African mango is one of the more popular natural weight loss products particularly because it has been shown to help individuals lose weight. And while the number of studies that show the clinical efficiency of Irvingia gabonensis is not numerous, the fact that a meta-analysis of these studies does show certain level of effectiveness has clearly motivated a lot of people to consider an African mango diet to be the answer to their weighty problems. But, as we always caution our followers and our readers, it is always best to learn the facts rather than to have high expectations only to feel disappointed later on. One of the most important things we have to know is if African mango diet pills are safe as they are deemed to be effective.
But, first thing’s first.
What is African Mango?
Known as dika, bush mango, ogbono, or wild mango, African mango (scientific name Irvingia gabonensis) is a species of fruit-bearing trees that are indigenous to Africa. They are not really members of the mango tree family although their fruit takes the shape of a mango; hence, the name. African mango is highly prized for their nuts that are rich in proteins as well as fatty acids, particularly
- Lauric acid which is known for increasing HDL cholesterol levels, and
- Oleic acid which is known for increasing HDL cholesterol and lowering LDL cholesterol levels.
Irvingia gabonensis has been indicated in the management of certain health conditions although the medical community would like to caution against the full use of African mango because of the low quality of the research studies conducted. Nevertheless, an African mango diet has been generally indicated, especially in African and Asian medicine, in the management of the following:
- High cholesterol levels
It is assumed that the high fiber content of Irvingia gabonensis can help hasten the speed of removal of cholesterol. What is known, however, is that African mango has been shown to increase the levels of high density lipoproteins or HDL-cholesterol (also known as the good cholesterol) while it decreases the levels of low density lipoproteins or LDL-cholesterol (the baddie). In terms of type 2 diabetes management, African mango is presumed to reduce blood glucose levels to help control hyperglycemia found in type 2 diabetic individuals. Lastly, its effects on obesity have been questioned primarily because of the poor quality of the research.
How Does Irvingia Gabonensis Exert its Weight Loss Effects?
To determine if Irvingia gabonensis or an African mango seed diet is indeed safe, it is best that we try to understand how it works to effect weight loss. Currently, there are several mechanisms upon which African mango diet pills are presumed to work. These include the following.
- Prevents the formation of fat cells
- Boosts adiponectin levels
- Boosts leptin levels
- Delays stomach emptying
Several studies have pointed to one particular observation when individuals were subjected to an African mango seed diet – the formation of fat cells was inhibited to a certain degree. Scientists believe that this might be related to the action of Irvingia gabonensis on the inhibition of the peroxisome proliferator activated receptor gamma or PPAR-gamma. This particular substance has been implicated in the differentiation or the cellular division of fat cells or adipocytes. While nobody knows exactly how Irvingia gabonensis can inhibit PPAR-gamma and up to what extent is the inhibition effective, the results are nevertheless very promising especially to those who would like to lose weight using natural products.
Adiponectin is a hormone that is synthesized and secreted by fat cells that function in both the regulation of blood glucose levels and in the increased breakdown of fatty acids. In other words, it is primarily essential in the production of energy by converting energy-dense molecules into energy-usable forms. The effect on weight loss should be readily apparent. By increasing the breakdown of fatty acids, this can help stimulate the body to mobilize stored fat molecules to supply the depleted fatty acids. However, given the fact that the body will be requiring fats, it is therefore crucial that we consume a low calorie diet if not a low fat diet. Otherwise, if we still eat a high fat diet, then there’s simply no point in increasing fatty acid oxidation.
- Good for Weight Loss
- High Strength
- Supports Dieting
One the other hand, an increase in the levels of leptin can help prevent us from overeating. Leptin is another hormone that is synthesized and secreted by adipocytes or fat cells. What they do is they bring information to the brain telling it that the body’s supply of stored energy-dense fat molecules is sufficient for any increase in metabolic demands. Hence, the brain will not be motivated to eat simply because it receives information that the body has substantial supply of stored energy in the form of fat. By increasing leptin levels, we are essentially tricking the brain into thinking that we don’t need to eat yet. In effect, our appetites are somewhat suppressed.
When it comes to its effects on stomach emptying, African mango seed diet pills have been known to help prevent spikes in blood sugar which can help curb food cravings. When taken together with its effects on leptin, the cumulative effects can really make for an interesting weight loss mechanism.
However, it is again very important to realize that, while Irvingia gabonensis or African mango may help in losing weight through a variety of mechanisms, the quality of majority of these researches are mediocre at best. Experts are nonetheless, baffled by the similarities of the different studies subjected in the meta-analysis. Is it thus, safe to assume that there is a certain veracity to these claims?
A 2005 study revealed that a 4-week regimen of African mango diet pills can lead to a 5.6 percent ±2.7 percent reduction in body weight, a 5.07 ±3.18 percent reduction in waist circumference, and a 3.42 ±2.12 percent reduction in hip circumference. Increasing the regimen to 10 weeks has also been shown to produce significantly greater reductions in body weight as well as other weight parameters.
Again, we would like to caution everyone. While the results are very promising, the quality of the research leaves it highly questionable. And when in doubt, it is a lot better to avoid it altogether.
Check out what Dr. Oz had to say about African Mango on a recent show…
(You May Also Like: 5 Top Diet Pills Recommended By Dr. Oz)
What are the Side Effects of African Mango?
We scoured the internet including online research journals regarding the side effects, special warnings, and precautions that are provided in the use of African Mango or Irvingia gabonensis. Unfortunately, the only side effects that we can come up with are the following:
- Sleep problems
Flatulence can be a natural reaction to the increased fiber that is present in the African mango. However, this is often only seen in the raw preparations of the fruit and not its fully synthesized version. For headaches and sleep problems, it is possible that there are other ingredients or chemicals that are not yet fully understood what their effects are in terms of the body’s physiologic processes.
Due to the very limited clinical studies related to Irvingia gabonensis especially the use of African mango seed diet pills, it is very difficult to establish the clinical profile of this particular substance. However, Irvingia gabonensis is generally considered to be safe. Based on available data, taking the crude seed extract or the African mango seed diet extract for up to 4 weeks should be considered safe. Taking the standardized seed extract of Irvingia gabonensis, known as IGOB131, for up to 10 weeks should also be safe. The safety of consuming African mango diet products beyond the 4- and 10- week periods, depending on the type of the Irvingia gabonensis extract has not been established and as such are not really recommended to be consumed beyond these periods.
Is it Safe?
Like all diet or weight loss supplements you can buy, Irvingia gabonensis should never be used or consumed by breastfeeding mothers or even by pregnant women. While there are no studies to prove that African mango can be detrimental to the unborn child’s welfare or may be transferred to human breast milk, there are also no studies disproving these possible effects. And whenever there is a gray line in the effects of a particular substance, it is better to err on the side of safety rather than suffer the consequences of a grave oversight.
Caution is also advised among patients who are diabetics especially those who are already taking glucose-lowering drugs. Irvingia gabonensis or African mango has been shown to decrease blood glucose or sugar levels. If you are already taking oral hypoglycemic agents, there is a tendency that you are going to lower your blood sugar to dangerously low levels. If you have to take African mango diet pills and you are diabetic, blood glucose monitoring is a must. This can also have serious implications if you are going to undergo surgery. As such, it’s best to stop taking African mango at least 2 weeks prior to your scheduled surgery.
The Bottom Line
African mango can be the miracle diet pill you’ve been waiting for. Or, it could very well be just like any other product that promised great results only to find out all were empty promises. However, if the studies are credible and can be believed in, African mango diet pills may help you lose weight.