Friday, January 22, 2021

Mangosteen miracle cure:  Is It Science, or Just Talk?

Imagine a juice that could help cure cancer, inflammation, allergies, diabetes and boost the body’s immune system.

Clinical nutritionists suggest that such a wonder treatment already exists. It is Mangosteen Juice made from the Mangosteen fruit believed to have originated in Indonesia and is widely available in several South East Asian regions like Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam and also in some regions of Africa.

Most Batswana had never heard of it until April 2017 when the Director of Health Services in the Ministry of Health and Wellness Dr Khumo Seipone issued a cautionary press statement against the sale of Mangosteen Juice as a health cure. The aggressive, in your face statement marked Botswana’s official entry into the multi-billion dollar mangosteen global debate which involves big pharmaceuticals and big nutrition companies.

The Botswana position reads in part: “The public is informed that there is a product called Xango (Mangosteen) juice which is said to have medicinal properties and is promoted to treat many medical conditions. The product is sold across the country without the approval of the Ministry of Health and Wellness as a medical product. The public should be aware that the product is just a juice blend and does not have proven medicinal properties and therefore cannot be marketed and sold as such.”

Simply put, Dr Seipone declared that the Xango Mangosteen Juice belongs in your refrigerator and not you medicine cabinet. This is despite claims that the juice can help cure cancer, improve heart conditions help cure diabetes, allergies arthritis skin conditions and help boost the body’s immune system.

This is hardly surprising, there is so much quirky pseudoscience health information out there but cutting through the clutter and getting facts can very difficult. There’s a cacophony of voices, each saying something different. The confusion worsens when charlatans provide false hope and bad advice. That is when skeptics and myth busters like Dr Seipone come in handy.

On the surface, the Mangosteen claims seem outlandish, that is until you read a report by the South African Cancer Association (CANSA) that there may actually be something to the miracle juice claims.

Long before Xango Mangosteen Juice made its entry into Botswana, neighboring South Africa was already caught up in the global debate over the so called “miracle fruit.” Claims and counter claims were flying fast and thick until the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) helped cut through the fog of confusion. In a statement that almost contradicts that of Botswana, CANSA declared that:

“Contrary to previous misconceptions regarding mangosteen extract, several recent research findings (2010 to 2012) published in PubMed provides evidence that mangosteen extract has an inhibiting effect on several cancers including cancer of the colon, skin, breast, prostate, glioma and brain tumours as well as malignant melanoma. CANSA believes that mangosteen extract shows promise as an important micronutrient in the prevention of certain cancers like cancer of the colon and promotes that further studies be conducted to ascertain if mangosteen extract could play a significant role in future as an anti-colon cancer agent in human patients as indicated by clinical studies.”

CANSA is the biggest cancer NGO in Africa with over 30 Care Centres around the country and more than 5 000 volunteers and approximately 350 staff members. CANSA mobilises volunteers to offer health programmes and support in more than 500 communities across South Africa. It is recognised internationally as an authority on cancer issues and if it ever got its fact wrong, it would be an international scandal.

The American Cancer Society on the other hand has been non committal in the raging debate. The ACS position is that “although there is no evidence that Mangosteen juice, puree or bark is effective as a treatment for cancer, its fruit has been shown to be rich in anti-oxidants. Very early studies in the lab suggest that it may have promise as a treatment for acne. Early studies in the lab and on rats suggest that further research should be done to find out if it can help with cancer prevention  in humans.”

Although the ACS statement is milder and non combative compared to that of Botswana, it received strong condemnation from American nutritional experts. Among those who came out strongly against CAS was

Dr. Michael B. Wald  who charged: this statement is typical of hundreds of natural approaches that are underemphasized by the ACS. Their stance in this area has been and always will be, “more studies are needed,” “there is weak evidence” or “there is no evidence.” This is their outlook even when studies show a strong evidence-base, suggesting the natural approach has as good or even better anticancer potential as conventional treatment.

The truth the way I see it is simply this: the ACS will never promote nutritional products that are a part of the natural health care field. This organization is in bed with the pharmaceutical industry. They would be criticized severely and lose their positioning as a medical institution if they endorsed or strongly supported non-pharmaceutical chemotherapeutic agents.

Furthermore, most medical physicians have no real training in nutrition and blindly accept the anti-nutrition stance of the American Medical Association (AMA). The ACS is a sounding board for the AMA and other medical authorities, so their messages will always be consistent with one another.

The structure of medicine is severely crippled from compartmentalized medical education and is almost entirely pharmaceutically oriented; after all, pharmaceuticals are the only tools of the medical profession. The AMA and ACS would go bankrupt if they changed to a natural philosophy overnight, as they would lose pharmaceutical financial support.

Dr Wald is believed to be the most qualified clinical nutritionist in the United States and his word carries a lot of weight in medical circles. He is Director of Longevity Services at Integrated Nutrition of Mount Kisco, PLCC.  In practice for twenty-six years, Dr. Wald has developed personalized detoxification programs for people wishing to stay well and those with advanced disease and illness.

Dr. Wald is a sought after natural health expert having appeared on ABC World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer, FOX Five News, Fox National News, Channel 11, The Food Network, PBS Channel 13 and many other television and radio programs providing expert advice in the area of wellness and natural treatments for disease.

He is the author of over ten books including Frankenfoods ÔÇô Controversy, Lies & Your Health.The Dangers of Genetically Modified Organisms.  Dr. Wald is the author of the popular, Anti-Aging Encyclopedia of Laboratory Tests. As CEO of the technology company, Blood Logic, Dr. provides health care providers with medical software that aids in the interpretation of laboratory tests for their hidden medical and nutritional secrets.

Dr. Ray Sahelian, M.D., a nutrition expert and best-selling author on the other hand took a less combative position, saying there “are questions that still need to be answered through rigorous research [such as extensive human clinical trials]. However, some of the in vitro studies regarding mangosteen’s anti-cancer potential are intriguing and certainly worthwhile to further explore

Research shows healthful compounds found in mangosteen, a tropical fruit native to Southeast Asia, hold promise in the fight against breast cancer. A recent study discovers the fruit can cause the death of human breast cancer cells, and earlier investigations reveal it can stop the proliferation of malignant cells in a lab dish and even shrink the cancerous breast tumors of mice. Since the results are so positive, it makes you wonder why the allopathic medical community isn’t embracing this and other potential natural cancer cures.

With the rising incidence of cancer, interest in using dietary intervention to attack the disease or slow its development is growing. One food with the most potential is mangosteen, as it is believed to be the only dietary source of a class of polyphenols called xanthones, compounds that are believed to have powerful anticancer properties. It is these effects, as well as the apparent safety involved, that make the fruit a good candidate for scientific exploration.

The focus of research published in Molecular Cancer is the process of fatty acid synthesis (FAS), which is over expressed in human breast cancer cells and therefore, has become a target for the treatment of the disease. Scientists found one of the xanthones contained in mangosteen effectively curtailed this over-expression, a benefit that led to the death of malignant breast cells.

  • This current finding builds upon a review of mangosteen studies conducted a year ago that also showed the fruit could be valuable in fighting the disease. It notes a study in 2004 that found mangosteen pericarp extract hindered the proliferation of human breast cancer. Based on these observations, researchers began to test the anticancer properties of individual xanthones.
  • A 2006 study evaluated the effects of 19 different xanthones of mangosteen on breast cancer cells. They noted 13 out of the 19 xanthones decreased the viability of the cells, an effect that suppresses their ability to live and multiply.
  • In 2011, instead of examining the actions of mangosteen on cancer cells in a lab dish, scientists assessed its effect on mice with breast cancer. The animals treated with the fruit had a significantly higher survival rate and smaller tumor size along with a lower incidence of lymph node metastasis.

The review also cites other research that indicates mangosteen can fight against cancer through different biological pathways. “These studies, for the most part, are very encouraging regarding the potential of mangosteen for the treatment and prevention of breast cancer,” says Dr. Michael Wald, Director of Nutrition at Integrated Medicine of Mount Kisco in Westchester, New York.

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