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Irvingia gabonensis is a plant species commonly recognized as the African mango, wild mango, or bush mango. The plan originates from West and Central Africa. Dika nuts and a yellow edible mango-like fruit are 2 products found growing from Irvingia trees. Like many nuts and seeds, the nutritional fat content is quite high. Though this plant has been identified for nearly 200years, it is only recently that the seed extracts have been popularized for its intense fiber concentration. Many African cultures have utilized the advantages of this botanic nutritionally and medicinally. Because of the rapid growing reputation of Irvingia, the United Nations took part to enhance the production and commercial use of this plant.
The use of Irvingia was first observed by the Benin Army during times of war in the early 1800’s. It was used to keep the soldiers fit. The importance of dietary fibers has been recognized as a fundamental in weight management therapy to treat obesity. It wasn’t until a few years ago that official clinical research as been conducted to determine the validity of Irvingia and its extracts. Studies outlining the effects and results of taking Irvingia gabonensis are mentioned below.
One clinical study preformed by Judith L. Ngodni, Blanche C. Etoundi, et al involved 102 healthy, but overweight or obese individuals. The subjects were divided into two groups; the control group received a placebo, while the experimental group was administered a 150 mg dose of irvingia gabonensis. Both groups were to take their prescription twice a day,30 to 60 minutes before lunch and dinner. The results were collaborated after 10 weeks to find that those supplementing with Irvingia showed significant decrease in body weight, body fat, and cholesterol levels. Blood plasma and leptin levels were also found to be lower in the experimental group. The controlled subjects given the placebo showed no sufficient signs of weight reduction. Many studies have replicated similar results pertaining to Irvingia and its seed extracts.
Leptin is a hormone responsible for regulating energy intake and expenditure. Its role is important in the signaling of appetite and metabolism. Obesity is often associated with an increase with an increase in leptin levels, which is unusual for the standard mechanism of action in leptin. The reason associated to this is that obese individuals are believed to be resistant to the effects of leptin. Irvingia has been determined to control leptin levels to work in favor of appetite repression in obese individuals.
Irvingia gabonensis was combined with Cissus quadrangularis in one double-blind study, where there were three groups. The control group was administered with a placebo, one experimental group was prescribed Cissus quadrangularis, and the remaining group was given a combination of Irvingia gabonensis and Cissus quadrangularis. All individuals were healthy, but overweight or obese, and participated 10 weeks in this trial. Their diets were unchanged and results were taken in 4 week intervals. After the first interval period weight reduction, decreased body fat, lowered blood pressure and cholesterol levels were observed in both experimental groups. Those taking the combination Cissus quadrangularis and Irvingia gabonensis showed twice as much decline in weight as the group taking only Cissus quadrangularis.
The results gathered from a number of studies have identified Irvingia to be an effective weight loss supplement; however, the mechanism of action has yet to be determined. One can argue the effects of this herb on individuals not classified as overweight or obese.