The anti-inflammatory properties of avocado seed extract

An illustration of avocados to demonstrate avocado seed extract
© iStock/Melpomenem

Penn State University researchers have found that avocado seed extract is a potential source for novel anti-inflammatory compounds.

An extract from the seeds of avocados showed anti-inflammatory properties in a laboratory study, meaning it is a potential source of anti-inflammation pharmaceuticals or as a functional food ingredient.

Can avocado seed extract reduce inflammation?

Joshua Lambert, co-director of Penn State’s Center for Plant and Mushroom Foods for Health and associate professor of food science, said: “The level of activity that we see from the extract is very good. We saw inhibitory activity at concentrations in the low microgram-per-millilitre range, which is an acceptable amount of activity to justify further studies.”

Lambert believes that this study provides the basis for more research because it is evidence that there are bioactive compounds in avocado seeds that have anti-inflammatory activity.

He added: “The next step, before we can draw further conclusions about the anti-inflammatory activity of this avocado seed extract, will be to design animal model studies. For example, we can look at a mouse model of ulcerative colitis where we formulate the avocado seed extract into the mice diet and look at whether it is able to reduce inflammation.”

Turning waste into value

Lambert explained: “If we can return value to avocado growers or avocado processors, that would be a benefit. And if we can reduce the amount of this material being dumped in landfills, that would be a good thing, given the huge amount of avocados that are consumed. This is encouraging because there is a market for other high-value sources of bioactive compounds we have tested in my lab, such as cocoa and green tea – whereas avocado seeds are essentially considered to be garbage.”

The United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture supported the research. The researchers have filed an application to patent the use of the extract as a food color additive.

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