Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cannabinoids in the Control of Pain

***The article is from:

Hemp Seed & Health Benefits


Hemp is used for a wide variety of purposes, an estimated 50,000 products can be produced from hemp in the United States, including the manufacture of cordage of varying tensile strength, everlasting clothing and nutritional products. The bast fibers can be used in 100% hemp products, but are commonly blended with other organic fibers such as flax, cotton or silk, for apparel and furnishings, most commonly at a 55%/45% hemp/cotton blend. The inner two fibers of hemp are more woody, and are more often used in non-woven items and other industrial applications, such as mulch, animal bedding and litter. The oil from the fruits ("seeds") oxidizes (commonly, though inaccurately, called "drying") to become solid on exposure to air, similar to linseed oil, and is sometimes used in the manufacture of oil-based paints, in creams as a moisturizing agent, for cooking, and in plastics. Hemp seeds have been used in bird seed mix as well.[17] Hempseed is also used as a fishing bait. [18]

[edit] Food

Shelled hemp seeds

Hemp seeds contain all the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids necessary to maintain healthy human life.[19] The seeds can be eaten raw, ground into a meal, sprouted, made into hemp milk (akin to soy milk), prepared as tea, and used in baking. The fresh leaves can also be eaten in salads. Products include cereals, frozen waffles, hemp tofu, and nut butters, to name a few. A few companies produce value added hemp seed items that include the seed oils, whole hemp grain (which is sterilized by law in the United States, where they import it from China and Canada), dehulled hemp seed (the whole seed without the mineral rich outer shell), hemp flour, hemp cake (a by-product of pressing the seed for oil) and hemp protein powder. Hemp is also used in some organic cereals, for non-dairy milk[20] somewhat similar to soy and nut milks, and for non-dairy hemp "ice cream."
Within the UK, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has treated hemp as purely a non-food crop. Seed appears on the UK market as a legal food product, and cultivation licenses are available for this purpose. In North America, hemp seed food products are sold, typically in health food stores or through mail order. The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that "the market potential for hemp seed as a food ingredient is unknown. However, it probably will remain a small market, like those for sesame and poppy seeds."[21]
A survey in 2003 showed that more than 95% of hemps seed sold in the EU was used for animal feed (bird seed, bait for fishing)[9]

[edit] Nutrition

Approximately 44% of the weight of hempseed is healthy edible oils, containing about 80% essential fatty acids (EFAs); i.e., linoleic acid, omega-6 (LA, 55%), alpha-linolenic acid, omega-3 (ALA, 22%), in addition to gamma-linolenic acid, omega-6 (GLA, 1–4%) and stearidonic acid, omega-3 (SDA, 0–2%). Protein is the other major component (33%), second only to soy (35%), but more easily digestible because it's primarily globular proteins, 33% albumin and 65% edestin (a Greek word meaning edible). Its amino acid profile is close to "complete" when compared to more common sources of proteins such as meat, milk, eggs and soy.[23] The proportions of linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid in one tablespoon (15 ml) per day of hemp oil easily provides human daily requirements for EFAs. Unlike flaxseed oil, hemp oil can be used continuously without developing a deficiency or other imbalance of EFAs.[24] This has been demonstrated in a clinical study, where the daily ingestion of flaxseed oil decreased the endogenous production of GLA.[24]
Hempseed is an adequate source of dietary fiber, calcium and iron, and contains antioxidants and chlorophyll. Whole hempseeds are also a good source of phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, copper and manganese.
Hempseed is usually very safe for those unable to tolerate nuts, gluten, lactose, and sugar. In fact, there are no known allergies to hemp foods.[citation needed] Hempseed contains no gluten and therefore would not trigger symptoms of celiac disease.[citation needed]

[edit] Storage

Hemp oil can spontaneously oxidize and turn rancid within a short period of time if not stored properly; it is best stored in a dark glass bottle, in a refrigerator or freezer (its freezing point is –20 °C). Preservatives (antioxidants) are not necessary for high quality oils that are stored properly.

[edit] Dietary supplement

Hemp oil has been shown to relieve the symptoms of eczema (atopic dermatitis).[25]
Hemp Seed contains a large dietary supplement of omega-3, higher even than walnuts which contain 6.3% of n-3.

[edit] Medicine

Hemp oil has anti-inflammatory properties.[26]

**This article is taken from 

Chia Seed - A Medical Review

Chia (Salvia hispanica): a systematic review by the natural standard research collaboration.



Natural Standard Research Collaboration, One Davis Square, Somerville, MA 02144, USA.





To evaluate the scientific evidence on chia (Salvia hispanica) including history, folkloric precedent, expert opinion, pharmacology, dosing, interactions, adverse effects, and toxicology. This review serves as a clinical support tool.



Electronic searches were conducted in ten databases, 20 additional journals (not indexed in common databases), and bibliographies from 50 selected secondary references. No restrictions were placed on language or quality of publications. All literature collected pertained to efficacy in humans, dosing, precautions, adverse effects, use in pregnancy/lactation, interactions, alteration of laboratory assays, and mechanisms of action. Standardized inclusion/exclusion criteria are utilized for selection. Grades were assigned using an evidence-based grading rationale.



The available human and non-human studies show possible effectiveness for allergies, angina, athletic performance enhancement, cancer, coronary heart disease (CHD), heart attack, hormonal/endocrine disorders, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, stroke, and vasodilatation. Some evidence also suggests possible anticoagulant, antioxidant, and antiviral effects of Salvia hispanica.



There is limited evidence supporting the efficacy of Salvia hispanica for any indication; thus far, only two clinical studies have examined the effects of Salvia hispanica on cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors (including body weight). One study showed some effects on some CVD risk factors, while the other did not. Neither study showed any effects of Salvia hispanica on weight loss. However, the historical use of Salvia hispanica suggests that it is safe for consumption by nonallergic individuals. Further rigorous examination is warranted pertaining to the use of Salvia hispanica as a dietary supplement, as well as in the treatment or prevention of human disease.
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Mercury Climbing In Food Chain, New Study Shows (Kelly Zito, Chronicle Staff Writer)

Levels of mercury have risen dramatically in some Pacific seabirds in the past 120 years, suggesting that industrial emissions containing the poisonous metal associated with fetal and brain damage may be climbing the food chain and endangering sensitive species, according to a new study.

While the study did not specifically address human-mercury exposure, there is rising concern among scientists that more people are consuming the heavy metal through tainted seafood, where the compound is known as methylmercury.

"It's possible that any human populations that largely depend on the same marine sources (of food) may be exposed to more methylmercury and be at risk," said study co-author Anh-Thu Vo, a doctoral student in integrative biology at UC Berkeley.

Vo's paper, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, relied on 54 samples of breast feathers from the black-footed albatross, an endangered, dusky-brown bird that feeds and nests mainly in the  northern Pacific. To measure the bird's mercury concentrations historically, Vo gathered feathers dating from the 1880s to 2002 from museums at Harvard University and the University of Washington.

Through the food web

 What Vo found indicates that mercury emissions from mineral mining and burning coal may be invading the birds through the food web. That is, microscopic organisms ingest mercury pollution in seawater. Those organisms are eaten by small fish, which are eaten by bigger fish, and so on, up to the seabirds. At each rung in the ladder, the mercury becomes more concentrated.

The study found mercury levels jumped in the albatross at the same time industrial production ramped up after World War II and again after 1990 when many Asian economies kicked into overdrive. Though the link between pollution and mercury accumulation merits further examination, researchers said, it suggests that modern human development is reverberating throughout the natural world and could imperil rare and dwindling species.

"We are starting to find high levels in endangered and sensitive species across marine, freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems, indicating that mercury pollution and its subsequent chemical reactions in the environment may be important factors in species population declines," said study co-author Michael Bank, a research associate at Harvard's School of Public Health.

Limiting intake

Mercury, both a commercial byproduct and a naturally occurring metal, is particularly damaging to the central nervous system and the reproductive process. For that reason, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warn that women of child-bearing age, nursing mothers and young children should completely avoid swordfish, shark, king mackerel and tilefish and limit their intake of tuna.

Earlier this year, a public health advocacy group found that tuna and swordfish collected from California grocery stores and sushi restaurants contained mercury levels as much as three times the threshold that authorizes federal food regulators to pull seafood from shelves.

Biologists and scientists have lobbied the federal government to lower its warning level. But representatives for the seafood industry say the current threshold has a large buffer built into it. They also maintain that seafood is a critical part of a healthy diet and has rich omega-3 fatty acids that boost brain development.

E-mail Kelly Zito at

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