NutritionFacts.org

Is hempseed oil beneficial to adults with eczema?

I’d be interested in your opinion of this study I found online at http://www.finola.com/FinolaOilandAtopy.pdf. This is regarding hempseed oil, not necessarily for children but for adults with eczema. Have you seen other studies looking at hempseed oil and eczema? Is it ok to take so much oil every day for a month?

Berryman / Originally posted in Preventing childhood allergies

Answer:

I was surprised to find so few articles published in the human medical literature on hempseeds, but maybe I shouldn’t be given the lack of much of an industry lobby and the stigma attached to the plant. Only 4 popped up in a pubmed search (excluding articles written by a “Dr. Ian D. Hempseed.”).

The latest (available full-text) was a double-blind placebo-controlled comparison of fish, flax and hempseed oil supplementation that lasted 3 months and found no significant effects of any of them on lipid profile, LDL oxidation or measures of inflammation. This result is similar to what was found in my video Is Distilled Fish Oil Toxin-Free?

Before that a study comparing daily tablespoons of flaxseed to hempseed oil similarly didn’t find much effect.

The third was the study you cited, which found that 2 daily tablespoons of hempseed oil improved atopic dermatitis (an itchy skin rash) better than the same amount of olive oil. The researchers suggest it may be because of the gamma linoleic acid content of hempseeds, an omega 6 fatty acid that paradoxically appears to have an overall anti-inflammatory effect.

Instead of downing the oil, as always I’d suggest eating the whole food–hempseeds–directly (same with flaxseeds, see my video Just the Flax Ma’am). And the final study, “Anaphylaxis to ingestion of hempseed” soundly debunks the wikipedia claim that “In fact, there are no known allergies to hemp foods.”

Image Credit: Rubyran / Flickr

Dr. Michael Greger

About Michael Greger M.D.

Michael Greger, M.D., is a physician, author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial. Currently Dr. Greger proudly serves as the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States.

View all videos by Michael Greger M.D.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=666366687 Stephen Lucker Kelly

    So as of now there is no strong evidence that shows hemp oil is good or bad for people? I heard that hemp oil helped heal skin cancer.

    • Lew Payne

      Its interesting the things we hear… versus the things that are scientifically proven to be either true or false.

    • Keith Armstong

      Maybe you head about cannabis oil, which is supposedly very good for treating all cancers.

    • Randy

      Yes, cannabis oil made with thc/cbn oils from the female plants flowers have been shown over and over to cure skin cancer as well as a full gambit of other illnesses. The answers your going to get from a bunch of medical Dr’s is a bunch of quackery in itself. Since when are medical Dr.’s chemists or real scientists??? All they do is take the words of big pharma companies research and write you a prescription because of what they are ‘TOLD’ .. not even ‘shown’. Some day people will wake up and realize that the number 3 cause of deaths in the united states are because of medical Dr.’s prescribing medicins that kill people and more often than not only put a bandaid on the symptoms and do nothing for the cure. I hope this country wakes up! If you look back in history cannabis used to be on every pharmacy shelf in many different forms. Why don’t you look up ‘WHY’ its off the shelf now and ‘WHO’ got it pulled. William R. Hurst, Harry Anslinger and DuPont.

  • Dr. JC Callaway

    Unfortunately, Dr. Greger did not read carefully enough (or simply did not understand) the results of our two clinical trial on hempseed oil. So far, these are still the only published clinical trials with this oil. Yes, we did find significant differences in the lipid profiles between the flaxseed oil and hempseed oil, and yes (again) we did find significant benefit in atopic (eczema) patients who took hempseed oil when compared to absolutely no benefit from olive. No, I would not suggest that anyone try to get these oils from eating either whole flaxseed or whole hempseed. Chewing is not a effective way to break open the shell of either seed to obtain the oil.

    • Katricia

      Dr. Greger was not specific enough concerning using the whole seed to get the oil. Time and time again, he suggests grinding the whole (flax) seeds and storing in the fridge until they are eaten as opposed to consuming the oil. I imagine he meant the same in this answer as he has previously said.

    • Katricia

      Also, what you stated about your study is what Dr. Greger stated in his answer, that ” 2 daily tablespoons of hempseed oil improved atopic dermatitis (an itchy skin rash) better than the same amount of olive oil”. I don’t see how that is different from what your study concluded. I just wanted to clarify my take from both your and Dr. Greger’s answers.

  • being

    I have recently started eating hemp seeds for their omega-3, easily digested plant protein and other minerals. My skin seems to benefit from it, it’s less dry now. They tastes like pine nuts to me, very smooth and mild. I like to sprinkle them over bread spread or over cereal, yoghurt, stir-fry etc. Have yet to try hemp oil but will do so soon. I buy organic raw shelled hemp seeds, in fact almost all the natural products my family consume and use at iherb.com. iherb prices are much lower than what the local health stores charge! A bonus is international shipping all the way to downunder is only $4 flat!  New customers can also get $10 off purchase of over $40 when you use discount code EJE156.

  • Bård Kjelling

    I’ve searched through pubmed on “vitamin D” and “eczema”, and I thought the evidence was quite conflicting. In particular, one randomized study showed a positive effect of vit. E and vit. D supplementation: http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/09546630903578566

    Would anyone like to give a qualified opinion on the balance of the evidence on this topic?

    • Bård Kjelling

      I think I found a good general answer to my own question:
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22336810 which is a review/meta-analysis article of all the available typical supplements used for atopic eczema.

      “There is no convincing evidence of the benefit of dietary supplements in eczema, and they cannot be recommended for the public or for clinical practice at present.”

      So vit. E and vit. D in pill form, not a good idea.

    • Bård Kjelling

      Another study which I found interesting was this one:
      “Prevalence of eczema and food allergy is associated with latitude in Australia.”
      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22305679

      There seems to be double the risk of eczema for those living furthest from the equator. The authors don’t think there are major confounding factors like with sociocultural status: “yet with similar social gradients” .

      But yet also, Australia has a high occurence of allergies and eczema overall: “It has among the highest prevalences of challenge-proved food allergy, eczema, and asthma”. So why should a country consisting in large parts of fair-skinned people who overall get more sunshine than many other industrialized nations have such high prevalence, if vitamin D is as important in these chronic conditions as many seem to think.

      I think your video “Preventing childhood allergies” makes some important connections, and that people shouldn’t totally jump overboard on the ‘vitamin-D hypothesis’.

  • What is the optimal diet for disease prevention?

  • Subscribe to our free newsletter and stay up to date with the latest discoveries in nutrition.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.