The Impact of Hempseed Consumption on Bone Parameters and Body Composition in Growing Female C57BL/6 Mice

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 May 11;19(10):5839. doi: 10.3390/ijerph19105839.


Optimizing peak bone mass is critical to healthy aging. Beyond the established roles of dietary minerals and protein on bone integrity, fatty acids and polyphenols modify bone structure. This study investigated the effect of a diet containing hempseeds (HS), which are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids and polyphenols, on bone mineral density, bone cell populations and body composition. Groups (n = 8 each) of female C57BL/6 mice were fed one of three diets (15% HS by weight; 5% HS; 0% HS (control)) from age 5 to 30 weeks. In vivo whole-body composition and bone mineral density and content were measured every 4 weeks using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Ex vivo humeri cell populations in the epiphyseal plate region were determined by sectioning the bone longitudinally, mounting the sections on slides and staining with tartrate-resistant acid phosphatase and alkaline phosphatase stain to identify osteoclasts and osteoblasts, respectively. Mixed models with repeated measures across experimental weeks showed that neither body weight nor body weight gain across weeks differed among groups yet mice fed the 15% HS diet consumed significantly more food and more kilocalories per g body weight gained than those fed the 5% HS and control diets (p < 0.0001). Across weeks, fat mass was significantly higher in the 5% HS versus the control group (p = 0.02). At the end point, whole-body bone mineral content was significantly higher in the control compared to the 5% HS group (p = 0.02). Humeri from both HS groups displayed significantly lower osteoblast densities compared to the control group (p < 0.0001). No relationship was seen between osteoblast density and body composition measurements. These data invite closer examination of bone cell activity and microarchitecture to determine the effect of habitual HS consumption on bone integrity.

Keywords: C57BL/6 mice; DEXA; bone; hempseed; osteoblasts; osteoclasts; polyphenols; polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Animals
  • Body Composition*
  • Female
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Polyphenols* / pharmacology
  • Weight Gain


  • Polyphenols

Grant support

This research was funded by The Institute of Cannabis Research at Colorado State University-Pueblo and the Idaho State University Office for Research.