Mangosteen: 7 Unexpected Side Effects Of The Tropical Fruit

Reviewed by Jess Wharton, Registered Clinical & Holistic Nutritionist
by Annie Jangam

Mangosteen is a tropical fruit native to the Southeast Asian regions. The fruit is used traditionally to alleviate multiple health problems. Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties have been studied for their health benefits. However, some emerging research has found certain possible ill effects of this fruit.

Mangosteen may not be suitable for all. It may interfere with chemotherapy. The fruit may also cause adverse effects in people with the central nervous system and gastrointestinal issues. Hence, it is prudent to be cautious while consuming mangosteen. In this post, we have highlighted the most talked about side effects associated with the fruit. Read on!

What Are The Side Effects Of Mangosteen?

1. May Slow Down Blood Clotting

Mangosteen has been found to slow down blood clotting. It can increase the risk of bleeding in susceptible individuals (1). This is especially true when the fruit is taken along with certain drugs that increase the risk.

Consuming mangosteen may also increase the risk of bleeding during or after surgery. Avoid taking it at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.

2. May Cause Lactic Acidosis

Lactic acidosis is a medical condition characterized by the build-up of lactate within the body. This happens due to the formation of excessively low pH in the bloodstream. This indicates the accumulation of excess acid within the body’s system.

A study highlights severe lactic acidosis that occurs due to the use of mangosteen juice as a dietary supplement (2). As per anecdotal reports, the symptoms associated with this condition may include weakness and nausea. If left untreated, this condition can lead to an acid build-up in the body to dangerous levels – leading to shock and death (3).

3. May Interfere With Chemotherapy

Animal studies have shown the anticancer effects of mangosteen (4). But studies on humans are yet to be conducted. Mangosteen products are often marketed to cancer patients as dietary supplements.

Some research shows that these supplements may interfere with cancer treatment and adversely affect blood sugar levels (5). In another report, certain antioxidant supplements were found to reduce the effectiveness of conventional radiation therapies (6).

As mangosteen supplements are often marketed for their antioxidant potential, it is important to exercise caution.

4. May Cause Gastrointestinal Issues

Some research has shown subjects experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms after consuming mangosteen for over 26 weeks. Some of these symptoms included bloating, diarrhea, gastric reflux, and constipation (7).

5. May Cause Sedation

The derivatives of mangosteen caused depression and sedation in rats. The effects had also resulted in decreased motor activity (8). However, more studies in humans are required to establish these effects.

6. May Cause Allergies

There is limited evidence if mangosteen can cause allergies. But anecdotal evidence suggests that it may cause reactions in people sensitive to the fruit. If you experience any reaction after consuming mangosteen, stop intake and visit your doctor.

7. May Cause Complications During Pregnancy

The safety of mangosteen during pregnancy or breastfeeding is not yet established. Hence, stay safe and avoid use. You may consult your doctor regarding the same.

Most of the adverse effects of mangosteen are yet to be established by concrete research. If you are usually susceptible to allergies or reactions, you may want to talk to your doctor before taking the fruit.

Why Is Mangosteen Banned?

Mangosteen was banned in the US by the FDA because it could be a host to import Asian fruit flies into the country. The ban was lifted owing to precautionary irradiation of the fruit, which was a treatment done to disinfect it. The method of irradiation is still under controversy despite its claims that it does not compromise with the taste and nutrition of the fruit (9).

However, food supplements containing mangosteen continue to be banned by the US FDA. Such supplements are mostly unregistered, and not much is known if they may cause any adverse effects (10).

Can the adverse effects of mangosteen be prevented if the fruit is taken in the right dosage? We have explored it in the following section.

Dosing Considerations For Mangosteen

The dosage of mangosteen is dependent on several factors, such as age, health, and medical conditions of the consumer. The composition of dietary supplements, such as mangosteen-based proprietary health drinks, is unavailable. There is no authentic literature available on the appropriate dosage of mangosteen that is to be consumed for preventing the adverse effects. More research is warranted in this regard. Hence, please talk to your doctor regarding the dosage.

Conclusion

The nutraceutical industry is marketing mangosteen juice as a dietary supplement with misleading claims (11). The health benefits of mangosteen are yet to be researched extensively since most of the evidence we have is only anecdotal. The pharmacological bioactives present in marketed mangosteen juice or supplements should be consumed with caution.

Since most research is yet to be done, it always is better to take mangosteen only after consulting your doctor.

11 sources

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Annie Jangam

Annie Jangam is a Molecular Biologist with 7 years of research experience in Rice Functional Genomics and Nutrient Signalling with International Publications in Abiotic stress, Nitrogen, and G-protein signaling. She specializes in writing on Health and Wellness. She has been an avid reader since childhood and is passionate about stories that help decipher life and its meaning. She believes in Human Rights for all and that one should "love others like we love ourselves."
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