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Q
Is Mangosteen a Magic Route to Health and Wealth?

Have you heard about the popular dietary supplement juice called XanGo? I have been trying it now for a few weeks, and after reading the material about this wonder drink, I think it sounds like magic! I am considering becoming a distributor but was curious to hear your comments about this! Please advise.

A
Answer (Published 5/20/2004)

XanGo is not magic. It is a drink made from the juice of mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana), a tropical fruit prized for its delicate taste, combined with various other fruit juices. The mangosteen sometimes is called the "queen of fruits" and has been described as the most delicious fruit in the world. Mangosteen trees are native to Malaysia but grow elsewhere in the tropics, mostly in India, Thailand, Vietnam and other parts of Southeast Asia. The fruit must ripen on the tree and doesn't keep very well. Be aware that mangosteen does not have a reputation as a health food, just as a great-tasting fruit.

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Mangosteens contain a class of antioxidants called xanthones, and these are what the manufacturers of XanGo are heavily promoting in their campaign to establish their product as a "miracle" health drink. The manufacturer claims it will boost immunity, "support microbiological balance," promote joint flexibility, and enhance mental health. I'm not sure what these vague claims mean, and I would dismiss the various testimonials on the company's Web site as unsupported marketing gimmicks.

XanGo is priced at $32.50 for a 25-ounce bottle, a hefty price for fruit juice, even if the recommended "dose" is only one to three ounces daily.

In addition to my doubts about the health claims for this drink, I am prejudiced against the multi-level marketing through which XanGo is sold - you can buy it only through distributors who make money not only through their own sales but those of the people they recruit. My advice? Save your money and squeeze your own juice from less exotic fruits. If you are lucky enough to travel to southeast Asia when mangosteens are in season, go for them.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

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