Avocado and Warfarin

Avocado falls into several possible categories of potential warfarin interaction: Food and Natural Medicine. Avocado is also referred to as Abokado, Ahuacate, Alligator Pear (English) and Palta (Spanish).

According to the California Rare Fruit Growers (CRFG), the origin of avocado is thought to be in southern Mexico and cultivated from the Rio Grande to central Peru. This sun-loving trees can grow in filtered light has been successfully grown indoors with proper sandy loam for good drainage.

The avocado is a fruit safe to eat in reasonable quantities. People consume this fruit to reduce serum cholesterol levels, as an aphrodisiac and to stimulate menstrual flow. Avocado is also applied topically to soothe and heal skin, treat sclerosis of the skin, pyorrhea, and arthritis. The fruit pulp is used topically to promote hair growth and hasten would healing. The seeds, leaves and bark are used to relieve toothache. [www.naturaldatabase.com] There is little left unused on this versatile fruit tree, perhaps this is the original "giving tree".

Avocado is high in mono-saturated fatty acids suggested to lower total serum cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and apolipoprotein B. It may also increase high-density lipoprotein (HDL) serum cholesterol levels.1

Avocados are higher in protein and fiber than most fruits. They contain good amounts of manganese, phosphorous, iron, potassium, vitamin E, vitamin C, Beta-carotene, thiamin, and riboflavin.

Interactions with Anticoagulants

Several references suggest avocado is a precautionary food for people taking warfarin. The Lancet journal in 1991 brought a possible antagonistic affect to warfarin in one patient. The Coumadin® Cookbook provided more compelling information that suggests avocados pose a risk in that their vitamin K content is moderately high and avocado products such as the popular guacamole can have as much as 40 times the vitamin K of the avocado itself. Some evidence suggests that even a small amount of avocado can affect INR.2

Avocado is a fruit fortified with many vitamins and minerals needed for proper health. Communicate with your doctor before consuming large quantities of this fruit. The USDA suggests this fruit contains about 20 micrograms of vitamin K per half cup (3.5 ounces).

  1. Colquhoun D, Moores D, Somerset SM, Humphries JA. Comparison of the effects on lipoproteins and apolipoproteins of a diet high in monounsaturated fatty acids, enriched with avocado, and a high-carbohydrate diet. Am J Clin Nutr. 1992;56:671-677.
  2. Desmarais, MD,Rene, Golden, RCS, Greg. Beynon, Gail . Coumadin Cookbook. Marrsh Pub Co. 2000.