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Why avocados are NOT OK during the Poison/"Vitamin A" Detox Program

From Life Extension Magazine: Avocados Super-Enhanced Carotenoid Absorption.

This one food is a PERFECT example of how people who try to DIY [do-it-yourself] their own "Vitamin A detox" based on the nearly worthless Googling of "Vitamin A content [insert food here]" can absolutely derail their progress and/or make themselves suffer a much longer time than they need to.  When I do my research on foods that are OK and NOT OK on my Poison/"Vitamin A" Detox Program, I put a significant amount of time into it, along with my gift of knowing where to look and how deep to go (this blog-forum is an example of that).

I'll be taking the important snippets out of this article and expanding upon the useful references they provided.

In fact, this creamy, green fruit is packed with a host of different carotenoids, ranging from alpha-carotene to zeaxanthin, while also including lesser-known beneficial carotenoids such as neochrome.

Most importantly, the amount and combination of dietary fats found in avocado, as well as its abundant supply of oleic acid, provide optimal absorption of carotenoids—not just the carotenoids found in the avocado itself, but also the carotenoids found in other foods eaten at the same time.1

Reference:  Carotenoid absorption from salad and salsa by humans is enhanced by the addition of avocado or avocado oil.

It should be noted that REFINED avocado oil, like the one Chosen Foods offers, is much lower in carotenoids than UN-refined avocado oil.  Refined avocado oil (and nearly all other naturally refined oils) are permissible on the official Poison/"Vitamin A" Detox Program.  Unrefined or virgin oils are NOT, for more reasons than simply their carotenoid content.

But the green pulp of avocado contains an assortment of carotenoids that includes:4

  • Alpha-carotene,
  • Beta-carotene,
  • Beta-cryptoxanthin,
  • Chrysanthemaxanthin,
  • Lutein,
  • Neochrome,
  • Neoxanthin,
  • Violaxanthin, and
  • Zeaxanthin.

In fact, the lutein content of the California Hass avocado (Persea americana Mill.) was found to be the highest among all commonly eaten fruits.5

Furthermore, carotenoid absorption from avocado is enhanced by its fatty acid profile.

First reference:  Inhibition of prostate cancer cell growth by an avocado extract: role of lipid-soluble bioactive substances.

Before you get confused here, it should be noted that higher serum Vitamin E levels has been shown to be associated with less cancer in general.  Then, read this quote from that study:

Lutein accounted for 70% of the measured carotenoids, and the avocado also contained significant quantities of vitamin E. An acetone extract of avocado containing these carotenoids and tocopherols was shown to inhibit the growth of both androgen-dependent (LNCaP) and androgen-independent (PC-3) prostate cancer cell lines in vitro. Incubation of PC-3 cells with the avocado extract led to G(2)/M cell cycle arrest accompanied by an increase in p27 protein expression. Lutein alone did not reproduce the effects of the avocado extract on cancer cell proliferation.

Make sure you try to reconcile the first bolded sentence with the last bolded sentence.  Maybe, just maybe, it's NOT the carotenoids that the study authors want it to be so badly, but is ACTUALLY the Vitamin E that is in the avocado extract but not in the isolated lutein (a carotenoid)?

Second reference: Avocados Nutritional Profile at

Basically, there's a lot more that goes into picking foods that are acceptable during the Detox than just a quick Google.  There's a saying that goes along with this:  "The confidence of amateurs is the envy of professionals."

The knowledge - wisdom - logic - science behind foods picked for the Detox is more than a rudimentary "Vitamin A" Google search that anyone can do.

The Poison/"Vitamin A" Detox Program is also WAY more than just a "food list".

While you are always welcome to be a true N=1 and learn all the hard lessons yourself--with only your personal experience to guide you--it may very well be worth it to lean on the experience - observations - connections that have been assembled into the Poison/"Vitamin A" Detox Program for you already.

Dr. Garrett Smith, the "Nutrition Detective"
Licensed Naturopathic Physician (NMD) in Arizona
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