Quick Summary Points
- Hemp protein is a complete protein that contains all 9 essential amino acids that must be obtained from food
- It is a good source of fiber, easy to digest and is rich in minerals & antioxidants
- Hemp protein is less refined than other types of protein powders, slightly gritty in texture
- Recommended dosage depends on bodyweight usually (1.5-2.2g per kg of bodyweight)
What is Hemp Protein?
Hemp protein is a by product from the processing of hemp seeds. The hemp plant is also known as as cannabis or marijuana, but the strains used for production of seeds, fibre etc. contain very low levels of the psychoactive compound commonly associated with recreational use. The protein has up to 10% fatty acids, generally omega 3, 6 and polyunsaturated fats.
Hemp Protein Highlights
- Dairy & lactose free – suitable for vegans
- Easy to digest
- Excellent source of fibre
- Rich in minerals & antioxidants
- Contains no unsaturated fats
Where Does Hemp Protein Come From?
Hemp protein comes from the hemp plant, or Cannibis sativa. It is grown across the world as commercial crop, and various parts of the plant can be used for food from the protein and oil, forage, animal bedding, fibre, building materials, paper and cloth. Generally the plant can be legally grown as long as levels of THC (the psychoactive compound) are below 0.3%.
Hemp Protein Health Benefits
It may have positive effects on learning and memory, although it is unknown whether this is due to amino acid, in which case it would be a property of all protein supplementation, or to a unique compound. The fatty acid component of hemp protein also confers heart protective benefits, as well as being good for skin and hair health.
Hemp Protein Benefits for Bodybuilding
Most of the benefits conferred from hemp protein are due to the general benefits of protein supplementation. It does have high absorption rates, as well as the added benefits of omegas and fatty acids. It is also one of the few plant proteins that contain all essential amino acids, and so would also be a good option for those looking for a natural or vegetarian protein option.
Hemp Protein Side Effects, Safety and Negatives
There is no danger of becoming intoxicated using hemp protein, since THC levels are very low.
Hemp Protein Recommended Doses and Ingredient Timing
For atheletes, a daily guide of protein intake is 1.5 – 2.2g per kg of body weight. If your daily intake doesn't meet the requirements, then supplementation may be required to increase your intake to the required amount. Hemp protein is a fast absorbed protein, and so could be a good pre or post workout protein option.
Hemp Protein Supplements
Hemp protein can be bought as a powder, similar to other protein supplements. This can be mixed with milk, juice or other liquids to increase palatability, or simply with water.
Stacking Hemp Protein
Hemp protein stacks similiarly to other protein sources. It may be well combined with a slower release protein such as casein, in order to improve the range of absorption over a longer period of time. Combined with carbohydrates and BCAAs recovery is greatly improved, and used with creatine your muscle building capacity is enhanced.
Rodriguez-Leyva D, Pierce GN. The cardiac and haemostatic effects of dietary hempseed. Nutr Metab (Lond). (2010)
House JD, Neufeld J, Leson G. Evaluating the quality of protein from hemp seed (Cannabis sativa L.) products through the use of the protein digestibility-corrected amino acid score method. J Agric Food Chem. (2010)
Schwab US, et al. 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)
Kaul N, et al. A comparison of fish oil, flaxseed oil and hempseed oil supplementation on selected parameters of cardiovascular health in healthy volunteers. J Am Coll Nutr. (2008)