Mangosteen and Health: Cancer

Mangosteen may help stop or prevent cancer by killing diseased cells or inhibiting their growth.

Scientific studies have shown that Xanthones found in this amazing fruit are powerful healers of the body and have even greater antioxidant potency than vitamins C and E, two of the most powerful antioxidants known to science.

Xanthones, the natural chemical compounds in Mangosteen, can help detoxify the liver to give back its natural tumor-fighting capabilities. Xanthones were also found to be powerful anti-tumor agents.

Polysaccharides, Catechins and Quinones

There are also Polysaccharides in Mangosteen. Polysaccharides are potent anti-cancer compounds that help block a mutated cell's ability to stick to healthy cells to help stop the spread of the disease.

The fruit also contains Catechins, which were proven to have even greater antioxidant capacity than vitamin C, one of the most potent antioxidants found in food.

Catechins have been shown to prevent the formation of cancer-causing compounds by blocking co-carcinogens, raise the body's natural detoxification defenses, and directly suppress the growth of cancerous cells.

There are Quinones in this fruit. A study done on Quinones found in other plants proved that they significantly inhibited or stopped the growth of malignant cells from human colon cancer.

The Power of Xanthones

Our bodies produce antioxidants to try to balance the free radicals but often are too overwhelmed to repair the damage on their own. The Xanthones in Mangosteen can help.

Xanthones have an incredible ability to heal. They absorb the free radicals that damage healthy cells in the body.

In fact, scientists found that gamma-mangostin, a Xanthone from the this fruit, was more potent in its antioxidant activity than other well-known antioxidants.

No other fruit has as many Xanthones or antioxidants as the Mangosteen fruit.

Scientific Studies on Cancer and Mangosteen

The anti-cancer properties of the natural compounds found in Mangosteens have been researched and documented in many independent studies.

In 2002, a study was conducted in Japan in which scientists took six different extracts from the skin of the Mangosteen fruit and tested their effects on human leukemia cancer cells.

The study showed that all extracts were effective in slowing the growth of the leukemia cells, and one of the six extracts completely stopped their growth.

The study demonstrated that the pericarp or skin of the fruit contains a variety of Xanthones and other compounds that stop the proliferation of human leukemia cells.

The Gifu International Institute of Biotechnology also did a similar study and found similar results. Several studies also have duplicated these results.

Also in 2002, scientists at the National Research Institute of Chinese Medicine in Taiwan tested the Mangosteen Xanthone Garcinone E against human cancer cell lines for primary liver cancer, stomach cancer and lung cancer.

Garcinone E was also compared to several other anti-cancer chemotherapy drugs Flouraurcil, Cisplatin, Vincristine, Methotrexate, Mitoxantrone and Taxol®.

In this study, the Garcinone E was found to be more effective than all the cancer drugs tested except Taxol®.

Scientists at Mahin-don University in Bangkok demonstrated that a Mangosteen pericarp extract could kill human breast cancer cells in vitro.

Another scientific study indicated that the Mangosteen inhibited the rapid growth of breast cancer cells and practically caused them to self-destruct. The scientists also found that success with the Mangosteen depended on how much of the extract was used and how much exposure to the Mangosteen the cancer cells actually received.

This study indicated this fruit's huge potential for cancer chemo-prevention.

The Power of Antioxidants

The chemical reactions resulting from our body's own metabolism create free radicals that present risks to healthy cells in our body.

On the other hand, the human body has developed a sophisticated system that produces "home-made" antioxidants to protect itself from free radical damage caused by its own metabolism. Our immune and other systems produce these home-made antioxidants.

Our body, however, may be unable to produce enough antioxidants to neutralize the free radicals that constantly bombard the healthy cells in our body.

How, then, can we protect ourselves against the free radical attack?

We need antioxidants in large quantities.

Other potent antioxidants also exist in plants such as the Mangosteen.

After studying the antioxidant properties of the Mangosteen's Xanthones, researchers found that they exhibited potent free-radical scavenging activity.

A study done in Singapore compared the antioxidant properties of three fruits from Southeast Asia: Durian, Rambutan and Mangosteen.

The report noted that the extract from the Mangosteen displayed the greatest antioxidant activity. The study also showed that it's antioxidant capacity was as much as seven times that of Durian.

Scientists also demonstrated that two of the Xanthones, alpha-mangostin and gamma-mangostin, proved to be stronger antioxidants than others that are long known for their antioxidant capabilities.

What are Free Radicals?

Free radicals are unstable atoms or molecules with a missing electron. Their interaction with stable atoms leave otherwise healthy cells irreparably damaged because they "steal" electrons from these stable atoms. This interaction is called "oxidation".
What Do Antioxidants Do?

Antioxidants are atoms or molecules that can give or receive an extra electron. When a free radical bumps into an antioxidant, the antioxidant "donates" the extra electron it has to the free radical, making the free radical's electrons complete. The free radical, having been stabilized through this exchange, stops bumping into healthy cells.

Antioxidants, like the Xanthones found in the Mangosteen, prevent cancer genes from mutating and activating. It's also worth noting that the ability to provide these protective functions is not found in commonly prescribed medicines for this disease.

Mode of Action of Some Cancer Chemotherapy Drugs

There are some chemotherapy drugs that depend on the production of free radicals to destroy tumors which could theoretically be adversely affected by the antioxidants in the Mangosteen.

But as Dr. Frederic Templeman wrote in "A Doctor's Challenge: A Mangosteen Solution"(1), most chemotherapy agents do not work through this mechanism, and to generalize by including "all chemotherapy" drugs under this mode of action "is not justified".

Also, because the positive effects in chemotherapy patients using the Mangosteen are so beneficial, Dr. Templeman says that "to simply trust the oncologist's memory on the mode of action of any individual chemotherapy drug" that antioxidant therapy is contraindicated with the agent being used, "would be unwise".

Dr. Templeman, in "Mangosteen: The X-Factor, 3rd Edition"1, also wrote that an oncologist might advise against using the this fruit's extracts "even when the mode of action of the chemotherapy drug has nothing to do with the production of free radicals", simply because they "don't know in most cases what the mode of action is without looking it up themselves".

It would be wise to ask the pharmacist to look up the drug's mode of action, or to look it up in the Physician's Desk Reference on the Internet, before ignoring the cancer-fighting properties of this amazing fruit.

Supplementation with Mangosteen

Mangosteen should not be substituted for conventional cancer treatment unless a physician says that nothing more can be done. But Mangosteen should work well with most treatments and will provide benefits in combination with other therapies.

The question to ask is: Why wouldn't we use the this fruit for these amazing benefits, especially when there's substantial evidence that supplementation reduces the risk of this disease?

We cannot get all the antioxidant protection our bodies require from the food we eat. Supplementation is needed to protect ourselves against cancer.

Can we not combine Mangosteen with conventional cancer therapies, or use some sort of natural treatment when conventional thearapy is found to be ineffective?

Many studies have shown that people who supplement have lower rates of cancer. This fact is very significant especially in the U.S., where more than 20% of deaths are due to this disease.

See also:

Mangosteen and Health: Diabetes
Mangosteen helps people with diabetes in a number of ways --- from slowing down and stopping insulin resistance to improving blood sugar control. More in this article.

(1) "Mangosteen: The X-Factor", and "A Doctor's Challenge: A Mangosteen Solution", by J. Frederic Templeman, M.D., available at