Researchers at the University of Manitoba believe hemp seeds could offer a safer alternative to drugs traditionally prescribed for hypertension. Previous studies, they note, suggest that proteins found in hemp seed possess a variety of cardiovascular benefits.
“Preliminary in vitro studies have shown that industrial hemp seed peptides possess both antioxidant and antihypertensive properties.”
In a new study, published in the European Journal of Nutrition, the team found that an 8-week diet of hydrolyzed hemp protein could slow the development of hypertension in genetically-prone rats.
What’s more, the diet was also effective at reducing signs of hypertension – plasma ACE and renin levels – in rats with already established conditions.
“The results confirm the potential of HMH (hemp seed meal hydrolysate) as a useful ingredient that can be used to formulate functional foods and nutraceuticals for the prevention and treatment of hypertension.”
While a number of foods have been found to help control blood pressure, the researchers suggest that the protein content of hemp seeds, as well as being easy to digest, make it an ideal choice.
“The presence of superior amino acid profile in hemp seed proteins (principally identified as edestin and albumin) and high digestibility promotes their efficacy as a source of health-enhancing bioactive peptides.”
Despite the positive results, more work still needs to be done. The team says the next step is to identify and purify the protein sequences responsible for its antihypertensive effects.