Hemp Protein for Sports & Fitness

Why Use

Hemp Protein

Why Do Athletes Use It?*

Hemp protein is an alternative for vegan athletes and those who have dairy allergies or sensitivities. While hemp protein is often touted as a complete protein like whey, its lysine content is too low to prevent deficiency, making it an incomplete protein. Additionally, hemp protein is relatively low in leucine, one of the branched-chain amino acids needed for muscle building and repair, and may therefore not provide the same benefits as other protein supplements. Vegetarians and vegans who use hemp protein should also include beans and lentils in their diet to ensure adequate intake of lysine.

What Do the Advocates Say?*

Some fitness advocates promote hemp protein to boost the protein intake of vegetarians and vegans. Because most hemp protein is made without heat or chemicals, it is also a good choice for people who eat a raw food diet. Lightly-processed hemp protein supplements provide more fiber and healthy fatty acids, including a variety of polyunsaturated omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, than other protein supplements. Additionally, the seed fiber does not appear to have phytic acid, a compound that can reduce the absorption of some medications and nutrients. Hemp seeds are unlikely allergens compared with dairy, eggs, and soy. They don't cause symptoms in people with lactose intolerance, and unlike many soybeans, are not genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

*Athletes and fitness advocates may claim benefits for this supplement based on their personal or professional experience. These are individual opinions and testimonials that may or may not be supported by controlled clinical studies or published scientific articles.

Dosage & Side Effects

Hemp Protein

How Much Is Usually Taken by Athletes?

A typical serving of hemp protein powder is 30 grams, with about 15 grams of protein. Most people use one serving per day but some take as many as four servings per day, depending on their training level and the protein content of the rest of their diet.

Side Effects

Many people experience digestive upset after taking protein supplements. Hemp protein appears to break down more easily than some other types of protein,1 but whether this translates into fewer digestive side effects is unknown. Typical hemp protein supplements are relatively high in fiber,2 which may add health benefits but can also cause digestive symptoms in some people.

Some people are concerned that taking hemp protein regularly could cause urine drug tests to be positive due to the presence of low levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound in marijuana. One study showed that people given the same amount of THC as would be found in 300 grams of shelled hemp seeds per day for 10 days did not have high enough urine THC levels to cause a positive drug test result.3 Since THC is found in the oil of the hemp seed, hemp protein supplements have even lower amounts than shelled hemp seeds and should not cause positive drug test results.

Although rare, allergies to hemp seeds have been reported.4

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.

Interactions with Medicines

As of the last update, we found no reported interactions between this supplement and medicines. It is possible that unknown interactions exist. If you take medication, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a new supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

More Resources

Hemp Protein

Where to Find It

Hulled hemp seeds are about 37% protein, which is high compared to other plant sources of protein.5 The dry seed meal that is commonly used as hemp protein is usually about 50% protein, providing around 15 grams of protein per 30 gram (4 tablespoon) serving. Hemp protein isolate, with up to 90% protein, is made with more intensive processing techniques. Hemp protein may also be hydrolyzed (broken down into smaller amino acid chains) through treatment with enzymes. These various types of hemp protein are used in some protein powders, protein-fortified bars, and meal replacement foods.

Resources

See a list of books, periodicals, and other resources for this and related topics.
Hemp Protein for Sports & Fitness