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Hemp Oil Improves Dermatitis, Better than Flax for Essential Fats

Hemp oil is really underutilized as a carrier oil in aromatherapy. It provides very high levels of essential fats, that are beneficial when ingested and used topically. Omega-3 fats are highly regarded for their inflammation-taming properties, and are important for a significant amount of bodily processes to work properly. These two studies reveal some important [...]

Hemp oil is really underutilized as a carrier oil in aromatherapy. It provides very high levels of essential fats, that are beneficial when ingested and used topically. Omega-3 fats are highly regarded for their inflammation-taming properties, and are important for a significant amount of bodily processes to work properly. These two studies reveal some important therapeutic aspects of ingesting hemp oil ~ Hemp improves the profile of essential fats in the blood, and works better than Flax seed oil (which, while high in essential fats, does not have a ratio of 3, 6 and 9 omega fats that is as balanced for human physiology). Ingestion of hemp oil also improved dermatitis symptoms in a number of study participants.

Study: Effects of hempseed and flaxseed oils on the profile of serum lipids, serum total and lipoprotein lipid concentrations and haemostatic factors.

Schwab US, Callaway JC, Erkkilä AT, Gynther J, Uusitupa MI, Järvinen T.Dept. of Clinical Nutrition, University of Kuopio, P.O. Box 1627, 70211, Kuopio, Finland.

BACKGROUND: Both hempseed oil (HO) and flaxseed oil (FO) contain high amounts of essential fatty acids (FAs); i.e. linoleic acid (LA, 18:2n-6) and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA, 18:3n-3), but almost in opposite ratios. An excessive intake of one essential FA over the other may interfere with the metabolism of the other while the metabolisms of LA and ALA compete for the same enzymes. It is not known whether there is a difference between n-3 and n-6 FA of plant origin in the effects on serum lipid profile. AIM OF THE STUDY: To compare the effects of HO and FO on the profile of serum lipids and fasting concentrations of serum total and lipoprotein lipids, plasma glucose and insulin, and haemostatic factors in healthy humans. METHODS: Fourteen healthy volunteers participated in the study. A randomised, double-blind crossover design was used. The volunteers consumed HO and FO (30 ml/day) for 4 weeks each. The periods were separated by a 4-week washout period. RESULTS: The HO period resulted in higher proportions of both LA and gamma-linolenic acid in serum cholesteryl esters (CE) and triglycerides (TG) as compared with the FO period (P < 0.001), whereas the FO period resulted in a higher proportion of ALA in both serum CE and TG as compared with the HO period (P < 0.001). The proportion of arachidonic acid in CE was lower after the FO period than after the HO period (P < 0.05). The HO period resulted in a lower total-to-HDL cholesterol ratio compared with the FO period (P = 0.065). No significant differences were found between the periods in measured values of fasting serum total or lipoprotein lipids, plasma glucose, insulin or hemostatic factors. CONCLUSIONS: The effects of HO and FO on the profile of serum lipids differed significantly, with only minor effects on concentrations of fasting serum total or lipoprotein lipids, and no significant changes in concentrations of plasma glucose or insulin or in haemostatic factors.

Study: Efficacy of dietary hempseed oil in patients with atopic dermatitis.

Callaway J, Schwab U, Harvima I, Halonen P, Mykkänen O, Hyvönen P, Järvinen T.Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of Kuopio, Finland.

BACKGROUND: Hempseed oil is a rich and balanced source of omega-6 and omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Anecdotal evidence indicated that dietary hempseed oil might be useful in treating symptoms of atopic dermatitis. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Dietary hempseed oil and olive oil were compared in a 20-week randomized, single-blind crossover study with atopic patients. Fatty acid profiles were measured in plasma triglyceride, cholesteryl and phospholipid fractions. A patient questionnaire provided additional information on skin dryness, itchiness and usage of dermal medications. Skin transepidermal water loss (TEWL) was also measured. RESULTS: Levels of both essential fatty acids (EFAs), linoleic acid (18:2n6) and alpha-linolenic acid (18:3n3), and gamma-linolenic acid (GLA; 18:3n6) increased in all lipid fractions after hempseed oil, with no significant increases of arachidonic acid (20:4n6) in any lipid fractions after either oil. Intra-group TEWL values decreased (p=0.074), qualities of both skin dryness and itchiness improved (p=0.027) and dermal medication usage decreased (p=0.024) after hempseed oil intervention. CONCLUSIONS: Dietary hempseed oil caused significant changes in plasma fatty acid profiles and improved clinical symptoms of atopic dermatitis. It is suggested that these improvements resulted from the balanced and abundant supply of PUFAs in this hempseed oil.

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