The University Michoacana de San Nicolas de Hidalgo in Morelia, Mexico, presented a new research finding at the annual meeting of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in San Diego, California, which suggests that avocado may be used to battle conditions like heart disease and cancer.
Apparently, the fat extracted from the exotic fruit can be a potential drug to combat destructive oxygen molecules. These unstable free radicals cause chain reactions that destroy cell membranes, proteins and even DNAs; and are said to be the main cause of ageing. Moreover, these are assumed to play an important role in damaging arteries and causing cancer.
Oxygen free radicals, or ‘reactive oxygen species’, are natural waste products of metabolism but may be generated in greater numbers due to pollution, tobacco smoke and radiation. These free radicals attack mitochondria, the powerhouse of the cell. Several anti-oxidant chemicals in vegetables and fruits such as carrots and tomatoes help in offsetting free radicals.
However, Christopher Cortes-Rojo, the research lead, says that they cannot reach the free radicals in mitochondria. He explained, “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.”
Experiments on yeast have proved that avocado oil was effective against mitochondrial free radicals. Yeast cells treated with the oil were able to survive high exposure to iron, which triggers production of huge numbers of the molecules.
”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”, added Christopher Cortes-Rojo.
Christopher also claimed that the research findings are promising because they indicate that avocado consumption can improve the health status of diabetics and other patients.