While omega-6 fatty acids are typically good, too many can increase your chance of diseases like cancer, heart disease and autoimmune diseases. This can include a range of conditions, like inflammatory bowel disease or rheumatoid arthritis. Choosing oils, like hemp oil, which have the right omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, can help reduce your risk of these problems.
Extensive studies have demonstrated that many common illnesses are related to deficiencies or imbalances of specific fatty acids in the body. Symptoms are often related to a lack of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids and their derivatives, the postaglandins. Most people eating a healthful diet, one that includes a balanced ratio of essential fatty acids, also have healthy skin and a strong immune system. Yet some individuals may experience shortages in specific fatty acids or their metabolites due to dysfunctional enzyme systems or other inhibitions in their metabolic pathways caused by genetic, immune-system-related, or even environmental factors. It has been proven in several clinical studies that dietary supplementation with essential fatty acids or their metabolites (such as GLA) will often prevent or even cure these illnesses. Since hemp seed oil contains both essential fatty acids in a desirable balance while also providing two of the essential fatty acid metabolites, it is a good resource for the prevention and treatment of certain illnesses.
There are many types of omega fatty acids. Some of them are essential, like omega-3 and omega-6, and others are not, like omega-9. Hemp oil contains abundant essential fatty acids, like omega-3 and omega-6. Omega-3 fats support the health of your brain, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, heart and various other organ systems. Omega-6 fats are important for the healthy function of your immune system and metabolism.
Hemp oil is an abundant source of alpha-linolenic acid. Alpha-linolenic acid is an omega-3 fatty acid that is essential to proper organ function. It is similar to the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil, and can help prevent heart disease, arthritis and depression, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. It can also help reduce low density lipoprotein cholesterol, the "bad" cholesterol that clogs arteries.
Although hemp was once the most important cash crop in the United States — more so than corn and wheat combined — hemp was banned and classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. While classification as a Schedule I drug meant hemp could no longer be grown in the U.S., products containing hemp, such as lotions, fabric and food, are legal for purchase in the U.S. and are often found at natural and health food retailers including Whole Foods, Costco and Sprouts grocers.
Avoid using hemp oil for frying. It should be used in cold and warm dishes that are never heated above 121 degrees F. High heat breaks down polyunsaturated fats into harmful peroxides. Use Hemp Seed Oil as a flavor-enhancer in many recipes. Do not use as a substitute for frying oils. Keep bottles tightly sealed after opening and store in the refrigerator or freezer.
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Due to its high content of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, hemp oil has a composition similar to skin lipids, which makes it an excellent natural emollient and moisturizer. It is especially useful for dry, tired or dehydrated skin and nails. It increases the skin elasticity and water retention capacity in tissues. Pure hemp oil can be used to treat dry hair and is often included in hair conditioners.
According to PeaceHealth, a website dedicated to providing information on an array of different supplements and medications, hemp oil can cause minor side effects in the digestive system. For example, the website suggests that hemp and hemp oil can soften the stools, often leading to diarrhea or abdominal cramping. Many times, excessive diarrhea can lead to increased weight loss or malabsorption. While further research is needed to substantiate these side effect claims, it is recommended that for individuals with a history of digestive disorders or irregular bowel movements to not take hemp oil supplements.
Consuming the right ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids is important because it helps various bodily systems function better. The 3-1 or 2-1 ratio may help reduce inflammation in people with inflammatory diseases, and even slightly higher ratios at around 5-to-1 may be helpful for people with asthma. In contrast, ratios around 10-to-1 start producing negative effects on your health.
Hemp is often mistaken for its cannabis cousin, marijuana, even though smoking an entire garbage bag of hemp would not produce an altered state of consciousness, as hemp contains low levels of THC. Confusion between hemp oil and marijuana oil has spiked recently, as states have passed medical marijuana laws that allow for the use of strains of marijuana that are low in THC and high in CBD. Consumers often confuse hemp oil with CBD oil because both are low in THC and contain CBD.
Hemp oil can be used for the treatment of minor health ailments and as a dietary supplement for the promotion of general good health. Hemp oil is considered one of the most useful natural supplements for the body due to its ability to provide essential fatty acids to humans that we would not be able to manufacture on our own. However, you should also be aware of potential side effects associated with hemp oil. As such, be sure to speak to a medical professional for more information on hemp oil effects.
John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.
Hemp oil is also rich in "super" polyunsaturated fatty acids, most notably gamma-linolenic acid and stearidonic acid. Although these are not essential fatty acids, they may help reduce the symptoms of atopic dermatitis and other skin conditions. However, the amount of these non-essential fatty acids varies according to the quality of the hemp plant the acids were derived from.
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