The seed extract of Irvingia gabonensis, known as African mango, is marketed as a supplement for weight loss. Some studies indicate it may have modest beneficial effects on weight loss and on cholesterol levels, although research is limited. Consult a qualified health care provider before taking African mango-seed extract.
Weight Loss Fruit?
The African mango tree grows in tropical forests of Africa, and farmers on that continent also cultivate it for fruit and for medicines. The seed contains soluble fiber that acts as a bulk-forming laxative. This type of fiber is common as an obesity treatment, according to a study published in the journal "Lipids in Health and Disease" in 2005. Psyllium and glucomannan, other types of plant fiber, may also be included in weight-loss products.
The Research Behind the Fruit
The 2005 "Lipids in Health and Disease" study and another published in that journal in 2009, evaluated the effectiveness of Irvingia gabonensis seeds for weight loss. In the 2005 study, 28 participants took three 350-milligram capsules of the supplement three times per day for one month, while 12 participants took a placebo. The average body weight of the treatment group decreased by approximately 5 percent and that of the placebo group by approximately 1 percent, a statistically significant difference. Participants taking Irvingia gabonensis also experienced a significant decrease in total cholesterol and triglyceride blood levels. The 2009 study also found beneficial effects.
African Mango Adverse Effects
During the 2009 "Lipids in Health and Disease" study, some participants reported headaches, gas and sleep problems. The incidence of side effects was similar in both the treatment group and the placebo group, however. The Drugs.com website reports additional mild adverse effects connected with African mango during clinical trials, including dry mouth, gastrointestinal problems and flu-like symptoms.
Allergy and Drug Interactions
It is possible to have an allergic reaction to African mango, so do not take the extract if you have an allergy or sensitivity to any components of the plant. Because of limited research, possible interactions with drugs are theoretical, according to the Drugs.com site. The fiber in African mango may delay stomach emptying, which could alter the effects of prescription medications. The supplement may also exacerbate the side effects of medications that treat diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity.