An active ingredient from avocados helps against overweight and diabetes

An active ingredient from avocados helps against overweight and diabetes

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Compound only found in avocados could help against obesity

Avocados may be the key to fighting obesity and delaying or preventing diabetes, according to a new study by researchers from Canada.

It has long been known that avocados are not only very tasty, but also extremely healthy. The fruits are a particularly good source of unsaturated fatty acids and a lot of vitamins and minerals. It also contains the ingredient Avocatin B (AvoB).

Researchers led by Prof. Paul Spagnuolo from the University of Guelph (Canada) have now shown for the first time how this compound, which is only found in avocados, can inhibit cellular processes that normally lead to diabetes. The team also found that the substance was absorbed into the blood with no adverse effects on the kidney, liver or muscles. The study was recently published in the journal Molecular Nutrition and Food Research.

One of the main causes of type 2 diabetes

As the University of Guelph wrote in a statement, obesity is a chronic condition that is a major cause of type 2 diabetes.

Insulin resistance in diabetics means that their body cannot properly remove glucose from the blood. These complications can arise when mitochondria, also known as power plants of the body cells, are unable to completely burn fatty acids.

Usually, the oxidation of fatty acids allows the body to burn fats. Obesity or diabetes inhibit this process and lead to incomplete oxidation.

Researchers at the University of Guelph have now found that avocatin B (AvoB), a fat molecule found only in avocados, counteracts incomplete oxidation in skeletal muscles and the pancreas to reduce insulin resistance.

Higher insulin sensitivity

The study fed mice a high-fat diet for eight weeks to cause obesity and insulin resistance. For the next five weeks, AvoB was added to the high-fat feed in half of the mice.

The mice receiving AvoB weighed significantly less than those in the control group and showed slower weight gain. More importantly, according to Spagnuolo, the treated mice showed a higher insulin sensitivity, which means that their bodies were able to absorb and burn glucose and improve their response to insulin.

In a human clinical trial, AvoB was given to participants who ate a typical Western diet as a dietary supplement.

The molecule was safely absorbed into her blood without affecting the kidney, liver or skeletal muscles. The team also noticed weight loss in human subjects, but Spagnuolo said the result was not statistically significant.

After demonstrating its safety in humans, the scientists are planning clinical trials to test the effectiveness of AvoB in the treatment of metabolic disorders in humans. Through the studies, Spagnuolo and his team know how much AvoB should be contained in the dietary supplements. He has already received approval for the preparation and plans to sell it through a company from next year.

Healthy eating and exercise

The scientist said eating avocados alone would likely be ineffective because the amount of natural avocatin B in the fruit varies widely. It is still not understood exactly how it is digested and absorbed after eating the avocado.

Avocados are touted as weight loss foods, but according to Spagnuolo, more studies are needed. He pointed out that healthy eating and exercise are generally recommended to prevent metabolic disorders that can lead to obesity or diabetes.

PhD student Nawaz Ahmed, lead author of the study, said: “We recommend healthy eating and exercise as a solution to the problem, but it is difficult for some people. We've known that for decades, and obesity and diabetes are still a major health problem. ”

In previous work funded by the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Spagnuolo has investigated the potential use of avocatin B to treat blood cancer (acute myeloid leukemia). The results of that time were published in the journal "Cancer Research". (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • University of Guelph: Avocados May Help Manage Obesity, Prevent Diabetes, U of G Study Reveals, (accessed: November 2, 2019), University of Guelph
  • Wiley Online Library: Study published in Molecular Nutrition and Food Research: Avocatin B Protects Against Lipotoxicity and Improves Insulin Sensitivity in Diet ‐ Induced Obesity, (accessed: November 2, 2019), Molecular Nutrition and Food Research
  • American Association for Cancer Research (AACR): Study publication in Cancer Research: Targeting Mitochondria with Avocatin B Induces Selective Leukemia Cell Death, (accessed: November 2, 2019), Cancer Research

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