Hemp ~ The Natural Way To Reduce Cortisol


Physical and emotional stress cause cortisol levels to rise in the body. It is an important hormone and helps regulate insulin, blood pressure, immune function, inflammatory responses, and glucose metabolism.

Cortisol is a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands, and is often known as the ‘stress hormone.’ It is beneficial when a sudden burst of energy is needed (for example, in a ‘fight or flight’ situation), helping memory, or giving the immune system a boost.

Constant high levels of cortisol, however, are NOT beneficial. When cortisol secretions remain at unsafe levels they can cause many complications (for example, in situations of chronic stress):

  • High blood pressure
  • Increased abdominal fat
  • Loss of bone density
  • Loss of collagen
  • Increased gastric acid
  • Counteracts insulin and elevates blood glucose levels (excess cortisol may be a factor in appearance of diabetes)
  • Blocks cells from producing chemicals that regulate immunity
  • Suppressed thyroid function
  • Impaired cognition
  • Fatigue/weakness
  • Inhibits reproductive system

In the case of chronic stress, the body is not allowed to go back to the normal, relaxed stage; this results in constant high levels of cortisol.

There are many stress management techniques that can be implemented:

Removing the stressors

Learning to adapt to the stressors

Spend more time in nature

Adopt a healthy lifestyle – this includes exercise, sufficient sleep, avoiding excessive caffeine/sugar and intake of sufficient nutrients.

Nutrition has been known to play a large part in helping the body stay at optimum healthy levels – physically, emotionally, and mentally. Some of the most important nutrients are Omega Fatty Acids.

Omega fatty acids are anti-inflammatory. They also help the central nervous system. One way they do that is by ‘feeding’ the myelin sheaths that protect the nerves (myelin sheaths are high in fatty acids), and Omega fatty acids are known to, to some extent, repair the myelin sheaths. Myelin sheath damage and degeneration is what causes MS, or Multiple Sclerosis.

Omega fatty acids also aid with those suffering from depressions and Alzheimers. Omega fatty acids nourish and soothe the cells, and because they are anti-inflammatory, they may help decrease the effects from chronic stress.

Hempseed and hempseed oil are one of the best sources of Omega fatty acids. Hemp has the perfect ratio of Omega fatty acids needed by the human body. Hemp has a high concentration of fats, but they are GOOD fats. Not only is it rich in Omega fatty acids, it is also very nutrient dense – hemp is a complete protein and has vitamins and minerals needed by the body.

Hemp, combined with a healthy lifestyle and diet, is a great way to reduce cortisol…and avoid the problems that arise with elevated cortisol levels.

Hemp – It’s An Excellent Antioxidant!


 

We’ve all heard that antioxidants are important for keeping the body healthy.

What exactly is oxidation? Oxidation in the human body, or oxidative stress, is similar to the chemical reaction that causes iron to rust. Oxidative stress “occurs when the body’s mechanism for neutralizing highly toxic chemicals known as free radicals is overtaxed. Free radicals perform some necessary functions within the body, but they can also participate in unwanted side reactions that cause cell damage. Many forms of cancer, for example, are thought to be the result of reactions between free radicals and DNA.” (thedoctorwillseeyounow.com)

What are free radicals? “Normally, bonds don’t split in a way that leaves a molecule with an odd, unpaired electron. But when weak bonds split, free radicals are formed. Free radicals are very unstable and react quickly with other compounds, trying to capture the needed electron to gain stability. Generally, free radicals attack the nearest stable molecule, “stealing” its electron. When the “attacked” molecule loses its electron, it becomes a free radical itself, beginning a chain reaction. Once the process is started, it can cascade, finally resulting in the disruption of a living cell.

Some free radicals arise normally during metabolism. Sometimes the body’s immune system’s cells purposefully create them to neutralize viruses and bacteria. However, environmental factors such as pollution, radiation, cigarette smoke and herbicides can also spawn free radicals.

Normally, the body can handle free radicals, but if antioxidants are unavailable, or if the free-radical production becomes excessive, damage can occur. Of particular importance is that free radical damage accumulates with age.” (healthchecksystems.com)

When oxidation occurs, healthy cells are damaged – causing cancer, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimers, neurodegenerative diseases, macular degeneration, and other diseases and disorders.

The purpose of antioxidants is to protect cells from oxidation and damage. There are many sources of antioxidants, one of which is hempseed/hempseed oil.  Cold-pressed hempseed oil contains Vitamin E and phenolic acid, both of which are antioxidants. Below are summaries from studies on antioxidants:

“The best antioxidant properties were displayed by the extract from hemp, pumpkin and rapeseed oils. The highest content of total phenolic compounds was determined for the pumpkin and hemp oils…

The highest anti- oxidant activity was displayed by the extract obtained from hemp and pumpkin oils (70%)” (THE CONTENT AND ANTIOXIDANT ACTIVITY OF PHENOLIC COMPOUNDS IN COLD-PRESSED PLANT OILS
ALEKSANDER SIGER1, MALGORZATA NOGALA-KALUCKA and ELEONORA LAMPART-SZCZAPA
Faculty of Food Science and Nutrition Department of Food Biochemistry and Analysis August Cieszkowski University of Agriculture Poznan, Poland)

“Hemp seed oils have been reported to contain antioxidants and possess a remarkable radical scavenging activity and oxygen radical absorption capacity…” (Boskou Dimitrios* & Laboratory of Food Chemistry and Technology, School of Chemistry, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki)

In addition to being a complete protein, a source of the perfect ratio of Omega fatty acids, and a food that is nutrient dense, hempseed/hempseed oil is a great way to combat oxidative stress that leads to disease.