Context: Sacha inchi (Plukenetia volubilis L.) is a potential oilseed crop because it is rich in α-linolenic acid (ALA) (omega-3 fatty acid).
Objective: To evaluate the exposure of fatty acids after a single oral administration of sacha inchi or sunflower oil in healthy volunteers.
Material and methods: Plasma fatty acids concentrations were assayed by Gas Chromatography with Flame Ionization Detector in 18 adult subjects. After fasting, blood samples were obtained at 0, 0.5, 1, 2, 4, 8 and 24 h after ingestion of 10 or 15 ml of sacha inchi oil or sunflower oil.
Results: The proportion ALA/linoleic acid was 1.37 in sacha inchi oil and 0.01 in sunflower oil. ALA, lauric acid, palmitic acid, linolelaidic acid, cis-8,11,14-eicosatrienoic acid, cis-13,16-docosadienoic acid and cis-4,7,10,13,16,19-docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) levels changed over time after sacha inchi oil ingestion but not with sunflower oil. The time at maximal concentration (tmax) for ALA was 2 h after sacha inchi oil ingestion. No ALA in plasma was observed after sunflower oil consumption. The maximal concentration of ALA was 2.84 ± 0.36 mg/ml in women and 0.94 ± 0.57 mg/ml in men, p < 0.05, whereas maximal concentration of DHA was 2.60 ± 0.84 mg/ml in women and 1.00 ± 0.38 mg/ml in men (p > 0.05). There is a trend for higher plasma ALA levels with 15 ml sacha inchi oil. After 2 h of consumption, plasma delta triacylglycerol were reduced with sunflower oil but slightly increased with sacha inchi oil. A reduction in plasma delta triacylglycerol-rich lipoprotein cholesterol was observed with both oils.
Conclusion: Consumption of sacha inchi oil increased ALA and DHA in plasma.