Avocado (generic name)
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SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to avocado. An association between allergy to latex, chestnut, banana and/or avocado has been reported. Symptoms of allergy may include anaphylaxis, hives, vomiting, intestinal spasms, or bronchial asthma.
Side Effects and Warnings
In general, it appears that avocado is well tolerated and is likely safe when consumed in amounts commonly found in foods. Caution should be taken when used in people with hypersensitivity to latex.
Most skin adverse effects are due to allergy, and symptoms may include reddening of the skin, itching, hives, or eczema.
Adverse effects due to ASU (avocado/soybean unsaponifiables) include flu-like symptoms, paralysis, gastrointestinal disorders, nausea, gastralgia (stomach pain), vomiting, inflammation of the intestine, migraine headache with fever, headache, drowsiness, bronchial asthma, or vomiting.
Certain types of avocado oil may cause liver damage. Caution is advised when taking Mexican avocado due to the constituents, estragole and anethole, which may be liver damaging and cancer causing. Caution is advised in patients with compromised liver function.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Some varieties of avocado may be unsafe during breastfeeding. The Guatemalan variety of avocado may cause mammary gland damage and reduce milk production.
Interactions with Drugs
Avocado may decrease the effect of "blood thinning" or anti-inflammatory medications. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants ("blood thinners") such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, anti-platelet drugs such as clopidogel (Plavix®), and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®). Avocado may also interact with other types of anti-inflammatories.
Avocado may add to the effects of cholesterol-lowering medications. Patients taking these medications should consult with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist.
Avocado contains moderate amounts of tyramine and may increase the risk of high blood pressure when taken with monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). Examples of MAOI drugs include isocarboxazid (Marplan®), phenelzine (Nardil®), and tranylcypromine (Parnate®). Caution is advised.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Avocado may reduce the "blood thinning" effect of certain herbs and supplements, such as garlic or Ginkgo biloba. It may also interact with herbs and supplements that have anti-inflammatory effects. Caution is advised.
Avocado contains moderate amounts of tyramine and may increase the risk of high blood pressure when taken with herbs and supplements that have monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) activity. Caution is advised.
Avocado is rich in beta-sitosterol. Consuming avocado concurrently with other supplements, including beta-sitosterol, could potentially lead to increased side effects.
This information is based on a professional level monograph edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com): Tracee Rae Abrams, PharmD (University of Rhode Island); Heather Boon, B.Sc.Phm, PhD (University of Toronto); Mary Giles, PharmD (University of Rhode Island); Cathy DeFranco Kirkwood, MPH (MD Anderson Cancer Center); Hope J. Lafferty, AM (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center); Adrianne Rogers, MD (Boston University School of Medicine); Anneli Savinainen, MS (MPI); Lisa Scully, PharmD (University of Rhode Island); Erica Rusie, PharmD (Nova Southeastern University); Catherine Ulbricht, PharmD (Massachusetts General Hospital); Wendy Weissner, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Shannon Welch, PharmD (Northeastern University); Jen Woods, BS (Northeastern University).