Bitter Melon extract supplement for blood sugar control, diabetes treatment
 

April 12 2014 by Ray Sahelian, M.D benefits and side effects, capsules

Bitter melon is a plant eaten and used medicinally in much of Asia. Also known as balsam pear or bitter gourd, it is traditionally used for the treatment of diabetes in Asia, Africa, and South America. This medicinal plant is used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine for various conditions, including blood sugar control. In the Philippines, bitter melon is known as Ampalaya, and widely used and advertised for its blood sugar lowering benefits. The botanical name is Momordica charantia. Recently in vitro studies has indicated that an extract from this plant is effective against breast cancer cells. This plant gets its name because it's among the most bitter of all vegetables, although it's also called African cucumber, balsam pear and bitter gourd. It is widely grown and used in India, Southeast Asia, China, Africa, and the Caribbean. It resembles a shriveled cucumber or gourd and the texture of the vegetable is described as being similar to both a cucumber and bell pepper.
   I have formulated a highly effective appetite suppressant with bitter melon called Diet Rx. By taking these capsules, you are likely to consume less food. By eating less, your blood sugar is less likely to rise as high and therefore you will have better blood sugar management.

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Dietary Supplement
Bitter Melon has been used for centuries for its broad health benefits.

 

 

 

 

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Biter melon benefits
It's high in fiber and vitamin C. It also contains the B vitamins, riboflavin, thiamine, niacin and B6, as well as magnesium, potassium and zinc. Recent studies indicate that bitter melon, in addition to lowering blood sugar, can also lower plasma lipids and VLDL in diabetic animal models as well as animals fed a high-fat diet, suggesting an effect on lipoprotein metabolism. It may also have some anti viral activity and anti-cancer potential.
Cinnamon herb, gymnema sylvestre leaves (Gumar), Nopal (prickly pear cactus), American ginseng herb and fenugreek, are additional herbs to consider.

Breast cancer prevention or treatment
Bitter Melon Extract Inhibits Breast Cancer Cell Proliferation by Modulating Cell Cycle Regulatory Genes and Promotes Apoptosis.
Cancer Res. 2010.
We have used human breast cancer cells, MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231, and primary human mammary epithelial cells as an in vitro model to assess the efficacy of bitter melon extract as an anticancer agent. Momordica charantia extract treatment of breast cancer cells resulted in a significant decrease in cell proliferation and induced apoptotic cell death. Our results show that Momordica charantia extract modulates signal transduction pathways for inhibition of breast cancer cell growth and can be used as a dietary supplement for prevention of breast cancer.
   Lead researcher Ratna Ray, Ph.D., a professor in the department of pathology at Saint Louis University, uses bitter melon in her stir fries but was surprised to find the vegetable’s extract also appears to “kill” breast cancer cells and prevent them from multiplying.

Diabetes and blood sugar
The benefit of this supplement is not consistent in everyone who uses it, some people do not notice a reduction in blood sugar levels.

Antidiabetic Activities of Triterpenoids Isolated from Bitter Melon Associated with Activation of the AMPK Pathway.
Chemistry and Biology. 2008. State Key Laboratory of Drug Research, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China.
Four cucurbitane glycosides, momordicosides Q, R, S, and T, and karaviloside XI, were isolated from the vegetable bitter melon. These compounds and their aglycones exhibited a number of biologic effects beneficial to diabetes and obesity. In both L6 myotubes and 3T3-L1 adipocytes, they stimulated GLUT4 translocation to the cell membrane-an essential step for inducible glucose entry into cells. This was associated with increased activity of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a key pathway mediating glucose uptake and fatty acid oxidation. Furthermore, momordicosides enhanced fatty acid oxidation and glucose disposal during glucose tolerance tests in both insulin-sensitive and insulin-resistant mice. Cucurbitane triterpenoids, the characteristic constituents of bitter melon, may provide leads as a class of therapeutics for diabetes and obesity.

Effect of Momordica charantia on lipid profile and oral glucose tolerance in diabetic rats.
Phytother Res. 2004. Department of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of Botswana, Gaborone, Private Bag 0022, Botswana
In this study, the methanol extract of bitter melon fruit extract was administered to diabetic rats to assess the long term effect of the extract on the lipid profile and the oral glucose tolerance test. Treatment for 30 days showed a significant decrease in triglyceride, low density lipoprotein and a significant increase in high density lipoprotein level. A significant effect on oral glucose tolerance was also noted.

Herpes virus
Ethnomedicinal uses of Momordicacharantia in Togo and relation to its phytochemistry and biological activity.
J Ethnopharmacol. 2005. Biology Department, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ont., Canada
Lyophilized bitter melon extracts prepared from accessions collected in Togo showed high antiviral activity against Sindbis and Herpes simplex type 1 viruses.

HIV and AIDS
Is bitter melon a cure for HIV? I take the following prescriptions for HIV: Kaletra and Didanose.

    We have not seen any human research regarding the use of bitter melon supplements as a treatment for HIV.

Lipids, triglycerides, cholesterol
Momordica charantia reduces plasma apolipoprotein B-100 and increases hepatic insulin receptor substrate and phosphoinositide-3 kinase interactions.
Br J Nutr. 2008; Nerurkar PV, Lee YK, Motosue M, Adeli K. Laboratory of Metabolic Disorders and Alternative Medicine, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI, USA.
Bitter melon juice is a potent inhibitor of apoB secretion and TAG synthesis and secretion in human hepatoma cells, HepG2, that may be involved in plasma lipid- and VLDL-lowering effects observed in animal studies. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of bitter melon juice on plasma apoB levels and hepatic insulin signalling cascade in mice fed high-fat diet (HFD). Female C57BL/6 mice (4-6 weeks old) were randomized into three groups receiving regular rodent chow, HFD and HFD+BMJ. The data indicate that bitter melon juice not only improves glucose and insulin tolerance but also lowers plasma apoB-100 and apoB-48 in HFD-fed mice as well as modulates the phosphorylation status of IR and its downstream signalling molecules. Investigating the biochemical and molecular mechanisms involved in amelioration of diabetic dyslipidaemia by bitter melon juice may lead to identification of new molecular targets for dietary / alternative therapies.

The effects of bitter melon extracts on serum and liver lipid parameters in hamsters fed cholesterol-free and cholesterol-enriched diets.
J Nutr Sci Vitaminol. 2004.
The hypolipidemic effect of dietary methanol fraction extracted from bitter melon (Koimidori variety), at the levels of 0.5% and 1.0%, was examined in male golden Syrian hamsters fed diets supplemented with and without cholesterol. The feeding of bitter melon at 0.5% and 1.0% levels in the diets for 4 wk tended to reduce food intake and growth, although there was no difference in food efficiency (weight gain / food intake). An effect of dietary bitter melon on serum triglyceride was not seen in hamsters fed diets free of cholesterol, while hypertriglyceridemia induced by dietary cholesterol was significantly lowered in a dose-dependent manner in those fed diets containing the bitter melon Serum total cholesterol concentration also tended to decrease in a dose-dependent manner following feeding of increasing amounts of bitter melon in the presence and absence of cholesterol in the diet. Our results suggest that the bitter melon contains some components that could ameliorate lipid disorders such as hyperlipidemia.

MAP content (Momordinica Anti-HIV Protein, MW 30kD)
Are bitter melon capsules standardized for MAP 30 content? If yes, what is MAP concentration per capsule or dose of the Himalaya Herbal bitter melon supplement product?
    The Himalaya Herbal bitter melon product is not standardized to a MAP extract. There is, as of yet, no human research with bitter melon extract supplements for any length of time. Therefore standardization to any particular compound or substance does not seem to make any practical sense if there are no human studies to indicate one extract is better than another extract for standardization purposes, or better than the whole bitter melon herb.

Weight loss research studies
Reduced Adiposity in Bitter Melon Fed Rats Is Associated with Increased Lipid Oxidative Enzyme Activities and Uncoupling Protein Expression1
American Society for Nutrition J. Nutr.2005
Our results suggest that decreased adiposity in bitter melon -supplemented rats may result from lower metabolic efficiency, a consequence of increased lipid oxidation and mitochondrial uncoupling.

Mechanism of action, how does it work
Bitter melon is known in South-East Asia as pare. There are several dozen active substances in bitter melon fruit. Compounds in this plant activate the enzyme AMPK, a protein that regulates the body's metabolism and affects glucose uptake. One of the compounds increases fatty acid oxidation and glucose disposal in the body.
   Dr. Mon-Jia Tan of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai isolated several compounds from bitter melon known as cucurbitane triterpenoids, and tested their effects on glucose (sugar) and fat metabolism in cells and in mice. When tested in muscle and fat cells the compounds stimulated the glucose receptor GLUT4 to move from the cell interior to the cell surface, thus promoting more effective glucose metabolism. Several of the tested compounds had effects comparable to those of insulin. Tests in mice of two of the compounds found that they promoted both glucose tolerance and fat burning, and one was particularly effective in promoting glucose tolerance in animals consuming high fat diets. Chemistry and Biology, March 2008.

Availability by herbal suppliers
Bitter melon extract is sold in a number of concentrations and extract potencies including a 10 to 1 extract concentration.