Mangosteen Health Benefits
Mangosteen health benefits include anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and possible anticancer abilities. The mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana) is a tropical fruit borne by an evergreen native to Southeast Asia and is not related to the mango, despite its name.
A mangosteen is round, about the size of a tangerine, and has a dark, thick rind and creamy flesh. Similar to many fruits and vegetables, mangosteen is a rich source of antioxidants, although mangosteen also contains phytonutrients called xanthones, which are unique to this fruit. More than 200 xanthones have been identified in plants, and mangosteen contains more than 40 of them. The vast majority of the nutrients in mangosteen are in the rind and not the pulp.
Xanthones are believed to have anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties, and these benefits have been shown in laboratory and animal studies. However, research into mangosteen health benefits is in its infancy, and no human studies have been done to determine if mangosteen health benefits extend to people.
Mangosteen Health Benefits: Studies
A study conducted in Taiwan explored the apoptotic effects of a xanthone, gamma-mangostin, extracted from the rind of mangosteen fruit, on glioblastoma multiforme (MG), the most common type of brain tumor. They reported that “mangostin showed potent antiproliferative activity toward MGs in dose- and time-dependent manners.” (Chang 2010)
In China, scientists evaluated the hulls of mangosteen and isolated 13 phenolic compounds. Five compounds were isolated from the fruit for the first time, and one was a new natural product. The scientists noted that the isolates possessed a strong ability to inhibit the activity of fatty acid synthase. This is an important finding because “natural inhibitors of fatty acid synthase are emerging as potential therapeutic agents to treat cancer and obesity.” (Jiang 2010)
Investigators in Thailand explored the antioxidative, skin protective abilities, and cytotoxicity of three extracts (water, methanol, hexane) of mangosteen hull and determined the phenolic makeup in each one. The water extract showed the highest free radical scavenging activity of the three. The authors concluded that their experiments provide evidence that extracts from mangosteen, and the water extract in particular, “act as antioxidants and cytoprotective agents against oxidative damage, which is at least partly due to its phenolic compounds.” (Ngawhirunpat 2010)
Another laboratory study examined the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of two xanthones regarding obesity-associated inflammation, which is associated with insulin resistance. The researchers discovered that the xanthones reduced lipopolysaccharide-mediated inflammation in macrophages and insulin resistance in adipocytes, fat cells that specialize in storing fat. (Bumrungpert 2010)
How to Use Mangosteen
Mangosteen is available as juice, powder, and capsules. The juice is most popular, but make sure you buy 100 percent pure mangosteen juice that contains the hull (rind). Many mangosteen juice products are diluted with other fruit juices. The amount of juice or supplement you need to take to appreciate mangosteen health benefits has not been determined.
Bumrungpert A et al. Xanthones from mangosteen inhibit inflammation in human macrophages and in human adipocytes exposed to macrophage-conditioned media. J Nutr 2010 Apr; 140(4): 842-47
Chang HF et al. Apoptotic effects of gamma-mangostin from the fruit hill of Garcinia mangostana on human malignant glioma cells. Molecules 2010 Dec 7; 15(12): 8953-66
Jiang HZ et al. Fatty acid synthase inhibitors of phenolic constituents isolated from Garcinia mangostana. Bioorg Med Chem Lett 2010 Oct 15; 20(20): 6045-57
Ngawhirunpat T et al. Antioxidant, free radical-scavenging activity and cytotoxicity of different solvent extracts and their phenol constituents form the fruit hull of mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana). Pharm Biol 2010 Jan; 48(1): 55-62