Mangosteen Combats Superbugs, Biofilms, Protects Brain, and Helps Metabolism

April 9, 2018 | Linda J. Dobberstein, Chiropractor, Board Certified in Clinical Nutrition

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Mangosteen Combats Superbugs, Biofilms, Protects Brain, and Helps Metabolism
Known as the Queen of Fruits in Asia, mangosteen provides valuable benefits for a vast array of health issues. Mangosteen contains powerful compounds called xanthones which provide antioxidant effects to cells. Research over the last few years has expanded on the benefits of this fruit that has been used for centuries. Details have emerged on mangosteen effects on deadly bacteria, biofilms, neurodegenerative disorders, obesity, blood sugar, cancer, macular degeneration, and more. Discover the latest advancements regarding this remarkable fruit!

Superbugs, Biofilms, and More


The Center for Disease Control recently sent out a press release on a new book, Deadliest Enemy: Our War against Killer Germs, written by widely-respected epidemiologist Michael T. Osterholm and co-author Mark Olshaker. Network television has brought its attention to the public. The book, published January 2018, describes the current threat from killer or ‘nightmare bacteria’ that are spreading in America.

One threat pertains to an ever increasing concern of bacteria or “superbugs” that fail to respond to antibiotic treatment in hospitals. Several dangerous pathogens have been found, two of which are MRSA and other Staph infections, which occur at alarming rates in hospitals. These bacteria are now being found in healthy individuals, but occur without symptoms. Rather, the healthy individual is a carrier who unknowingly transfers the germ to another individual. That person may be immunological susceptible and develop into an infection which can quickly transpire into a life-threatening situation. These killer bacteria can quickly evolve and mutate to avoid antibiotic treatment success. More than 23,000 Americans die every year due to antibiotic-resistant germs.

In the plant kingdom, there have been a number of compounds found beneficial to fight these germs. Mangosteen is one such nutrient found helpful against MRSA and Staph infections. Studies demonstrate mangosteen’s effect to stop these germs and breakdown biofilms that contribute to antibiotic resistance. One recent study showed that the active ingredients found in mangosteen were able to prevent and inhibit biofilm formation from Staph aureus which includes MRSA (methicillin-resistant S. aureus). Mangosteen extract caused membrane damage to the bacteria which led to bacterial lysis or destruction.

Other cellular studies demonstrated that when mangosteen extract was used together with the antibiotic oxacillin for the Staph resistant infection ORSS, a synergistic effect occurred. Mangosteen again helped to damage the infectious bacterial cell membrane, increase its permeability to allow the medical treatment to infiltrate into the bacteria damaging the bacterial structure. Scientists proposed that mangosteen may provide a phytopharmaceutical adjunct to treatment of ORSS. Mangosteen also offers the potential as an antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral (Epstein Barr virus) compound.

Arthritis and Adjuvants


As infectious threats rise and the push for vaccinations rise, mangosteen may provide other benefits. Vaccinations are coupled with adjuvants, or “inert” ingredients that are used to provoke a stronger immune response. Adjuvants, though, can trigger inflammation and even set off autoimmune inflammation elsewhere in the body that may lead to other disorders like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia.

Mangosteen may play a protective role against adjuvant-induced arthritic inflammation. This was evaluated in a recent study as adjuvants were injected into the paws of rodents to create arthritis. Adjuvant injections caused inflammation, swelling, and infiltration of inflammatory compounds that broke down cartilage and synovial fluid in joints which led to arthritis. Treatment with mangosteen reduced inflammatory cell infiltration, restored immune system balance, and stopped the swelling. It was noted that mangosteen provided superior anti-inflammatory effects and was highly protective in this arthritis study.

Brain Health: Mangosteen Blocks Build-Up of Damaging Brain Proteins


Mangosteen shines in other arenas as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and synergistic phytonutrient. A number of recent studies show that xanthones, the active ingredient in mangosteen, help the brain when under oxidative stress. One such finding pertains to Alzheimer’s disease. Xanthones inhibited build-up of amyloid beta protein that leads to neurodegeneration and Alzheimer’s disease. There are other causes like concussions and traumatic brain injury that lead to build-up of amyloid beta protein. Mangosteen may help protect the brain in young and old alike.

Mangosteen also protected the brain from glutamate damage. Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain, but when in excess, it causes neurological injury, nerve cell death, and leads to the production of more free radicals in the brain. Due to its multifunctional activities against Alzheimer’s disease pathology, mangosteen is thought of as a promising therapeutic compound for neurodegenerative inflammation.

Similar to Alzheimer’s disease, the neurodegenerative disease Parkinson’s, has a protein named alpha-synuclein that build-ups and causes damage. In Parkinson’s disease, the protein damages dopamine-rich parts of the brain which leads to its classic symptoms of depression, flat affect, fatigue, constipation, tremors, balance, and gait problems.

Researchers evaluated mangosteen’s effect on the Parkinson’s pathology. Nerve cells of different types were exposed to alpha-synuclein which stimulated microglial cell inflammation and caused breakdown in dopamine-rich structures. Cells treated with mangosteen showed very positive protection against alpha-synuclein as neurotoxicity and microglial cell inflammation was blocked and quenched.

This study also found that mangosteen inhibited pro-inflammatory NF-kappa B and the enzyme NADPH oxidase that affects NAD and NADH. NAD/NADH is a coenzyme found in all living cells, which helps electrons transfer from one reaction to another. It is at the core of energy production and function. Loss of NAD and NADH is problematic in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, and other disorders of fatigue and neurodegeneration as this contributes to loss of physical and mental energy. Mangosteen was shown to help block the enzyme that depletes NAD.

Blood Sugar, Neuropathy, Diabetes, and Obesity


Mangosteen also exerts its positive effects with blood sugar management and metabolism. Studies attest to its ability to protect nerves from elevated blood sugar and advanced glycation end products (AGEs). AGEs cause stiffening of tissues like proteins, nerves, and cell membranes from elevated blood sugar. It leads to diabetic complications like heart disease, atherosclerosis, blindness, neuropathy, and Alzheimer’s disease. Mangosteen was found to stop sugar from attaching to and damaging protein structures that led to diabetes complications. Results were dose dependent, i.e. higher doses were needed for more extensive damage. Mangosteen is also helpful for blood pressure management linked with obesity. It has the ability to help blood vessel dilation that is stressed from iNOS or inducible nitric oxide that is stressful to the body.

This Queen of Fruits provides support for a healthy metabolism, fighting obesity and metabolic syndrome. Mangosteen provides anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and anti-obesity effects, helping to prevent and treat obesity. It helps reduce fat cell inflammation.

Another way that mangosteen helps metabolism is that it can activate the master metabolic switch AMPK that turns on fat burning. Mice were fed a high-fat diet and developed metabolic syndrome. Elevated blood sugar and cholesterol, obesity, and fatty liver occurred. The mice that were treated with mangosteen extract had lower cholesterol levels and blood sugar. Fatty liver problems were reduced or eliminated and AMPK enzymatic pathways were turned on. This is essential to regulate and turn on metabolism, thus helping with weight loss. Add mangosteen to the list of other AMPK activators in type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Cancer Prevention and Support


Like silymarin, curcumin, resveratrol, tocotrienols, and other plant-derived nutrients, mangosteen has a place in cancer risk management and support. In fact, mangosteen xanthones are some of the most studied chemopreventive agents. Experimental research shows that mangosteen or alpha-mangostin, a type of xanthone, has the ability to interfere with all major stages of cancer growth from its inception to metastasis. These preclinical studies suggest that it can be used with chemotherapy drugs to improve its effectiveness and reduce chemotherapy toxicity. Various cellular studies show that mangosteen provides anticancer benefits in tongue, mouth, breast, colorectal, and liver cancer.

Eyes, Skin, and Traditional Use


Other recent information shows mangosteen has positive effects against age-related macular degeneration, the skin disorder psoriasis and helpful with skin pigmentation problems. In Asian countries, mangosteen has been traditionally used for various disorders26 not mentioned above. These include abdominal pain, food allergies, hemorrhoids, diarrhea, dysentery, wound infections, chronic ulcer, leucorrhoea/vaginal discharge and STDs like gonorrhea.

Mangosteen supplements with the entire fruit, rind included, that are standardized for xanthones provide the most powerful health protection. Mangosteen juices contain only the interior of the fruit and may even have other juices or sweeteners added.

The breadth of support that the mangosteen fruit provides is remarkable. Its effect on killer germs and biofilms, quenching brain inflammation and build-up of damaging proteins in the brain related with life altering neurodegeneration, to chemopreventive, metabolic support, antiobesity, antidiabetic complications, and curtailing effects on arthritis is more than remarkable. There is no single pharmaceutical treatment that can do this, yet this fruit is a hidden gem. Mangosteen deserves a place amongst the more popular plant-based ingredients in the quest to support health.

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