Irvingia gabonensis

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Irvingia gabonensis

Common Names

  • African mango
  • Bush mango
  • Dika nut

For Patients & Caregivers

How It Works

The seed extract of African mango may support weight loss. Large-scale clinical trials are needed to further determine its safety and efficacy.

The bark of African mango has been used in traditional medicine for stomach and intestinal ailments, to relieve pain, and to prevent infections. The seed extract has been studied and promoted as a weight loss supplement due to its ability to reduce sugar and cholesterol absorption. However, side effects have been reported in clinical studies and it may also interfere with the absorption of other medications. More studies are needed to ensure that this product is safe and effective in humans.

Purported Uses
  • Weight loss Although clinical trials have benefit, meta-analyses have determined that the evidence is insufficient.
  • Lower cholesterol Clinical studies have shown that use of the seed extract leads to a reduction in cholesterol levels along with weight loss. Due to the small sample size, more studies are still needed.
  • Diarrhea, colic, dysentery Although used traditionally in Africa, scientific data are lacking to support these claims.
  • Pain The pain-relieving components of African mango bark are not yet known, but a study demonstrated that both water and ethanol extracts produce pain-relieving effects, with the water extract having stronger effects.
  • Blood glucose A clinical trial on the seed extract from African mango shows a reduction in blood glucose levels in participants. However, this was a small study and more research is needed.
  • Infection Laboratory studies showed that the alcohol extract of African mango has antimicrobial effects against bacteria and fungi. Its usage in humans has not been evaluated.
Do Not Take If
  • You are taking antidiabetic medications: Rat studies suggest African mango may further lower blood glucose levels. Clinical relevance has yet to be determined.
Side Effects
  • Gas
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty sleeping

Case report
Kidney failure:
In a 42-year-old patient who became dependent on dialysis following 2.5 months of using an African mango herbal medicine.

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For Healthcare Professionals

Brand Name
Integra-Lean ® African Mango Irvingia, truDERMA Mangodrin, Vitacost African Mango Extract IGOB131® Certified, Absonutrix African Mango, NV African Mango, Irvingiappress
Scientific Name
Irvingia gabonensis
Clinical Summary

African mango is a plant native to Central and West Africa. The fruit is consumed as food while the bark and seeds are used in folk medicine to relieve pain and gastrointestinal ailments. The seed extract is marketed as a dietary supplement for weight loss.

Preliminary studies suggest that the bark of African mango has antimicrobial (1), analgesic (2), and anthelmintic (12) effects. Its seed is rich in fiber and may help slow gastric emptying which results in gradual absorption of sugar, thereby decreasing the rise in blood glucose level in diabetics after eating (3). The seed extract showed positive effects in controlling obesity and lowering cholesterol levels (4). However, most studies conducted on African mango have been small with poor methodology (13) (14) (15). Larger clinical trials are needed to examine the safety and benefits of this fruit extract as a weight loss supplement.

Although an animal study and limited human data suggest that African mango seed extract is well-tolerated, adverse effects have been reported in clinical trials. 

Food Sources

The fruit of African mango is consumed as food in West and Central Africa.

Purported Uses
  • Weight loss
  • GI problems
  • Pain
  • Blood glucose
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Infections
Mechanism of Action

An in vitro study showed that African mango seed extract can block adipogenesis through downregulation of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) gamma and leptin, and upregulation of adiponectin (7). It also improved body weight, fat, and waist circumference as well as plasma total cholesterol (3), blood glucose, C-reactive protein, adiponectin, and leptin levels in humans (4). The extract is high in fiber content and is thought to help lower cholesterol levels by binding to bile acids. (3).

Analgesic components of the bark are not yet known, but the aqueous extract had stronger effects than the ethanolic extract (2). A methanolic bark extract showed antimicrobial effects (1).

Adverse Reactions

Gas, headaches, and difficulty sleeping (4)

A manufacturer-sponsored subchronic toxicity study suggests that an African mango kernel extract (IGOB131) does not cause adverse effects in animals (10). No independent toxicology study has been conducted in humans.

Case report
Renal failure:
In a 42-year-old patient who became dialysis-dependent following 2.5 months of using an African mango herbal medicine (16).

Herb-Drug Interactions

Antidiabetic drugs: Rat studies suggest African mango may have an additive hypoglycemic effect (5). Clinical relevance has yet to be determined.

Dosage (OneMSK Only)
References
  1. Kuete V, Wabo GF, Ngameni B, et al. Antimicrobial activity of the methanolic extract, fractions and compounds from the stem bark of Irvingia gabonensis (Ixonanthaceae). J Ethnopharmacol. Oct 8 2007;114(1):54-60.
  2. Okolo CO, Johnson PB, Abdurahman EM, et al. Analgesic effect of Irvingia gabonensis stem bark extract. J Ethnopharmacol. Feb 1995;45(2):125-129.
  3. Ngondi JL, Oben JE, Minka SR. The effect of Irvingia gabonensis seeds on body weight and blood lipids of obese subjects in Cameroon. Lipids Health Dis. 2005;4:12.
  4. Ngondi JL, Etoundi BC, Nyangono CB, et al. 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. Lipids Health Dis. 2009;8:7.
  5. Ngondi J, Djiotsa EJ, Fossouo Z, et al. Hypoglycaemic effect of the methanol extract of Irvingia gabonensis seeds on streptozotocin diabetic rats. Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2006;3(4):74-77.
  6. Nangue TJ, Womeni HM, Mbiapo FT, et al. Irvingia gabonensis fat: nutritional properties and effect of increasing amounts on the growth and lipid metabolism of young rats wistar sp. Lipids Health Dis. 2011;10:43.
  7. Oben JE, Ngondi JL, Blum K. Inhibition of Irvingia gabonensis seed extract (OB131) on adipogenesis as mediated via down regulation of the PPARgamma and leptin genes and up-regulation of the adiponectin gene. Lipids Health Dis. 2008;7:44.
  8. Ross SM. African mango (IGOB131): a proprietary seed extract of Irvingia gabonensis is found to be effective in reducing body weight and improving metabolic parameters in overweight humans. Holist Nurs Pract. Jul-Aug 2011;25(4):215-217.
  9. Akubor PI. The suitability of African bush mango juice for wine production. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. Apr 1996;49(3):213-219.
  10. Kothari SC, Shivarudraiah P, Venkataramaiah SB, et al. Subchronic toxicity and mutagenicity/genotoxicity studies of Irvingia gabonensis extract (IGOB131). Food Chem Toxicol. May 2012;50(5):1468-1479.
  11. Sun J1, Chen P. et al. Ultra high-performance liquid chromatography with high-resolution mass spectrometry analysis of African mango (Irvingia gabonensis) seeds, extract, and related dietary supplements. J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Sep 5;60(35):8703-9.
  12. Nweze NE, Ogidi A, Ngongeh LA. Anthelmintic potential of three plants used in Nigerian ethnoveterinary medicine. Pharm Biol. 2013 Mar;51(3):311-5.
  13. Onakpoya I, Davies L, Posadzki P, Ernst E. The efficacy of Irvingia gabonensis supplementation in the management of overweight and obesity: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. J Diet Suppl. 2013 Mar;10(1):29-38.
  14. Lee J, Chung M, Fu Z, et al. The Effects of Irvingia gabonensis Seed Extract Supplementation on Anthropometric and Cardiovascular Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. J Am Coll Nutr. Dec 19 2019:1-9.
  15. Maunder A, Bessell E, Lauche R, et al. Effectiveness of herbal medicines for weight loss: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. Diabetes Obes Metab. Jan 27 2020.
  16. Ozkan G, Ulusoy S. A case of renal failure developing in association with African mango consumption. Int J Clin Exp Med. 2015;8(4):6374-6378.
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