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Bitter melon or commonly known as bitter gourd is a sour, green fruit. It is commonly consume in Asia and used around the world for its many medicinal properties.

Benefits of bitter melon include lowering diabetes symptoms, increasing immunity, treating skin problems, fighting free radical damage and inflammation, improving digestion and helping to prevent cancer.

Bitter melon can be eaten raw, cooked or extract and tablet form. Between 1,000 to 2,000 milligrams of bitter melon extract daily, or split into 2–3 dosage, is usually recommended for treating most conditions.

Bitter melon should be avoided by those taking diabetic medications, pregnant women and people recovering from surgery.

bitter melon benefits
bitter melon benefits / pixabay

Bitter Melon for Cancer

Researchers reported that components in bitter melon, which include a triterpenoid called charantin, activate an enzyme called AMPK, which interferes with the cancer cells metabolism of glucose and depriving them of the sugar they need to survive.

In a cell study, bitter melon reduced the viability of all 4 pancreatic cell lines tested, 2 of them by 98% and the other 2 by 90%. Bitter melon not only causes apoptosis, or cell death in cancer cells along several pathways, but can also stop the re-growth and spread of cancer cells.

Bitter gourd also targets other types of cancer. Also, it has shown activity against cancers of the colon, prostate, stomach, liver and naso-pharynx, as well as against leukemia.

Also, scientists at Saint Louis University Cancer Center found that bitter melon fights breast cancer cells as well.

Bitter Melon for Diabetes

Bitter gourd or bitter melon contains many compounds, but there are 3 main active compounds that make it such an effective natural medicine for diabetes. These compounds, Vicine, Polypeptide-p and Charatina, imitates the human insulin and help the cells to take up sugar molecules, stimulate the liver, the muscle glycogen synthesis (packing several glucose molecules together), increase insulin secretion and decrease glucose absorption in the body. Another molecule, known as momordin, also helps regulate fatty acid (which are broken down fat molecules) storage and glucose metabolism.

Studies:

There are 2 evidence that bitter melon could potentially be useful in the treatment of diabetes. These 2 lines of evidence are that bitter melon can help in lowering blood triglyceride levels and in lowering blood sugar levels. These studies indicated that this can happen in animal studies, cells and in some human studies.

A recent paper compared the effect of metformin and bitter melon in newly diagnosed T2D patients and reported that bitter melon (at either 500, 1000 or 2000 mg per day), was effective at lowering blood sugar levels. But metformin at 1000 mg/day, was slightly more effective than any of the doses of bitter melon.

In this study, the bitter melon seeds were removed and the pulp was standardized and dried to contain 0.04-0.05% charantin in 500 mg of the dried powder.

Another study showed that bitter melon may lower A1c percentages, although the way the study was made makes it difficult to determine if these decreases were significant.

Bitter Gourd Juice For Diabetes

Ingredients:

2-3 Fresh bitter gourds
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ lime
Pinch of pink Himalayan salt

Directions:
1. Wash the bitter gourd. You can remove the peel if you want.
2. Slit the bitter gourds vertically. Remove the rind and the seeds.
3. Chop them into smaller pieces.
4. Soak in a bowl of water for 10 minutes.
5. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the water.
6. Take out the bitter gourd pieces.
7. Toss them into a juicer and give it a good spin.
8. Pour the juice into a glass.
9. Add turmeric, pink Himalayan salt and lime juice.
10. Stir well before drinking.

Note:
You may pass the juice through a sieve or strainer or sieve, if you have a sensitive stomach and cannot process high-fiber foods.

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