The whole plant of Bitter melon, especially seeds and fruits, is widely used in folk medicine around the world in addition to cooking. It is considered to have antiviral, antibacterial and immunomodulatory effects, and is used to treat dysmenorrhea, Eczema, gout, jaundice, leprosy, hemorrhoids, pneumonia, psoriasis, rheumatism, scabies, and other diseases.
Do you know the benefits of bitter melon supplements? Are there any disadvantages (side effects)?
Table of Contents
- What is Bitter melon?
- Bitter melon has a high nutritional value
- What are the benefits of Bitter melon?
- Are there any side effects of Bitter melon?
- Safety precautions
- Where to buy the most recommended bitter melon extract capsules?
What is Bitter melon?
Bitter melon is an annual or perennial hermaphrodite climbing plant, 2-3 meters high, belonging to the Cucurbitaceae family, the fruit is oblongs, has various shapes and sizes, the young fruit is emerald green, and it is orange-yellow after maturity, with obvious Verrucous appearance.
Its genus name “Momordica” comes from Latin, which means “bite”, meaning that its leaves have jagged edges that look like they have been bitten, and the species name charantia” comes from the Greek word meaning ” beautiful flower”.
Bitter melon has a high nutritional value
Nutritional analysis shows that Bitter melon is rich in carbohydrates, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and the crude protein content (11.4 g to 20.9 g per kg) is also higher than tomatoes and cucumbers, which is the highest nutritional value of melons.
In addition, Bitter melon is also rich in plant antioxidants: anthocyanin, carotene, charantin, flavonoids, quercetin, luteolin, sitosterol, daucosterol, terpenoids, as well as cucurbitane triterpenes are known for their bitterness and antioxidant properties.
What are the benefits of Bitter melon?
1. Improve Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is characterized by hyperglycemia due to insulin resistance, decreased insulin production, and pancreatic cell failure.
In addition to being prone to traditional vascular complications, long-term hyperglycemia is more and more epidemiological evidence that may be related to various degenerative diseases, such as cognitive dysfunction, depression, dyskinesia, falls, urinary incontinence.
The prevalence of diabetes among adults (20-79 years old) is currently about 8.3% (382 million people), most of them are between 40 and 59 years old, and by 2035, this number is expected to exceed 592 million people.
A systematic literature review and meta-analysis (including 10 studies with a total of 1045 patients with type 2 diabetes) pointed out that oral Bitter melon preparations (including formulas such as immature fruits, seeds, or pulp, at a dose of about 2 to 6 grams, For 4 weeks) can improve fasting blood glucose (FPG), postprandial blood glucose (PPG), glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels.
The underlying mechanism may have an insulin-like effect with Bitter melon glycoside (charantin), Bitter melon peptide (polypeptide-p), vicine (glycoside) contained in Bitter melon, increase insulin secretion, increase tissue glucose uptake and liver muscle glycogen synthesized to reduce glucose absorption.
*Conclusion: For type 2 diabetes, the use of Bitter melon preparation may be helpful for blood sugar control but limited by the risk of high bias and insufficient sample size, more trials are still needed to confirm its effectiveness and safety
2. Improve osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most common degenerative joint disease, affecting more than 25% of people over 18 years of age.
Visible pathological changes include the gradual loss and destruction of articular cartilage, thickening of subchondral bone, osteophyte formation, synovial inflammation, ligament and knee meniscus degeneration, and joint capsule hypertrophy.
There are many risk factors for the development of osteoarthritis, including joint damage, obesity, genetics, gender, and joint shape and arrangement. However, the most significant risk factor is age.
A single-blind randomized controlled trial (a 3-month, 75 primary knee osteoarthritis patients) pointed out that compared with placebo, oral Bitter melon extract capsules can reduce weight, body mass index, fasting blood sugar, It can also improve the symptoms and quality of life of osteoarthritis (as measured by the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score and EQ-5D-3L Health questionnaire), and reduce the number of anti-inflammatory analgesics used.
*Conclusion: For patients with primary knee osteoarthritis, supplementing with Bitter melon preparation may reduce pain, improve symptoms and increase quality of life, but limited by the small sample size, more large-scale trials are still needed to corroborate.
3. Improve metabolic syndrome
The term metabolic syndrome originated in 1920 when Swedish doctor Kylin confirmed the relationship between high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and gout.
It is currently believed that the metabolic syndrome is a chronic low-grade inflammatory state caused by a complex interaction between genetic and environmental factors, so the term is not a diagnosis of the disease.
The main pathological manifestations of the metabolic syndrome are: insulin resistance, increased visceral fat, atherosclerosis, dyslipidemia, endothelial dysfunction, increased blood pressure, hypercoagulable state, and increased oxidative stress.
An open-label trial without controls (a period of 3 months for 42 adults) pointed out that oral Bitter melon extract capsules can reduce the incidence of metabolic syndrome and waist circumference, and at the end of the fourth month, this difference was still significant.
*Conclusion: The ingestion of Bitter melon preparation may have a positive effect on improving the metabolic syndrome, but it is limited by the small sample size and there is no control group. More large randomized controlled trials are still needed to corroborate.
4. Prevent and fight cancer
Cancer includes more than 100 different diseases, with different risk factors and epidemiological appearance. It is characterized by a relatively unlimited proliferation of cells, which can invade the boundaries of normal tissues and transfer to distant organs.
Among non-communicable diseases, cancer is the second leading cause of death after cardiovascular disease, more than AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined.
Globally, the number of cancer deaths is expected to increase from 7.1 million in 2002 to 11.5 million in 2030.
It has been found in the cell and animal experiments that the active ingredients of Bitter melon can fight cancer by regulating cell signals and pathways related to various cancers, cell cycle regulators, and apoptosis-related proteins.
Are there any side effects of Bitter melon?
For most healthy adults, Bitter melon is part of a healthy diet and is safe when taken in moderation.
1. Bitter melon can lower blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes or are taking medication to lower your blood sugar, ingesting Bitter melon may make your blood sugar too low. Please be careful or confirm with your doctor before use.
2. Do not use it for pregnant women and lactating women, because some chemicals in Bitter melon seeds have been found in animal experiments that may cause embryonic development inhibition and lead to animal abortion.
3. In animal experiments, it was found that high-dose Bitter melon seed extract (800 mg dry matter/kg) may have an adverse effect on the level of vas deferens, epididymis, and testosterone, and cause the reproductive capacity of male animals to be impaired.
4. Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase Deficiency (Glucose-6-Phosphate Dehydrogenase deficiency, G6PDD, commonly known as broad bean disease) patients do not use, may cause broad bean symptoms (symptoms such as anemia, headache, fever, stomach pain, and coma), This is caused by Bitter melon seeds containing glycosides (vicine) ingredients.
Where to buy the most recommended Bitter melon extract capsules?
In recent years, food safety problems in various countries have exploded, and it is not healthy but black-hearted products that everyone spends on. Therefore, European and American products with relatively strict quality control have become popular products.
And iHerb.com is a large-scale medical cosmetics e-commerce company in the United States. It has a high satisfaction rate of 97% in the evaluation of Google customers. It provides global home delivery so that you can buy it without risking buying fakes through purchasing high-quality health products.