Avocado oil extract patented as active ingredient to treat and prevent hearing loss

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / puttpaii
© Getty Images / puttpaii
A Korean pharmaceutical firm has patented the use of avocado oil fractions as active ingredients in the treatment and prevention of hearing loss, able to be used in dietary supplements and functional foods.

Writing in two separate global patents [1​, 2​], Dong Kook Pharmaceutical Co detailed the potential use of an avocado isopropanol fraction and pressed shell oil extract in the treatment and prevention of hearing loss, particularly noise-induced and sensorineural.

Tackling a rise in hearing loss

The researchers said globally there had been a sharp rise in elderly population numbers - a group susceptible to sensorineural hearing loss - and industrialization had created increased levels of occupational noise-induced hearing loss, particularly among young workers and soldiers.

A combination of increased noise-induced hearing loss among young people and physical aging, they said, compounded hearing problems and as this worsened, the effectiveness of assistive devices would likely decrease.

While research on effective substances to treat or prevent hearing loss had been conducted, including on antioxidants, N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonists and cell death inhibitors, the researchers said “such substances have been limited to clinical trials”.

“Accordingly, the inventors of the present invention developed adsorbent chromatography using avocado oil to develop a material capable of treating hearing loss,” ​they wrote in both patents.

Increasing the number of inner-ear hair cells

Testing in a zebrafish model with drug-induced toxic hearing loss, the researchers found the isopropanol fraction, obtained from the adsorption chromatography of avocado oil, significantly increased the number of hair cells lost through the aminoglycoside drugs kanamycin and neomycin.

These hair cells in the inner ear, of which there were thousands, they explained, were critical for hearing; responsible for transferring vibrations into electrical signals that were sent to the brain which enabled people to hear and make sense of sound.

The researchers said the increase in hair cells was likely associated with the high levels of alpha-linoleic and stearic acid fatty acids in the avocado oil fractions.

The avocado oil fractions could be extracted from the skin, pulp or seed of the avocado by pressing, solvent extraction or water vapor distillation. And while extracts could then be used therapeutically as a pharmaceutical, they could also be used as an active ingredient in functional formulations, including dietary supplements, nutritional powders and liquids.

“Forms and types of health food is not particularly limited,”​ the researchers wrote.

The active ingredient, they said, could be added to foods alone or in combination with other compounds, such as vitamins, nutrients, flavoring agents, sweeteners, natural carbohydrates or electrolytes. But, the researchers suggested an inclusion rate of up to 90 parts by weight of the total food weight for the avocado extract. Additional components, they said, should be limited to 0.01-0.1 parts by weight per 100 parts by weight of the final composition.

The power of avocado?

Mexican researchers recently published findings​ that avocado leaves – typically discarded during food processing – were rich in phytochemical compounds with strong antioxidant activity.

They suggested these leaves, therefore, presented an “important source” ​for the recovery of added-value compounds to incorporate into novel foods to treat diseases, including degenerative, anti-inflammatory and hypo-cholesterolemic conditions.

Source 1: WIPO International Patent No. 2019050340
Published: March 14, 2019. Filed: September 7, 2018.
Title: “Pharmaceutical composition containing avocado oil fraction as active ingredient for prevention or treatment of hearing loss”
Author: Dong Kook Pharmaceutical Co – BN. Hong et al.

Source 2: WIPO International Patent No. 2019004775
Published: January 3, 2019. Filed: June 29, 2018.
Title: “Pharmaceutical composition for preventing or treating hearing loss comprising avocado oil as active ingredient”
Author: Dong Kook Pharmaceutical Co – BN. Hong et al.

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