Are Avocados Bad for You?

Are Avocados Bad for You?
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The insecticide and fungicide compound found naturally in avocados (persin) may damage the DNA of normal cells, as well as cancer cells.

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Published just last year, an “In vitro Evaluation of the genotoxicity of Avocado…fruit in Human [white blood cells].” This study was not funded by the Avocado Commission; maybe Big Salsa is trying to muscle in on the guac market?

Simple experiment: they took normal human cells—and the easiest way to get human cells is to just take a blood sample. It’s kind of the easy way out; that’s what I did for my research work at Cornell.

Then they took some avocado fruit, smooshed it up, dripped a little bit on some healthy human white blood cells in a Petri dish, and looked to see if it caused any DNA damage. It was not subtle.

This is what normal healthy human chromosomes look like. This is your DNA; this is your DNA on guacamole. Chromosomes literally broken in half, terminal deletions, disjunctions, translocation; all sorts of weird chromosomal abnormalities. This is the kind of thing carcinogens do.

Conclusion: their “study suggests that extracts of…avocado fruit…can potentially induce significant genomic instability and some genetic damage in human [white blood cells].”

Why do they say “potentially induce”? I mean, we could see it with our own eyes. Because it was an in vitro evaluation. These were human cells, but they were outside the body. Even people that love guacamole don’t shoot it up like heroin; you eat it. So, before it gets near our blood cells, it hits stomach acid. Then, digestive enzymes. Then, our liver is a carcinogen-detoxifying machine! And only then do food compounds get to circulate throughout our body.

So, we don’t know what happens when we just eat it, but if the same effect occurs on body cells in vivo—meaning inside the body—then it could result in loss of function, cell death, or transformation into cancer. And if it did the same thing to our sperm or eggs, it could lead to infertility, abortions, miscarriages, or birth defects.

The bottom line: we don’t know what avocado consumption can do inside the body, but until the jury is in, I think it’s reasonable, given these new data, for people to consider reducing their intake.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to YinYang via iStock

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

Published just last year, an “In vitro Evaluation of the genotoxicity of Avocado…fruit in Human [white blood cells].” This study was not funded by the Avocado Commission; maybe Big Salsa is trying to muscle in on the guac market?

Simple experiment: they took normal human cells—and the easiest way to get human cells is to just take a blood sample. It’s kind of the easy way out; that’s what I did for my research work at Cornell.

Then they took some avocado fruit, smooshed it up, dripped a little bit on some healthy human white blood cells in a Petri dish, and looked to see if it caused any DNA damage. It was not subtle.

This is what normal healthy human chromosomes look like. This is your DNA; this is your DNA on guacamole. Chromosomes literally broken in half, terminal deletions, disjunctions, translocation; all sorts of weird chromosomal abnormalities. This is the kind of thing carcinogens do.

Conclusion: their “study suggests that extracts of…avocado fruit…can potentially induce significant genomic instability and some genetic damage in human [white blood cells].”

Why do they say “potentially induce”? I mean, we could see it with our own eyes. Because it was an in vitro evaluation. These were human cells, but they were outside the body. Even people that love guacamole don’t shoot it up like heroin; you eat it. So, before it gets near our blood cells, it hits stomach acid. Then, digestive enzymes. Then, our liver is a carcinogen-detoxifying machine! And only then do food compounds get to circulate throughout our body.

So, we don’t know what happens when we just eat it, but if the same effect occurs on body cells in vivo—meaning inside the body—then it could result in loss of function, cell death, or transformation into cancer. And if it did the same thing to our sperm or eggs, it could lead to infertility, abortions, miscarriages, or birth defects.

The bottom line: we don’t know what avocado consumption can do inside the body, but until the jury is in, I think it’s reasonable, given these new data, for people to consider reducing their intake.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to YinYang via iStock

Doctor's Note

What about some other nutritional surprises? Check out these videos:
Does Coconut Oil Cure Alzheimer’s?
Does Coconut Oil Clog Arteries?

Be sure to check out my updated video: Are Avocados Good for You?

To follow-up, see: Any update on the scary in vitro avocado data?

For more context, also check out my associated blog post: Tarragon Toxicity?

Update: In 2017, I did a couple of new videos about avocados: The Effects of Avocados and Red Wine on Meal-Induced Inflammation and Are Avocados Healthy?

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

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