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African mango

African mango, or bush mango, comes from forests in parts of Africa.

African mango is also known as Irvingia gabonensis or IG.

The flesh of this mango-like fruit is eaten in areas where it grows, but the seed or nut is also made into supplements.

What are the claims about African mango?

According to claims on certain websites outside the UK, the high-soluble fibre content of IG seed can reduce belly fat and trim waistlines. It's often combined with other ingredients such as green tea and marketed as a fat-burning supplement.

Taking the supplement 30-60 minutes before meals is claimed to reduce appetite, lower blood cholesterol and triglycerides, reduce fat cell growth, boost the breakdown of fats and improve blood sugar control. There are also claims that it is highly effective at sequestering fat and cholesterol and ridding them from the body.

What does the research about African mango show?

The British Dietetic Association warns that many of these kinds of weight loss claims are based on poor studies that haven't been rigorously tested or peer reviewed. There are limited research studies on the health effects of IG extracts, and most of the studies have been sponsored by supplement makers. Some experts suggest that is a red flag.

The MHRA is the body that makes sure medicines sold and supplied in the UK are acceptably safe. It says that thousands of women in the UK buy slimming pills from websites and are oblivious to the fact that many sites belong to unscrupulous vendors. Herbal products need to be registered with the MHRA and can only be sold in the UK for the conditions for which they are registered.

A few studies have shown that supplements containing IG extract can aid in weight loss, lower blood cholesterol level and improve diabetes control, but more research is needed. Researchers suggest it may be the high fibre content of the seed that competes with cholesterol and helps remove it, but more research is needed.

Bottom line

More studies are needed before nutrition experts recommend the supplements. There is no such thing as a magic pill that will peel off the pounds. The IG extract is rich in fibre, much like the fibre in foods that can help fill you up to promote weight loss, and maintain healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels.

However, dietitians and doctors say the only way to lose weight for the long haul is to burn more calories than you eat, and that's not a fast process.

Speak to your GP or pharmacist if you have any questions or concerns about supplements.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on May 02, 2016

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