derived from linoleic acid). It is vital at this point to discuss arachidonic acid in more detail. The reason being that from what we have already said about it you may be starting to see it as some kind of bad molecule, one to be removed or suppressed. Well, let's state straight away that arachidonic acid is one of the most important molecules in the body. Without it we would be dead! It is a highly unsaturated fatty acid having 4 cis double bonds in its 20 carbon Omega-6 chain. This structure means it remains a liquid at sub-zero temperatures and as such contributes to maintaining cell membrane fluidity and stability. It is found in all the cells of the body but in particularly high levels in the brain. There is one aspect of the function of arachidonic acid that has to be clarified immediately, that is its role in inflammation. As we said, a high level of arachidonic acid is proposed as being the underlying cause of several inflammatory conditions, and this may be linked to Omega-6 intake etc. It is critical to understand that arachidonic acid is a key molecule in the process of inflammation in the body. We will discuss below how arachidonic acid is involved biochemically in the process of inflammation. Now though, we have to understand that inflammation is a perfectly normal and necessary process that is vital to survival. Without inflammation we would not be able to respond to bugs that invade the body for example. So, in short, inflammation is good, we need it! Inflammation only becomes a problem when it runs out of control and is stimulated by a underlying disease process as it does in many diseases, eczema for example. So, arachidonic acid is not an enemy and neither is inflammation, they are both vital for our survival. Are you thinking about that word balance again? We now need to ask, do high levels of linoleic acid or the oils that contain them, such as sunflower etc., actually contribute to high levels of arachidonic acid and as a consequence does this shift the body into an inflammatory state? Remember that this question is one that needs to be asked when Omega-3 oils are being marketed on the basis of balancing out the supposed effect of the excess linoleic acid/Omega-6 fatty acids from the average, modern western diet on arachidonic acid levels and the potential inflammation caused by this. So, weirdly, we are asking questions of scientists and commercial interest at the same time. To begin to answer this question we will look at the study of Horrobin DF et al 1993. In this study it was demonstrated that eczema patients had high linoleic acid levels in their bodies but low arachidonic acid levels. Immediately we are faced with a situation that is entirely the opposite of

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Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil the information we have been fed about Omega-6 for at least the last 10 years! Surely in their inflammatory state, eczema patients should have high arachidonic acid levels. Horrobin et al also remind us that this is not the first time this observation had been made, it is pointed out in the Horrobin study that for decades the same "oddity" has been observed. This "oddity" was then explained in terms of eczema having more to do with a delta-6-desaturase problem. In other words, the eczema was somehow linked to the fact that linoleic acid was not being converted to arachidonic acid fast enough! This inefficiency of delta-6-desaturase activity was "proven" when it was shown that giving pure GLA to patients, which is the next step along from linoleic acid and therefore bypasses delta-6-desaturase activity, actually did increase arachidonic acid levels but also decreased levels of the pro-inflammatory leukotriene eicosanoids which are ultimately derived from arachidonic acid (see below for more info on leukotrienes)! GLA had a positive influence on the eczema thanks to this effect in lowering the inflammatory eicosanoids even though arachidonic acid was raised. Here we cross over with the work of Surette ME et al 2003 who also looked at this question of the effect of GLA on arachidonic acid levels. Surette et al were particularly interested in asthma. Basically, their work showed exactly the same as Horrobin et al in that GLA given alone to patients led to an increase in a arachidonic acid, even though it was having an anti-inflammatory effect, by virtue of lowering the leukotriene levels. What is more, the Surette team take things further and discover that if Omega-3 fatty acids are given alongside the GLA (Omega-6) then the rise in arachidonic acid does not happen but the same antiinflammatory effect occurs! This has got to be the best case for BALANCE yet. In other words, to put it simply, if you take all types of essential fatty acids things work just fine! The implication here of course is that high levels of dietary linoleic acid is irrelevant to the inflammation because delta-6desaturase is designed to convert only small quantities and acts as a rate limiting step. I could extrapolate and hypothesise that this rate limiting effect of delta-6-desaturase is an in-built safety mechanism to stop excess production of arachidonic acid. In fact it is thought that the rate of conversion of linoleic acid to arachidonic acid is about 0.3%-0.6%. What's more, it would appear that arachidonic acid levels in the body do not change at all when linoleic acid levels reach 2% of daily calorie intake. Add to this the fact that mixed intake of Omega-3 and Omega-6 does not appear to affect the arachidonic acid levels at all, even if linoleic acid is in excess. This information by itself totally trashes the concept that high linoleic acid is bad for us and that we, in the western world, may be taking too much. We are back to balance! Another interesting point is that these teams observed that GLA levels in the body plateau within 7 days, once again backing up my observations of the speed at which these oils seem to get into eczema sufferers systems. Maybe the most important study done on this question of how linoleic acid levels are related to arachidonic acid levels was done by Retty BS et al 2011. This was basically an enormous review of the subject. The team looked at over four thousand papers on this subject and slowly whittled them down on the grounds of how reliable the data they contained were. The most important point of the review was that it concentrated on studies carried out on normal, healthy, human adults on an average western diet, no animals or cell cultures...real people. Their conclusions are simple: THERE IS NO SIGNIFICANT CHANGE IN ARACHIDONIC ACID LEVELS WITH VARYING LEVELS OF LINOLEIC ACID IN THE TYPICAL WESTERN DIET. Given the sheer volume of papers they started with I think it is safe to say that this question is now answered categorically. To quote some figures from their work, if you decreased linoleic acid levels by 90% in the average western diet there was no significant change in arachidonic acid levels; if you increased linoleic acid levels by 6 times in the average western diet there was no significant change in arachidonic acid levels. I could, if I wanted, extrapolate a little bit further here, and ask, so if the dietary intake of linoleic acid has nothing to do with arachidonic acid levels, does anything? The

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Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil answer to that question may actually be, not a lot. It appears that levels of arachidonic acid do not change that readily when compared to EPA or DHA for example. Why would they change dramatically, after all this is a really important chemical in the body urgently required for the maintenance of health, if levels swung too dramatically we'd be in all sorts of trouble. Another interesting point of course is that if we slip back into the past again when our grandparents were living in the pre margarine and vegetable oil era then they would have got their arachidonic acid pre-formed from animal fats in the main. Given this, how odd is it that we still have more problems with heart disease today. I believe this reflects the fact that even though we have a greater variety of food available today, most of us make the choice to eat badly and the influence of these dietary fats may actually not be so influential as we have been led to believe given the sheer mass of rubbish we eat today! Just to once more stake the claim for balance and for hemp seed oil I shall quote the study by Callaway J et al 2005. Their study is actually on my pet subject, hemp seed oil and its effect on eczema/dermatitis. They basically gave hemp seed oil or a control to patients over a 20 week period on a randomised, single-blind, crossover study. They observed that in the patients given the hemp seed oil, levels of linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid and GLA were elevated along with an improvement in dryness of the skin, itch and reduced use of medication. It may come as no surprise now that arachidonic acid levels did not rise whilst taking hemp seed oil, an oil with 3:1 ratio between linoleic and alpha-linolenic acids. So, if anyone tells you that you need to take fish oils or large quantities of Omega-3 to balance the excess linoleic acid and consequent arachidonic acid levels we are subjected to in the modern, western world, smile confidently and tell them that all you need is a good balance between Omega3 and Omega-6 as found in hemp seed oil and check out the review of Retty BS et al 2011. Because there are many eicosanoids with actions throughout the body we will look at just a few to point out the important features of their activity. It is important to repeat, as we've taken a slight detour, that even though some eicosanoids seem to have less desirable effects than others, to maintain normal health we need a BALANCE of them all, series 2 as well as series 1 and 3. Eicosanoids, in fact, do not have bad and good effects, they do what other chemicals, hormones, neurotransmitters etc., do in the body, in that they work in concert with one chemical stimulating a particular activity and another opposing the activity. It's a sort of feedback control system. In fact some eicosanoids may be pivotal in setting off a reaction and then later on in the reaction become important in damping it down. Eicosanoids become a problem only when their production is modified in an individual by a disease process, autoimmunity, allergy or even poor lifestyle for example.

A brief look at the activity of eicosanoids Because there are many eicosanoids with actions throughout the body we'll just take a few simple examples to get a basic idea of the complexity involved! A good example of when eicosanoids become a problem is in allergic reactions (i.e. type 1 hypersensitivity/atopic reactions, such as eczema, asthma, hayfever and urticaria). In this type of reaction antibodies known as IgE antibodies combine with an allergen, e.g. pollen and bind to another type of immune cell called mast cells causing them to release chemicals that produce the typical inflammatory response in these ailments. The chemicals released include, histamine, heparin and chemotactic factors (chemicals that attract other immune cells to an area). It is important here to understand that the reaction is a normal one on the part of the body to remove foreign substances, it is just that in atopy/allergy this part of the immune system has an

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Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil over-reaction/hypersensitivity to a normal situation. Along with these chemicals, arachidonic acid is released from cell membranes. This is then converted by the cyclo-oxygenase and lipoxygenase enzymes into the Prostaglandins, thromboxanes and leukotrienes. Incidentally, corticosteroids (and the steroid drugs based on them such as prednisolone) stop this release, which is why they are used with success in these conditions. Eicosanoids formed include PGE2, a series 2 eicosanoid and LTB4, and they contribute to platelet stickiness (which makes the blood clot) and local vasodilatation (which causes redness and irritation of the skin and swelling of soft tissues). Under normal circumstances this inflammatory cascade of chemicals including eicosanoids would be countered by the release of further eicosanoids produced as the inflammation resolved when the body had killed, walled off or otherwise removed the causative agent. PGE2 itself, is known to play a role in bringing an end to an inflammatory reaction it may have been pivotal in starting. However, the hypersensitivity of the IgE/mast cell system described above keeps fuelling the release of proinflammatory eicosanoids. Interestingly, asthma is another atopic condition that shares the same basic underlying IgE/mast cell response as eczema but PGE2 actually counters the airway constriction and narrowing that occurs in asthma. So again we can see that PGE2 acts in a sort of situation specific fashion, and don't forget there are many eicosanoids that will have these apparently opposing effects depending upon the situation. On the other hand the combination of the leukotrienes LC4, LTD4 and LTE4 are collectively known as "long acting substance of anaphylaxis" and induces worsening of the airway constriction in asthmatics. Leukotrienes incidentally are always pro-inflammatory. Another good example of the effects of the eicosanoids in pathological circumstances is seen with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). RA is an auto-immune condition (a disease in which the body attacks itself) with the synovial lining of the joint showing deposition of immune material. This sets up an inappropriate inflammatory reaction. In the lining of the joint, the synovium, we find high levels of prostaglandins and leukotrienes once again, including PGE2 and LTB4 again. There is also another PG called PGI2 (a series-2 PG also known as prostacyclin) which increases the pain as well as inflammation in inflamed joints. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as indomethacin act by blocking the production of these PG’s). Leukotrienes are major initiators of inflammation and give rise to leaky blood vessels, movement of immune cells into surrounding tissues and swelling of soft tissues. LTB4 for example causes movement of white blood cells (immune cells) into surrounding tissues and is implicated in the causation of psoriasis and inflammatory bowel disease as well as arthritis. Thromboxanes, as the name suggests are named after the process of thrombosis, blood clotting, as they encourage the process, which is why they are implicated in heart disease and hardening of the arteries etc. They are also potent vaso-constrictors. They are produced by the action of cyclooxygenase on arachidonic acid in the membranes of platelets. Thromboxane TXA2, for example, causes platelets in the blood to stick together and blood vessels to narrow. When the lining of blood vessels are damaged, as is thought to be the case in early hardening of the arteries, platelets stick to the damaged lining and release TXA2 thus continuing the process. Aspirin works by blocking the production of TXA2 and is therefore useful for thrombotic (blood clotting) conditions, and is why it is now being used to lower the risk of thrombotic complications in cardiovascular patients. PGI2, a series 2 prostaglandin we already mentioned, is the natural counter-balance to TXA2, stopping platelets from sticking together and opening up the blood vessels, showing again how the eicosanoids work in a balanced fashion and that prostaglandins cannot be viewed quite so simplistically as good guy, bad guy. This has been a very brief and simplistic glimpse into the world of eicosanoids and there are of course many other disease conditions in which inappropriate production of series 2 eicosanoids are implicated. What I hope is clear though from these brief examples is that, in normal conditions of health, eicosanoids are not good or bad of themselves, they are all essential to our normal functioning. It is only when pathological change or some other stress arises that they become

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harmful. The other important point here is that we can modify the intensity of an eicosanoid fuelled problem such as chronic inflammation by using substances/drugs such as aspirin, prednisolone etc., that modify the rate at which the series 2 eicosanoids are made by interfering with the rate at which cyclo-oxygenase/lipoxygenase can convert arachidonic acid. This is where, as we will see a little later, the essential fatty acids really can be useful as part of a therapeutic programme for a wide variety of diseases. So now we know why the body needs essential fatty acids, why we need a balance of them, and we have seen how the body metabolises them let’s take a look at the sources of the fatty acids and compare them head to head.

The sources of essential fatty acids Let us begin our look at the plant oils by comparing typical values for the various fatty acids contained in the most popular oils:

Oleic acid C18:1ω9

Linoleic acid C18:2ω6

alpha-Linolenic acid C18:3ω3

gamma-Linoleic acid C18:3ω6

Hemp (Cannabis sativa)

13

60

20

3

Evening Primrose (Oenetheria biennis)

8

68

0

9

Blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum)

10

52

13

17

Borage (Borago officinalis)

16

37

1

23

Linseed (Linum usitatissimum)

39

15

45

0

Olive (Olea europea)

71

10

0

0

Looking at Table. 1 the points to consider are;

a. The range and presence/absence of the fatty acids. Hemp and blackcurrant are the only oils with a good representation of all the unsaturated fatty acids. Evening primrose and borage are useless in their provision of alpha-linolenic acid. All the oils shown are low in saturated fatty acids. GLA is not present in linseed and olive oils. However linseed is high in the essential, Omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid. Therefore, ‘topping up’ by the use of linseed oil can be helpful in deficiency. Hemp seed oil also contains the Omega-9 fatty acid, oleic acid and stearidonic acid, two unsaturated fatty acids important in their own right. If we just take fish oils for a moment, then it depends on the source of the oil as to the composition of it. If you were to go back to the good old days of cod liver oil then you would be taking a combination of the long chain Omega-3 EPA and DHA in combination with a few other fatty acids but large amounts of vitamins A and D. The large amount of A and D in the modern diet could make that in the liver oils excessive. This is why fish oil marketers have moved away from liver oils and now process highly purified oils from the flesh of fish and shellfish. This modern fish oil (even though it may be from crustaceans rather than fish) is almost pure EPA and DHA. Obviously this has advantages but the major down-side is that purity is an issue. The sea is full of rubbish, the fish get full of rubbish and then you have to remove the rubbish using industrial purification processes. There have even been warnings over the last 20 years from governments regarding restricting your intake of fish because of the potential toxin problem! On top of this of course is the fact that industrial scale fishing is leading to fish extinction. My response to this is simple...STOP! Just compare the slaughter and processing of fish livers and flesh with a farm pressed, organic hemp seed! I know which one I would go for.


Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil Another important difference between vegetable oils and fish oils is that with good quality vegetable oils you also get vitamin E and other natural antioxidants that are contained in the oils.

b. The ratio of the fatty acids to one another. Over the last 20 years we have seen an increase in the development, production and sale of blended oils. These oils may consist of pure vegetable oils or a combination of vegetable and fish oil blended to produce specific ratios and ranges of essential fatty acids. What has been happening of course is that companies are blending oils based on what they believe the best ratio between Omega-3 and Omega-6 to be. They then advertise their oil as having the best balance. We have spoken constantly about this balance, and my concern is to try to mimic as close as possible what nature provides. As I've said, I now believe the best ratio is in the region of (and this does not have to be exact) 3 linoleic: 1 alpha-linolenic and by blending the oils the manufacturers are trying to create this balance. However, the blend that is most popular with marketers today is the 1:1 ratio between the two essential fatty acids. I have even produced one myself! This is based more upon producers responding to shifts in the marketing between Omega-3 and Omega-6 rather than actual nutritional need. When I first started using oils back in the 1980’s it was all Omega-6. Companies poured millions into marketing evening primrose oil, borage and even pure GLA. As that market matured companies shifted into Omega-3, pouring millions into that, with fish oils taking over sales of evening primrose etc. A huge commercial see-saw shifted from one side right to the other. The result was confusion as to exactly how much of each we need and companies falling over each other trying to prove their blend was best. We even had the crazy situation where serious nutritionists, scientists and others suggest that Omega-6 fatty acids should be avoided as we get too many in the standard oils that we use for cooking etc. Sometimes these arguments sounded quite convincing and I even played with several ratios and combinations, not sure if I could trust myself or the information I was studying. Nowadays though, and for reasons I have explained above, the arguments about which blend is best have died down as the linoleic acid/arachidonic acid/Omega-3 controversy has been clarified. What we have discovered of course is that a balanced intake of the essential fatty acids has been proven to be most effective and even the latest star performers, i.e., the fish oils are being shown to fall short of the life-saving role foist upon them and they have some serious ecological questions to answer. Finally, all the arguing and fighting of corners has died down since the basic truth about balance, the obvious truth about balance that is, has been demonstrated clearly. It is ultimately the ratio of junk food to good food in the modern, western diet that need s addressing more than the ratio of essential fatty acids in that diet! So, to repeat what I said earlier, if you do not get any then forget balance...just get some! If we look at Table. 1 again, we see that hemp oil provides the ratio, the balance I believe to be the best with blackcurrant coming a close second. Nobody ever got into marketing blackcurrant oil though because the seeds are too small to produce the vast quantities needed for mass markets! There was a supplement available for a short while, but it never took off. I think the seed is simply too small to provide viable quantities for pressing. It is also worth stating that there are some other interesting oils available today worthy of attention that were not available when I set out on my oil expedition a couple of decades ago, Camelina (Gold of Pleasure) oil and Chia seed oil being good examples thanks to their Omega-3 and Omega-6 content. Another important point to bear in mind is that there are some fatty acids that are useful in their own right and you may like to blend the oils containing them with whatever oils you currently take to optimise what you are trying to do. A great example of this is the Omega-7 fatty acid palmitoleic acid. It has been shown that this fatty acid is particularly useful in the treatment of menopausal vaginal dryness and dry eye syndromes. Palmitoleic acid is found in high quantities in macadamia nut oil and sea buckthorn oil. So, here is a great example of mixing nutritional oils to make your food your medicine and your medicine your food!

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Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil c. The quantity of GLA present. Supplement manufacturers, back in the 1980's, used to compete with each other to produce the highest yielding GLA supplement on the market as the public perception, thanks to marketing, had become that the quantity of GLA is the benchmark of a good supplement. Some companies even produced pure GLA supplements. Again though, balance is the important thing and high levels of GLA even became linked with side-effects. One study associating high levels of pure GLA with sideeffects, that of Phinney 1994 has been mentioned repeatedly in discussions on GLA. However, moderate, daily intake is shown to be perfectly safe and this particular study has never really been backed up. What we should realise by now though is that GLA is an important nutrient and when taken as found in nature from the seed oils it is not just perfectly safe but essential of course. Looking at Table.1 again we see that borage oil shows the highest levels of GLA. Don’t forget of course that GLA is also converted from linoleic acid, found in high amounts in hemp, primrose, blackcurrant and borage along with pre-formed GLA. So again if we are looking for the naturally balanced oil the finger points at hemp. If you are taking pure GLA capsules (which is basically the same as using it as a drug), then the best advice would be to take it on a cyclical basis, say 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off and so on and take the other fatty acids at the same time. The pure oils such as hemp seed oil can be taken continuously from cradle to grave. It is worth pointing out that the gamma-linolenic acid is usually found in evening primrose as the triglyceride di-linoleoylmono-glinolenylglycerol and this triglyceride is itself being tested as a treatment for diabetic neuropathy and retinopathy. (Note: Diabetic neuropathy and nephropathy refer to the problems that affect the nerves and the eyes in diabetics). Interestingly, on the topic of GLA, it has been shown that taking hemp seed oil increases levels of GLA in the blood whereas taking linseed oil lowers GLA levels. Researcher Dr. Jace Callaway together with the University of Kuopio, department of Pharmaceutical chemistry and Clinical Nutrition gave subjects 30ml daily of hemp seed oil or linseed oil. The oils used were of the highest quality. They showed that taking hemp seed oil increased the amount of GLA in triglycerides by 57%.Taking linseed oil decreased GLA levels in triglycerides by 23%. Linseed oil has no GLA of course but it has linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid in a ratio that is almost the reverse of hemp seed oil. Remember also that GLA is made from linoleic acid so surely taking linseed oil should improve levels of GLA also? As we have already said though (refer to diagram 1), as the same enzyme is responsible for converting both linoleic and alpha-linolenic acids then too much of one hinders metabolism of the other and this may well explain this observation (Schwab US et al 2006). In linseed oil, levels of alpha-linolenic acid are so high it hinders the metabolism of linoleic acid and hence levels of GLA fall. As we are learning, a correct balance of essential fatty acids in oils such as that found in hemp seed oil is of critical importance to the way we metabolise, or not, these vital nutrients.

d. The total quantity of unsaturated fatty acids present in the oil (see Table. 1). High total quantity of unsaturated fatty acids in an oil is obviously to be desired. However, the more unsaturated the oil the more open it is to oxidation and the more important it is to produce, store and use optimally. To show how the oils vary in quantity of total unsaturates I will illustrate below using the fatty acid profile of hemp oil and borage oil I have used.

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Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil

Composition of Hemp Seed Oil. Pressed in Switzerland. Initial analysis done 26. 3. 96 Peroxidation value Palmitic acid Palmitoleic acid Heptadecanolenic Acid Stearic acid Oleic Acid Linoleic Acid alpha-Linolenic acid gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) Stearidonic acid Arachidic acid Eicosanoic acid Behenic acid Lignoceric acid Trace elements 0.07%

3.18 C16 C16:1 C17:1 C18 C18:1w9 C18:2w6 C18:3aw3 C18:3gw6 C18:4 C20 C20:1 C22 C24

5.8% 0.1% 0.04% 2.33% 11.12% 56.53% 18.75% 2.67% 1.06% 0.7 0.31% 0.24% 0.10%

From the above it can be seen that this oil is over 90% unsaturated, and it is thought that hemp seed oil may be the highest yielding unsaturated oil naturally. Closest to hemp seed oil in terms of total quantity of unsaturated fatty acids is the new, genetically manipulated erucic acid free rape seed oil (canola oil). Another point worth noting is that if we analyse the whole hemp seed before the oil is pressed out we again learn some startling facts. Analysis of the whole hemp seed shows us that hemp seed consists of: 1. Protein 2. Carbohydrate 3. Oil

20-24% 30-35% 28-35%

The protein in hemp seed is called edestin. It is the closest vegetable protein in composition to egg protein to be found in the plant kingdom, and contains all the essential amino acids. Today soya protein is the popular vegetable protein. The problem is, soya actually contains what is known as a trypsin inhibitor. This is a substance that actually blocks the digestion of the protein. Hemp seed has none of this type of chemical making its high quality protein readily available to digestion. I'm glad to say that hemp protein is now available in health food stores etc., it was just a dream when I began my work with hemp! Hemp seed also has carbohydrate for energy and we are getting to know right now how valuable the oil is. Don’t forget the fibre in the seed shell and the vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E. Putting all these facts together we can now see that whole hemp seed is a startlingly complete, cheap and digestible food, I hate to sound dramatic but you could literally feed the World with this stuff... Why hasn’t it been done? Let’s compare the hemp oil profile with the borage oil below.

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Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil Composition of Borage Seed Oil. Pressed in the U.K. Date of initial analysis unknown. Peroxidation value Palmitic acid Palmitoleic acid Stearic acid Oleic Acid Linoleic Acid Alpha-Linolenic acid Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) Arachidic acid Eicosanoic acid Erucic acid Nervonic acid Trace elements

5.0 C16 C16:1 C18 C18:1w9 C18:2w6 C18:3aw3 C18:3gw6 C20 C20:1 C22:1 C24:1

11% 0.6% 3.5% 15% 38% 0.1% 22% 0.5% 4% 1.5% 1.5% To 100%

Total unsaturates this time are over 80%, below hemp seed oil in total. Evening primrose and blackcurrant generally fall in the 80 to 90% total unsaturates region. An interesting fatty acid found in borage oil is the nervonic acid, a fatty acid that is low in sufferers of multiple sclerosis. It is also found in high levels in Lunaria annua oil (honesty seed oil). Honesty seed oil though is not commercially available at this time. At this point I should also stress that hemp seed oil contains both GLA and stearidonic acid. Any oil with both these elements pre-formed has huge advantages over oils without. If you look again at Diagram. 1 you will see that these fatty acids are the down line products of linoleic acid and alphalinolenic acid respectively. This is very important as if there is any problem with the enzyme delta-6 desaturase then the "metabolic block" produced by this can be bypassed and both beneficial series of eicosanoids can still be produced. Diabetics, for example, have problems with this first stage of conversion. The GLA and stearidonic acid have already gone past the first delta-6 desaturase phase and the oil contains not just starting material but second stage material as well. Once again hemp seed oil comes to the rescue! To summarise: Evening primrose oil is high in essential fatty acids, being a particularly rich source of linoleic acid and gamma-linolenic acid. Both Omega-6 fatty acids are essential to health. However evening primrose oil is startlingly low in alpha-linolenic acid. Borage oil is even higher in Omega-6 fatty acids but again deficient in Omega-3 fatty acids. Cod liver oil has EPA and DHA but it has no linoleic acid. It does have high levels of vitamins A and D making this supplement potentially toxic in high doses. Fish oil supplements which are oils pressed from the flesh of certain fish like salmon or obtained from certain shellfish are also available and are high in Omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA) but have no Omega-6 fatty acids (linoleic acid). These supplements though are the top of the market price wise and are certainly not acceptable to everyone (or the planet!) as a source of Omega-3 fatty acids. They are of no use to vegetarians or those with an allergy to fish or shellfish. Incidentally, vegetarians and the children of vegetarian mothers are at a potentially higher risk of Omega-3 fatty acid deficiency than omnivores because most commercial grains in the diet of vegetarians are high in Omega-6 fatty acids and startlingly low in Omega-3 fatty acids. Again, if you overload delta-6-desaturase with linoleic acid it will tend to concentrate on that and ignore any small quantity of alpha-linoleic acid that may be present in the diet, possibly compounding Omega-3 deficiency in vegans/vegetarians. It is therefore essential that vegans and vegetarians ensure lifelong intake of Omega-3 sources such as hemp and flax oils. It's simple really!

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Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil

Important things to remember when storing oils Most oil supplements nowadays come with the claim that they are cold pressed. True cold pressing is impossible, as any seed, when put under pressure in an enclosed space, as in the oil pressing process, will experience an increase in temperature. Possibly a better indicator of an oils quality is the peroxidation value (PV) which measures the quantity of peroxide and other oxidation products in the oil. The higher the PV the more rancid the oil. It is a simple scale starting from zero upwards. The lower the figure the better the quality. Looking at the previous analyses of borage and hemp seed oils, 3.5 and 5 are very good values and high quality oil should be under 5 if possible. Bear in mind that even virgin olive oil can be as high as 20 with some corn oils weighing in at 60. These high figures are due to poor pressing environments and oil handling. The best you can hope for is an oil that is pressed without added heat in an oxygen and light free environment with the oil being dispensed into air-tight, dry, opaque containers and then stored in refrigeration (everyone should store the oils this way). You can also freeze the oils if you wish. Some oil manufacturers add preservatives such as citric acid, vitamin E or de-odorised rosemary extract to extend the shelf life of the oil. If your oils are produced and stored optimally you should aim to use them in 6 months from the pressing date. Always bear in mind, to check manufacturing date you should ask the company that pressed the oil not the company packaging it for sale, as most supplement companies do not manufacture they simply buy in and re-label. Incidentally, a simple test of rancidity with the oils we have discussed here is the taste test. As the oil starts to go rancid it will leave a bitter/astringent aftertaste in the mouth that worsens with time. (Beware though, some oils e.g. corn oil do not taste bad until a PV 100). Interestingly as the years have rolled by I have seen all manner of marketing nonsense from companies selling oils knocking others because it may have been in a plastic bottle, or not kept in the fridge etc. The actual truth is that many tests have been done on many essential fatty acid containing oils to test their stability. They have even been ignited, set alight, to see what's left afterwards! Surprisingly, oils are a lot more robust than some people make out and we now have oil blends high in essential fatty acids specifically for cooking as a lot of the fatty acids actually do survive heating. In terms of the stability of hemp seed oil an interesting study is that of Sapino S et al 2005. They were interested in the cosmetic applications of the essential fatty acids and so the hemp oil had to survive processing in the production of several cosmetic products such as eye gels, skin creams etc. The team measured peroxide values and other quality indicators and used oils of different ages, some being already over a year old at the time of testing. The overall result that they report is that hemp seed oil (and its constituent fatty acids) was far more stable than expected with low peroxide values and low quantities of products that occur with oxidation and rancidification of oils. They were also impressed with its ease of use as a cosmetic, easy to spread, easy to spray etc. So, whilst it is optimal to keep oils in sealed, opaque containers in the fridge, they will survive at room temperature for months quite happily. Just don't keep them next to the radiator. Incidentally, plastic bottles are fine as the ones used for oil storage are food grade and do not leach any chemicals into oil as is often stated.

Using hemp seed oil as medicine One thing I need to stress at the outset of this section is that hemp seed oil and other vegetable and fish oils are not medicines. They are foods. They are foods with well studied benefits and when taken on a daily basis as part of your normal diet then you may well be able to alter the course of many disease states. Good health starts with diet, full stop. Let medicine be your food, let food be your medicine!

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Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil As described earlier, one of the ways in which the essential fatty acids found in hemp seed oil exert their beneficial effects on the body is by feeding the system with the required raw materials for the production of the good series-1 and series-3 eicosanoids. There are other ways in which they work including the fact that the Omega-3 fatty acids can displace a certain amount of arachidonic acid from cell membranes. Also, di-homo-gamma-linolenic acid and EPA compete with arachidonic acid for access to cyclo-oxygenase and lipoxygenase. There is also a group of eicosanoids derived from EPA and DHA that we did not mention previously called resolvins, and as the name suggests they damp down and inhibit the inflammatory response, resolving it. Do not forget also that an important part of any medical condition is that the body needs to heal and repair, and that means renewing and replacing cells. The essential fatty acids, being so important in the structure of every cell membrane, are perfectly placed for this most basic repair and recovery task. So let’s take a look at the sort of conditions that can be helped by hemp seed oil.

The cardio-vascular system/the heart and blood vessels. This is the system where most research and clinical studies have been carried out with the essential fatty acids. Over the last 40 years or so researchers in many centres around the world have confirmed the benefit the essential fatty acids have on the circulatory system. A lot of the early work on Omega-3 fatty acids in particular was stimulated by the finding that populations of people eating lots of fish such as Eskimos seemed to suffer far lower rates of heart and cardio-vascular disease than people on a typical, western diet. The reason for their better circulatory health was directly related to the quantity of the Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA found in their diets. Remember that these two substances are made in the body from alphalinolenic acid, as found in hemp seed oil. What is interesting is that when the fish oils were first commercialised they arrived in a blaze of glory being promoted as the saviours of the heart and blood vessels of humanity. They were going to clean out cholesterol, make our blood flow smooth as silk and we'd never have heart attacks ever again. Standing as we are now, way down-line from this initial excitement we can observe that whilst the Omega-3 craze has definitely brought benefits they are not as dramatic and sweeping as initially expected and some of the mechanisms whereby Omega-3 fatty acids protect the heart and circulation are still not clearly understood. Another important point is that it was initially a recommendation of governments in the western world to substitute saturated animal fats for polyunsaturates, in the form of Omega-6 oils in order to obtain some protection from heart disease etc. Also, the countries using olive oil and the Omega-9 it contains are associated with reduced heart and cardiovascular disease. Hemp oil covers all these options of course. So, as we have already seen in terms of eicosanoid production, the essential fatty acids provide the background chemicals for the smooth functioning of the heart and blood vessels along with preventing blood clotting. There are a multitude of trials available on alpha-linolenic acid and other essential fatty acids and their effects on the heart, blood vessels and blood lipids such as cholesterol but in some cases they are contradictory. My base-line though is the fact that we need the essential fatty acids for the smooth function of heart, blood and circulatory system and there are some things we can say for sure about the effects of the essential fatty acids and therefore enable us to suggest what conditions they may prove beneficial for when used as part of a daily regimen. The Omega-3 essential fatty acids contribute to heart and circulatory health by reducing blood clotting and inhibiting the underlying inflammation that can contribute to arteriosclerosis. They also help to relax blood vessel walls and lower triglycerides. Given just these factors we can say that essential fatty acids would be an extremely useful addition to the daily regimens of people suffering:

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Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil • • • • •

Angina High blood pressure Intermittent claudication Varicose veins and thrombosis Raynaud’s disease

What's more, it is never too late to start taking the essential fatty acids. People who have had heart attacks for example are prone to heart rhythm abnormalities that can be fatal. It has been clinically demonstrated, taking essential fatty acids, particularly the Omega-3 fatty acids after a heart attack actually reduces the chances of these heart irregularities happening. On top of this it has been shown that people having operations on blood vessels after heart attacks, thrombosis etc., are far more successful if the patient is given high doses of essential fatty acids before-hand. The problem with blood vessels that have been operated on is that they tend to undergo hardening rapidly as a consequence of the surgical intervention and it is slowing this process that the essential fatty acids are particularly good at.

The nervous system As we saw earlier, development of the brain during foetal life and for the first two years requires high levels of essential fatty acids as they are concentrated in the brain during these phases of life. Low levels of essential fatty acids during this early phase of development is now being linked with intellectual and behavioural disturbances in the child. It is also statistically significant that children who are breast-fed suffer fewer learning difficulties than their bottle-fed counterparts. Breast milk, does of course contain all the essential fatty acids, and pregnant women should take hemp seed oil to ensure adequate quantities are present for her and her baby. A warning here though, and just to repeat, vegan mothers may have measurably lower levels of EPA and DHA in their milk so their babies are vulnerable to deficiency after birth. This can be avoided by taking hemp seed oil regularly to ensure life-long Omega-3 cover. Another use for the essential fatty acids is in depression. It may seem strange initially, but think about it. Nerve cells need high quantities of fatty acids for their membranes to operate properly, and nerve cells have specific connections called synapses through which nervous impulses are transmitted. Cell wall integrity therefore is of utmost importance in nerve impulse transmission. I have found it interesting to observe how many people have told me how much better their mood is after taking hemp seed oil. One of the best known uses for Omega-3/fish oils nowadays is in the niche they have found for helping children to learn and concentrate and this has extended into the use of the oils to treat attention deficit disorder etc. It should go without saying that a well fed brain is a healthy, alert brain. One of the more important areas of medicine today is in the prevention and treatment of age related mental decline and the conditions such as Alzheimer's disease etc. Interestingly Alzheimer's is now associated with increased activity of arachidonic acid in the brain. Well, we have learned already how to balance the activity of that fatty acid by using a balanced source of Omega-3 and Omega-6 such as hemp. One important aspect of diseases such as Alzheimer's is that the brain ends up damaged by the condition, and again, just to rebuild and repair nervous and brain tissue requires lots of essential fatty acids. This holds good for any type of brain or nerve damage even if it is caused by trauma or a stroke or even the other degenerative conditions such as Parkinson's disease. In the case of a stroke the underlying cause is usually in the blood vessels and we already know that the essential fatty acids are vital for normal function in that area. The brain and nerves, we must not forget are very fatty tissues and you must, throughout life, feed it with the necessary nutrients required for its optimal functioning.

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Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil Allergic disorders By allergic disorders I mean the atopic disorders i.e., eczema, asthma, hayfever and urticaria. This of course, is the area that drew me into my own work with the essential fatty acids. Again, the benefits of the essential fatty acids in these disorders is well studied and understood. These conditions all share the same underlying reaction. Basically, certain cells of the immune system such as mast cells are hypersensitive to various allergens e.g. pollen. In the presence of such an allergen these cells release various eicosanoids of series 2 which lead to inflammation and the classic signs of these conditions. By taking hemp seed oil you are elevating levels of the series 1 and 3 eicosanoids which are powerfully anti-inflammatory and help to overcome this allergic response. As we saw earlier, it is thought to be due to modern food processing etc., that most people are deficient in the Omega-3 fatty acids. Also, allergic disorders have become more common over the last few decades. This fact by itself suggest that the deficiency of Omega-3`s, particularly during childhood, may lead to a predominance of the series 2 eicosanoids in the body with a consequent increased chance of allergic reactions. Yet another case for taking the essential fatty acids from childhood. As I said earlier, I suspect that many of the patients I gave the oil to were actually deficient in essential fatty acids such was the speed of their reaction to the oils

The skin After my experience of working with hemp seed oil I will now make one categorical statement; if you want healthy skin, take hemp seed oil...full stop! I got involved with essential fatty acids and oils because of skin disease and time after time hemp seed oil has proved itself to be an outstanding aid in not just maintaining healthy skin but treating some drastic cases of eczema/dermatitis. If you are just interested in beauty and keeping your skin young looking then you must realise beauty truly comes from within, in the form of essential fatty acids! The essential fatty acids have a pivotal role in the health of the skin. Skin cells are turned over at a rapid rate, and like all rapidly dividing cells need a high and constant supply of the essential fatty acids. When a person becomes deficient in the essential fatty acids, particularly Omega-6 fatty acids, one of the first and obvious symptoms is a dry, scaly skin disorder. This also extends to the skin appendages i.e., the nails and hair also become weak and brittle. This shows how directly involved in the health of the skin the essential fatty acids are. A lot of people on poor diets often complain of dry skin, hemp seed oil is the answer. As we have seen above, hemp seed oil is certainly good for eczema but there are a host of skin diseases I have used hemp seed oil for and obtained good results. As a lot of skin diseases have an inflammatory component, and the essential fatty acids go to make anti-inflammatory eicosanoids in the body, we can see that hemp seed oil is a natural choice for various skin disorders including; • • • • • • •

Eczema/dermatitis Seborrhoeic dermatitis/cradle cap Varicose eczema Psoriasis Pityriasis rosea Lichen planus Rosacea

Do not forget that by taking hemp seed oil you are effectively strengthening the skin, reinforcing the barrier, and therefore making it better able to resist bacterial, viral and fungal infection.

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Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil The gut Ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease are both chronic inflammatory diseases of the bowel and can literally destroy the sufferer’s life. Once again though, hemp seed oil with its capacity to generate the anti-inflammatory eicosanoids are tried and tested for these conditions. I now automatically suggest patients with these conditions start taking hemp seed oil, not only for the anti-inflammatory effect but because these patients often suffer malabsorption and are desperate for nutrient rich foods such as hemp seed oil with its essential fatty acids. Further to this, hemp seed oil is well tolerated by the gut in these patients.

The menstrual cycle and womens health This is one area of medicine where the essential fatty acids have become a standard treatment by both orthodox practitioners and complimentary. The activity of prostaglandins in the smooth functioning of the menstrual cycle and fertility are now well established. Unfortunately the major fatty acid source used in this instance has been evening primrose oil with its high GLA content and this led to borage oil with its even higher GLA content and then on to pure GLA, which is really a drug! Whilst these oils are great for the quick fix they should not be taken for extended periods without adding an Omega-3 source to provide some balance. In fact, hemp seed oil is actually the perfect oil in this situation with its wonderful balance of essential fatty acids. In fact, 20 or so years ago the GLA content of hempseed oil from China was 1-3%, now the varieties I use from Canada are 3-4%. So hemp got a little better in this respect! The best application for the essential fatty acids with regard to the menstrual cycle is on period pains or menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhoea). They are also useful for reducing the discomfort of fibrocystic breast disease, the type of breast pain that occurs on a monthly basis related to the menstrual cycle. Womb pain is caused by contraction of the muscles of the womb in response to the presence of a series 2 eicosanoid. Overcoming this series 2 eicosanoid with the good series 1 and 3 is easy with hempseed oil. Womb pain or dysmenorrhoea can also be caused by conditions such as endometriosis and fibroids. Hemp seed oil with its essential fatty acids is also useful in the treatment of these conditions. Again, if a woman is thinking of getting pregnant, is pregnant or breast feeding then she should take hemp seed oil. Some women suffer extreme problems after birth with exhaustion and hair loss and even full-blown depression, here again hemp seed oil proves of immense benefit in feeding the system and helping to put back what baby takes out! At the other extreme of reproductive life, i.e., at the menopause a constant flow of essential fatty acids is also vital to support the changes that occur at this time.

The musculo-skeletal system Arthritis and other joint problems are some of the commonest problems to present to us as herbalists. This is another area where the benefits of essential fatty acids have been shown, and an area where you can see results on your patients. It is the Omega-3 fatty acids such as alpha-linolenic acid that again are the important elements. Whilst arthritis (of all kinds) is not totally curable relief of pain, inflammation and stiffness can improve the quality of a sufferers life immensely. Hemp seed oil is a perfect daily supplement for arthritics providing continuous supplies of anti-inflammatory series-3 eicosanoids. In fact, I now say that hemp seed oil is the cod liver oil of the next century...throw the fish back into the sea! Clinical tests have been carried out on arthritics given essential fatty acids as a treatment. Results specifically show improvement in pain and the number of joints swollen. The types of arthritis that may benefit from hemp seed oil include;

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Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil • • • • •

Rheumatoid arthritis Osteoarthritis Ankylosing spondylitis Psoriatic arthritis Juvenile arthritis

Auto-immune diseases These are disorders in which the immune system is actually attacking your own tissues. There are a large number of autoimmune diseases and most are of an inflammatory nature. Of particular interest is the condition systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) which responds well to hemp seed oil, and as it is pretty difficult to treat otherwise. It is nice to know there is something that you can do to help yourself if you have this condition or any other autoimmune condition.

Diabetes and its complications It has been shown that the essential fatty acids, particularly GLA, help protect the nerves and blood vessels from the complications of diabetes and this could prove to be an area of fertile research in future. It is the smaller blood vessels that supply the kidney, the nerves and the eye that are damaged in diabetics. As we saw above, the essential fatty acids play a pivotal role in the health of such blood vessels and thus help to overcome these diabetic complications. In the meantime I would certainly recommend diabetics make a start on hemp seed oil. Of particular interest in the case of diabetes is the fact that people with the disease may be unable to convert linoleic acid into gamma-linolenic acid. This of course throws a major log-jam into the metabolism of the fatty acids with consequent poor production of eicosanoids. However as hemp seed oil has gamma-linolenic and stearidonic acid in it, already formed, the diabetic need not worry about their body having to make eicosanoids out of linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid.

Male impotence The mechanism of action here is in the formation of the prostaglandin PGE1, a series 1 eicosanoid formed from the essential fatty acids of the Omega-6 group. PGE1 is now actually a prescription drug, powerful endorsement indeed. The essential fatty acids are also required for sperm production and fertility in men.

Lifestyles that benefit from hemp seed oil intake Certain people, because of the way they live, require more essential fatty acids than others. Obviously, people with poor diets qualify. • Alcohol limits the conversion of essential fatty acids to eicosanoids, so if you drink heavily you will need more essential fatty acids. • Athletes need high intakes of essential fatty acids to ensure repair and strengthening of muscle tissue. • People on weight loss diets should be careful not to eliminate the essential fatty acids from their diet. If unsure, take hemp seed oil. This may actually help you lose weight, as when your body has adequate supplies of essential fatty acids it is happy to let go of the storage fat. Failing to recognise this fact is one of the major mistakes made by people trying to lose weight by simply reducing all fat.

Ageing As we age the enzymes that convert the essential fatty acids to eicosanoids become less effective. To overcome this, take hemp seed oil. It also been shown that as we age the retina in the eye

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Hemp Seed Oil gradually loses its supply of essential fatty acids which may be responsible for age related visual decline. Again taking hemp seed oil can help to maintain essential fatty acid levels in the retina.

Immunodeficiency Immunodeficiency, it seems, is the modern scourge. Not only from the point of view of well-defined conditions such as HIV and AIDS but in terms of post viral syndrome and ME. Modern living seems to be running our immune systems down. Don’t forget, one of the signs of an essential fatty acid deficiency is an increased susceptibility to infections. Cells of the immune system are high turnover cells, continuously being produced, carrying out their job and dying. To replenish these vitally important cells you must have adequate quantities of essential fatty acids in the diet. In all cases of lowered immunity hemp seed oil is excellent.

Combining hemp seed oil with drugs The essential fatty acids are powerful therapeutic agents. Much research has gone into looking at how essential fatty acids combine with drugs. From the above we can see that these fatty acids can lower blood pressure, stop blood clotting, reduce inflammation etc. Treatment of a patient with hemp seed oil should therefore take account of the drugs that a person is taking. The conditions in which the essential fatty acids have been shown to have synergistic effects with drugs are; • • • • •

Hypertension (high blood pressure) Arthritis Psoriasis Ulcerative colitis Autoimmune disorders

This effect can actually be taken advantage of to reduce drug intake, and therefore limit potential side effects of orthodox medications. Unfortunately, modern doctors tend not to want to do this, and you should never take it upon yourself to try a drug reduction programme. Always get professional advice first. One example of an area where this could be particularly useful is in the patient who takes non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs for arthritis. A common side effect is stomach upsets and possibly ulcer formation. Hemp seed oil can step in to reduce the burden on the stomach whilst exerting its own anti-inflammatory effect. On the other hand we must also be aware that if we are taking certain drugs then foods such as hemp seed oil, flax or fish oils may synergise with them or boost the effect of them. If you are taking powerful anti-coagulant medication such as warfarin for example then you should take care to monitor your blood regularly. If you are unsure, always consult a doctor or herbalist and preferably both before you decide what to do. Another instance where you may have to be careful is if you have to undergo surgery. A long-term user of essential fatty acids may have a longer blood clotting time and this may be a bad thing after surgery. Once again, always seek advice from your health care practitioner and those involved in your treatment before making changes.

The latest, breaking surprise in the world of essential fatty acid research! On July 11, 2013, I was interested to see a news item on the television reporting that researchers had shown a connection between high amounts of the long chain Omega-3 fatty acids EPA/DHA and an increased risk of prostate cancer, Brasky TM et al 2013. Basically, the team in question took a group of men, some of whom had prostate cancer already and measured levels of the Omega-3 fatty acids in their bodies. They deduced that men with higher levels of DHA had a potentially increased chance of developing prostate

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Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil cancer. This was not the case for Omega-6, alpha-linolenic acid or EPA apparently. So, now we have to ask the dumb questions again! Why would we need an essential nutrient that gave us cancer? Further to this, what exactly is the prostate cancer risk amongst male eskimos? The other thing that came out of this trial is that the differences in quantity of fish oils we were talking about amounted to somewhere in the region of 2 portions of salmon a week. I find myself failing at this ridiculous information now! I’m sure we can all see how science really can enter the twilight zone on occasion! In fact, this study represents a snapshot in time and proves nothing. You could infer, from this trial, that prostate cancer causes high DHA levels in the blood, and it’s truly mind boggling to read serious scientists warning that essential nutrients may contribute to cancer development! Incidentally, one of the serious scientists involved in this trial is also on record and the internet endorsing yoga for food portion control in the treatment of obesity. How the heck do you set that one up I wonder? I might actually agree with the yoga hypothesis, but I do find it incredible that high powered scientists can claim an essential nutrient is bad in one breath and then endorse yoga with the next. If I had a pound for the number of times I had heard scientists pour scorn on yoga and other more esoteric subjects, I’d be rich, and yet here we are hearing this scientist calling essential fatty acids potentially dangerous. We all know that anything in excess can be dangerous, but this study does not seem to be taking excessive quantities into account, and it could always be just proving the point for balance of course…but! It is interesting to note that this is the same thing that happened in the good old Omega-6 days as I already discussed. First it was the best thing since sliced bread and then it was demonised. All the time of course its status as essential nutrient for humans remained unchanged! Once again I am forced to scream BALANCE and I am left exasperated by this fixation with extremes in the discussion concerning the essential fatty acids. How much hemp seed oil do you need to take daily? There is actually no accurate answer to this question, and often the recommendations are based on what is thought to be an adequate daily amount rather than an accurately known minimum daily requirement. You will read various suggestions but the following figures are a distillation of the recommendations of various authorities and government agencies. • •

14 grams per day of linoleic acid 3 grams per day of alpha-linolenic acid

This amount of the essential fatty acids is easily obtained by taking 15-20 ml of hemp seed oil per day. This is the equivalent of taking one teaspoonful, three or four times daily. Easy!

The Future of Hemp seed Oil I first wrote this section some 20 years ago, and I thought I should change the title now as we are at the "future"! However, I can now look back and analyse what has happened and gauge if my opinions about hemp seed oil gathered through experience and study are anywhere near correct. I can also use this accumulated knowledge to suggest what the future for hemp seed oil may be based on this information. My experience with hemp seed oil led me to believe that not only was it one of the most acceptable oils for human consumption in terms of taste etc., but that it seemed to have what appeared to be as close as we could get to the perfect ratio of essential fatty acids for all-round general human use. It seemed to fit the niche of covering all bases, and history alone suggested that mankind had known

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Hemp Seed Oil

Hemp Seed Oil this, not for centuries, but for millennia! Interestingly, I was born into the time when government began to make recommendations on saturated fats and heart disease, obesity etc. This led us right into the margarine and vegetable oil era with all the commercialism that entailed. What we actually got in exchange for our natural butter and dripping was a load of man-made trans-fatty acids more heart disease and bucketsful of sunflower oil! In the meantime the "powers that were" kept on recommending that we eat more polyunsaturates and scientists began using up millions of pounds, lots of lab equipment and animals and man hours studying the average, western diet and the place of essential fatty acids in it. But, we had entered the age when vegetable oils were good for us! Before too long Omega-6 supplements, evening primrose oil and the like were flooding the market. Fortunes were made and research continued apace, studies piled up like snow. We kept on dying of heart disease! Then it started to surface that maybe all this Omega-6 was really bad for us. We were going to melt under the sheer weight of self-inflicted arachidonic acid poisoning. The research kicked in like never before and the Eskimos entered the scene stage left. Then, as if by magic, the Omega-3 snowball started to roll down hill, getting bigger and bigger and faster and faster. Marketing now joined science in pointing the finger of suspicion at Omega-6 and fish fled in fear of their lives! Thus dawned the Omega-3 era. Sales of Omega-6 plummeted, sales of Omega-3 rocketed and scientists tested everything, churning out conflicting information like never before. In the meantime, we just kept on dying of heart disease. What nobody bothered researching or selling was the fact that maybe we needed a little of every essential fatty acid. As time went on scientists began discovering that one extreme or the other was not the answer and that responding to an abysmal western diet in a knee jerk fashion by piling one essential fatty acid or another into our bodies was no answer to anything. Companies now diversified into blended oils, more money, more products, more confusion. It actually appeared that there may really be a balance with this stuff, and slowly but surely it has begun to emerge. However, it has taken decades involving millions of dollars and goodness knows how much man power, not to mention mountains of research material, to more or less prove what we already knew...we need balance, a bit of everything, and perhaps the biggest surprise to people in white coats is that nature provides this stuff for free...it grows on trees! We have literally been led around by the nose for decades by science and commercialism just to get back to what our ancestors already knew...hemp seed seems to do it all! With which the bearded gentlemen in ragged, hemp fibre jeans stood up at the back, vege-burgers in hand to give a round of applause, to be ignored no longer! I now feel totally vindicated in my belief in hemp oil, I could believe what I actually observed it doing in real human beings and I was more or less correct in my assumptions about the balance of essential fatty acids it contains. Now the dust from the rampant commercial warfare and conflicting research has more or less settled with most parties agreeing that balance is the issue I feel it is time to truly call hemp seed oil the cod liver oil for the next generation. However, I feel I should end this booklet by referring back to Ralph Holman the man responsible for coining the term "Omega-3", which apparently he did in the year of my birth, 1963. Yes, it was a good year! Ralph Holman was apparently a devout Christian and got the idea for the term Omega from the Alpha and the Omega of the Bible. I suppose Ralph knew that the truth... just like God, was out there all the time...but what an expedition that was!

References Anstey, Quigley & Wilkinson., 1990. Topical Evening Primrose Oil as treatment for Atopic Eczema. Journal of Dermatological Treatment. 1, 199-201.

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Hemp Seed Oil Belch, Ansell, Madhok, O`Dowd, & Sturrock., 1988. Effects of Altering Dietary Essential Fatty Acids on Requirements for Non-steroidal, Anti-inflammatory Drugs in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis. A Double Blind Placebo Controlled Study. Annals of Rheumatic Disease. 47, 96-104. Berry & Hirsch., 1996. Does Dietary Linolenic acid Influence Blood Pressure?. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 44, 336-340. Bonaa, K.H., et al., 1990. Effect of EPA and DHA on blood pressure in hypertension. N. ENG. Journ. Med. 322:795. Borkman, M. et al., 1993. The relationship between insulin sensitivity and the fatty acid composition of skeletal muscle phospholipids. N. Eng. Journ. Med. 328: 238-244. Bosy TZ, Cole KA. Consumption and quantitation of delta 9-tetrahydro-cannabinol in commercially available hemp seed oil products. J Anal Toxicol. 2000 Oct;24(7):562-6. Brasky TM, Darke AK, Song X, Tangen CM, Goodman PJ, Thompson IM, Meyskens FL Jr, Goodman GE, Minasian LM, Parnes HL, Klein EA, Kristal AR. Plasma Phospholipid Fatty Acids and Prostate Cancer Risk in the SELECT Trial. J Natl Cancer Inst. 2013 Jul 10 Budowski,Trostler, Lupo,Vaisman & Eldor., 1984. Effect of Linseed Oil Ingestion on Plasma Fatty acid Composition and Platelet Aggregability in Healthy Volunteers. Nutrition Research. 4, 343-346. a. Burdge GC, Wootton SA. Conversion of alpha-linolenic acid to eicosapentaenoic, docosapentaenoic and docosahexaenoic acids in young women. Br J Nutr. 2002 Oct;88(4):411-20. b. Burdge GC, Calder PC. Conversion of alpha-linolenic acid to longer-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids in human adults. Reprod Nutr Dev. 2005 Sep-Oct;45(5):581-97. Callaway JC, Weeks RA, Raymon LP, Walls HC, Hearn WL. A positive THC urinalysis from hemp (Cannabis) seed oil. J Anal Toxicol. 1997 Jul-Aug;21(4):319-20 Callaway J, Schwab U, Harvima I, Halonen P, Mykkänen O, Hyvönen P, Järvinen T. Efficacy of dietary hempseed oil in patients with atopic dermatitis. J Dermatolog Treat. 2005 Apr;16(2):87-94 Carlson, Rhodes & Ferguson., 1986. Docosahexanoic Acid Status of Preterm Infants at Birth and Following Feeding with Human Milk or Formula. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 44, 798-804. Carter, J.P., 1988. Gamma-linolenic acid as a nutrient. Food Technology. 42(6): 72-82. Clandinin, Chapell, Leong, Heim, Swyer & Chance., 1980. Intrauterine Fatty Acid Accretion Rates in Human Brain: Implications for Fatty Acid Requirements. Early Human Development. 4, 121-129. Connor, Nueringer & Reisbick., 1991. Essentiality of Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Evidence from the Primate Model and Implications for Human Nutrition. In A.P. Simopoulos, R.R. Kifer, R.E. Martin & S.M. Barlow, eds, Health Effects of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Seafoods. World Review of Nutrition & Dietetics, Basel, Karger, 118-132. Crawford, Hassam & Stevens., 1981. Essential Fatty Acid Requirements in Pregnancy and Lactation with Special Reference to Brain Development. Progress in Lipid Research. 20, 31-40. Culíková V. Assortment of the plants in the Medieval diet in Czech countries (based on archaeobotanical finds). Acta Univ Carol Med (Praha). 2000;41(1-4):105-18 De Lorggeril, Renaud, Mamelle, Salen, Martin, Monjaud, Guidollet,Touboul & Delaye., 1994. Mediterranean Alpha-linolenic Acid Rich Diet in Secondary Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease. Lancet. 343, 1454-1459.

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Hemp Seed Oil Dehmer & co-workers., 1988. Reduction in Rate of Early Re-stenosis after Coronary Angioplasty by a diet supplemented with Omega-3 Fatty Acids. new England Journal of Medicine. 319, 733-740. Dewick, P.M., 1997. Medicinal natural products. A bio-synthetic approach. Wiley & Sons inc. 605 Third Ave, New York, NY, USA. Endres & co-workers., 1989. The Effect of Dietary Supplementation with Omega-3 Fatty Acids on the Synthesis of Interleukin-1 and Tumour Necrosis Factor of Mononuclear Cells. New England Journal of Medicine. 320, 265-271. Erasmus, U., 1993. Fats that heal, fats that kill. Alive Books, Burnaby, B.C. Canada. Fiocchi, Sala, Signoroni, Banderali, Agostini & Riva., 1994. The Efficacy and Safety of Gamma-linolenic Acid in the Treatment of Infantile Atopic Dermatitis. Journal of Internal Medicine. 22, 24-32 Foolad N, Brezinski EA, Chase EP, Armstrong AW. Effect of nutrient supplementation on atopic dermatitis in children: a systematic review of probiotics, prebiotics, formula, and fatty acids. JAMA Dermatol. 2013 Mar;149(3):350-5 Gavel NT, Edel AL, Bassett CM, Weber AM, Merchant M, Rodriguez-Leyva D, Pierce GN. The effect of dietary hempseed on atherogenesis and contractile function in aortae from hypercholesterolemic rabbits. Acta Physiol Hung. 2011 Sep;98(3):273-83 Gibson RA, Muhlhausler B, Makrides M. Conversion of linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid to long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFAs), with a focus on pregnancy, lactation and the first 2 years of life. Matern Child Nutr. 2011 Apr;7 Suppl 2:17-26 Hansen, Lerche, Kassis, Lorenzen & Sondergaard., 1983.Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis with Prostaglandin E1 precursors cis-linoleic acid and Gamma-linolenic Acid. Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology. 12, 85-88. Holman, Johnson & Hatch., 1982. A case of Linolenic Acid Deficiency Involving Neurological Abnormalities. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 35, 617-623. Holler JM, Bosy TZ, Dunkley CS, Levine B, Past MR, Jacobs A. Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol content of commercially available hemp products. J Anal Toxicol. 2008 Jul-Aug;32(6):428-32 Horrobin,D.F., 1990a. Omega-6 essential fatty acids. Wiley-Liss, New York, NY, USA. Horrobin, D.F., 1992. Nutritional and medical importance of gamma-linolenic acid. Prog. Lipid Res. 31(2): 16394. Horrobin & Manku., 1989. Pre-menstrual Syndrome and Pre-menstrual Breast Pain: Disorders of Essential Fatty Acid Metabolism. In; Prostaglandins Leucot. Essent. Fatty Acids. Reviews. 37, 255-262 Horrobin D F. Fatty acid metabolism in health and disease: the role of delta-6-desaturase. Am J Clin Nutr May 1993 vol. 57 no. 5 732S-736S Hunter, J.E. and Applewhite, T. H. 1991. Reassessment of trans fatty acid availability in the U.S.Am. Jour. Clin. Nut. 54:363 Indu, M., and Ghafoorunissa, 1992. N-3 fatty acids in Indian diets; comparison of the effects of precursor (alpha-linolenic acid) vs product (long chain n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids). Nutr. Res. 12:569–582. Jamal., 1994. The use of Gamma-linolenic Acid in the Prevention and Treatment of Diabetic Neuropathy. Diabetic Medicine. 11, 145-149. Jones, K.,1995. Nutritional and medicinal guide to hemp seed. Rainforest Botanical Laboratory, P.O. box 1793, Gibsons, B.C., Canada, VON1VO.

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Hemp Seed Oil Kralovansky, U.P. and J. Marthne-Schill, 1994. Data, composition and use value of hemp seed (Hungarian with English summary). Novenytermeles, 43(5): 439-446 Kromhout, Bosschieter and de Lezenne Coulander., 1985. The Inverse Relationship between Fish Consumption and 20 Year Mortality from Coronary Heart Disease. New England Journal of Medicine. 312, 1205-1209. Lampey & Walker., 1976. A possible Essential Role for Dietary Linolenic Acid in the Development of the Young Rat. Journal of Nutrition. 106, 86-93 Lee & co-workers.,1985. Effect of Dietary Enrichment with Eicosapentanoic Acid and Docosahexaenoic Acids on In Vitro Neutrophil and Monocyte Leukotriene Generation and Neutrophil Function. New England Journal of Medicine. 312, 1217-1224 Lenihan-Geels G, Bishop KS, Ferguson LR. Alternative sources of omega-3 fats: can we find a sustainable substitute for fish? Nutrients. 2013 Apr 18;5(4):1301-15 Leventhal, Boyce & Zurier., 1993. Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis with Gamma-linolenic Acid. Annals of Internal Medicine. 119, 867-873. Martinez & Ballabriga., 1987. Effects of Parenteral Nutrition with High Doses of Linoleate on the Developing Human Liver and Brain. Lipids. 22,133-138 McEvoy, C.M., Edwards, M. and Snowden, M. 1996. An overview of anti-oxidant, preservative and solvent excipients used in the pharmaceutical industry. Pharmaceutical Technology Europe. 8(6): 36-40. Muskiet FA, Fokkema MR, Schaafsma A, Boersma ER, Crawford MA. Is docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) essential? Lessons from DHA status regulation, our ancient diet, epidemiology and randomized controlled trials. J Nutr. 2004 Jan;134(1):183-6. Neuringer, Connor, Petten & Barstad., 1984. Dietary Omega-3 Fatty Acid Deficiency and Visual Loss in Infant Rhesus Monkeys. Journal of Clinical Investigations. 73, 272-276. Neuringer, Connor, Peten, Barstad & Luck., 1986. Biochemical and Functional Effects of Prenatal and Postnatal Omega-3 Fatty Acid Deficiency on Retina and Brain in Rhesus Monkeys. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 83, 4021-4025. Phillipson, Rothrock, Connor, Harris & Illingworth., 1985. Reduction of Plasma Lipids, Lipoproteins and Apoproteins by Dietary Fish Oils in Patients with Hypertriglycerideamia. New England Journal of Medicine. 312 1210-1216. Phinney, S., 1994. Potential risk of prolonged gamma-linolenic acid use. Ann. Internal Med. 120(8):692. Prociuk MA, Edel AL, Richard MN, Gavel NT, Ander BP, Dupasquier CM, Pierce GN. Cholesterol-induced stimulation of platelet aggregation is prevented by a hempseed-enriched diet. Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 2008 Apr;86(4):153-9. doi: 10.1139/Y08-011. Pullman-Mooar, Laposata, Lem, Holman, Leventhal, Demarco & Zurier., 1990. Alterations of the Cellular Fatty Acid Profile and the Production of Eicosanoids in human Monocytes by Gamma-linolenic Acid.Arthritis, Rheumatology. 33, 1526-1533. Renaud & Nordoy., 1983. Small is Beautiful:Alpha-linolenic Acid and Eicosapentanoic acid in Man. Lancet. 1, 1169.

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Hemp Seed Oil Rett BS, Whelan J. Increasing dietary linoleic acid does not increase tissue arachidonic acid content in adults consuming Western-type diets: a systematic review. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2011 Jun 10;8:36. doi: 10.1186/17437075-8-36. Rothman, DeLuca, & Zurier., 1995. Botanical Lipids: Effects on Inflammation, Immune Response and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Semin. Arthritis Rheum. 25, 87-96. Salter AM. Dietary fatty acids and cardiovascular disease. Animal. 2013 Mar;7 Suppl 1:163-71 Sapino S, Carlotti ME, Peira E, Gallarate M. Hemp-seed and olive oils: their stability against oxidation and use in O/W emulsions. J Cosmet Sci. 2005 Jul-Aug;56(4):227-51. Simopolous, A.P. 1991. Omega-3 fatty acids in health and disease and in growth and develoment. AM. Journ. Clin. Nut. 54:438 Surette ME, Koumenis IL, Edens MB, Tramposch KM, Chilton FH. Inhibition of leukotriene synthesis, pharmacokinetics, and tolerability of a novel dietary fatty acid formulation in healthy adult subjects. Clin Ther. 2003 Mar;25(3):948-71 The Merck Manual, 16th ed. 1992. Prostaglandins, Thromboxanes and Leukotrienes. 2659- 2666. Merck and Co. inc., Rathway, new Jersey, U.S.A. Sanders, Ellis & Dickerson.,1978. Studies of Vegans: The Fatty Acid Composition of Plasma Choline Phosphoglycerides, Erythrocytes,Adipose Tissue and Breast Milk and Some Indicators of Susceptibility to Ischaemic Heart Disease in Vegans and Omnivore Controls. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 31, 805813. Sanders & Younger.,1981. The effect of Dietary Suplements of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids on the Fatty Acid Composition of Platelets and Plasma Choline Phosphoglycerides. British journal of Nutrition. 45, 613-616. Schwab US, Callaway JC, Erkkil채 AT, Gynther J, Uusitupa MI, J채rvinen T. Effects of hempseed and flaxseed oils on the profile of serum lipids, serum total and lipoprotein lipid concentrations and haemostatic factors. Eur J Nutr. 2006 Dec;45(8):470-7. Epub 2006 Nov 10. Tate, Mandell, Laposta, Ohliger, Baker, Schumacher & Zurier., 1989. Suppression of Acute and Chronic Inflammation by Dietary Gamma-linolenic Acid. Journal of Rheumatology. 16, 729-734. Thiemer, R.R. and Molleken, H. 1995. Analysis of the oil from different hemp cultivars - perspectives for economical utilization. Pages 536-543 in Bioresource Hemp, 2nd edition. Nova Institute, Rosenstr. 53, 50678, Colgne, Germany. Troisi, R., et al. 1992. Trans fatty acid intake in relation to serum lipid concentrations in adult men. Am. Journ. Clin. Nut. 56:1019. Uauy, Birch, Birch,Tyson & Hoffman., 1990. Effect of Dietary Omega-3 Fatty Acids on Retinal Function of Very Low Birth Weight Neo-nates. Pediatric research. 28, 485-492. Van Aswegen & Du Plessis., 1994. Can Linoleic Acid and Gamma-linolenic Acid be Important in Cancer Treatment? Medical Hypothesis. 43, 415-417. Wertz, Swartzendruber, Abraham, Madison & Downing., 1987. Essential Fatty Acids and Epidermal Integrity. Archives of Dermatology. 123, 1381-1384. Wright & Burton., 1982. Oral Evening Primrose Oil Improves Atopic Eczema. Lancet. 2, 1120-1122.

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Hemp seed oil: Liquid Engineering for the Human Body  

Written by Stuart FitzSimons MNIMH, Medical Herbalist. A practitioner with over 30 years of experience with, and study of, hemp seed oil and...

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