Is Noni or Mangosteen Juice Safe?

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Is Noni or Mangosteen Juice Safe?

There is now another case report of acute toxicity linked to noni juice ingestion, this time in a 14 year old. At least his liver didn’t fail completely like in two of the earlier cases. What do we expect from a product also known as “vomit fruit”? The multi-level marketing company that sells noni products blamed the aloe vera juice that the boy had also consumed, which is indeed something else I’d encourage folks not to drink. But what about all the scientific studies promoting these types of products bandied about on commercial websites?

Recently, a public health researcher published a review on the “Science in Liquid Dietary Supplement Promotion,” evidently a $23 billion dollar market. The review describes how “Central to the marketing of many such products is the citation of ’scientific studies’ supporting the product’s health claims. While these studies seem deliberately created for marketing purposes, their findings and quality are generally presented in a manner that appears designed to mislead potential consumers.”

The researcher uses the case of mangosteen juice—another product I’ve warned about in the past—as an “example of how widely marketed and consumed liquid dietary supplements use exaggeration and pseudoscience to bolster their web promotions of product effectiveness and safety.”

The multilevel marketing company that sells mangosteen cited a study they paid for to support its assertion that their product is “shown to be safe at all dosages tested” and indeed “safe for everyone.” The study, profiled in my video, Safety of Noni and Mangosteen Juice, involved exposing just 30 people to their product, with another ten given placebo. With so few people exposed, the stuff could kill 1 or 2% of people and you’d never even know.

For more on these two liquid supplements, check out my videos Is Noni Juice Good for You? and Is Mangosteen Juice Good for You?

Noni and mangosteen juice aren’t the only supplements “proven safe” by dubious research. A study of the multi-level marketing supplement Metabolife had 35 people on the stuff and they seemed to do just fine.  Later, though, it had to be withdrawn from the market after being linked to 18 heart attacks, 26 strokes, 43 seizures and five deaths. Oops.

Hydroxycut was studied on 40 people. No serious adverse effects in the study, but later the same thing: withdrawn after dozens of cases of organ damage including massive hepatic necrosis requiring liver transplants and death.

And often times, in the multilevel marketing study researchers don’t disclose their funding sources, pretending to be objective scientists, but a little detective work exposed a whole web of financial conflicts of interest, “at best reducing the face-validity of findings, and at worst [they] represent deception.”

Other beverages that might be good to avoid include alcohol (Breast Cancer and Alcohol: How Much Is Safe?), soft drinks (Is Sodium Benzoate Harmful?), yerba maté (Update on Yerba Maté), and kombucha (Is Kombucha Tea Good for You?).

I prefer water (Does a Drink of Water Make Children Smarter?), white tea (Antimutagenic Activity of Green Versus White Tea), and hibiscus tea (Better Than Green Tea?).

Other cautionary tales about supplements can be found in:

-Michael Greger, M.D.

PS: If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here and watch my full 2012 – 2015 presentations Uprooting the Leading Causes of Death, More than an Apple a Day, From Table to Able, and Food as Medicine.


Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.

10 responses to “Is Noni or Mangosteen Juice Safe?

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  1. I cringe every time I hear of someone else buying into the whole Shakeology and supplement scheme. Today on facebook I even saw someone who was giving it to their child who had a stomach flu, and who really knows what’s in it? What’s wrong with just eating regular, whole foods?

  2. Doctor, Can you please explain why you keep knocking natural health-oriented products as rabidly as you do, whereas you don’t come down on the toxic chemicals that the ‘theology’ of allopathic medicine promotes with a vigor, e.g., Rx drugs and vaccines with all their neurotoxic ingredients, which is nothing compared to the money spent by Big Pharma doing its own testing and writing of skewed tests results and papers to get their products approved; promoting, advertising, and buying federal agency and congressional support via lobbyists for their totally toxic products. How many class action lawsuits against Rxs have proven they are harmful to humans, only after being on the market for years harming people’s health but making jillions of dollars for Big Pharma?
    I wish allopathic medicine and its acolytes could be a little more upright about its tactics rather than slam alternatives, which help people, especially after allopathic modalities either have harmed or failed.

    1. Hi Catherine,

      You might enjoy listening to Dr. Greger’s talk found here:

      “You can take one drug to treat cholesterol every day for the rest of your life, another drug for blood sugars, a couple different pills for high blood pressure.

      The same diet, though, does it all! It’s not like one diet for this; a different diet for that. One diet to rule them all.

      And what about drug side-effects? I’m not talking a little rash or something. Prescription drugs kill… more than a hundred thousand Americans every year. And that’s not medication errors, not abuse, not overdose; that’s just deaths from side-effects, ADRs, adverse drug reactions to prescription drugs.

      Wait a second, 106,000 deaths a year? That means, that the six leading cause of death—is actually doctors!

      The sixth leading cause of death… is me!

      Thankfully, I can be prevented, with a plant based diet …

      Seriously, though. Seriously, compared to 15,000 American vegetarians, meateaters had about twice the odds of being on aspirin, sleeping pills, tranquilizers, antacids, pain-killers, blood pressure medications, laxatives and insulin. So plant-based diets are great for those that don’t like taking drugs, or paying for drugs, or risking adverse effects.”…

  3. Dr. Greger, I love how you add a bit of extra/updated information in the blogs in addition to putting all the older/existing video information into perspective. It makes it worth my while to read the blogs and I have a fun time trying to pick out which information is new. Thanks!

  4. Each time I encounter a doctor who is critical of a natural product, I think back to the Ma Huang [products that had been marketed in the 1980s and 90s. The Chinese herb had been used, literally, for thousands of years with no recorded health problems and countless benefits. As soon as the product became known, it turned into a multi-million dollar business overnight. In addition, the FDA and big pharma were getting none of this success. Suddenly, cases of death were mysteriously attributed to this herb and a suit was filed, first by the state of Texas, then, by the FDA if my memory is correct. The most successful Ma Huang marketing company was located in Texas. A real hysteria was created by media and the FDA. The herb contained Ephedra, a mild natural stimulant that was used for eons to melt fat and clear breathing passages, keeping people healthy. The FDA had been desiring control of nutrients for decades but this herb (as all herbs) was immune from FDA scrutiny. Somehow, the herb was banned from the market (I still insist, this was illegal). By the time the hysterical claims were proven to be false, Ma Huang had been made illegal. Two underlying results now trouble America greatly. First, the FDA has cracked the barrier between regulating vitamins, herbs, supplements and even nutrition that had been off limits for generations. Second and equally disturbing, the mild stimulant, ephedra was immediately synthesized by big pharma to use in over-the-counter products and prescription medication. Ever hear of pseudo-phed? [Pseudo Ephedra !!!] Now a more disturbing part: When synthetic ephedra (ephedrine) became a component of many pharmaceutical products, free-lance pharmacists (drug dealers) came to learn that the synthesized ephedrine can be extracted to make crystal meth. So, next time you hear of a meth lab bust, or you see the horrific results of crystal meth on humans, thank three entities: the FDA, the marketing savvy of big pharma and the gullible/trusting nature of Americans who believe anyone with a title or a white coat.

    1. yes mangosteen is safe to eat. I guess i can speak for myself, not all fruits agree everyone that eats it. I am from the caribbean and i am a heath care professional. I cannot speak for every developed nation but i can say this I have never seen a nation so hell bent on destroying the health of its citizens as the US is. I have seen strokes, heart attack, vascular disease, juvenile diabetes and the list goes on and on and i can assure you not all but most of the illnesses derive from the US food supply. Eating more fruit and vegetable all day everyday will have a positive effect on your health conversely doing the opposite will not. Mangosteen is a wonder tasting fruit.

      1. neilfards: re, “I have seen strokes, heart attack, vascular disease, juvenile diabetes
        and the list goes on and on and i can assure you not all but most of the
        illnesses derive from the US food supply.”

        I don’t think you will get an argument from anyone on this site. I would say that the videos on NutritionFacts generally support your observation.

        While I can’t speak to the specific mangosteen issue, I like hearing from doctors from different countries. Thanks for participating.

  5. Why do you encourage people to not drink aloe juice? Do you differentiate between inner leaf and outer leaf? The NIH research was done using the outer leaf components (where the anti-nutrients are) which would be like saying “don’t eat oranges” because the peel is bad for you. Maybe, Dr. Greger, you can expound on your recommendations?

    1. Aloe vera juice, is this actually harmful? I am told it has powerful effects but are they adverse effects? I can’t find anything else Dr Greger has written about aloe vera…

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