Pea and Hemp Protein Powder
Written by Ben Carlisle
Last updated on: Sep 18, 2022
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Combining the pea protein with hemp protein has resulted in a plant protein powder with a complete amino acid profile. Amongst the plant based protein powders, pea has proven itself as the best alternative to whey. However, it lacks good levels of the essential amino acid methionine.
This pea/hemp protein blend is exciting as it looks to building on the success of pea protein whilst providing higher methionine levels and some additional health benefits. It is becoming more popular and it looks set to become on the best pea protein powder blends available.
So, let’s look in detail at these plant proteins. So, you can understand how this plant based protein powder may be able to help you move towards your goals.
Why Choose A Pea And Hemp Protein Powder Blend?
The combination of pea protein with hemp protein provides a blend which is high in protein with a complete amino acid profile. It also provides additional health benefits by way of antioxidants and minerals. For both vegan and non-vegan athletes, the benefits conferred by using this combination of protein powder extend beyond fitness to overall health as well.
With levels of bio-available iron which rival traditional supplements, anyone with an iron deficiency can benefit by supplementing with hemp and pea protein powder. Hemp seeds, from which hemp powder is derived, are considered a complete protein. This means which you can obtain the nine essential amino acids critical to health, from your protein powder blend.
Pea and hemp protein powders include a large amount of fiber. As fiber is essential for good health, it makes sense to supplement it with plant-based protein. You’ll enjoy healthier gut bacteria with a reduction in blood sugar spikes and improved digestion. Increased fiber is also associated with enhanced immune function, making you less susceptible to viruses and illness (15).
Fibre also swells, helping you to feel fuller and thereby avoiding the dangers of over-eating. The lower calorie intake will benefit your weight-loss goals.
What Are The Nine Essential Amino Acids?
When we speak of the nine essential amino acids (1), we are, of course, referring to:
Amino acids are the body’s protein building blocks. In total 20 make up the protein structures in the body. And of those, there are nine amino acids which the body cannot make or store. These must come from our food intake or else our health will suffer. While the exact quantity of protein varies for each human being, scientists believe the minimum amount of protein necessary to maintain health is around ¼ ounce (7 grams) of protein per 20 pounds (9 kg) of body weight.
Supplementing with protein is associated with the repair and healing of muscle and bone tissue as well as promoting growth hormone production and wound healing. Leucine in particular helps to prevent the breakdown of muscle tissue after trauma and intense stress (2). While there is still a range of views regarding the overall benefits of supplementing with protein powders. Nearly all research supports protein supplementation assists with enhancing performance and post-workout recovery.
Why Is It Important To Get All Of The Essential Amino Acids?
Except for fat and water, your body consists almost entirely of protein. Your muscles, hair, nails, bones, internal organs, and skin are constructed of protein. 80% of muscle is protein. Without protein, you can’t exist. The body makes and stores 11 of the 20 amino acids which make up protein, but 9 must be obtained from food.
If you don’t get these nine amino acids from your food intake, then your health suffers. Amino acid deficiencies result in lowered immunity to disease, mental health problems, infertility, slowed growth (especially in children), and a whole host of other health problems.
Vegans are particularly susceptible to protein deficiencies as plant-based diets must be carefully constructed to ensure enough essential protein is included. Supplementing with protein powders is a great way to ensure you are getting everything required to thrive.
What Is Pea Protein?
Pea protein is manufactured by extracting protein from yellow split peas. It is milled into flour and the protein is isolated from the other ingredients. Pea protein is a complete protein which contains the nine essential amino acids, although it is considered low in methionine.
Pea protein contains branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) which promote heart and vascular health as well as increasing muscle growth (3).
What Are The Benefits Of Pea Protein Powder?
Supplementing with pea protein powder has numerous health and fitness benefits. Pea protein vs whey is a common question. Research has found pea to have comparable effects to whey protein with regards to improving strength, athletic performance and muscle growth (4, 5). When a muscle is put under stress, the fibers tear microscopically and need to be repaired. As the muscle tissue heals, it grows back stronger, resulting in increased size and performance.
This muscle repair process requires greater amounts of amino acids to create the protein necessary to carry out healing. This is where pea protein is beneficial in supplying exactly what the body needs to become fit and strong.
Pea protein also contains high levels of iron. This is particularly important as iron deficiency is a common nutrient deficiency amongst both men and women. Estimates are, more than 10 million people in the USA are iron deficient (6).
With iron deficiency being so prevalent worldwide, the fact pea protein offers the possibility of delivering iron via microencapsulation makes it an attractive supplement (7).
Pea Protein Is Hypoallergenic
Being vegan, pea protein powder supplementation avoids common allergies to gluten, dairy, eggs, and fish (including shellfish). You can be on just about any diet and pea protein will not interfere with it. Unless you have a sensitivity to peas or an allergy to peas, then you should be able to enjoy all the benefits of this protein powder with none of the negatives associated with egg-based and whey protein powders.
Pea protein also has an excellent amino acid profile, especially when you consider the branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) it contains. The BCAAs, leucine, isoleucine, and valine combine to form an essential protein which helps to synthesize protein in the body.
With the addition of hemp protein providing the methionine needed to give good levels of each critical amino acid, the benefits derived from pea protein should be maximised (8). However, even without the addition of hemp protein, pea isolate has been shown to be an excellent way to increase your rate of muscle growth.
What Is Hemp Protein?
Hemp protein is obtained from grinding up hemp seeds into a fine powder. These are essentially raw with most of the oil being removed during the grinding process. Approximately 10% of the oil remains at the end of the process. Historical records shows hemp seeds have been used in the human diet for at least 2000 years. Despite its name, hemp protein contains none of the psychoactive compounds such as THC found in other cannabis strains.
Hemp protein powder is high in omega-3 fatty acids, contributing to a healthy omega-3 to omega-6 ratio. As a complete protein, hemp powder contains the 9 essential amino acids necessary for optimal health. The seeds are also high in the amino acid arginine, which converts to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a crucial element in artery and vein dilation with the added benefit of keeping the vascular system elastic.
What Are The Benefits of Hemp Protein?
The high levels of methionine in hemp protein complement pea protein, which has low levels of this essential amino acid. With hemp powder being extremely well-tolerated in the gut, it is 91-98% digestible. However, this is true only of raw, unheated hemp seed powder (9). Check to see your protein supplement uses only cold-pressed hemp seeds to enjoy maximum benefits.
Some studies found the high levels of unsaturated fat in hemp protein powder are protective of cardiovascular health through the mechanism of lowering cholesterol levels (10, 11).
There is some concern regarding the high fat per portion of hemp powder, but it is mostly unsaturated fat. You may want to keep an eye on your total calorie count when supplementing with a pea protein/hemp protein blend. These supplements include added sugar and sodium to enhance the taste at the risk of increasing the number of calories.
Hemp seeds come with the added benefit of high antioxidant levels (12). They are also rich in Vitamin E and the minerals phosphorous, sodium, magnesium, zinc, calcium, and iron (13, 14).
Both pea and hemp protein powder can be taken alone. But when combined together they provide an excellent choice of all-around supplement which can support a range of health and fitness goals. While athletes and extremely physically active individuals may require more protein per serving than they’re able to obtain from a pea/hemp protein blend.