Mango Consumption May Have a Positive Impact on IBD Patients

August 6, 2017

A new study at Texas A&M University in College Station investigated the addition of fresh mangoes to traditional therapy for mild to moderate inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

A new study at Texas A&M University in College Station investigated the addition of fresh mangoes to traditional therapy for mild to moderate inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

The presence of IBD is a major risk factor for colon cancer and affects about 1.5 million individuals in the United States, according to Susanne Talcott, PhD, an AgriLife Research scientist at Texas A&M. Furthermore, in 2016, the American Cancer Society estimated that there were approximately 134,490 new cases of colorectal cancer in the United States, which led to 49,190 deaths.

Previous studies have demonstrated the potential health benefits of secondary plant compounds in fruits and vegetables. For example, pomegranates, citrus and curcuminoids, and polyphenolics have been observed to decrease inflammation in diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer and IBDs.

“Colorectal cancer can develop from precursor lesions that can be caused by inflammatory bowel disease over periods of 10 to 15 years, which provides an extended time for preventive measures,” Talcott said in a statement. “However, few human clinical studies using polyphenolics in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease have been conducted.”

Talcott and her team created a clinical trial at Texas A&M to investigate the impact of mango polyphenolics. Mangos are found to be rich in gallotannins, which are a group of large molecular polyphenols that can be broken down into small, bioactive molecules by intestinal bacteria, according to the report.

The study was a controlled clinical pilot trial with subjects suffering from mild-to-moderate active Crohn’s disease or mild-to-moderate ulcerative colitis. The participants were instructed to eat mango along with their usual IBD treatment, and 200 to 400 grams of commercially available frozen mangos were included in the subjects’ diet, with the amount slowly increasing over the first week.

“Since the tolerability of large amounts of fiber-rich fruit varies between subjects and for each patient over time, this study allowed subjects to consume mango within a range rather than a fixed amount,” Talcott said. “This range was from 200 grams twice daily to 400 grams three times a day.”

Despite only 14 subjects ended up completing the study, ulcerative colitis symptoms were significantly reduced and many biomarkers linked to inflammation were reduced following mango consumption for 8 weeks. Talcott also noted a significant reduction in the presence of GRO, a molecule associated with the growth of colon cancer.

“Taken together, our results indicate mango intake exerted beneficial effects in the progression and severity of the IBD after 8 weeks of nutritional intervention,” Talcott concluded. “All subjects who completed the study stated they would continue to consume mangoes regularly and will recommend this to others who suffer from IBD and also tell their physicians.”