Irvingia gabonensis

Irvingia gabonensis

Common Names

  • African mango
  • Bush mango
  • Dika nut

For Patients & Caregivers

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.

  • Weight loss
    Clinical studies have shown that the seed extract can help weight loss. However, all studies conducted were small, and the true benefits and side effects of the African mango are not fully known.
  • 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 anti-microbial effects against bacteria and fungi. Its usage in humans has not been evaluated.
  • You are taking antidiabetic medications: African mango may further lower blood glucose levels.
  • Gas
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty sleeping
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For Healthcare Professionals

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Irvingia gabonensis

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 effects (2), and anthelmenthic (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). 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. This product may also interact with antidiabetic medications, and may interfere with the absorption of other drugs.

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

  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea
  • Colic
  • Dysentery
  • Pain
  • Blood glucose
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Infections

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 its binding to bile acids. (3).

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

Reported: 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.

Anti-diabetic drugs: African mango may have an additive hypoglycemic effect (5).

  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). Journal of ethnopharmacology. Oct 8 2007;114(1):54-60.

  2. Okolo CO, Johnson PB, Abdurahman EM, et al. Analgesic effect of Irvingia gabonensis stem bark extract. Journal of ethnopharmacology. 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 in health and disease. 2005;4:12.

  4. Ngondi J, Djiotsa EJ, Fossouo Z, et al. Hypoglycaemic effect of the methanol extract of Irvingia gabonensis seeds on streptozotocin diabetic rats. African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines. 2006;3(4):74-77.

  5. Akubor PI. The suitability of African bush mango juice for wine production. Plant foods for human nutrition (Dordrecht, Netherlands). Apr 1996;49(3):213-219.

  6. Kothari SC, Shivarudraiah P, Venkataramaiah SB, et al. Subchronic toxicity and mutagenicity/genotoxicity studies of Irvingia gabonensis extract (IGOB131). Food and chemical toxicology : an international journal published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association. May 2012;50(5):1468-1479.

  7. Nweze NE, Ogidi A, Ngongeh LA. Anthelmintic potential of three plants used in Nigerian ethnoveterinary medicine. Pharm Biol. 2013 Mar;51(3):311-5.

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