Sacha Inchi Shown as Effective as Soy for Muscle Building

Fact checked

By Fiorella M. | Updated: Feb 13, 2024

Sacha Inchi Shown as Effective as Soy for Muscle Building
General Information
  • 18 Sep 2017
  • Peru
  • Cayetano Heredia University
  • Gonzales et al.
  • Double-blind human trial
  • 30 adults
  • 1 day

Sacha Inchi nuts, also known as Inca peanuts, are among the richest plan-based sources of healthy fatty acids (omega 3, 6, and 9) and protein. When these Amazonian nuts are processed into a powder, their protein availability increases due to the presence of essential amino acids.

Amino acids, known as the building blocks of proteins, contain nitrogen, which is a naturally occurring element, necessary for growth and reproduction in both plants and animals. A proper balance of nitrogen is instrumental for muscle building.1 For the first time, a human trial analyzes the nitrogen balance after consuming either sacha inchi or soy powder.  And the results are quite promising.

The Study

The study, published in the scientific journal Toxicology Mechanisms and Methods, was conducted in Peru by a team led by Dr. Gustavo F. Gonzales, professor at the Cayetano Heredia University, President of the Scientific Committee of the National Academy of Medicine, and General Secretary of the National Academy of Sciences.

For this double blind study, 30 men and women, from 18 to 55 years old, were recruited and divided in two groups. 15 subjects were given a single dose of 30 grams of sacha inchi powder, and the other group was given 30 grams of soybean powder. Blood samples at different times were obtained, and urine for 24 hours was collected in order to calculate nitrogen balance.

The Results

In the participants who were given sacha inchi powder, the results were comparable to those who consumed soy powder. In both groups, a nitrogen balance of p < 0.05 was considered significant. After 30 minutes of being given either sacha inchi or soy powder, the insulin levels in all participants increased. Thereafter, a reduction occurred. Likewise, the lipid profile and anti-inflammatory markers were the same in both groups after consuming the powders. 


What Does this Mean?

This study is particularly relevant because it shows, for the first time, the same nitrogen balance after consuming either sacha inchi or soy, which means that sacha inchi powder for muscle building is a great alternative to soy, without the hormonal effects due to the presence of phytoestrogens in the latter.

Other alternative sources of protein include amaranthkaniwa, and quinoa.


  • Toxicology Mechanisms and Methods, Nitrogen balance after a single oral consumption of sacha inchi (Plukenetia volúbilis L.) protein compared to soy protein: a randomized study in humans, 2018


  1. University of Chicago. (n/d). Marine Biological laboratory, Primer on Nitrogen. Retrieved February 6, 2023, from: