It’s probably no surprise that the number of dietary and weight loss supplements has grown enormously in recent years. A 2008 survey noted that 33.9% of American adults trying to lose weight took dietary supplements (1).

African mango is among many popular supplements marketed to boost weight loss.

Although it’s relatively new to the Western world, it has been eaten and used medicinally in Africa for centuries.

This article reviews the nutrients, benefits, and downsides of African mango.

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African mango (Irvingia gabonensis) is a tree native to tropical West African forests. It’s also known as bush mango, wild mango, and dika nut. The fruit has greenish-yellow skin, a fibrous pulp, and a large, hard seed (2, 3).

It shouldn’t be confused with the common mango (Mangifera indica) (4).

African mango’s pulp and seed are used in Nigerian and Cameroonian cuisine to make traditional soups, sauces, juice, wine, jam, jelly, and flavoring (3, 5, 6, 7, 8).

Like many tropical fruits, its pulp is high in vitamin C and carotenoid antioxidants (7).

The African mango tree has long been used in traditional medicine. Local tribes use the leaves, roots, and especially the bark (in the form of a paste) to treat scabs and skin pain (2).

The fruit’s large seed has been of particular interest in research because of the health benefits of its extract.

Summary

African mango is a vitamin-C-rich, mango-like fruit native to tropical Africa with a history of use in traditional medicine.

African mango extract (AME) has gained a following in the West for its use as a weight loss supplement. It’s derived from the seed of the African mango fruit (3).

AME is available in liquid, capsule, and powder forms.

Sometimes, AME is blended with other extracts from green tea, berries, and kelp and sold as supplements (9).

The extract is purported to inhibit the growth of fat cells, although further human studies are needed (1).

Summary

Extract from the seed of African mango has risen in popularity in the West as a weight loss supplement, though research on its effects is still emerging.

Just 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of African mango fruit — both the peel and the pulp — contain the following nutrients (10):

  • Calories: 86
  • Protein: 1 gram
  • Fat: 0.4 grams
  • Carbs: 18 grams
  • Vitamin C: 62% of the Daily Value (DV)

As you can see, the fruit itself is very high in vitamin C.

Specific nutrients in African mango extract

African mango extract (AME) is derived from the fruit’s seed.

The seed is rich in vitamins and minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and sodium. What’s more, it provides soluble fiber, antioxidants, and plant protein (5, 11).

Plus, it’s high in fat, with the greatest amounts coming from myristic and lauric acids — two saturated fats also found in coconut oil (7).

A recent study identified 41 phenolic compounds in African mango seed, including flavonols, tannins, and ellagic acid. Phenolic compounds act as antioxidants by fighting disease-causing molecules called free radicals in your body (12).

Summary

Extracts from African mango are derived from the seed, which is rich in multiple nutrients and antioxidants. The fruit itself boasts plenty of vitamin C.

AME has recently gained popularity in the West as a weight loss supplement. Although more studies are needed, preliminary research indicates positive results.

Research on weight loss

In a 10-week randomized controlled study, 52 adults took 300 mg of AME daily. On average, they experienced 28 pounds (12.8 kg) of weight loss, a 6.4-inch (16.2-cm) reduction in waist circumference, and a 6.3% dip in body fat (5).

Plus, fasting blood sugar and both total and bad (LDL) cholesterol fell significantly (5).

Other research shows similar effects.

In a 90-day study in 24 adults with metabolic syndrome, a group of conditions that raises your chronic illness risk, those who took 300 mg of AME daily had significant drops in blood sugar, waist circumference, triglycerides, and VLDL (bad) cholesterol, compared with a placebo (13).

Another randomized controlled study in 72 adults combined AME with Cissus quadrangularis (CQ), a succulent vine. After 10 weeks, the CQ-only group experienced an 8.8% decrease in body weight, and the CQ and AME group an 11.8% decrease, on average.

The reductions in body fat and waist circumferences for the CQ and AME group were also significant (12).

These studies suggest that AME reduces body weight, body fat, waist circumference, blood sugar, triglycerides, and cholesterol. All the same, more human studies are necessary.

Summary

Studies suggest AME may help lower body weight and other health markers like blood sugar, triglyceride, and cholesterol levels. Still, consult a healthcare professional before starting or changing your daily regimen to manage any of the above listed conditions.

Although research is lacking, AME appears to have few — if any — side effects.

Still, you should take extra care when buying African mango products to ensure purity and safety.

Toxicity and side effects

Animal studies suggest no adverse effects or toxicity from AME (3).

The only side effects reported in human studies are headaches, gas, sleep difficulty, and constipation. However, it’s questionable whether AME caused these effects, as people in the placebo groups also experienced them (5, 13).

A case study reported that one person with chronic kidney disease had to start dialysis after 2.5 months of taking AME. Still, more research is needed (6).

Authenticity

One study tested AME and African mango dietary supplements and reported that some products didn’t contain authentic extracts from the seed (9).

Bear in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates supplements differently than medicines, meaning that their safety and quality aren’t always known (14).

As such, you should look for AME products that are tested by an independent laboratory for purity and quality. Labs like U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP), ConsumerLab, and NSF International may add their own labels to supplements.

Summary

Studies have not reported significant side effects from AME. Still, purity and quality are concerns, as dietary supplements should be better regulated to ensure that products can be trusted.

No set dosage for AME exists.

All the same, a few studies have reported potentially effective dosages ranging from 150 mg twice daily to 1.05 grams three times per day (3).

Furthermore, one study recommends taking AME 30–60 minutes before a meal (5).

Always consult a healthcare professional before taking new dietary supplements.

summary

There’s no scientifically established dosage for AME supplements, but studies suggest effectiveness with taking anywhere between 150 mg twice per day and 1.05 grams thrice daily.

African mango is a tropical fruit native to West Africa. It’s sought after for its extract, which is called AME and derived from the fruit’s seed.

Emerging research indicates that AME may aid weight loss, but these studies used small populations. As a consequence, many more human trials are needed.

If you’re interested in taking AME, talk to a healthcare professional first.