The bitter yam tuber is consumed as a staple in various regions of the world and is known to possess medicinal properties due to the presence of bioactive compounds such as saponins. These compounds may induce health complications resulting in tissue damage in cases of overconsumption. This study was geared towards determining the effects of Jamaican bitter yam (5%) on tissue damage parameters in mice hearts and brains. Mice were fed diets with or without bitter yam supplementation for a period of four weeks after which they were sacrificed. Lipid peroxidation and antioxidant parameters were determined in the heart and brain. Significant increases in lipid peroxidation were observed in the hearts of mice fed bitter yam supplemented diets and in the brains of hypercholesterolemic mice only. Bitter yam supplementation significantly reduced glutathione peroxidase activities in the hearts of hypercholesterolemic mice and the hearts and brains of normocholesterolemic mice. Significant increase in catalase activity was only seen in the hearts of hypercholesterolemic mice fed a supplemented diet when compared to mice fed an unsupplemented diet. The results indicate that dietary supplementation with the Jamaican bitter yam at a high concentration may induce oxidative stress in mice hearts and brains.
Bioactive compound; Dioscorea; Genetic modification; Hypercholesterolemic; Toxic