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Mangosteen: a powerful natural anti-oestrogen

Extracts of the mangosteen plant [Latin name Garcinia mangostana] contain compounds that have a powerful anti-oestrogenic effect. According to tests done by chemists at the University of Illinois at Chicago, they are the most powerful anti-oestrogens so far discovered. That makes supplements containing mangosteen interesting for natural athletes.

Mangosteen: a powerful natural anti-oestrogen

Mangosteen: a powerful natural anti-oestrogen
The average reader of this web magazine will know why anti-oestrogens are of interest to athletes: anti-oestrogens help men to make more testosterone. And anti-oestrogens make the body harder and drier. The researchers were studying mangosteen for a different reason, however. They were looking for foods that reduce the risk of estradiol-related cancer in women.

The researchers identified twelve interesting compounds in mangosteen: xanthones. They then mixed these with hormone-sensitive breast cancer cells in test tubes. The researchers determined the anti-oestrogenic effect of the individual compounds. The most interesting compounds that they found were garcinone D [3] and gamma-mangostin
Mangosteen: a powerful natural anti-oestrogen
[9]. The structural formulas are shown here. But the researchers also determined the anti-oestrogenic effect of extracts of the whole mangosteen fruit.

In the test tubes the researchers looked at how methanol and chloroform extracts of mangosteen reacted with aromatase, and they did the same with separate mangosteen xanthones. Aromatase is the enzyme that converts testosterone into estradiol. The researchers discovered that the anti-oestrogenic effect of mangosteen approaches that of letrozole. In fact, gamma-mangostin even has a greater anti-oestrogen effect than letrozole.

Mangosteen: a powerful natural anti-oestrogen

The figure above is based on tests with SK-BR-3 cells. These produce aromatase themselves. The concentration of extracts tested was 20 micrograms per litre; the concentration of xanthones was 50 micrograms per litre, and the concentration of letrozole was 10 nanomoles.

"Because of their relatively high yield of xanthones such as gamma-mangostin (9) in the pericarp of Garcinia mangostana, mangosteen botanical dietary supplements may be acting as aromatase inhibitors and might thus have a potential role in cancer chemoprevention for postmenopausal women with hormone-dependent breast cancer", the researchers conclude.

Itís not the first time that researchers have discovered the anti-oestrogen effects of food components. Other foods that have an anti-oestrogenic effect include kelp, Ginkgo biloba, Damiana, vitamin K, fish oil, green tea, grapeseed extract, soya protein and GLA.

J Nat Prod. 2008 Jul;71(7):1161-6.

Grape Seed Extract inhibits aromatase 05.08.2009
Test tube study: fish oil is anti-estrogenic 13.05.2009
Kelp has anti-estrogenic effect 09.10.2008