Revolutionising Cardiovascular Health: Hemp Seed Protein's Potential Impact on Māori Communities

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) poses a significant health challenge globally, affecting diverse populations in distinct ways. Among these groups, Māori adults are disproportionately affected by cardiovascular ailments, contributing to a stark health disparity. In a pioneering effort, researcher Ben Wright is embarking on an exciting PhD study to investigate the potential benefits of hemp seed protein supplementation in reducing arterial stiffness among Māori adults at risk for cardiovascular disease. This research has the potential not only to uncover novel insights into cardiovascular health but also to address the pressing issue of health equity in indigenous communities.


The Study Design

The study aims to explore whether the supplementation of hemp seed protein can mitigate arterial stiffness among Māori adults who are at risk of cardiovascular disease. Fifty-two participants will be recruited and divided into an experimental group receiving hemp protein supplementation and a control group receiving a placebo. The intervention will span over four months, with participants taking the supplement on five out of seven days each week. Regular assessments will be conducted at the outset, midway, and at the conclusion of the trial. These assessments will include pulse wave velocity (PWV), office blood pressure, 24-hour ambulatory blood pressure monitoring, blood glucose tests, blood cholesterol levels, and body composition analysis.

Hemp Seed Protein's Multifaceted Potential

Hemp seeds, long recognised for their nutritional value, have recently emerged as a potential ally in the battle against cardiovascular disease. This is attributed to their rich amino acid composition, including the notable presence of arginine—a critical component in regulating arterial stiffness. Not only does hemp protein offer an alternative to animal-based and other plant-based protein supplements, but its distinct amino acid profile, including a notably higher arginine content, may render it particularly effective in promoting cardiovascular health.

Addressing Health Disparities through Innovative Research

The study holds significant promise in addressing the health inequities faced by Māori communities in New Zealand. Cardiovascular diseases' disproportionate impact on indigenous populations stems from a complex interplay of historical, social, and healthcare-related factors. By focusing on an alternative intervention like hemp seed protein supplementation, researchers are breaking new ground in offering potential solutions outside the conventional healthcare norms.

Tino Rakatirataka and Community Involvement

Central to the success of this research is its commitment to community engagement and empowerment. Recognising the importance of involving Māori communities in healthcare decisions that affect them, the study is designed to promote information dissemination within whānau, hapū and iwi. The aim is to foster greater patient involvement in their own care, thereby enabling more effective prevention and management of cardiovascular disease.


The ongoing PhD research examining the effects of hemp seed protein supplementation on cardiovascular outcomes in at-risk Māori adults represents an exciting leap forward in cardiovascular health research. By challenging traditional approaches and focusing on the unique attributes of hemp protein, this study has the potential to usher in novel preventive strategies for cardiovascular disease. Moreover, its emphasis on community engagement and empowerment aligns with a broader effort to address health disparities and empower indigenous populations in their pursuit of better health.

As we await the results of this groundbreaking research, we anticipate that its findings will not only contribute to the scientific understanding of cardiovascular health but will also resonate deeply with Māori communities, fostering hope for a healthier, more equitable future.

1 comment

  • Amazing, what can’t this plant do??


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