Hemp is an incredible plant with hundreds of uses – not least of which is as a food source. Hemp protein boasts some impressive statistics, offering:
- All 20 amino acids (including the nine essentials)
- Dietary fiber (80% soluble/20% insoluble)
- Omega-3/Omega-6 essential fatty acids
- Magnesium (75% RDA per serving!)
- Zinc (incredible for the immune system - and rare in food)
- B Vitamins (vital for energy production, metabolism, and nervous system)
- Vitamin E
The only plant which contains more protein is soy – but soy also contains trypsin inhibitors, which impair the absorption and utilization of protein by the body.
What’s fascinating is that while most plant protein sources are fibrous protein, hemp offers a nutritive alternative called globular protein (hemoglobin – a vital component of human blood – is perhaps the most well-known globular protein; insulin is another).
60-80% of the globular protein in hemp is globulin edestin, with the remaining 20-40% being albumin. Globulin edestin is the backbone of DNA.
Albumin (along with globulin and fibrinogen) makes up over 80% of our blood plasma – the part of blood that nourishes tissues. Blood plasma serves as a reservoir of amino acids for the body to utilize on-demand when needed.
Translation? Hemp protein is a direct fuel source for our blood plasma, DNA, and insulin levels.
Globulin edestin (as found in hemp) is virtually identical to the third most abundant type of protein found in the body (globulin) and is responsible for the natural and acquired immunity a person has against microscopic invaders.
Why is globular protein in hemp so incredible for the immune system?
All enzymes, antibodies, fibrinogen (blood thickening agent), and many hormones are globular proteins. Globular proteins are tasked with all the heavy lifting of everyday bodily functions.
The fact that hemp protein directly fuels hormone production deserves a lot of attention, as all immune cells have hormone receptor sites. A healthy immune system goeshand-in-hand with optimal hormone levels.
Globulins are divided into three classes: alpha, beta, and gamma.
- Alpha and beta globulins serve as transport vehicles, combining with other substances to move protein around the body to where it is most needed – building new or replacing worn/damaged body parts.
- Gamma globulins are immunoglobulins (antibodies) – the body’s first line of defense against viruses and pathogens.
Delving Deeper into Hemp and Immunity
Globulin, edestin, these are some bizarre words, we know. However, there is a serious connection here between hemp and the immune system that we’d like to break down a bit, because we feel that understanding is critical – especially in these troubling times.
While the body has a few different types of immune responses (such as using interferon and natural killer cells) we are going to discuss antibodies. The antibody response is the most effective way for the body to deal with viruses that are either in large fluid spaces (such as blood) or on moist surfaces, like the GI and respiratory tract.
First, it’s good to know about antigens. An antigen can be many things – bacteria, viruses, parasites – but it is essentially a foreign substance that your body perceives as a threat.
Antigens have various epitopes – an epitope is a unique protein sequence; some epitopes are common among many antigens, while some are specific and only exist in one strain of virus, bacteria, or parasite. Bear with us.
When the immune system detects an antigen, it sends out specialized types of white blood cells known as macrophages and dendritic cells. These immune cells capture the antigen and break it down into smaller bits of information.
It then presents this material to another type of white blood cell – a B lymphocyte. The B lymphocyte analyzes this data, and through a process known as Somatic Hypermutation, they then begin writing code for a brand new type of antibody.
This new antibody is specifically designed to bind to the new invader’s epitope. Once the antibody comes into contact with the virus and latches onto it, the virus is killed (antibodies have many ways in which they kill viruses).
As soon as an antibody encounters the antigen it was created to destroy the body ramps-up production of that type of antibody. It can take up to 14 days from this point for the body to reach maximum antibody production.
So, in essence:
- The invading virus/bacteria/parasite enters the body
- Macrophages and dendritic cells capture the ‘antigen’ and analyze it (the pathogen)
- This information is presented to B lymphocytes
- B lymphocytes begin writing code for a new antibody, specific to that antigen
- When the new antibody is complete, it is released into the bloodstream
- When the antibody encounters the antigen, it kills the virus
- The body increases the production of this antibody until the threat is neutralized
It is clear that antibodies are incredibly important for a proper and effective immune response.
Hemp is the best food source of globular protein --> Globular protein is essential for antibody production --> Globular protein deficiency can impair antibody production
No Globular Proteins, No Antibodies
Hemp protein is the number one food source of globular proteins on the planet. This fact means, quite literally, that eating hemp protein is the best way to ensure your body has sufficient building materials for antibody production. It’s safe to say that these days, we all want to make sure we can produce enough antibodies.
What would be worse than your body desperately trying to create these all-important immune molecules, yet lacking the simple materials to do so? This scenario may well be the reality for many people.
It’s easy to get caught up in the hysteria and focus only on the bad. Harmful germs, poor hygiene practices, you name it. However, we think this is not dissimilar from trying to change a bad habit. Whether it’s something mild like eating fast food, or more severe like substance abuse/addiction, merely focusing on eliminating the lousy behavior rarely works.
Instead, optimum results are attained through keeping your goal of what you want to change in mind – but mostly focusing on what new, good thing you will adopt to replace the old, bad, toxic behavior. Instead of telling yourself, “don’t eat fast food,” you could say, “I’m going to make rice, beans, and veggies for dinner, and then bring the leftovers for work tomorrow.”
We make this analogy because everyone is only talking about ways to eliminate harmful germs – wash your hands, use hand sanitizer, avoid physical contact with others – but who do you hear talking about increasing your body’s natural helpers? The little cells that fight on the frontlines against unwanted microbes?
Why is it that pathogens such as group A streptococcus exist in the bodies of healthy people, yet are also responsible for the formation of Necrotizing fasciitis (flesh-eating bacteria)? Could it come down to the health of the individual? What determines who gets sick – when these potentially pathogenic germs are virtually ubiquitous in all human beings? Food for thought.
This reminds us of the great controversy of Louis Pasteur’s death. While the man responsible for the invention of Pasteurization lied on his death bed, some reports claim that he refuted his entire life’s work, stating,
“The germ is meaningless. The terrain is everything.”
These famous last words would mean that he admitted a potentially pathogenic germ is nowhere near is vital to pay attention to, as is the health of the individual’s immune system. But remember, whether or not he honestly said this remains uncertain.
What is certain is that we should all be eating hemp protein and more of it! Here’s to your health and wellness, always.