Beyond a Superfood: The Next Generation of Healthy Seeds and Fish Oil the Sacha Inichi

Posted: Thursday, 29 March 2012 by Strength&Nutrition24/7 in Labels: ,


The other day I was walking in my local organic market (shout out for planet organic) and I came across a seed (the size of a nut) I had never seen before. I picked up the package and to my surprise it was a seed from the Amazon in Peru. The package had all these grand claims such as:

  • richest source of Omega 3 on the planet
  • 7000mg of heart-healthy Omega 3 per one ounce serving
  • 13 times more Omega 3 than an ounce of wild salmon
  • exceptional source of plant-based protein with 8 grams of complete protein per ounce
  • abundant source of tryptophan, an amino acid that can help promote a positive mood – containing about 29 mg of tryptophan per gram of protein
  • 8 times higher than roasted turkey
  • Sacha inchi seeds have a high concentration of powerful natural antioxidants like Vitamin E
  • gluten free
  • ounce serving of SaviSeed will provide you with 5 grams of dietary fiber
  • which is 20% of recommended daily intake

For more of their claims visit saviseed

Being my usual self I was skeptical (How could I have not heard about something so amazing? ... This can ‘t be true) so I purchased a bag to see how it tasted and did some research. It successfully past the taste test and didn’t provide the oh so lovely fish burps. Let’s take a look at what the research has to say about it.


The sacha inchi comes from the Amazon which is considered the world’s most important centre of biodiversity. On top of this, it is where many of our important agriculture crops were first domesticated (e.g. cassava, pineapple, cocoa, rubber). The Amazonian plants have significant economic potential; however, little is known about them, due to neglect by the scientific community (one example is the sacha inichi) (this is likely why all of my colleagues and me had never heard of it). The plant has been used by the Incas 3000 years ago. Tribal groups and chancas Indians extract oil from the seeds which they use for preparation of meals. Further, roasted seeds and cooked leaves are an important part of the diet.

Sacha Inchi historically has been used by the indigenous people for cosmetic purposes for women (mixed with flour). It has also, been used as a medical treatment for rheumatic problems and aching muscles.

Only recently, has effort been put towards encouraging and introducing Sacha Inchi as an alternative crop. This was done to reduce the pressure and dependency of local cultivation of cocoa. With the successful integration of the oil in cosmetic products has already begun to have positive effects in agricultural terms. Due to its incredible composition of high unsaturated fatty acids, it has very recently been introduced as a dietary supplementation and is now available to consumers.


  • One of the oldest cultivated plants in the Amazon and Peru
  • The oil has been classified as edible with highest proportions of unsaturated fatty acids and incredible digestibility in vitro
  • Due to its incredible composition of omega-3 fatty acids (particularly a-linoleic acid), omega-6 fatty acids, and omega -9 fatty acids, the oil has been successfully used and integrated into the medical and cosmetic industry
  • Although it has a high level of tocopherol, the oil has been deemed stable against oxidation
  • Future possible studies and theorised fields of application are coronary heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, ADHD, and inflammatory skin diseases
  • Amino acid profile conforms to the recommendations of FAO/WHO as a nutrient for adults
  • Contains unusually high proportion of tryptophan 44mg/g protein
  • High levels of vitamin A and E, and phytosterol, mainly stigmastero, caompesterol and d5-avenasterol (250mg/2100 ml- oil)
  • There have not been studies on the health benefits from this seed specifically yet. However, it has been theorised and assumed due to its composition of unsaturated fatty acids (the effect these have had on diseases from other sources)
  • Cholesterol and blood pressure lowering properties, diabetes, arthritis and certain psychological disorder and cancer (breast cancer and prostate carcinoma)

Comparison Chart


The cost by volume seems high with 5 pounds of the seed sitting at around $90. However, having one ounce a day is more than enough (equals approx 7 fish oil pills a day along with other benefits). When having one ounce a day, the five pounds would last you 80 days, but the question is can you stop yourself at one ounce.....

  • Guille ´n, M. D., Ruiz, A., Cabo, N., Chirinos, R., & Pascual, G. (2003). Characterization of Sacha Inchi (Plukenetia volubulis L.) oil by FTIR spectroscopy and 1H NMR comparison with linseed oil. Journal of the American Oil Chemist’s Society, 80, 755e762.
  • Hamaker, B. R., Valles, C., Gilman, C. R., Hardmeier, R. M., Clark, D., Garcia, H. H., et al. (1992). Amino acid and fatty acid profiles of the Inca peanut (Plukenetia volubulis L.). Cereal Chemistry, 69, 461e463.
  • Hanssen, H.-P. (2008). Sacha Inchi e die Inka-Nuss auf dem Weg zum Weltmarkt. Deutsche Apotheker Zeitung, 148, 60e61.
  • Sathe, S. K., Hamaker, B. R., Sze-Tao, K. W. C., & Venkatachalam, M. (2002). Isolation, purification, and biochemical characterization of a novel water soluble protein from Inca peanut (Plukenetia volubulis L.). Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 50, 4906e4908.
  • Krivankova B., Polesny Z., Lojka B., Lojkova J., Banout J., Preininger D. (2007). Utilisation of Diversity in Land use Systems: Sustainable and Organic Approaches to Meet Human Needs. Tropentag,
  • Ivor M.D.P., Willyan G., Víctor A., Vladimir C., Sócrates Q., Marleny S., &Lucio C. (2011). Phase Equilibrium Measurements of Sacha Inchi Oil (<i>Plukenetia volubilis</i>) and CO<sub>2</sub> at High Pressures. Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society, 88(8), 1263-1269.
  • Preedy R. (2011). Nuts and seeds in health and disease prevention. Amsterdam: Elsevier.
  • Chart 
  • Preedy R. (2011). Nuts and seeds in health and disease prevention. Amsterdam: Elsevier.