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African Mango (Irvingia gabonensis) is a fruit originating within the African continent that has gained recent worldwide popularity, particularly in dieting communities. According to a number of preliminary studies, its concentrated extract may have beneficial roles in weight management when consumed up to an hour before meals 1-2. The extract has been allegedly shown to also assist in lowering blood pressure and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol 3, with at least one study demonstrating increased HDL (“good”) cholesterol in conjunction with lowered LDL cholesterol levels 4.
Outside of its weight management capabilities, African Mango has been researched for other potential health benefits. Methanolic bark extracts have been allegedly found to contain antimicrobial and anti-fungal activity 5, suggesting the potential use of African Mango in antibacterial applications. A study examining the chemical composition of African Mango showed it to contain a rich concentration of antioxidants, with the study suggesting its incorporation into one’s diet due to potential health benefits 6. At least in Africa, the fruit and its extracts are commonly used amongst natives to help manage a variety of ailments, including use of its bark extract for pain relief 7.
At least one study however has called into question the prior findings of African Mango in treating weight loss. In a review study examining data from available randomized controlled trials, it was found that there was over-reporting by scientists in some previous clinical trials, however the study did not outright reject African Mango as a weight loss aid, rather it called for more research and better quality trials in the future to be conducted 8. Given the alleged benefits experienced by participants supplemented with African Mango extract in the previous clinical trials when compared to participants receiving a placebo, it may be that African Mango is more effective for some people as part of a weight management plan, and less effective for others.
Due to the alleged increase in insulin sensitivity and decrease in blood sugar levels from study participants consuming African Mango, it is recommended that if you have diabetes you should be cautious that African Mango extract does not cause your blood sugar to lower to levels indicative of hypoglycemia. If in doubt, consult with your healthcare provider.
The above statements refer to the supplement/drug used within the cited research. Individual results and effectiveness of this supplement may vary. Always consult your physician before beginning supplementation.
1. Ngondi, J.L., Oben, J.E., and Minka, S.R. Lipids Health Dis 4, (2005), 12.
2. Vuksan V, Jenkins DJ, Spadafora P, et al. Diabetes Care. 1999;22:913–9.
3. Wu J, Peng SS. Biomed Environ Sci. 1997;10:27–37
4. Ngondi, J.L., Etoundi, B.C., Nyangono, C.B., et al. Lipids Health Dis 8, (2009), 7.
5. Kuete, V., Wabo, G.F., Ngameni, B., et al. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 114, 1 (2007), 54–60.
6. Boakye, A. A., Wireko-Manu, F. D., Agbenorhevi, et al. I, Int Food Res J. 22(1): 262-268 (2015)
7. Okolo, C.O., Johnson, P.B. et al. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 45, 2 (1995), 125–129.
8. Onakpoya, I., Davies, L., Posadzki, P., and Ernst, E. J Diet Suppl 10, 1 (2013), 29–38.