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Sacha Inchi allergy


Reviewed: February 24, 2020
I am writing the Swedish version of seed allergy, the national manual. What is Sacha Inchi seed and where are these allergies found?


There are no published reports of food reactions to Sacha Inchi but there are undocumented reports (see below). This food is a seed and also is referred to as “Peruvian peanut”, “Jungle peanut”, “mountain peanut” and “Inca-peanut” but it is not botanically related to peanut. Specific protein bands binding with IgE have been described but this is reported in a patient with rhinitis attributed to possible inhalation of Sacha Inchi seed dust (see Ask The Expert question below).

In summary, this food is grown in tropical South America and now is also cultivated in the Windward Islands in the Caribbean and Southeast Asia, particularly Thailand The seed has a high protein content (27%) and oil content (35-60%). The latter has a high content of omega-3 linoleic acid and omega-6 linoleic acid as well as vitamin A and E. It is marketed as a health food snack due to this composition. There are no official reports of food allergy but I think it is only a matter of time since one would predict the food has contents consistent with an allergenic food and specific-IgE to components has been described.

Sacha Inchi seed allergy
Q: 3/25/2015
Has there been any cases of food allergy to Sacha Inchi seed? I have a few patients that take it and also a few with peanut allergy and I am wondering about cross-reactivity?

A: I am not aware of reports of Sacha Inchi seed allergy from ingestion. There is an interesting short report of rhinitis from apparent aerosolized exposure to Sacha Inchi seed used in cosmetics (Bueso, Armando, Rosa Rodríguez-Perez, and Marta Rodríguez. "Occupational Allergic Rhinoconjunctivitis" (2010)). This group described prick testing with an extract prepared by mixing 10 mg of crushed seeds per one ml of saline and a “prick-to-prick” test with Sacha Inchi seed. The test was reported to be positive but no controls were described. The authors performed polyacrylamide blotting and identified 4 stronger IgE binding bands (8, 10, 27, 39 kDa) and 4 weaker IgE binding bands (12, 15, 17, 39 kDa).

In summary, Sacha Inchi seed allergy would seem like a possibility. I would not expect any cross reactivity with peanut.

I am sharing this response with Dr. Scott Sicherer, faculty member at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute, for his expertise.

Dr. Sicherer has responded:
"I cannot locate any reports of documented allergy to Sacha Inchi seed ingestion in Medline, although a colleague from Peru has mentioned this possibility and there have been undocumented reports. This also goes by names such as Peruvian peanut or Jungle peanut. While it is a seed, and not a bean, I am not aware of published studies on the potential for cross reactivity with peanut, other seeds, nuts, beans, etc. A preliminary unpublished report from Peru suggested a lack of cross reactivity with peanut. Based on general principles, I would suspect as this rises in popularity, we will see allergic reactions, although perhaps not from cross reacting peanut proteins.”

I hope this information is of help to you and your patient.

All my best.
Dennis K. Ledford, MD, FAAAAI