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What You Need to Know About African Mango: Benefits and Side Effects

Mango with section on a white backgroundThe excitement around African mango has quieted down. However, this does not mean that the fruit or, more precisely, it’s main active ingredient is any less effective. It is known as Irvingia gabonensis, the fruit’s Latin name. In this post we shall look at this fruit and its active ingredient, as well as what you should look for in a supplement.

You see, the active ingredients are what is supposed to give you what you seek from the supplement. In the case of the African mango, what you’re most interested in, even as it offers other benefits, is its fat burning properties.

What Is African Mango?

As a fruit, the mango needs no introduction. It is an edible juicy stone fruit (drupe) from numerous tropical trees of the genus Mangifera.[1] The most widely known and consumed species is the Indian mango (Mangifera indica), also known as the “common mango”.

The African mango (Irvingia gabonesis), is also known as the bush mango, dika nut, dikanut, and wild mango, among other terms. It is from a different species belonging in the Irvingiaceae family.

Unlike other mango fruits, it has an edible protein-rich seed. Extracts from this seed are available as supplements, and are touted for their weight loss benefits.

Health Benefits of African Mango

In 2010, the Dr. Oz all but endorsed African mango supplements on his show. Suddenly African mango products were flying off the shelves and websites pushing these were sprouting all over the web.

However, the health benefits of the fruit go beyond weight loss. The fruit has been used as food and for its medicinal properties, perhaps for centuries. Let’s look at some of the benefits of African mango:

1. Promote Fat Burning and Weight Loss

Potential fat burning properties is what put African mango on the world map. Some studies have shown that Irvingia gabonensis extract – in a form known as IGOB131 – from the fruit’s seed may be helpful in the treatment of obesity. The extract is a main ingredient in this weight loss supplement that claims to help you control your fat loss hormones.

One double-blind placebo randomized study was done involving 40 subjects of 42.4 years average age, for one month. The Irvingia gabonensis (IG) group lost “significantly” more weight than the placebo. Plus, the IG group also showed significant decrease in cholesterol and triglycerides.[2]

Another hormone that influences weight loss that IG may help manage is leptin, which is linked to obesity. By helping lower leptin levels in overweight and obese individuals could lead to faster and quicker weight.

IG extracts may also help curb appetite, which could further contribute to fat loss.

2. Packed with Nutrients

African mango is dense in nutrients. Its fleshy part is a good source of healthy fats, carbohydrates, and fiber. As mentioned earlier, the seed is rich in protein. It is also rich in vitamins and minerals including B vitamins, vitamin C, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous. The fruit is also high in beta-carotene.

3. Improve Insulin Sensitivity

One of the reasons many people find it hard to lose weight on a diet is that their hormones may be working against them. One of these hormones is insulin. Insulin resistance is a condition that is linked to metabolic syndrome and excess body weight, as well as weight loss difficulty. Irvingia gabonensis extract from the African mango, in the form known as IGOB131 may help improve insulin sensitivity and reduce insulin resistance.[3]

4. Antioxidative Properties

Irvingia gabonensis is a rich source of important phytochemicals and possesses a high antioxidant property.[4] Antioxidants may help lower your risk of infections as well as protect you from some forms of cancer.

5. Cholesterol and Triglycerides Lowering Properties

If you read #1 above, about fat burning and weight loss properties of African mango, you may recall that extracts from the fruit may help cholesterol and triglycerides. A double-blind randomized placebo controlled study showed that IGOB131 extract from the fruit significantly lowered total blood cholesterol as well as LDL (bad) cholesterol.[5]

6. May Reduce Blood Sugar

In the same study (#5 above), subjects in the IGOB131 group were also observed to have significantly improved blood sugar levels. Not surprising, as the African mango extract has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity (#3 above).

7. Reduce Blood Pressure

African mango extracts may help reduce blood pressure. The seed of the fruit is packed with beta-carotene which may help protect one from high blood pressure.

In the study on body weight (#1 above), systolic blood pressure was significantly reduced in subjects on the active extract from the second week of the research.

African Mango Extracts Dosage

The is currently no recommended daily allowance (RDA) for Irvingia gabonensis extracts and optimal effective dose is also not yet known. However, doses of between 150-3200mg may be taken twice a day 30 minutes with meals.

Side Effects

Being natural food, African mango can be consumed safely whole or as supplements by most people. However, those with a known allergy to any of its components should avoid it. Reported side effects to supplements (extracts) have been few and mild, including flatulence, headaches, and sleep disruption.

You should also be attentive of additives and supplement combos or “synergies”, to ensure you’re not allergic any of these.

Consult a knowledgeable health care professional before starting on African mango supplements if you’re pregnant, expecting to be pregnant, breastfeeding, on medication or have a known health condition. Consulting a healthcare professional is recommended before starting on any health supplement.

How to Get African Mango

Being a fairly recent “discovery”, African mango is not a widely available fruit. But this could change as it gets distributed and grown beyond its native areas of Western Africa. Because of this, if you find it in the West chances are that it may be steeply priced.

The surest way to obtain its health benefits is through supplements containing Irvingia gabonesis extract from the seed (the most nutrient-dense part) of the fruit. These are available in capsules, liquid, or powder.

Be aware that brands are not created equal and ensure to get a quality product. Look for a product that contains an extract called “IGOB131”.

Next, check out this African mango-based weight loss supplement with the potent IGOB131, that may help you gain control over hormones that influence fat loss.


References:

[1] Wikipedia: Mango

[2] PMC: The effect of Irvingia gabonensis seeds on body weight and blood lipids

[3] PMC: IGOB131, a novel seed extract of the West African plant Irvingia gabonensis

[4] Science Publishing Corporation

[5] Lipid World

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