Irvingia, an extract of the West African mango, has been used for a variety of medicinal purposes in Africa for many centuries. Recently, there have been a few studies on the use of this extract for weight loss. As an obese nation, we are chronically on the search for that magic pill which allows us to eat whatever we want while losing weight at the same time.
In the two randomized trials in overweight and obese humans using Irvingia, participants in the Irvingia group lost on average 5-10 pounds/month compared to the placebo group. Neither group made any lifestyle changes during the trial. They also noted that cholesterol levels and blood sugar levels improved significantly compared to the control group.
Sounds like a magic bullet to me! I tried it myself, and low and behold, in the first month of taking it (only once per day, mind you, instead of the recommended twice daily), I lost 7 pounds without making any changes in my usual healthy diet and exercise routine! I began recommending it to my patients who needed to lose weight, especially if they had high cholesterol and/or diabetes. The results have been slightly underwhelming. A few patients lost a few pounds, but it has not been the magic bullet I had hoped for. And with continued use, I have not lost any more weight.
That being said, it may be helpful for those needing to lose 5-10 pounds, and studies have shown no undesirable side effects. More independent studies likely need to be done by independent researchers (the two studies mentioned were performed by researchers with a vested interest in the company making the product). Keep your eyes and ears open for more information in the future!