The maker of hemp and flax-based products Nutiva claims it has launched the only certified organic hemp oil and gel capsules widely distributed in the US.
Nutiva, which launched a hemp nutrition bar in 1999, noted that 90 per cent of Americans do not consume enough omega-3, one of the most important essential fatty acids (EFA) that are known as the 'good fats' doctors recommend as part of a balanced diet.
Its hemp oil has a content of 80 per cent polyunsaturated fat, the highest ratio of 'good fat' of any vegetable seed oil. Hemp oil is also a source of omega-6 gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) as well as the omega-3 EFA, stearidonic acid (SDA).
Nutiva claims that its hemp oil offers a preferable flavour and better shelf-life than other seed oils, such as flax.
Extensive studies have demonstrated that many common illnesses are related to EFA deficiencies. Clinical studies have also proven that dietary supplementation with EFAs or their metabolites will often prevent or even cure these illnesses. EFAs from hemp or flax are often recommended for lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. They also play an important role in reducing heart disease, depression and PMS.
Excess trans-fat, a form of harmful hydrogenated fat from sources such as deep-fried food, often blocks the body's metabolic processes. Replacing trans-fats with hemp oil would correct EFA deficiency and improves metabolism, said Nutiva.
Modern-day diets and sluggish enzyme activities often impair the synthesis of GLA in the body, which may cause GLA deficiency. GLA is associated with hair and nail growth and can reduce inflammation of joints. It is also the key regulator of T-lymphocyte functions in the immune system and is involved in cell metabolism and growth.
Recommendations by health officials with the World Health Organisation, Health Canada, Japan and Sweden recommend a four-to-one ratio of omega-6 to omega-3. Nutiva claims that with a ratio of at least three-to-one, hemp oil is the closest to this range of any naturally occurring oil.
Unlike other omega-rich alternatives such as flax, primrose, borage or fish oils that are sold mainly as supplements, hemp oil has a "nutty" flavour that makes it a healthy and tasty addition to recipes. While flax is higher in omega -3 concentration than hemp, it contains no GLA or SDA.
Nutiva is targeting vegetarians as hemp oil is one of the closest vegetable oils to fish oil. It is also more stable and has a longer shelf life than flax, due in part to hemp's high content of vitamin E (three times as much as flax). Furthermore, unlike hemp, flax oil can oxidize in the body before being absorbed leading some doctors to recommend an antioxidant for those taking flax.
Nutiva uses only certified organic, non-GMO Canadian hempseed. To prevent oxidation, preserve freshness and ensure that valuable enzymes are not destroyed, Nutiva Hemp Oil is expeller-pressed at low temperatures, nitrogen-flushed, produced in small batches and shipped and stored in refrigerated light-resistant units.
The product has a light emerald green colour derived from the natural chlorophyll content and can be added to many foods as a health ingredients. Nutiva also recommends that its oil be used to moisturise the skin.
Nutiva campaigns for non-GMO foods and sustainable agriculture and was one of the companies that sued the federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals about unreasonable hemp rules proposed in October 2001. The Court issued a stay in March 2002 which blocked the Agency from enforcing the rules. A decision by the Court is expected in the coming year.