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Monday, March 05, 2007

Mangoes and Lactase? Don't Think So

Glurge is that nutty stuff that your so-called friends like to pass around to you via email. It may be sappy, or wild, or outrageous, or just plain wrong.

In that last category is an article, "Benefit of the Mango for the Human Health," by a Dr. Martin Hirte.

I've traced it back to this page, which is copyrighted 1997. It's been picked up a number of times over the years, including recently at

Why do I mention it? Because of this line:

The enzymes of the Mango, such as magneferin, katechol oxidase and lactase, clean the bowel of the "filth" within and are an ideal antidote for all toxic effects inside the body. They provide also sufficient resistance to fight any germs and afflictions.

Lactase? In mangoes? I guarantee that's not true.

Worse, when glurge gets bounced around the net for years, it starts to pick up errors. The Gambia Dairy Observer ran the story with this odd variation:
The enzyme list continues with mangneferin, katechol oxidise and lactose that not only protect the mango from insects, but help humans by stimulating metabolism and purifying the intestinal tract.

Give me a break.

Dr. Hirte is apparently a real doctor, with real credentials.
A well known and highly respected professional German health food researcher and pediatrician Dr. Martin Hirte became interested in PREDA dried mango when he first tasted the Filipino Carabao variety of this rare and exotic dried fruit near his home in Herrsching, Munich.

Google finds a number of German-language hits for him. However, I can't find any connection between mangoes and lactase that doesn't trace back to his original paper. Lactase has never been found in any other fruit or vegetable, and there's not the slightest reason to think that a mango would evolve the ability to manufacture lactase when there is not any conceivable use for it in the mango world. I can't find any research of Hirte's that would back up his claim.

It's baffling.

But not as odd as this other reference I found to lactase while searching the web:
IFT was invited to organise in early September of this year “A Taste of Macao” at the Shangri-La hotel in Manila, The Philippines.

A week long presentation of old Macanese favourites such as Caldo Verde, Octopus Salad, Lactase, Deep fried Bacalhau Balls, African Chicken and Mango Pudding had the Filipino public wanting more.

The world is stranger than you can think.

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