A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN: VITAMIN C, B AND HEMP SEED OIL
Hemp seed oil may have earned its wings in the wellness world, but can vitamin C and B help it rise to new heights? This article will explore how hemp seed oil can harmonise with added vitamins to help transform your wellness from within.
WHAT IS HEMP SEED OIL?
A treasure trove of essential fatty acids, minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, hemp seed oil comes from seeds harvested from the hemp plant. Hemp is a far-reaching variety of cannabis Sativa - a plant historically used to produce robust fibres and folk therapies.
Unlike other forms of cannabis, hemp-derived hemp seed oil does not create a “high” when consumed. In hemp, the THC compound (associated with the cannabis’ “high”) is present only in trace concentrations of 0.2% or less. In the UK, hemp seed oil is legal and considered a low-risk substance. It can be applied to the skin directly as a possibly nourishing treat, or ingested as a food supplement.
HEMP SEED OIL VS CBD OIL
While hemp seed oil and CBD oil are both must-haves in the cannabis-inspired wellness community, they are distinct from one another.
CBD oil is a carrier oil infused with flavonoids, terpenes, and the potentially calming botanical cannabis extract known as CBD. In contrast, hemp seed oil comes directly from hemp seeds. It does not contain any CBD, but it does have a high nutritional value.
POTENTIAL BENEFITS OF HEMP SEED OIL
Before we review the potential benefits of hemp seed oil, let’s briefly explore the possible merits of the different omega fats, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that it naturally contains.
OMEGA-3 AND OMEGA-6 FATS
Your body cannot generate essential fatty acids like omega-3s and omega-6s, so it’s vital to incorporate them into your diet. Omega-3 fats may have a possible role in optimal heart and brain functioning. Along with omega-6, they may also help to support a healthy metabolism.
Studies show that the shared benefits of omega-3 and omega-6 fats might potentially include:
- Supporting the cell structures within your body
- Supporting healthy blood flow and reducing symptoms of inflammation
- Decreasing some symptoms of age-related brain decline
It is relevant to note that hemp seed oil represents the “golden ratio” of omega fats. This ratio of 3:1 has been idealised by some scientists because it may represent the optimal balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids - tracing all the way back to early human life.
Antioxidants may help to chemically stabilise free radicals - the ‘loose cannon’ particles within our bodies that can cause some forms of cell damage. The two primary antioxidants found in hemp seed oil are phytol and vitamin E. These substances may possibly offer natural immune support and scientists are assessing their potential to relieve some of the discomforts associated with inflammation.
While our bodies only require minerals in modest amounts, they remain vital to countless internal processes. Several essential minerals are present in hemp seed oil, including:
- Magnesium (which may help to support mobility and organ functioning)
- Phosphorus (which may help to promote efficient cell maintenance)
- Potassium (which may assist in the regulation of internal fluid levels)
POTENTIAL BENEFITS OF HEMP SEED OIL SUPPLEMENTS
Due to its attractive nutritional profile, many people choose to supplement their diets with hemp seed oil. Current research connects hemp seed oil with the following possibilities:
- Impacting the condition and appearance of your skin
- Reducing symptoms of inflammation
- Helping to support healthy circulation
- Positively affecting the state of your hair.
ARE VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS NECESSARY?
In theory, most of us should obtain all the nutrients we need (including vitamins) from eating a balanced diet. As we’ve explored in previous articles, a healthy, balanced diet is one which emphasises slow-release carbohydrates, protein, dairy, and unsaturated fats, along with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
According to recent government-backed statistics released by NHS Digital, 72% of adults in Britain are consuming less than the recommended five-a-day. These statistics also suggest that British people across all ages have a below-average intake of healthy fats (such as oily fish or hemp seed oil) and an excessive intake of unhealthy fats.
In conversation with the BBC, Dr Chris van Tullekan made the following key points about the necessity of vitamin supplements:
- There may be no need for you to take vitamins if you have a balanced diet.
- Vitamin supplements may potentially support your body through changes.
- Vitamins A, B, C and D may be worth special consideration.
- If your diet is highly restricted, you may need to take vitamin supplements.
WHAT IS VITAMIN C?
Also known as ascorbic acid, Vitamin C is a crucial vitamin naturally found in a diverse range of fresh fruits and vegetables - such as oranges and broccoli. Since our bodies cannot store it for future use, vitamin C needs to be well-represented in our regular diets in order to enable various biological functions.
Vitamin C supports the growth and repair of healthy skin and blood vessels, along with strengthening bones and cartilage. It may also accelerate wound healing, and has potent antioxidant properties, which may minimise some cell damage classifications. Since it’s in high demand, straightforward to produce, and easily dissolved in water, Vitamin C is a go-to supplement for many.
HISTORY OF VITAMIN C
While German physicist Albert Einstein developed the theory of relativity, Hungarian scientist Albert Szent-Györgyi was the first to isolate Vitamin C in a laboratory. His breakthrough research in the 1930s also evidenced the claim that a severe lack of vitamin C can cause scurvy - a possibly life-threatening disease.
In its pure form, vitamin C is a pale and powdery solid - often white or vaguely yellow. Since the chemical process of extracting vitamin C directly from natural food sources is quite challenging, laboratories producing vitamin C usually use dextrose sugar to make a safe, synthetic version.
In 2002, manufacturers worldwide generated a net sum of 100,000 tonnes of vitamin C. Recently, the international demand for vitamin C supplements has soared to such an extent that supply chains are affected, and some significant outlets have been entirely out of stock.
VITAMIN C AND YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Perhaps triggered by the global pandemic which first emerged in early 2020, discussions about the immune system have become virtually impossible to avoid - and with good reason! Put simply; your immune system is naturally present within your body as a complex arrangement of cells, tissues, and organs.
Its primary purpose is to protect your body from being impacted by disease-causing microorganisms (such as bacteria or viruses). When healthy, your immune system actively prevents harmful cells from entering your body, and otherwise responds by attacking them using white blood cells. This process is known as the ‘immune response’.
CAN VITAMIN C SUPPORT IMMUNE HEALTH?
The findings of a recent study exploring vitamin C and immune function suggest that sufficient levels of vitamin C may potentially help to support a healthy immune system by:
- Increasing the speed and effectiveness of the ‘immune response’
- Enhancing the potency of white blood cells
- Preventing your body from experiencing high levels of collateral damage caused by the immune response
POTENTIAL BENEFITS OF VITAMIN C
The potential wellness prospects of vitamin C appear promising. While some are supported by scientific evidence, other assumptions are yet to be confirmed. For example, research currently suggests that vitamin C does not prevent us from catching a mild cough despite popular belief.
However, there is emerging evidence to suggest that vitamin C may potentially help to:
- Stabilise your blood pressure
- Assist with the absorption of iron
- Fight infection
- Protect your skin and stimulate collagen production
- Support healthy brain function
POSSIBLE SIGNS OF VITAMIN C DEFICIENCY
Before fundamental nutritional discoveries, and the wide availability of supplements, severe vitamin C deficiency often led to scurvy - a rampant disease among sailors in the 1700s. Nowadays, scurvy is considered scarce in the developed world.
However, vitamin C remains an essential part of our diet, and failing to consume enough of it may potentially lead to symptoms such as:
- Dry and weakened skin
- Delayed wound healing
- Poor dental health
- Diet-related tiredness and irritability
- Low immunity and increased inflammation
Since diagnosing nutritional deficiencies is a job best left to the professionals, we’d highly recommend talking to your doctor for more comprehensive insights, should you need them.
IS THERE SUCH A THING AS TOO MUCH VITAMIN C?
The National Health Service (NHS) advises that adults typically require about 40mg of vitamin C per day. Daily doses of up to 1,000mg are unlikely to be harmful, but the NHS does warn that overdosing may cause adverse effects.
Excessive amounts of vitamin C may potentially cause stomach pain, headaches and sleeping problems.
VITAMIN B EXPLAINED
While the letters B and C are close neighbours in the alphabet, their corresponding vitamins occupy very different territories. Although we often refer to Vitamin B in the singular form, its name represents an entire family of compounds - each with a variety of unique functions and proposed benefits.
They are naturally present in meats, dairy products and some types of vegetables. As a loose definition, these vitamins play critical roles in producing energy and vital substances - such as hormones and blood cells. They cannot be stored within the body, and, therefore, must come from your diet. For the sake of convenience, B vitamins are often packaged together in supplement form to create ‘vitamin B complex’.
WHAT IS VITAMIN B COMPLEX?
Like a multivitamin, vitamin B complex is an integrated food supplement that represents all eight essential B vitamins. Since these vitamins typically come from animal products, it is widely recommended that vegetarians and vegans consider taking vitamin B complex to help safeguard against deficiency. At this point, we’ll take a closer look at the different vitamins present in B complex, and their potential roles within our bodies.
THIAMIN (VITAMIN B-1)
Pioneered by researchers Barend Jansen and Willem Donath, thiamin was the first B vitamin to be discovered, and this triggered a new wave in vitamin-related experiments from the 1920s onwards. Thiamin may help to promote a healthy nervous system by converting food into fuel for the body to use. Researcher Derrick Lonsdale even calls it ‘the spark of life’.
RIBOFLAVIN (VITAMIN B-2)
Alongside promoting eye and skin health, riboflavin may play an essential role in our metabolism. It potentially assists with food breakdown and ATP production (adenosine triphosphate), which may help support muscle reserves.
NIACIN (VITAMIN B-3)
Niacin comes in the form of nicotinic acid and nicotinamide. Some evidence shows that niacin may have anti-inflammatory properties, and could possibly help to promote clearer skin. It is widely thought that many of your body’s vital functions rely upon niacin.
PANTOTHENIC ACID (VITAMIN B-5)
Like all forms of vitamin B, pantothenic acid is purportedly vital for growth and health. Research indicates that it may be imperative in the breakdown and production of fats. Currently, there is no recommended daily intake figure for vitamin B-5.
PYRIDOXINE (VITAMIN B-6)
Pyridoxine may support the body by helping to produce haemoglobin - the substance responsible for transporting oxygen around the body within red blood cells.
BIOTIN (VITAMIN B-7)
A trending vitamin in diet supplements which claim to target hair and beauty, biotin is the only known variety of vitamin B that your body can produce independently. It may potentially help to maintain healthy hair, skin, eyes, and nails; as well as liver function.
FOLIC ACID (VITAMIN B-9)
Folic acid is a synthetic form of folate, and may help to support the maintenance of red blood cells and DNA molecules.
COBALAMIN (VITAMIN B-12)
Vitamin B-12 helps the body to use folic acid efficiently. It may also assist with maintaining cells in your digestive system, airways, and bones.
DOES VITAMIN B COMPLEX ‘BOOST’ ENERGY LEVELS?
Several B vitamin supplements - including vitamin B-12 - have been anecdotally associated with increased energy levels and reduced fatigue. But can vitamin B complex help to put the spring back in your step?
Since vitamins do not contain calories, it is inaccurate to suggest that B vitamins can give your body an energy boost. However, B vitamins are a vital part of your metabolism, and may work together to influence how your body absorbs and stores the energy it obtains from your diet.
Taking vitamin B complex may potentially lead to a perceived increase in energy levels by:
- Supporting your metabolism
- Promoting the absorption of iron
- Offsetting/preventing vitamin B deficiency
POTENTIAL BENEFITS OF VITAMIN B COMPLEX
As we’ve learned so far, B vitamins perform a crucial role in maintaining cells within our bodies and contribute to the absorption and processing of energy - mainly from carbohydrates and fats. Vitamin B complex represents all eight B vitamins in a convenient single-dose format, and may offer some impressive proposed benefits.
Current research suggests that vitamin B complex may show some potential in:
- Alleviating some symptoms of anxiety
- Positively impacting thinking-and-reasoning skills
- Supporting proper immune function
- Contributing to the health and elasticity of your skin
POSSIBLE SIGNS OF B-VITAMIN DEFICIENCY
It is best to consult your doctor with any worries or questions about vitamin deficiencies. A variety of uncomfortable symptoms can potentially indicate a lack of B vitamins, such as:
- Stomach pain
- Persistent tiredness
- Digestive troubles
- Dry, painful, and irritated skin
CONSUMING B VITAMINS IN EXCESS
While B vitamins are vital for maintaining optimal health, it is best to consume them within your recommended daily intake parameters. While scientific evidence is currently limited, the NHS suggests that taking substantial quantities of vitamin B-6, folic acid, or vitamin B-12 on a long-term basis may potentially result in damage to the liver and nervous system.
COMBINING VITAMIN C, B, AND HEMP SEED OIL
In this article, we’ve learned that vitamin C and B perform vital and wide-ranging functions within our bodies - predominantly supporting the immune system and metabolism.
These functions may overlap with hemp seed oil - since it is a source of essential fats and compounds that may possibly influence energy production and symptoms of inflammation. Offering some extra food for thought, a recent study conducted by students at Iowa State University indicates that some plant-based oils may potentially enhance our ability to absorb specific vitamins.
There is currently limited evidence to determine whether hemp seed oil can directly enhance vitamin C and B absorption. However, hemp seed oil fortified with these additional vitamins may potentially provide:
- A more comprehensive representation of essential daily nutrients
- Convenient and efficient dosage
- A variety of potential wellness benefits
- The opportunity to enrich your skin and hair with extra nutrition
NOTES ON SUPPLEMENTS
It is essential to keep in mind that vitamin supplements are a supporting act to a balanced diet, and not the main event. Taking supplements, such as hemp seed oil capsules, cannot make up for poor eating habits or an unhealthy lifestyle.
To cover your medical bases and ease into your new routine with maximum comfort, be sure to speak to your doctor before committing to any supplements. Vitality - our unique CBII blend of premium hemp seed oil, vitamin C, and B - may be a heavenly new addition to your wellness routine.