Mangosteen For Digestive Wellness

  • Jenny Lee Master of Chemistry with medicinal Chemistry, The University of Manchester

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Overview of mangosteen fruit

Mangosteen, Garcinia mangostana L. comes from Indonesia and is known as the 'queen of fruits.' It has grown worldwide in places such as  Cambodia, India, Thailand, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Africa.1 The fruit has thick, maroon-to-purple skin with a gummy part inside. The edible part is white and is juicy in texture. It tastes sweet or sour and a bit stringy.

In traditional medicine, mangosteen was used to help with stomach problems like ulcers and too much acidity. It is said that the fruit's skin can help with stomach pain, diarrhoea, swelling, skin infections, and cuts and can fight germs, help against bad stuff in your body, and might even help against tumours. In local markets, you can find mangosteen juice in a syrup pack.

Nutritionally, the fruits contain protein, carbohydrates, and Vitamin C.  

Nutritional value of mangosteen

1 cup of around 216 g of Mangosteen, canned syrup pack contains:2

  • Water- 175 g
  • Energy -158 kcal
  • Protein - 0.886 g
  • Total lipid (fat) -1.25 g
  • Carbohydrates, by difference - 38.7 g
  • Fibre, total dietary - 3.89 g
  • Calcium, Ca - 25.9 mg
  • Iron, Fe - 0.648mg
  • Magnesium, Mg - 28.1 mg
  • Phosphorus, P - 17.3mg
  • Potassium, K - 104 mg
  • Sodium, Na - 15.1mg
  • Zinc, Zn - 0.454 mg
  • Copper, Cu - 0.149 mg
  • Manganese, Mn - 0.22 mg
  • Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid- 6.26 mg
  • Thiamin - 0.117mg
  • Riboflavin - 0.117mg
  • Niacin- 0.618 mg
  • Pantothenic acid- 0.069 mg
  • Vitamin B - 60.039 mg
  • Folate- 67µg
  • Cholesterol- 0 mg. Assumed zero (Insignificant amount or not naturally occurring in a food, such as fibre in meat).

Understanding digestive wellness

Importance of digestive health

Your body breaks down food and drinks into different parts like carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals through the digestive system, turning them into energy and helping produce cells.3

Food digestion begins in the mouth when you begin eating it, travels through the throat and stomach, and ends there. 

When you start chewing food, digestion starts from the mouth. Food then travels through to the throat and then into the stomach. In the stomach, food is churned and mixed with digestive juices, enzymes and chemicals such as hydrochloric acid.  This food then moves slowly to the small intestine, where nutrients are absorbed into the blood.

The other leftovers move to the large intestine (the colon). Bacteria - work on what's left, and the colon takes most of the water from it. The liver makes bile, a liquid that helps break down fat and is stored in the gallbladder until required. The pancreas helps out by making enzymes that the small intestine uses to break down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates.

The unwanted materials that the body can't use get released via the rectum and anus.

Common digestive issues and their impact

The GI or gastrointestinal tract includes the oesophagus, liver, stomach, intestines (both small and large), gallbladder, and pancreas. Some common digestive issues are acid reflux, cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, lactose problems, and hiatal hernia.

When you have these issues, you might notice things like bleeding, feeling too full, getting stuck going to the bathroom, diarrhoea, heartburn, vomiting tendency, etc.

Factors affecting digestive wellness

Your gut health reflects your lifestyle: the food you eat, the amount of exercise you get, and the level of stress you go through.4 All these factors contribute to digestive wellness.

Mangosteen and digestive health

High fibre content

The high fibre content in mangosteen aids in regulating bowel movements and preventing constipation. Intake of adequate fibre supports healthy digestion by promoting food movement through the digestive tract.

When you work out a lot or for a long time, your body can tire and cause muscle fatigue. A study was done on rats to check the effect of mangosteen after they started exercising their muscles.

The study used 40 rats, and a selection of these rats were given mangosteen drinks for six weeks. The rats then ran on a treadmill for 30 minutes or until they could not run anymore. The study revealed the rats that drank the mangosteen drink had increased levels of glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and catalase (CAT) activities but were also found to have relieved oxidative stress in muscles. The drink seemed to help the rats increase the clearance of lactate therefore, it showed a reduction in muscle fatigue following exercise.5

Anti-inflammatory properties

The anti-inflammatory properties of mangosteen may help cope with digestive problems such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) or gastritis and reduce gastrointestinal irritation.

Supports gut health

Some studies suggest that mangosteen may promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, aiding in a balanced gut microbiome. A healthy gut flora contributes to improved digestion and overall gastrointestinal health.

Two important compounds called alpha- and gamma-mangostin are found in mangosteen. These powerful compounds are the main reasons mangosteen is used in health products like supplements and functional foods.

Tests were carried out using a digestion model and required cells that mimicked our intestines to reveal how well these compounds would survive through digestion. The results revealed that more than 90% of these compounds were still present after digestion. The best course of action of these compounds involved mixing bile salts forming bundles known as micelles.

When these micelles were tested on intestinal-like cells, the cells absorbed the compounds fairly well. It was determined that these compounds seemed to flow more easily when food was present in the system, especially with the presence of fatty foods.6 This suggested that a meal with higher fat content could help improve our body’s absorption of them. 

Incorporating mangosteen into diet for digestive wellness

Mangosteen contains many antioxidants and polyphenols, and due to these properties it has resulted in the popularity of the consumption of mangosteen. Mangosteen has been found to be consumed in many forms, and this includes as a drink. The inner layer is cooked (aril), and the seeds are removed to produce mangosteen juice. Sugar and salt are added to improve the flavour, and the juice is then cooked again. Upon production of the juice, the juice is white in colour; thus, to appease the public's taste buds, a hint of pink is added as a colourant. The pink colourant is added to the juice from the fruit's skin. However, the fruit peel contains tannins; if this colour is added in excess, the juice can lose its exquisite flavour. To sell the juice, it is sold in glass, plastic or can containers.1 

Mangosteen is found in India and other South Asian countries, where dried mangosteen rinds are used in a variety of curries.

Side effects of mangosteen intake

It is better to take caution while taking supplements containing mangosteen because large doses of xanthones present in them may alter gut bacteria and thus lead to adverse effects.7

While mangosteen shows promise in supporting our digestive health, more scientific research and studies are required to fully understand its specific mechanisms and effectiveness. It is essential to consult a healthcare professional before using mangosteen for medicinal purposes, especially if you have any existing health conditions and are on medications.

Summary

In conclusion, mangosteen has been found to have some beneficial effects on digestive health. It has been found to fight damage in the gut and reduce tiredness after exercise. However, using it in large amounts or supplements may change the good bacteria present in our gut, so it's better to use it carefully. Overall, mangosteen could be a helpful part of a healthy diet for our stomach, but it's important to monitor how much we intake.

References

  1. Mangosteens - an overview | sciencedirect topics [Internet]. [cited 2023 Dec 11]. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/mangosteens
  2. Fooddata central [Internet]. [cited 2023 Dec 11]. Available from: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169090/nutrients
  3. Sensoy, Ilkay. “A Review on the Food Digestion in the Digestive Tract and the Used in Vitro Models.” Current Research in Food Science, vol. 4, Apr. 2021, pp. 308–19. PubMed Central, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.crfs.2021.04.004
  4. Information (US) NC for B. The digestive system. In: Genes and Disease [Internet] [Internet]. National Center for Biotechnology Information (US); 1998 [cited 2023 Dec 11]. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK22172/
  5. Chang CC, Chen CW, Owaga E, Lee WT, Liu TN, Hsieh RH. Mangosteen concentrate drink supplementation promotes antioxidant status and lactate clearance in rats after exercise. Nutrients. 2020 May 17;12(5):1447. PubMed, https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12051447
  6. Bumrungpert A, Kalpravidh RW, Suksamrarn S, Chaivisuthangkura A, Chitchumroonchokchai C, Failla ML. Bioaccessibility, biotransformation, and transport of alpha-mangostin from Garcinia mangostana (Mangosteen) using simulated digestion and Caco-2 human intestinal cells. Mol Nutr Food Res. 2009 May;53 Suppl 1:S54-61. PubMed, https://doi.org/10.1002/mnfr.200800260.
  7. Gutierrez-Orozco F, Thomas-Ahner JM, Galley JD, Bailey MT, Clinton SK, Lesinski GB, et al. Intestinal microbial dysbiosis and colonic epithelial cell hyperproliferation by dietary α-mangosteen is independent of mouse strain. Nutrients [Internet]. 2015 Jan 22 [cited 2023 Dec 11];7(2):764–84. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4344559/

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Bhashwati Deb Barma

Bachelor of Physiotherapy,M.S., Ramaiah Medical College, India

Bhashwati is a Physiotherapist with a firm grasp of Paediatric physiotherapy and is currently working with special children in the community.

She has 6 years of experience working in hospitals and non-profit organizations set up. As a writer by passion, she is putting up her practical and academic knowledge into her articles.

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