For Patients & Caregivers
BOTTOM LINE: The seed extract of African mango may help to lose weight. 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.
The pain relieving components of the African mango bark are not yet known but it has been shown in a study that both the water and ethanol extract 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.
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.
For Healthcare Professionals
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 gastrointestinal ailments and to relieve pain. 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 anti-diabetic medications, and may interfere with the absorption of other drugs.
An in vitro study showed that the seed extract of African mango can block adipogenesis through down regulation 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 that is thought to help lower cholesterol levels and by its binding to bile acids. (3).
The 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)
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 in health and disease. 2009;8:7.
This is a double-blind study on the effects of African mango seed extract, IGOB131, based on metabolic parameters. One hundred and two overweight and obese subjects were randomly divided into the placebo group (50 subjects) and the IGOB131 group (52 subjects). The IGOB131 capsules were given orally, 30 to 60 minutes before lunch and dinner. At the end of the 10-week study, the seed extract group showed a greater decrease in body weight, waist circumference, body fat, total cholesterol, total LDL, C-reactive proteins, blood glucose, adiponectin, and leptin. Side effects were reported in both groups which included gas, headache, and sleep difficulty. These results would need to be replicated in larger independent clinical trials before this product can be recommended as a weight loss treatment.
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.
Forty obese patients were enrolled in the trial, of whom 28 received African mango extract and 12 were given a placebo. The 350 mg capsules were taken for 4 weeks, 3 times a day, 30minutes before eating. At the end of the study, the seed extract group had a greater decrease in body weight and total cholesterol levels, with an increase in HDL cholesterol levels. However, this is a small study. Also, all subjects were instructed to eat low fat diet of 1800 Kcal. It is unclear if the weight loss was due to the diet or the African mango extract.