Will hemp replace fish as the king of omega-3?
By Paul Benhaim, chief executive of Hemp Foods Australia and Elixinol
21-Nov-2014 – Last updated on 06-Feb-2020 at 12:11 GMT
Related tags: Omega-3 fatty acid
From a nutritional standpoint, the leaves, flowers and seeds of hemp plants provide essential organic nutrition that cannot be obtained elsewhere. Interest in the oil from its flowers and seeds is at an all-time high, showing no sign of slowing down.
Hemp seeds are incredibly nutrient-dense. Besides containing arguably the highest-quality protein in concentrations that exceed that of most other food sources, hemp seeds rule the world when it comes to polyunsaturated fatty acids like omega-3 and 6, among others.
These are the special oils the body uses for detoxification, building brain cells, hormones, neurotransmitters and many other systems and functions in the body, not to mention resisting and reversing obesity.
As a source of polyunsaturated fatty acids, hemp seeds contain 11% more than sacha inchi seeds, 62% more than flax seeds, 96% more than chia seeds, 104% more than fish oil and 460% more than whole fish.
Relative content of polyunsaturated fatty acids by source
As decades of unjustified prohibition and persecution continue to lose their grip, hemp is rapidly regaining the popularity it held for millennia as a primary and sustainable source of life's necessities — including omega-3 and 6 fatty acids.
Hemp Oil vs. Fish Oil: What Should You Take?
Many people from all walks of life are making use of wellness supplements as an aid to help them sleep, focus, alleviate soreness, get through a hard day at work, or manage other symptoms. Hemp oil and fish oil are among the most popular of these supplements, both of which offer a range of health benefits.
However, some may be confused about how these two particular supplements differ, or how their contents and uses stand out from other supplements on the market. To help you better understand what these supplements have to offer and which one is right for you, we outlined the differences between the hemp oil and fish oil, as well as the benefits one might derive from them.
So, what’s the difference?
First of all, as their names might indicate, hemp seed oil and fish oil supplements are derived from hemp and fish, respectably. To be more specific, fish oil is the fat or oil extracted from fish tissue. As for hemp oil, it can have two different meanings: hemp seed oil, or hemp-derived CBD oil (another popular wellness supplement). However, while both hemp seed oil and CBD oil contain cannabis compounds extracted from hemp, there are some important distinctions to be drawn between the two.
What is hemp oil good for?
Hemp oil is made by cold pressing the seeds of hemp plants to create a dark oil that’s rich in vitamins, minerals, and other beneficial nutrients. But unlike other parts of the hemp plant, the seeds are not rich in cannabinoids like CBD, and therefore do not have the same health benefits as CBD oil.
It does, however, have its own list of advantages. Hemp seed oil is rich in essential fatty acids like omega-3 and omega-6 that are strong supporters of heart health. They can decrease blood pressure, heart rhythm problems, and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.
Hemp seed oil can also serve as an aid for dry, itchy, or irritated skin. The nutrients and linoleic acid in hemp seed oil can help promote skin cell repair and regeneration, as well as improve long-term skin health. In addition to its skin benefits, the high levels of essential fatty acids in hemp seed oil may also improve cell communication, gene expression, and other immune system functions.
Benefits of fish oil
The World Health Organization says “a healthy, balanced diet should include at least 2 portions of fish a week, including 1 of oily fish.” As is the case when using hemp seed oil, eating fish or taking a fish oil supplement can be a good source of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation. About 30% of fish oil is made up of omega-3s, while the other 70% is made up of other beneficial fats and vitamins.
Oils from fish like cod liver and krill are popularly used as wellness supplements for a variety of health reasons. These supplements can support heart health by lowering cholesterol levels, triglycerides, blood pressure, and abnormal heart rhythms. Other effects of fish oil include better bone health, healthier skin, and improved vision.
Some people have also found fish oil to be a beneficial aid in weight loss. Studies have found that fish oil can reduce waist circumference and waist-to-hip ratio. In combination with diet and exercise, fish oil may be able to generate even greater results. It can also help alleviate inflammation, which is a common symptom of many different conditions, and may also reduce asthma symptoms.
Choosing the best supplement for your needs
When shopping for hemp seed oil or CBD oil, read labels thoroughly to ensure you’re buying the right kind of hemp extract. While hemp seed oil has been FDA approved, CBD oil has not. This does not mean that it’s unsafe, but that research has yet to determine if there is any real medicinal value to these cannabis extracts. However, some evidence has shown that CBD can have positive effects in the management of certain symptoms, as well as other assorted health benefits.
CBD products, hemp seed oil, and fish oil all have relatively few side effects, which are unlikely to occur if the supplement is taken at the appropriate dosage. To determine the best dose for you, read any dosage recommendations listed on the product label, or consider consulting a doctor.
Always do your own research before adding a supplement to your wellness routine. Make sure to check in with a doctor if you are considering using a supplement for symptoms associated with a serious condition, or if you take other medications that could interact with the supplement. If you take the proper precautions, you’ll find the approach that yields the most effective results and is best for your long term health.
Hemp oil and fish oil are popular wellness supplements. Discover the benefits of each, as well as their similarities and differences.