Monday, 2 December 2013

Mangosteen Pericarp vs. Whole Fruit- Which One Has More Beneficial Properties?


The nutritional value and health benefits derived from mangosteen continue to gain popularity. Before you pick up any mangosteen product from the store, know which preparation can benefit you the most. With more studies being done to know the efficacy of the fruit, newer information are available as to how we can get the most out of it.

You can consume a kilo of mangosteen, enjoy its sweet, delicious fleshy pulp, and yet miss out on the biggest source of its healing properties by throwing away the pericarp. It will not be a delight to eat because the pericarp is the rind or peel of the fruit with bitter taste. The nutrients from the pericarp, however, have been shown to be well-absorbed by the body.

Parts of the Mangosteen

  • Pericarp- is the rind or peel which is green when unripe and purple when ripe. It measures around half-centimeter in thickness.
  • Pulp- is the soft, white fleshy part that feels like something that melts in the mouth. The taste is a delicate sweet and sour blend. The acidity of the fruit is due to malic acid.
  • Seeds- are usually one or two, within the pulp.

The Wonders within the Pericarp

The powerful anti-oxidants in mangosteen called xanthones, are richly concentrated within its pericarp. Xanthones are a unique class of phytonutrients found in the mangosteen fruit that has only been recently discovered to bring about good health.

More than 40 xanthones are identified within the pericarp. The presence of highly bioactive substances in mangosteen accounts for its medicinal uses.

The two well-studied Xanthones found in mangosteen are named alpha mangostin and gamma mangostin. These Xanthones have been found to have a remarkable effect on cardiovascular health. They also have natural antibiotic, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties. Thus, are considered to be one the most powerful antioxidants found in nature.

Mangosteen was found to have potential for the prevention of cancer due to its strong anti-proliferation, anti-oxidant and induction of apoptosis (programmed cell death) properties. Recent research on breast cancer, showed that the higher the dose of mangosteen, the more potent it is in preventing the proliferation of the breast cancer cells.

A study on alpha mangostin, a xanthone derivative, reveals that it has effects against colonic cancer, suggesting that longer exposure to alpha mangostin may result in the suppression of tumor development.

Six xanthones from the mangosteen pericarp were likewise found to have inhibitory effects on the leukemia. Among them, alpha mangostin gave the most promising results.

Gamma mangostin, another form of xanthone, is a powerful anti-oxidant that has been found to protect the bad cholesterol (LDL) from oxidation by free radicals. This means that it lessens the risks for formation of plaques that could clog the arteries and lead to heart problems. In addition, gamma mangostin lowers bad cholesterol without liver-damaging effects, unlike most anti-cholesterol drugs.

Gamma-mangostin has also been proven to be an effective anti-inflammatory agent by directly inhibiting COX-2 enzyme that is responsible for inflammation and pain.

The pericarp also contains a significant number of nutrients, such as that of vitamins, catechins, polysaccharides, and stilbenes.

In powderized form, the pericarp has been used for ages as a treatment for dysentery. In ointment form, it is an effective cure for eczema and other skin disorders.

Preparations of Mangosteen Supplements

There are two preparations of mangosteen supplements, the solid form and the liquid form. The solid form utilizes the pericarp part of the fruit, which is grounded and encapsulated. The liquid form makes use of the pericarp, and the rest of the fruit.

Proponents of the liquid form claim that using the whole fruit maximizes the health benefits from mangosteen, as xanthones are also found in the pulp, albeit in lower concentrations. Since the pericap is bitter to taste, other fruits are added, such as cranberry, grape, blackberry, blueberry, raspberry, and others.

The problem now lies in the processes involved in the manufacturing of both forms. Although the solid form only utilizes the pericarp, you are assured that the amazing medicinal properties are preserved with the less destructive manufacturing processes. While in the liquid form, the pasteurization and reconstitution procedures destroy the inherent bioactive substances in mangosteen. The whole fruit has to undergo irradiation, as required by law, to kill microorganisms and pests before they can be transported to other countries for processing. The effect of radiation on the food that you eat is something to think about. Furthermore, the addition of other ingredients to improve its taste, in fact, brings more risks than benefits.

Sodium benzoate is essential for the extension of the juice’s shelf life. It prevents the product from turning rancid after it is opened. Research shows that the addition of sodium benzoate to any liquid that has ascorbic acid or vitamin C, incites a chemical reaction, resulting the the production of hazardous levels of benzene within the product. Benzene is known to cause leukemia.

The processes involved in the manufacturing of the liquid form increase its cost, making it more expensive.

The pill form, on the other hand, does not need to use preservatives to prolong its shelf life. It contains 100% mangosteen, without putting you at risk for the hazards brought about by the preservatives.

More ingredients do not necessarily mean more nutritive value, especially if all the essential nutrients are only destroyed. That being said, the pericarp inclusion in the prepation of the solid form of mangosteen supplements should suffice.

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