African mango (Irvingia gabonensis) is a tree native to West Africa. Its fruits and seeds are thought by some to have a vast array of health benefits. The large, tropical trees grow naturally in the dense jungles or deciduous forests of West Africa. The tree is also commonly known as bush mango, dika nut, or bread tree.
The African mango fruit is a popular food in Cameroon and Nigeria because of its high Vitamin C content. The roots, seeds, leaves, and bark have been used in alternative medicine practices for decades.
African mango extract is the latest addition to the many weight loss supplements in the US. The extract is derived from the nut or seed of the African mango fruit and is claimed to aid weight loss. Some studies suggest that African mango can also combat chronic health conditions like diabetes and high cholesterol. Although African mango supplements have received a lot of interest in recent years, further clinical trials are needed to confirm their claims.
100 grams of African mango fruit (including both the pulp and the peel) contains the following nutrients:
- Calories: 86
- Protein: 1 gram
- Carbs: 18 grams
- Fat: 0.4 grams
- Vitamin C: 62% of the Daily Value (DV)
Most African mango weight loss supplements use extracts from the seed of the fruit. The seed is rich in soluble fibers and provides important dietary elements like healthy fatty acids and plant proteins. It is also packed with iron, riboflavin, calcium, sodium, phosphorus, and magnesium. Studies have found 41 phenolic compounds including tannins, flavonols, and ellagic acid in African mango seeds. These compounds act as powerful antioxidants and eliminate harmful free radicals from your body.
West African cultures have used different parts of the African mango tree for generations. Extracts from the tree are believed to increase energy levels, suppress appetite, boost circulation, strengthen bones, and improve heart health. Because of their unique medicinal properties, these extracts are often added to foods and drinks. Traditional applications and believed benefits of the African mango include:
- Used in balms and ointments for topical pain relief
- Its constipating properties help treat dysentery and diarrhea
- Preparations made from the bark are used to treat hernia
- Leaves are infused in a tea to treat infections
- The soft bark relieves toothache and is used in mouth-washes
- Its antimicrobial properties promote healing of scabs and wound
- Seeds and their extracts are used as food flavoring agents
- Edible oil derived from the seed is used for cooking
- The pulp is used to make jam, jelly, and juices
There has been significant research on the impact of African mango extracts on obesity and percent body fat. Animal studies with rats show that African mango oil can lower abdominal fat and blood glucose levels. Clinical trials with humans demonstrate similar effects.
People given the African mango seed extract improved both weight reduction and metabolic parameters. At the end of the study, they had lower body weight, body fat, LDL cholesterol, blood glucose, and plasma total cholesterol.
Several other animal studies suggest that African mango can be effective against diabetes and gastrointestinal disorders. Extracts from the leaves and roots of the tree also have powerful antimicrobial properties. They inhibit the activity of bacteria and fungi and can be used for antiseptic treatments. Another study found that the water extract from African mango stem bark has a pain-relieving activity comparable to morphine.
Weight loss claims
There are only a limited number of studies that support the weight-loss claims of African mango supplements. Most of the evidence for the fat-burning properties of African mango comes from animal studies on rats. Even though the results from these individual trials are promising, more research is needed to understand its effects and mechanisms in humans.
It is important to note that the market for dietary supplements is largely unregulated. There is no governing organization like the FDA that checks these supplement pills for safety. The actual contents of the pill may differ from those mentioned on the packaging. There are also no clear dosage guidelines for African mango extract weight-loss supplements. While most manufacturers suggest taking 150 mg of African mango seed extract twice a day, the optimal dosage for you could be very different.
Potential risks and side effects
Little is known about the possible interactions of African mango extract with prescription medications. Reported side effects include headaches, constipation, flatulence, and sleep disturbances. Some individuals may also be allergic or hypersensitive to one or more components of the African mango. People with chronic health conditions should reach out to their healthcare providers before trying African mango for weight loss.
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Annals of nutrition & metabolism: "Digestive and hepatic enzymes in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats fed supplements of dikanut (Irvingia gabonensis) and cellulose."
Journal of Dietary Supplements: "The Efficacy of Irvingia Gabonensis Supplementation in the Management of Overweight and Obesity: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials."
Journal of ethnopharmacology: "Analgesic effect of Irvingia gabonensis stem bark extract.", "Antimicrobial activity of the methanolic extract, fractions and compounds from the stem bark of Irvingia gabonensis (Ixonanthaceae)."
Journal of Food Technology: "Effect of Irvingia gabonensis Kernel Oil on Blood and Liver Lipids on Lean and Overweight Rats."
Journal of the science of food and agriculture: "Nutrient composition of selected indigenous fruits from sub-Saharan Africa."
Lipids in health and disease: "IGOB131, a novel seed extract of the West African plant Irvingia gabonensis, significantly reduces body weight and improves metabolic parameters in overweight humans in a randomized double-blind placebo controlled investigation.", "The effect of Irvingia gabonensis seeds on body weight and blood lipids of obese subjects in Cameroon.", "The use of a Cissus quadrangularis/Irvingia gabonensis combination in the management of weight loss: a double-blind placebo-controlled study."
Pharmaceutical Biology: "Anti-Diarrhegenic and Anti-Ulcer Properties of Irvingia gabonensis in Rats." West African Journal of Medicine: "A supplement of Dikanut (Irvingia gabonesis) improves treatment of type II diabetics."
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