Menopause: Hemp vs. Soy


Menopause

Menopause.

For some, the M word brings up thoughts of felonious females flirting with fiery flashes of fitful frustration.

However, not every woman experiences menopause in the same way.

As I stated on an earlier post, some common symptoms of menopause are (this is a partial list):

  • Hot/cold flashes
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Night sweats
  • Dizziness/loss of balance
  • Mood swings
  • Bloating
  • Confusion
  • Hair loss/weakened fingernails/dry skin
  • Depression/panic disorder
  • Headaches
  • Tingling in hands and feet
  • Digestion problems
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Aching joints

The changing levels of estrogen and progesterone can last a few months, or they can last a few years.  Some women may experience all of these symptoms, some may not.

HRT (hormone replacement therapy) is another way, but more women are avoiding that avenue, since HRT has been shown to be associated with increased rates of heart attack, stroke, and breast cancer.

One way to manage symptoms is with nutrition and diet. For quite a while soy has been one of the dietary staples of menopausal women, especially those who wish to avoid HRT.  It has been widely thought that soy isoflavones helped prevent menopausal bone loss, but according to JAMA, “Conclusions  In this population, the daily administration of tablets containing 200 mg of soy isoflavones for 2 years did not prevent bone loss or menopausal symptoms.” (http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1106084)

I am seeing more often articles and stories debunking the benefits of soy.

Many menopausal women turn to soy to stave off nasty effects, like decreased bone density and hot flashes, because estrogen therapy is associated with risks for breast cancer and heart attack. But now researchers are calling for alternatives because a new study showed soy might not even work.” (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20090000-10391704.html)

The vast majority of soy at your local market is not a health food. The exception is fermented soy, which I’ll explain more about later and even worse GMO soy that is contaminated with large pesticide residues as the reason it is GMO is so they can spray the potent toxic herbicide Roundup on them to improve crop production by killing the weeds.

Unlike the Asian culture, where people eat small amounts of whole non-GMO soybean products, western food processors separate the soybean into two golden commodities—protein and oil. And there is nothing natural or safe about these products.

Dr. Kaayla Daniel, author of The Whole Soy Story, points out thousands of studies linking soy to malnutrition, digestive distress, immune-system breakdown, thyroid dysfunction, cognitive decline, reproductive disorders and infertility—even cancer and heart disease.” (Mercola.com)

Today, depending on which source you go by, 86-94% of soy planted and grown in the U.S. is genetically modified. That is reason enough to avoid soy altogether.

If soy were to be avoided, what would be an alternative? HEMP.

Hempseed is a natural anti-inflammatory. It also helps to balance and restore the cellular structures.

Hempseed is a natural source of GLA, and is one of the few plants that contains GLA. This is important, because during menopause the body’s ability to convert LA to GLA is lessened.

The Omega 3 fatty acids found in hemp are the perfect ratio for the human body, and it is especially important for women to have a sufficient intake of them.

Low levels of Omega 3s are associated with inflammation, and inflammation is the root cause of many disorders and diseases. Hemp can reduce the effects of muscular pain, hot flashes, headaches, cardiovascular problems, hair and skin dryness and nail strength.

Hemp has been shown to reduce the effects and decrease the instances of depression and memory loss. The brain is mainly comprised of fatty acids, and having enough Omega fatty acids will help improve memory and brain function.

Osteoporosis, another symptom of menopause, is helped by the intake of hemp and Omega fatty acids. The essential fatty acids in hemp help with absorption of the calcium and vitamin D and aid in bone growth and calcification, and reduce calcium excretion in the urine (calcium loss and excretion through the urine can also cause kidney stones).

Hemp seeds are also rich in vitamin E, which is also important for those suffering from menopause.

One last note:

Hemp protein vs other proteins:

The edestin protein in hemp is one of the most easily digestible proteins.  It is very similar to human globulin.

Omega fatty acids help reduce bad cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and may lessen the possibility of stroke or heart attack.

Hemp does not contain phytoestrogens. Soy does. These hormones mimic estrogen and have been linked to cancer. Soy also contains natural toxins that hinder protein digestion.

There are no known allergies to hemp. Hemp is safe for anyone to consume, from toddler to octogenarians and beyond.

photo: Angry Woman by Vera Kratochvil

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.

How Hempseed Can Slow Premature Aging Due To Chronic Inflammation


Inflammation. We have all experienced it.  For the most part, inflammation is GOOD, it is part of the immune response system that tells us when there is infection, stress, illness, or injury.  We then (usually) take the steps necessary to remedy the condition that caused the inflammation in the first place.

Chronic inflammation, however, is a key cause in disease and premature cellular aging. Below is a partial list of diseases causes by inflammation:

  • Colitis
  • Arthritis
  • Lupis
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Diabetes
  • Crohn’s
  • Parkinson’s
  • Neuropathy

Inflammation can be chronic, and linger for months, even years.  In some cases, the immune system sees the inflamed tissues as “foreign.”

Sometimes, chronic inflammation may persist even without significant infection – either because the inflammation response has become too sensitive or because the immune system begins to perceive some of the body’s own tissues as foreign. As it turns out, aging is associated with the increase in both of these unwelcome forms of chronic inflammation. As we age, we tend to develop autoimmune conditions as well as other forms of chronic inflammation. The majority of older people have some degree of low-grade inflammation and/or mild autoimmune disorders (and some have moderate or severe forms, of course). It is no wonder that chronic inflammation contributes to the aging process because it floods tissues with free radicals and promotes the destruction of normal cells. Like most mechanisms of aging, chronic inflammation creates a vicious cycle. The aging process tends to increase the level of chronic inflammation and that, in turn, accelerates aging.  While chronic inflammation contributes to the aging of many tissues, it is particularly prominent in the aging of the cardiovascular and nervous system – the two systems most vital to our survival. Inflammation is now recognized as one of the key risk factors for heart disease and stroke, an even bigger risk factor than high cholesterol or homocysteine, according to some estimates. ~ smartskincare.com

The question now is, “How do I keep inflammation under control?”

First, you will need to know the factors that contribute to inflammation – injury, illness, stress, toxins, smoking, hazardous chemicals, environmental pollution, poor nutrition, and even chemicals in foods that we eat.

Second, you will need to (as much as you can, if possible) reduce the stressors that cause the inflammation.  Some of the most obvious remedies are to stop smoking, learn to de-stress, and improve nutrition.

Proper nutrition is only one way to combat inflammation. More specifically, eating hempseed and hempseed oil. Hempseed has the perfect ratio of Omega fatty acids required by the human body.  Omega fatty acids are the key nutrients in reducing inflammation. They feed and rejuvenate the cells, help with new cell growth, and keep the cellular structure strong and pliant. Omega fatty acids also improve the cell’s ability to use the nutrients that are ingested.

Hemp is also rich in antioxidants – oxidation is also one of the key factors of cellular aging.

Incorporating hemp into the diet is only one of the steps that one can take to reduce inflammation and premature aging, but it IS a delicious step.

Need A Metabolism Boost? Pick Up The Hemp Protein


Keeping one’s metabolism at an optimum level is important for good health. Metabolism is the chemical reaction in your body that allows organisms and cells to thrive; it is the process that creates energy for your body. Metabolism is the rate at which our bodies burn calories.

Your metabolism is influenced by your age (metabolism naturally slows about 5% per decade after age 40); your sex (men generally burn more calories at rest than women); and proportion of lean body mass (the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate tends to be).

And here’s a fact that may surprise you: the more weight you carry, the faster your metabolism is likely running.

“The simple fact is that the extra weight causes your body to work harder just to sustain itself at rest, so in most instances, the metabolism is always running a bit faster,” says Molly Kimball, RD, sports and lifestyle nutritionist at the Oscher’s Clinic’s Elmwood Fitness Center.” (WebMD.com)

Some symptoms of low metabolism include:

  • Digestive problems – constipation
  • Fatigue-related issues – low blood pressure, low blood oxygen, poor balance
  • Feeling cold
  • Skin problems – pale skin, brittle nails, dry skin

If you are looking to increase your metabolism, eating hemp is one way to do that. The Omega fatty acids, Edestin protein (hemp is the only source in the world of Edestin protein, the protein closest to human globulin and is very easily digestible), vitamins and minerals, and amino acids in hemp increase metabolic levels and increase energy by giving the body the nutrients it needs – most specifically with the protein. The protein, while easily digestible, is also what requires extra energy to process, thus increasing the metabolic rate. (Carbs and sugars require less energy to process.)

The Omega fatty acids in hemp are also important for healthy skin and nails, circulation, and cardiovascular health.

Adding hemp to the diet is only ONE way to increase metabolism, but it is a TASTY way to do it!

Need To Detox Your Body? Reach For The Hemp!


This is a toxic world that we are living in today. It seems like everything we eat, breathe, or touch has the capacity to add toxins to our bodies. There are toxins in our foods and water (pesticides, herbicides, chemicals in processed foods), toxins in the air (pollution and environmental toxins), toxins in products we use around the house (chemical cleaning products, for example).

I’ve seen plenty of advertisements about products or systems or diets that are used to detoxify and cleanse our bodies. Some seem quite delicious; some systems seem downright uncomfortable. For the most part, though, almost every detoxification program has to do with nutrition.

Proper nutrition helps our bodies perform at maximum levels, keeps our minds healthy and organs clean and in proper working order. It also helps our bodies remove the toxins that build up (a diet with plenty of fresh, raw foods also is a good idea, while steering away from chemical-laden processed foods).

Hempseed and hempseed oil are key components in removing toxins from the body:

  • Hempseed and hempseed oil have the perfect ratio of Omega fatty acids. Omega fatty acids help balance the PH, bringing balance to the body.
  • Hempseeds have soluble and insoluble fiber, both of which help to cleanse the colon and intestinal tract and removing the toxins. If the toxins are not removed, they will be reabsorbed into the body.
  • Hempseeds contain chlorophyll. Chlorophyll helps to clean the blood of impurities and will reduce cellular damage from toxins. Hemp also improves blood circulation.
  • The essential fatty acids in hemp help to retain oxygen in the cell membranes, which acts as a barrier to toxins.
  • Hemp’s essential fatty acids also “disperse throughout the body, giving biological systems the power to carry such substances as toxins to the surface of the skin, intestinal tract, kidneys, or lungs, where these substances can be discarded.” (innvista.com)
  • Hempseeds contain the amino acids cysteine and methionine. These amino acids stimulate the liver to remove the toxins from the body.

Introducing hempseeds and hempseed oil into the diet is an easy way to help your body detox, and promotes health and balance throughout the entire body.

Forget the uncomfortable colon cleanses – just eat hemp!

Autism – Can Hemp Have A Role In Treating Symptoms – Or Preventing It?


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection, 1 in 88 children has been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

Autism is a range of neurodevelopment disorders. Autism covers a range of conditions – classical autism, Asberger syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder, and childhood disintegrative disorder.

Most scientists agree that there is not a single definitive cause of autism; it may be the result of genetic and environmental factors.

Studies of people with ASD have found irregularities in several regions of the brain.  Other studies suggest that people with ASD have abnormal levels of serotonin or other neurotransmitters in the brain.  These abnormalities suggest that ASD could result from the disruption of normal brain development early in fetal development caused by defects in genes that control brain growth and that regulate how brain cells communicate with each other, possibly due to the influence of environmental factors on gene function.” (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke)

A 2007 study by the California Department of Public Health found that women in the first eight weeks of pregnancy who live near farm fields sprayed with the organochlorine pesticides dicofol and endosulfan are several times more likely to give birth to children with autism. The association appeared to increase with dose and decrease with distance from field site to residence. The study’s findings suggest that on the order of 7% of autism cases in the California Central Valley might have been connected to exposure to the insecticides drifting off fields into residential areas.” (Wikipedia)

Studies also suggest the following:

  • Children born to older parents are at slightly higher risk.
  • A small percentage of children who are born prematurely or with low birth weight are at greater risk for having ASDs.
  • Some harmful drugs taken during pregnancy have been linked with a higher risk of ASDs; for example, the prescription drugs thalidomide and valproic acid.” (www.cdc.gov)

Some scientists suggest that autism can be the result of low levels of Omega 3 fatty acid.

University of Alabama researcher Dr. Yasmin Neggers, a professor of human nutrition and hospitality management, found a possible lipid metabolism disorder in children with autism. “Many studies have shown omega-3 fatty acids to be neuro-protective because they decrease the risk of neurological problems,” Neggers said.  “We were surprised when we didn’t find studies that looked at omega-3 levels in children with autism.” (University of Alabama News)

As you can see above, there are many possible factors that could possibly be a precursor to autism. What caught my eye was the possibility of low Omega 3 fatty acids as being a cause of autism.

Omega fatty acids are ‘brain food’. The brain consists mainly of Omega fatty acids; an imbalance or insufficient amount of fatty acids can cause many diseases and disorders. Some believe that an overabundance of Omega 6 fatty acids and a low amount of Omega 3 fatty acids may be a reason for autism. This is where hemp comes into play – specifically, the Omega fatty acids in hemp.

Omega-6 is similar to omega-3 in that it is also considered an essential fatty acid and that the body is unable to produce it from other unsaturated fats. Omega-6, however, is much easier to obtain through the diet. In fact, many people get too much omega-6 because it is found in so many common products, such as the butters and oils used in many cooking and baking processes in both home- and factory-prepared foods. Side effects of too much omega-6 cause an inflammatory reaction in the body.” (livestrong.com)

Generally it’s an insufficient amount of Omega 3 that will exacerbate neurological and brain related disorders. Omega 3 is the most important, but it is also a little more difficult to get into the diet.

Hemp has the perfect 3:1 ratio needed by the human body. It is one of the only plant sources that has that perfect ratio.

Can hemp reduce the instance of autism, or treat the symptoms? Some believe so. It has been shown that eating hemp during pregnancy helps healthy brain cells grow, and also increases infant cognizance.

Some government and medical sites clearly state that there is no ‘known cure’ for autism. Perhaps more studies need to be done. In the meantime, it certainly can’t hurt to add hemp to the diet to balance the Omega fatty acids, increase brain health, and aid in the production of neurotransmitters.

Hormones Wreaking Havoc? Eat Hemp!


Many of us have had symptoms of hormone imbalance and perhaps didn’t know they were related to hormones. Hormone imbalance isn’t just a ‘female’ issue.

Hormones are chemical messengers that are released by glands or cells; different hormones have different purposes. Some metabolize digestion, some regulate growth, some regulate the immune system, and others deal with sexual function.

Below is a short list of hormones that our bodies process, and their functions:

*Insulin: from the pancreas; insulin regulates glucose intake

*Dopamine: hypothalamus (brain); a neurotransmitter that regulates mood, sleep, emotions, cognitive processes

*Epinephrine: adrenal medulla; boosts oxygen and glucose to the muscles and brain

*Calcitonin: thyroid; builds bone, regulates blood calcium

*Histamine: stomach; regulates gastric acid

*Thrombopoietin: liver, kidney, muscle; produces platelets

*Orexin: hypothalamus; wakefulness and increased energy expenditure

*Leptin: adipose tissue; decreases appetite and increases metabolism

*Thymosin: a hormone secreted by the thymus – it regulates the immune system

And of course, we know about testosterone, progesterone, and estrogen and other related hormones.

Some causes of hormone imbalance are stress, poor nutrition, disease, cancer, toxic pollutants (many chemicals are endocrine disruptors, and they are found in plastics, cosmetics, chemicals used in hair preparations, pesticides and fertilizers, to name a few), cigarette smoking, and drugs/medications.

The most widely used herbicide in the United States, atrazine is frequently detected in surface and ground water, particularly in agricultural areas of the Midwest. Approximately 75 percent of all U.S. cornfields are treated with atrazine each year.” (environmentalnews.org)

Symptoms of hormone imbalance include hair loss, amenorrhea (a condition in which a woman does not menstruate), fatigue, weight gain, insomnia, depression, anxiety, low libido, digestive problems, headaches, reduced muscular strength, erectile dysfunction/low sperm count, incontinence, and dry skin.

Natural ways to get the hormones back in balance is through diet, proper nutrition, and, where applicable, lifestyle changes. When working on regulating hormones via diet, it is important to eat enough leafy greens and lean proteins, reduce the starchy carbohydrates, and ensure there is sufficient intake of Omega fatty acids.

Because hemp has the perfect ratio of Omega fatty acids, it is an excellent addition to the diet. Omega fatty acids help to regulate the hormones. A current problem in the diets of many is they are getting too many Omega 6 fatty acids and not enough Omega 3 fatty acids. Hemp has the perfect 3:1 ratio of the Omega fatty acids needed for optimum human health. Too many Omega 6 fatty acids will cause the body to create an overabundance of inflammatory hormones (insulin, for example) and can cause hypoglycemia.

Sufficient intake of Omega 3 fatty acids will create the regulatory hormones that will keep the inflammatory hormones in check.

  • Essential Fatty Acids EFA’s are required for the development and function of brain and nerve tissue, particularly Omega 3s.
  • Essential Fatty Acids EFA’s stimulate metabolism, increase metabolic rate, increase oxygen uptake and increase energy production.
  • Essential Fatty Acids EFA’s are required for the maintenance of cell membrane fluidity and stability and also for proper cell division and genetic expression.
  • Essential Fatty Acids EFA’s are integral to the action of immune function and in the functions of hormones including those governing inflammatory responses. (www.crohns.net)

They (Omega fatty acids) have a calming effect and regulate mood as a result of the influence that the essential fatty acids have on the hormonal systems.” (www.crohns.net)

Essential fatty acids play an important role in producing hormones, cell membrane function, regulating pain, inflammation and swelling.” (drtorihudson.com)

Hemp oil helps with hormonal balance. Hemp oil is the only edible seed that contains gamma-linolenic acid. G.L.A is the precursor for the production of the protective and calming prostaglandin PGE1 which helps regulate hormonal balance and support menopausal health.” (www.veria.com)

As you can see, hemp is an excellent nutritional addition to aid in balancing hormones and reducing the symptoms caused by the imbalance.