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Irvingia Gabonensis Supplements

Updated on January 20, 2011
Asian sister of the African Irvingia tree.
Asian sister of the African Irvingia tree. | Source

Health and Weight Managment Benefits of Irvingia Gabonensis

There are convincing indications that Irvingia gabonensis supplements can help completing a diet plan successfully. This powerful substance has shown to have other benefits as well. It seems to be an effective way to manage cholesterol, blood sugar levels, and prevent or control diabetes.

The main, active ingredient in these supplements is an extract from the West African Irvingia gabonensis tree. Its benefits and uses have long been acknowledged by the local peoples. Only recently this medicinal plant has become worldwide attention.

This article focuses mainly on the application of Irvingia gabonensis in weight management. What are its effects? Are there studies providing proof? What about possible side effects? Read on to find out.


Western African Cuisine

The fruits and especially the nuts are traditionally used in local cuisine. In Nigeria and Cameroon these aromatic nuts are used as a powder or paste. The powder is used to thicken soups such as the locally popular Ogbono soup. The paste is also referred to as 'Gabon chocolate or 'dika bread'. By pressing the nuts oil is made.

Apart from its taste this ingredient is also valued for its antioxidant and antibacterial properties.

Foods rich in dietary fibers
Foods rich in dietary fibers | Source

Irvingia Gabonensis Contains Dietary Fibers

Dietary fibres are frequently used for the treatment of obesity. They are naturally present in whole grains, beans, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Not only do they prevent constipation, they also help manage blood sugar, lower cholesterol and help prevent certain diseases such as bowel cancer.

Commonly, weight loss plans recommend the intake of less fats and carbohydrates and more fibers.

The fibers present in Irvingia gabonensis supplements are soluble. This means they are "bulk-forming" laxatives. They delay stomach emptying, resulting in a more gradual absorption of dietary sugar. This effect can reduce the elevation of blood sugar levels that is typical after a meal

Research has shown that supplementation with several grams per day of soluble fibre significantly reduced total blood cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides and in some cases raised HDL cholesterol.

Irvingia is an Adaptogen

The term adaptogen is used by herbalists to refer to natural herb products which they believe to increase the body's resistance to stress, anxiety, trauma, and fatigue. In short they are thought to instill a normalizing effect on body processes.

Adaptogens are also referred to as restoratives, rejuvenating herbs, rasayanas, or qi tonics. Two of the most well known adaptogens are liquorice and ginseng.

The Irvingia adoptogen normalizes blood fats, boosts the body’s ability to burn fat and may help promote normal cholesterol and c-reactive protein (CRP) levels, preventing CRP from adhering to leptin.


chemical structure of the leptin hormone
chemical structure of the leptin hormone | Source

Leptin Resistance, How Does It Work

The same study has also demonstrated that Irvingia supplements stimulate leptin sensitivity. Leptin is a hormone (protein) that is responsible for the signals to your brain telling you have eaten enough. To say it more simple, it reduces your appetite.

Apart from this leptin also influences fat burning. It stimulates fat being burned as energy instead of being stored.


Irvingia Gabonensis Supplement Health and Weight Loss Benefits

A study report, published in Lipids Health & Disease, discovered that test persons taking the mango extract lost an average of 12.3 pounds in 28 days. The overweight subjects took 150 mg before meals two times a day. The study showed that the extract;

"favorably impacts body weight and a variety of parameters and characteristic of the metabolic syndrome."

The test persons also noticed a body fat decrease by 6.3%. Scientists indicate these positive results are due to changes to fat stimulating and fat producing hormone levels.

Additional Benefits

Studies have demonstrated that African Mango extract also:

  • decreases blood sugar levels (stimulates insulin sensitivity),
  • lowers cholesterol levels (studies demonstrated a 39% reduction in cholesterol),
  • increases good cholesterol also called HDL,
  • may help control diabetes.


Irvingia tree, fruit, and nuts
Irvingia tree, fruit, and nuts

The African Irvingia Gabonensis Tree, Fruit, and Nuts

The Irvingia tree both grows in Africa as well as in South Asia. The tree is member of the mangrove family (Malpighiales) and is, despite popular belief, not a real mango. The African genus is also refered to as

  • African Mango
  • Wild Mango
  • Mango Sauvage
  • Bush Mango
  • Kaka
  • Agbono
  • Bread Tree

The protein rich and high in healthy fats kernels of the mango fruit are called; Dika nut, Etima, Dikka, Duiker Nut, Ogbono, and Irvingia nuts.

Irvingia Gabonensis Supplement Side Effects?

There's a long tradition of eating the fruit and nuts as well as using them in traditional medicine. Therefore it is known to be safe. There is, on the other hand, not sufficient clinical evidence to deem this substance safe for pregnant or nursing women.

Researchers have determined safety for everyone else. Prolonged use of Irvingia seed extract may cause headaches, flatulence, or sleep problems. However, these side effects are very rare.

Note: Weight loss supplements should be taken in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise and results may vary from person to person.

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