Hemp Protein Amino Acid Profile

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Hemp is a common ingredient in many vegan protein powders.

The following chart shows a typical hemp protein’s amino acid profile. Essential amino acids have a little asterisk next to their names.

This graph was generated using our amino acid profile comparison tool.

hemp protein amino acid profile graph

(Data Source)

Complete List of Hemp’s Amino Acids

It might be easier to read in table form. Essential amino acids are again marked with an asterisk (*).

  % of total amino acids
Alanine 4.7
Arginine 11.4
Aspartic Acid 10.7
Cystine 2
Glutamic Acid 17.6
Glycine 4.8
Histidine* 2.7
Isoleucine* 4.5
Leucine* 6.8
Lysine* 3.8
Methionine* 2.6
Phenylalanine* 4.7
Proline 4.6
Serine 5
Threonine* 3.9
Tryptophan* 1.1
Tyrosine 3.3
Valine* 5.6

Is Hemp a Complete Protein?

Hemp is so close to being a complete protein, based on the relative amounts of each essential amino acid defined by the WHO:

 
Complete Protein (min %)
Hemp Protein (%)
Histidine 1.5 2.7
Isoleucine 3 4.5
Leucine 5.9 6.8
Lysine 4.5 3.8
Methionine+Cysteine
1.6 4.6
Phenylalanine+Tyrosine
3 8
Threonine 2.3 3.9
Valine 3.9 5.6

It falls a bit short when it comes to lysine, but not by much.

The real issue with hemp is eating a lot of it. There’s only so many hemp seeds that you can add to a shake, oatmeal, or salad.

Overall Summary of Hemp Protein’s Amino Acid Profile

It’s debatable whether or not hemp is a complete amino acid (certain crops could be). It has a decent quantity of all essential amino acids.

But as long as you’re not getting 100% of your protein from hemp, it’s a non-issue.

Compared to whey protein, just for reference to an animal protein, there are only a few main differences:

  • Hemp is relatively high in arginine and glycine
  • Hemp is relatively low in leucine, isoleucine, and threonine

Considering leucine and isoleucine are both essential amino acids, that’s not great for hemp. But overall, hemp is a high quality protein source with a solid amino acid profile, which is arguably even better than soy’s amino acid profile.

Finally, note that beans compliment hemp quite well. They have a lot of leucine and isoleucine, and are great vegan sources of tryptophan.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. Chemical engineer turned semi-professional soccer player and freelance nutrition writer. I've been vegan for years and try to make life easier for others by sharing what I've learned.

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