Inca Inchi® oil A virgin-grade oil naturally high in omega-3 fatty acids
Virgin Inca Inchi® oil is made from sacha inchi, a plant that grows in Peru. It contains 45% (min.) alpha-linolenic acid. Virgin Inca Inchi® oil has a “green” flavor, reminiscent of fresh-cut grass.
Certified organic Inca Inchi® oil is also available.
Inca Inchi® oil is available in France, Benelux, Spain and Portugal.
Sacha inchi is a plant that grows in the Amazon rainforest in Peru.
Part of the ancient Inca diet, this plant was only recently rediscovered.
Virgin Inca Inchi® oil is obtained from the (first) cold-pressing of crushed sacha inchi nuts. Virgin Inca Inchi® oil contains 45% (min.) alpha-linolenic acid, 30% linoleic acid and naturally contains 2000 to 3000 ppm of tocopherols.
Virgin Inca Inchi® oil has a “green” flavor, reminiscent of fresh-cut grass.
Conventionally produced and certified organic sacha inchi oil are both available.
Nutrition and Health Benefits
Bioavailability of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) in Inca Inchi® oil
This study was carried out in 2007 by ITERG on flaxseed oil and virgin Inca Inchi® oil for a comparison of ALA metabolism and intestinal absorption rates in rats.
Rats were fed a fat-free diet and then underwent a surgical procedure under general anesthesia to sample lymph. Upon recovery from the procedure, rats were fed oil containing an internal standard via gastric intubation. The internal standard used was glyceryl tri-isopalmitate , a triglyceride whose absorption rate is close to 100% and whose fatty acids (three iso-palmitic acid molecules) are strictly exogenous. The lymph of each rat was collected in a single fraction for 24 h, covering the lymph production period.
The study was done on eight rats for each tested oil.
PUFA composition in lymphatic lipids (%)
Composition (% weight) of PUFAs in lymph samples for each administered oil
Therefore, the percentage of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) absorbed by rats fed Inca Inchi® oil was higher than that of rats fed flaxseed oil.
ALA absorption rate
The relative proportions of ALA and iso-palmitic acid (the internal standard) were measured using gas chromatography in both tested oils (RF) and in the lymph samples (RL). The absorption rates (T) of ALA for each oil is calculated from the proportion of ALA in the lymph samples with respect to the proportion of ALA in the tested oils.
Structure of lymphatic triglycerides and ALA bioavailability
During digestion, triglycerides contained in food are only partially hydrolyzed by pancreatic lipase that acts specifically on the sn-1 and sn-3 positions. The fatty acids at the sn-2 position are not released, but are absorbed as 2-monoglycerides. Free fatty acids are easily oxidized and are not absorbed: the sn-2 position of ALA thus favors its absorption and metabolism.
Therefore, the distribution of ALA among the internal and external positions of lymphatic triglycerides can be a good indication of how well ALA is metabolized.
All of the results obtained during this study suggest that the metabolic potential of ALA contained in Inca Inchi® oil is equivalent to that of flaxseed oil. (ITERG, 2010).
Tocopherol composition of Inca Inchi® oil
Inca Inchi® oil is thus naturally stable and does not require the addition of any anti-oxidants.
Regulatory status of Inca Inchi® oil
The Food Safety Authority of Ireland declared that Inca Inchi® oil is substantially equivalent to flaxseed oil. This authorization is valid for all of Europe and can be consulted via this link.
The reference daily intakes of ALA and LA are respectively 2 g and 10 g. They are defined in a 2009 EFSA opinion.
Technological Properties and Formulation
Virgin Inca Inchi® oil naturally contains 1900 to 3200 ppm of gamma- and delta-tocopherols.
It is thus naturally stable and does not require any anti-oxidants.
Nutrition and Health Claims
Nutrition claims for ALA
Commission Regulation N° 116/2010 of 9 February 2010 amending Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to the list of nutrition claims authorizes 5 nutrition claims for alpha-linolenic acid:
Health claims for ALA
Commission Regulations (EU) Nos 432/2012 of 16 May 2012 and 376/2010 of 3 May 2010 amending Regulation (EC) N° 983/2009 on the authorization and refusal of authorization of certain health claims made on food and referring to the reduction of disease risk and to children’s development authorize two health claims for alpha-linolenic acid.