April 23, 2012
Avocado Oil Could Have Anti-Aging, Disease-Fighting Capabilities
Researchers at a Mexican university have discovered that avocado oil may possess the same kind of anti-aging properties as olive oil, and could potentially be used to help battle cancer or heart disease, the UK Press Association (UKPA) reported on Sunday.
The study, which was headed up by Christian CortÃ©s-Rojo of Universidad Michoacana de San NicolÃ¡s de Hidalgo in Morelia, MichoacÃ¡n, MÃ©xico, and presented at the annual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in San Diego, found that avocado oil is similar in composition to olive oil while demonstrating that the substance has the ability to battle the destructive rogue oxygen molecules known as free radicals.Experts have studied antioxidants in several different fruits and vegetables, including carrots and tomatoes, in an attempt to combat the free radicals found in mitochondria. However, according to a Sunday statement, "the problem is that the antioxidants in those substances are unable to enter mitochondria. So free radicals go on damaging mitochondria, causing energy production to stop and the cell to collapse and die."
CortÃ©s-Rojo's team used yeast cells in order to study the properties of avocado oil, explaining that it is comparatively easy to study because of its simplicity and that mitochondria found in yeast are resistant to free radicals due to an oxidation-resistant fat that can be found in it -- the same fat that can be discovered in avocado oil. Furthermore, he explains that avocados contain plant pigments which inhibit oxidation, and that his team wanted to see whether or not those properties could increase the yeast's resistance to mitochondrial oxidation.
The research showed them that the avocado oil "allowed the yeast cells to survive exposure to high concentrations of iron, which produces a huge amount of free radicals," even up to the higher levels found in some types of human diseases.
"These results could be attributed to the fact that avocado oil caused accelerated respiration in mitochondria, which indicate that the use of nutrients for producing energy for cell functions remains effective even in cells attacked by free radicals and that mitochondria itself could produce little amounts of damaging free radicals," CortÃ©s-Rojo said in a statement..
"Our results are promising because they indicate that avocado consumption could improve the health status of diabetic and other patients through an additional mechanism to the improvement of blood lipids," he added. "We'll need to confirm that what has been observed in yeasts could occur in higher organisms, such as humans. We hope this will be the case, because there are many vital processes conserved in organisms that seem very dissimilar to humans."