Can the seed of a West African wild mango be an effective weapon against metabolic diseases in the West?
What is African Mango In Diet Supplements?
Also called wild mango, bush mango and dika nut, African mango comes from the Irvingia gabonensis tree in West and Central Africa. And for the last several years, it’s been touted as one of the most effective weight loss ingredients, either as a stand-alone extract supplement, or an ingredient in a formula. But does research support African mango, or is just an overhyped dietary fad?
The extract, which is sourced from the fruit’s large nut (technically a seed), is usually made into powder or liquid.
How Does African Mango Work?
In much the same way Miracle Noodles do for weight loss. The seed from African mango is rich in soluble fiber. Miracle Noodle contains the soluble fiber glucomannan. Both African mango seeds (and the extract) and glucomannan fiber gently expand the stomach, which helps you feel full faster. Therefore, you eat less calories when you consume a meal (or supplement) with soluble fiber.
In addition, the soluble fiber delays digestion, which helps you feel full for longer and keeps blood sugar levels more stable after having a meal.
Studies on glucomannan like this one have demonstrated that people with diabetes who consume glucomannan fiber have lower after-meal blood sugar levels than people with diabetes who don’t have supplemental glucomannan. Another double-blind study showed that 8-13 grams of glucomannan improves insulin sensitivity.
And like glucomannan, the fiber naturally found in African mango seeds binds to bile acid in the GI tract, whereby the acids are eliminated via bowel movement. So what does this mean from a practical sense?
It means that African mango may help normalize cholesterol levels and other blood-lipid markers such as triglyceride levels. That’s because when bile acids get eliminated in the stool, the body converts cholesterol into more bile acid.
Does Research Prove African Mango Works For Weight Loss?
Mainstream medical websites such as WebMD won’t give you a lot of confidence in using African mango. WebMD says, “Irvingia gabonensis is sometimes used for weight loss, high cholesterol, and diabetes, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.”
But in the same breath, WebMD also says, “Some research suggests that Irvingia gabonensis seeds might also affect fat cells, which might reduce fat cell growth and increase the breakdown of fats.”
While it’s true that no large random-clinical trials have been conducted on African mango, there is evidence to support it. And the research does indeed suggest that it may prevent the conversion of glucose in the bloodstream to adipose tissue (stored body fat). In addition, research on African mango, like other research on soluble fiber such as glucomannan, supports using it to decrease appetite.
In a study published in the journal, Lipids in Health and Disease, titled, “The effect of Irvingia gabonensis seeds on body weight and blood lipids of obese subjects in Cameroon,” researchers conducted a double blind randomised study involving 40 overweight subjects, of which 28 were given approximately a gram of African mango seeds three times a day for one month; the other 12 subjects were given a placebo.
At the end of the one-month study, the African mango seed group lost significantly more weight (both groups ate the same number of calories): roughly 5.25% more weight (adjusted to a plus/minus error of 2.37%. The placebo group by comparison lost only 1.3% bodyweight.
The researchers concluded, “The obese patients under Irvingia gabonensis treatment also had a significant decrease of total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides, and an increase of HDL-cholesterol. On the other hand, the placebo group did not manifest any changes in blood lipid components. Irvingia gabonensis seed may find application in [weight loss].”
Four years later, in 2009, the lead researchers of the above study had another paper on African mango seed published in the same journal. This time, however, the researchers focused on the effects of the seed extract rather than the whole-food component. The study, claimed the researchers, was the first double blind randomized placebo controlled clinical trial that examined the anti-obesity and lipid-profile modulating effects of an African mango seed extract.
In the more recent study, the researchers demonstrated that African mango seed extract exerted an influence on several metabolic pathways. More subject participants were included (102 healthy, overweight and/or obese volunteers).
The subjects were given a specific African mango seed extract 30–60 minutes before lunch and dinner, and were evaluated at the beginning of the study as well as at the 4, 8 and 10 week mark.
Researchers recorded changes in fasting lipids, blood glucose, C-reactive protein (a measure of inflammation), adiponectin (a protein hormone that breaks down fatty acids), and leptin (the hunger hormone that signals satiety to the bran).
The conclusion of the researchers was that African mango seed extract at a dose of 150 mg twice daily before meals, given to overweight and/or obese human volunteers “favorably impacts body weight and a variety of parameters characteristic of the metabolic syndrome.”
African Mango For Weight Loss: Conclusion
The above results might not be impressive enough for the fine folks at WebMD. Nonetheless, there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that African Mango works for weight loss. Just don’t expect miracles, especially if you’re not eating a healthy diet and don’t get enough exercise.