Hemp Seed – Most Nutritious Complete Food Source

Cannabis sativa L. has been an important source of food, fibre and medicine for thousands of years. Seed of the plant grown for human consumption, hemp seed, contains all the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids (EFA’s) necessary to maintain healthy human life. With over 30% oil and about 25% protein, substantial amounts of minerals, dietary fibre and vitamins, no other single plant source has the essential amino acids in such an easily digestible form. Our body needs amino acids in ample quantity so they can make proteins such as the globulins. Adequate amounts of the right kinds may not be available to the body most of the time through a regular diet. So even though your body may have enough essential amino acids available to avoid onset of nutritive deficiency diseases, it may not have enough to produce immunoglobulins compulsory for the immune system to combat infection.


Cardiovascular disease (CVD), includes conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke and kills one Australian every 12 minutes. One of Australia’s largest health problems and one of the biggest burdens on the economy, there were 159,052 deaths in Australia in 2015 (81,330 male and 77,722 female) and the leading cause of death was heart disease. Cancer accounted for 46,003 or nearly 29% of all deaths in Australia in 2015. In 2016, it is estimated 130,466 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in Australia (72,048 males and 58,418 females). Researchers believe cancers erupt when the immune system response is weakened. Pioneers in the fields of biochemistry and human nutrition now believe CVD and most cancers are really diseases of fatty degeneration caused by the continued over-consumption of saturated fats and refined vegetable oils that turn essential fatty acids into carcinogenic killers. And if this is not scary enough, more are succumbing to immune deficiency diseases than ever before. Sadly it is ignorance of human nutritional needs that will cause this overwhelming majority to die slowly from these afflictions – the greatest killers in affluent nations.


There are eight amino acids the human body cannot make and two more the body cannot make in sufficient quantity, so they are essential to life. A diet without any one of them will eventually cause disease and death. These essential amino acids, along with others the body makes from them, are chained together in accordance to genetic guidelines (via RNA formats from DNA blueprints) into structural proteins and enzymes (globular proteins) that give body to life and carry out the mechanics of living. Nearly three quarters of body solids are proteins. The body is literally constructed and maintained by an infinitely complex system that builds proteins from amino acid sub-units. Every amino acid consists of an amine (organic compound containing nitrogen) and a carboxyl (denoting the acid radical COOH, present in most organic acids) bound to the same carbon atom. All but the smallest amino acid have one, more or less complex, carbon containing side chain connected to the carbon atom shared by the amine and carboxyl groups.

1aminoacidThe amine group of one amino acid unites with the carboxyl group of another forming a peptide link. Proteins are made of amino acid peptide chains in specific sequences. The number of possible amino acid peptide combinations is infinite. Peptide chains can bend, twist and unite with other peptide chains by forming weak hydrogen bonds between nitrogen and oxygen atoms along the chain. Amino acids can also form bonds through side chain linkages. All three types of amino acid bonding methods contribute to the infinite possibility of protein shapes and reactivity potentials. Though each species builds proteins unique to itself, life can tailor new ones if challenged by the pressures of existence.

When comparing the amino acid profile with other protein sources, hemp protein is fairly high in tyrosine and arginine (greater than other plant sources) and high in aspartic acid and alanine (higher than other sources). Hemp is known as a complete plant based protein source because it provides the essential amino acids. Complete protein sources are very difficult to find in the plant kingdom, as plants often do not have the amino acid lysine. Hemp is not unique in having all the essential amino acids in its embryonic seed. Flax seed also contains all the essential amino acids as do many others in the plant kingdom. What is unique about hemp seed protein is that 65% of it is globulin edestin and 33% albumin; the highest in the plant kingdom. 


Globulins are one of seven classes of simple proteins. Simple proteins are constructed from amino acids and contain no non-protein substances. Globulins are in seeds and animal blood. Edestins are in seeds and are plant globulins. Globulins along with albumins are classified as globular proteins. All enzymes, antibodies, many hormones and haemoglobin (among others) are globular proteins which carry out the main work of living. Albumin and globulin are two of three major types of plasma proteins. Plasma is the fluid portion of blood that supplies nutrients to tissues. Plasma proteins serve as a reservoir of rapidly available amino acids should any body tissues be in need.

Plant seeds contain albumin and globulin. Albumin is the nutritive material that fills the space in the seed between the embryo and the seed coat. The embryo needs albumin to fuel its initial growth until photosynthesis begins. Globulin edestins within the embryo guarantee this new life has the enzymes necessary for metabolic activity. Globulin is the third most abundant protein in the human body. Globulins perform many enzymatic (causing reactions to take place) functions within the plasma itself. More importantly, they are responsible for the natural and acquired immunity a person has against invading organisms. The body uses globulin proteins to make antibodies which attack infecting agents (antigens) that invade the body. Globulins like gamma-globulin are absolutely essential to maintain a healthy immune system. They neutralise alien micro-organisms and toxins.

hemp-seed-close-upDuring digestion proteins in food are broken down into amino acids. The amino acids are then taken into the body and reassembled into human proteins according to need and the availability of the amino acids necessary to make specific proteins. The body needs the necessary kinds of amino acids in sufficient quantity in order to make proteins such as the globulins. Proper quantities of the right kinds may not be available to the body much of the time. So even though the body has enough essential amino acids available to prevent deficiency diseases, it may not have enough to build quantities of immunoglobulins necessary for the immune system to repel infection.

The best way to ensure the body has enough amino acid material to make the globulins is to eat foods high in globulin proteins. Since hemp seed protein is 65% globulin edestin, and 33% albumin, its protein is readily available in a form quite similar to that found in blood plasma. Eating hemp seed gives the body all the essential amino acids required to maintain health and provide the necessary kinds and amounts of amino acids the body needs to make human serum albumin and serum globulins like the immune enhancing gamma globulins. Eating hemp seed could aid, if not heal, people suffering from immune deficiency diseases. For example, in 1955 it was proven hemp seed could treat nutritional deficiencies brought on by tuberculosis (Czechoslovakia Tubercular Nutritional Study), a severe nutrition blocking disease that causes the body to waste away.

Globulin AntibodyAntibodies are globulin proteins programmed to destroy antigens (any substance eliciting a response from lymphocytes: bacteria, viruses, toxins, living and dead tissue, internal debris, etc). Circulating in blood plasma like mines floating in a harbour, antibodies await contact with the enemy, then initiate a cascade of corrosive enzymes that bore holes in the antigen surface causing it to break apart. Antibodies are custom designed to neutralise or disintegrate one specific type of antigen.

White blood cells called B cell lymphocytes seek out and lock-on to antigenic proteins or sugars on the invader’s surface. The B cell then uses that lock and key pattern to make antibodies tailored to that antigen only. It will also make clones of itself called plasma cells. Most of the clones begin producing antibodies for that antigen. Others become memory cells which may spend years wandering through the bloodstream looking for that specific antigen. If the body is exposed to it again the memory cells lock-on to one and it begins producing plasma cell clones and a flood of antibodies that wipe out the invader. One lymphocyte can divide into hundreds of plasma cells in a few days. A mature plasma cell can make about 2,000 antibodies every second for the few days it lives. This is how the body acquires immunity. 

The body’s ability to resist and recover from illness depends upon how rapidly it can produce massive amounts of antibodies to fend off the initial attack. If the globulin protein starting material is in short supply the army of antibodies may be too small to prevent the symptoms of sickness from setting in. Hemp seed is the premier seed provider of globulin starting material, the highest in the plant kingdom. Eating hemp seed will ensure the immune system has the reservoir of immunoglobulin resources needed to make disease destroying antibodies.

Hemp Seed Nutrition Facts

(approximate serving size 30 grams)

170 calories per serving (130 calories from fat)


% of Daily Value*

Total fat

14 g


Saturated fat

1 g


Trans fat

0 g


Polyunsaturated fat

11 g


Monounsaturated fat

2 g



0 g



0 g


Total Carbohydrate

2 g


Dietary Fibre

1 g



<1 g



10 g














*Percent Daily Values based on a 2,000 calorie diet

Almost 25% of calories in hemp seed comes from protein, which is relatively high. Based on weight, hemp seed provides protein almost equal to beef and lamb with 20-30 g of hemp seed providing around 10-11 g of protein. 

Vitamins and Minerals (phytonutrients) per 100 g Hemp Seed

  • Calcium (145 mg)

  • Copper (2 mg)

  • Iron (14 mg)

  • Magnesium (483 mg)

  • Manganese and Zinc (7 mg each)

  • Phosphorus (1160 mg)

  • Potassium (859 mg)

  • Riboflavin (0.1 mg)

  • Thiamine (0.4 mg)

  • Vitamin A (3800 IU mg)

  • Vitamin B2 (0.11 mg)

  • Vitamin B3 (2.8 mg)

  • Vitamin B6 (0.12 mg)

  • Vitamin D3 (2277 IU mg)

  • Vitamin E (90 mg)


Hemp Seed Fatty Acid Composition

  • 65% Linoleic acid – Omega-6

  • 22% Alpha-linolenic acid – Omega-3

  • 9% Oleic acid

  • 4% Gamma-linoleic acid (GLA)

  • 2% Stearic acid

  • 2% of an Omega-3 fatty acid

  • Stearidonic acid

  • 5% Palmitic acid

Omega-3 and Omega-6 relative amount appears to be 3:1

Therapeutic benefits of hemp seed include (but not limited to);

Cancer – According to the American Cancer Society, many people with cancer do not make enough GLA (Omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acid metabolite of linoleic acid) and could benefit from supplementation. In addition to helping cancer drugs work better, studies have actually shown GLA can slow or stop cancer as a standalone treatment. Hemp seed’s perfect fatty-acid profile of Omega-3 fats and GLA helps naturally balance inflammation levels and strengthen the immune system.

Cardiac (Heart) health – 3:1 balance of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids promotes cardiovascular health. Key ingredients in building a healthy heart include fibre, plant-based protein, healthy fats and less sugar. Hemp seed has all these and consumption may alleviate the risk and threat of heart disease through various mechanisms such as:

  • Nitric oxide is a gaseous substance that makes blood vessels dilate and relax, leading to lowered levels of blood pressure and lowered risk of heart disease. Hemp seed consists of high amounts of the amino acid arginine which aids production of nitric oxide in the body. 
  • In a large group study comprising more than thirteen thousand people, increased arginine intake was allied with reduced levels of C-reactive protein (CRP). C-reactive protein is an inflammatory marker associated with heart disease.
  • The GLA readily present in hemp protein has been associated with decreased inflammation of heart vessels which may reduce the risk, severity and onset of heart disease and cardiac disorders (including stroke).

Nutritionists recommend adding about two teaspoons of hemp seed protein to a morning smoothie as a way to naturally encourage lower blood pressure, improve triglycerides (the major form of fat stored by the body), lower levels of LDL cholesterol (bad) and raise HDL cholesterol (good). Laboratory studies have shown hemp seed protein can decrease blood pressure, lower the possibility of blood clot formation and help heart health and recovery after a heart attack or cardiac episode. Hemp seed protein is an excellent source of arginine and GLA, both of which have been related to decreased risk of heart disease.


Diabetes and diabetic neuropathy – Hemp seed may decrease spikes in blood sugar. 

Digestive Health – High in insoluble (80%) and soluble (20%) fibre, hemp seed provides more than enough bulk to keep your gastrointestinal system regular. Additionally, this healthy mixture of roughage feeds probiotics (beneficial micro-organisms found in the human gut) and helps secure a more robust immune system. Fibre is a vital part of the diet and is associated with better digestive health. Whole hemp seed is an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fibre and an indispensable source of nutrients for friendly digestive bacteria. 


Hormonal – GLA, an essential Omega-6 fatty acid, naturally balances hormones. Research in the 1980’s observed hormone-like substances called prostaglandins play a key role in helping the body function smoothly. It was discovered prostaglandins help smooth muscles contract, control inflammation and body temperature and are vital to other body functions. Hemp seed GLA is known to be a necessary building block for some prostaglandins and researchers have surmised GLA supplementation is necessary for proper hormone health, which is probably why the up to 80% of women worldwide who suffer  from psychological and physical symptoms brought about by premenstrual syndrome (PMS) have been helped by it. These symptoms are very likely manifestations of sensitivity to the hormone prolactin. GLA, present in hemp protein, produces prostaglandin E1, which alleviates the effects of prolactin and may also reduce symptoms associated with menopause. 

Obesity – Hemp is known as a natural appetite suppressant and can help you feel full for longer. Health professionals recommend adding hemp seed to breakfast to help curb hunger throughout the day. Rich in soluble and insoluble fibre, hemp naturally cleanses the colon and reduces sugar cravings. 

Rheumatoid arthritis – A six-month study published in the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism found consuming the stand alone GLA found in hemp seed reduces arthritis symptoms by 25% compared to placebo at 4%.  This, along with the fact hemp seed has an ideal ratio of Omega-3/6 fats along with other minerals, helps naturally reduce inflammation. Health professionals recommend a tablespoon of hemp seed oil daily. 

Hair/Nails/Skin – Hemp seed benefits skin and hair, going a long way to improving dry, red, flaking skin. Eating a couple of tablespoons of hemp seed daily maximises benefits for skin disorders such as psoriasis and eczema. Oil from the hemp seed is known to penetrate the inner layers of the skin and promote healthy cell growth; the recipe for smooth, soft skin is to use a home-made skin cream combining hemp seed oil, shea butter and essential oils like lavender or rosemary. Medical research has shown hemp seed protein helps improve blood concentration levels of essential fatty acids in eczema sufferers and provide relief from itchiness, irritation, improve dry skin and reduce the need for pharmaceuticals.

GLA and GLA-rich foods like hemp seed have also been observed to help people with ADHD, hypertension (high blood pressure) and Multiple Sclerosis (MS).



Expanded from HEMP SEED: THE MOST NUTRITIONALLY COMPLETE FOOD SOURCE IN THE WORLD, with Heart disease in Australia, Hemp Protein: The Ultimate Guide, Causes of Death Australia 2015, Truth About HempSurvey of minor fatty acids in Cannabis sativa L. fruits of various origins, Hemp Seed Benefits and Nutrition Profile