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avocado toxicity

Answered on February 12, 2014
Created February 11, 2014 at 7:48 PM

Very simple - avocado is very toxic (potentially deadly) for carnivorous animals and birds, toxic to ruminants and rabbits, and the leaves, pits, skin and bark potentially deadly for ruminants and rabbits too. Surely in some dose avocado is going to be poisonous to some humans, similar to gluten, oxalic acid and a number of other chemicals vegetable things have.

I am interested in hearing from people who have eaten 1+/day for extended periods of time, specially regarding any subclinical symptoms they may have had. I recognize most of the replies will be from people who have trees, but I am about to gift a friend with three trees and I want to make sure.

56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on February 12, 2014
at 12:30 AM

The reason I give three is to cover most of the season. Otherwise two (one type A, the other type B) would suffice. Good to know about the gas. I am a modest avocado eater, but it seems to me that avocados are nothing compared to sunchokes. Thanks for all the advice.

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30

on February 11, 2014
at 11:27 PM

That's a perfectly valid concern and I applaud you for thinking ahead. The avocados would have to be strictly for human consumption so yes, you are quite right that the yield per person when the trees are in season would be quite large. I have never experienced any sort of toxicity (and I eat a lot, the Florida avocados are much larger than the Hass avocados and I sometimes eat two a day). The only thing is, the soluble fiber will cause a ridiculous amount of gas and flatulence (sorry for being crass). You don't want to be around someone who eats that much avocado, believe me.

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4 Answers

0
56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on February 12, 2014
at 03:38 PM

Yes, but relatively small doses. I searched the web:

- paper states that goats developed mastitis and edema, about 100gr/day leaves

- newspaper article of multiple house rabbits dead after one avocado treat. Does not specify if they are the skin or not.

- individual who claims in forum that he thinks his degraded kidney function is due to too many avocados.

What still bugs me is that avocado is toxic to pigs, rats and mice. Now it could be a benign cause: pigs will eat the skin and the pit, mice will definitely eat the pit. But pigs and rats, it starts hitting close to home. I do eat toxic plants of course: asparagus, parsley, and solanacea tubers and fruits.

0
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41757)

on February 12, 2014
at 02:07 PM

Dose matters. Toxic effects occur in animals at high feeding doses.

0
56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on February 11, 2014
at 11:14 PM

Yes, as you can imagine I do not want to give a gift that will result in a damaged liver. They have chickens and rabbits, but obviously you can not feed them anything avocado (neither fruit nor seed), all avocados will have to be eaten by humans, and we are talking about more than one avocado per person per day for about 7 months.

It is important to estimate the toxic dose...

But avocado toxicity is special in some respects. Chocolate may be toxic to dogs and cats, but the great digestive system of ruminants and rabbits would be able to degrade and neuter chocolate toxins. Likewise, if we process persin (the avocado toxin), so should they. But that is not the case. And these are systems that will happily eat and digest acorns, which have a huge tannin load, and in the case of goats, even poison oak. Avocado is the only thing I can think of, that we can eat but these animals can not. It gives you pause.

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30

on February 11, 2014
at 11:27 PM

That's a perfectly valid concern and I applaud you for thinking ahead. The avocados would have to be strictly for human consumption so yes, you are quite right that the yield per person when the trees are in season would be quite large. I have never experienced any sort of toxicity (and I eat a lot, the Florida avocados are much larger than the Hass avocados and I sometimes eat two a day). The only thing is, the soluble fiber will cause a ridiculous amount of gas and flatulence (sorry for being crass). You don't want to be around someone who eats that much avocado, believe me.

0
Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30

on February 11, 2014
at 10:46 PM

I have eaten avocados my whole life (quite common here in the Caribbean) so I will tell you, that you are completely safe. Chocolate is also highly toxic to dogs and cats, yet to us it does nothing. Alcohol and caffeine are also much more toxic to other animals than to us. The same can be said about a large variety of other chemicals. Don't worry, we humans have great livers, it's one of our evolutionary advantages, so enjoy it. Three avocado trees is a great gift by the way, send them to me if you change your mind :)

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