The Health Benefits of Bitter Melon
Bitter Melon’s Effect on Diabetes May Be Overstated
Bitter melon, also known as bitter gourd or Momordica Charania, is a tropical fruit-like gourd that offers a variety of benefits. Bitter watermelon can be consumed in the form of food, such as bitter gourd juice or tea.
Bitter melon contains such compounds that help in the treatment of conditions like diabetes. Bitter watermelon extracts are also widely available in dietary supplements.
Health Benefits of Bitter Melon:-
Bitter melon is said to help, treat or prevent the following health problems:
- Menstrual complaint
- ulcerative colitis
Some believe that bitter melons can also fight cancer and can promote weight loss. There is not enough scientific evidence to support all these uses. Take a look at some research available on bitter melon and its potential benefits:
Initial research shows that the compounds found in bitter melon may have similar effects of insulin, which hormones responsible for allowing blood sugar to enter your cells. Because this insulin-like activity helps prevent insulin resistance and prevents sugar from growing in your blood, it is believed that bitter melon may help diabetics.
Although initial research shows that bitter melon has hypoglycemic effects, there is a shortage of clinical trials that currently support these findings.
For a report published in the 2012 Cocaine Database of Systematic Reviews, the researchers tested the potential benefits of bitter melon in the treatment of type-2 diabetes with four previously published diabetes tests (with a total of 479 participants).
Given that the reviewed studies were of little quality, the authors who wrote report found that bitter melons failed to make a significant impact on blood sugar control compared to diabetes mellitus (glibenclamide and metformin) or a placebo.
In an animal-based study published in Nutrition Research in 2013, scientists found that animals kept on a diet rich in bitter melon extracts experienced a significant reduction in cholesterol levels.
An early animal study published in 2008 in Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice found that bitter melon helped reduce intestinal fat production and fed a high-fat diet. Attributed by excess fat around the stomach and abdomen, intestinal fatness is associated with increased risk of conditions such as heart disease, diabetes etc..
Possible Side Effects:-
- Bitter melons are probably safe for most people when they are eaten by mouth for up to three months. But it can trigger side effects such as headache, stomach upset, stomach ache, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
- There is not enough evidence to determine whether the bitter melon is safe when applied to the skin.
- There is not enough evidence to know whether the bitter melon is safe for long-term use or not.
- A single case report states that bitter melon may induce paroxysmal atrial fibrillation.
- Since the bitter melon can reduce your blood glucose, using bitter melon in combination with a drug that reduces blood sugar can reduce your blood glucose to a dangerously low level. If you take any kind of medication which reduces blood sugar, consult your doctor before taking bitter supplements.
- In a 2014 study on rats, the high dose of bitter watermelon fruit extracts (up to 4000 mg/kg body weight) had toxic effects on the kidney. (the Previous study shows that bitter melon is safe in humans at 20 mg/kg body weight supplements.)
- Pregnant women should not use bitter watermelon.
Dosage and preparation
There is not enough evidence to set a suitable dose or dose limit for bitter melon. The appropriate dose for you may be varied and depend on factors including your age, gender, and medical history.
Medical Advisor or Health experts advise consumers that supplements labeled as natural are not always safe or effective. It is important to check with your healthcare provider to set a suitable dose for you.
More to Know:-
Many Asian grocery stores sell bitter melons in the form of whole food. In addition, bitter dietary supplements can be found in stores specializing in online and natural-food shops, pharmaceutical shops, and herbal products.
While any dietary supplement should not be used as an alternative to diabetes standard care, there is some evidence that some natural remedies can help regulate your blood glucose and diabetes management. These remedies include herbs like cinnamon, ginger, and turmeric.
In addition, some research indicates that regular drinking tea and maintaining the optimum level of vitamin D can be beneficial to prevent diabetes.