What is African Mango?

Last updated: March 3, 2013

Everyone’s talking about African mango extract as the hottest new weight loss supplement. Lots of websites and articles claim African mango is a miracle fat burner that can help you lose weight quickly and easily. But just what is African mango?

What is African Mango Fruit?

African mango (the scientific name is Irvingia gabonensis) is a species of fruit tree that grows in Nigeria, the Central African Republic, Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Other names for the plant include “bush mango” and “wild mango”. It’s not related at all to the mangoes in the grocery store–it just has a similar name in English because the fruits look so much like a regular mango. The fruit is green when ripe and grows to about the size of a kiwi fruit. The fruit tastes sweet and is full of juice, and it’s a popular snack in those countries where African mangoes grow naturally.

African Mango Seeds

The large seeds of the African mango are also an important food: locals grind and crush the seeds to make oil for cooking and flour for baking. Locals call African mango seeds “dika nuts” and use them to bake “dika bread”. First and foremost, African mango is a food.

People in these parts of the world also the use African mango plant as medicine. The bark and leaves are used in traditional medicine to treat lots of different types of illnesses like aches and pains, toothache, fever, even poisoning. Most importantly, locals in Africa used the seed as a traditional remedy for diabetes.

African Mango Supplement

Researchers from Switzerland decided to test whether or not African mango seeds really were an effective treatment for diabetes. They did experiments in 1986 and again in 1990 using an African mango supplement prepared from the seeds of the fruit. What they found was promising:

The effects of Dikanut (Irvingia gabonensis), an African viscous preparation, as supplement (4g/day) in the diet of eleven Type II diabetics were studied. Levels of plasma lipids, glucose and erythrocyte ATPases were monitored for one month. The dikanut supplement elicited hypolipidemic activity. The reduction in plasma lipids was primarily due to a decrease in LDL + VLDL-cholesterol and triglycerides levels. HDL-cholesterol was increased. The three ATPases of the erythrocyte membrane of the diabetic patients were significantly lower than in normal subjects. When dikanut was consumed by the diabetics for four weeks, the activities of the enzymes increased significantly. The increases correlated well with significant reduction of plasma glucose levels. These desirable biochemical effects mediated by ingestion of a naturally-occurring dietary fibre were accompanied by improved clinical states.

Don’t worry if that sounds really complicated! I’ll break it down for you. Irvingia gabonensis is just the scientific name for African mango. The experiment founds that patients taking African mango experienced lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and lower triglycerides. “Plasma lipids” is just medical jargon for the amount of cholesterol and triglycerides found in your blood. The scientists also found that taking African mango helped keep blood sugar under control. Both of these effects are very good news for your body. The jargon at the end–”improved clinical states”– is how a medical scientist says “the people were healthier”!

African Mango Extract

The extract of African mango is made by drying and grinding the African mango seeds and then using a solvent (a liquid used to dissolve things) to absorb natural plant compounds in the seeds. As the solvent evaporates, it leaves behind these natural compounds which are then used to make African mango extract.

African Mango IGOB131

You may have heard of a type of extract called “IGOB131″. This is the specific type of African mango extract used in the clinical trials which provide the evidence that African mango can help people to lose weight. When scientists formulate a specific extract in this way, it’s helpful because

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 What is African Mango?
About John Shade

John is the founder of Supplement SOS. He has written about health and nutrition for a number of high-profile publications. He's particularly interested in the future of sustainable food production and optimizing food products for human health.