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How Bitter Melon supplementation can help reduce obesity

by | Mar 28, 2018

In Asian cuisine, bitter gourd has been eaten in Indian, Chinese, Korean, South Asia and South East Asia for many generations. Hailed for its property to help lower blood sugar level, it also benefits cardiovascular health.

The fruit’s extract of bitter melon showed strong antioxidant and hypoglycemic activities in experimental condition both in vivo and in vitro. Recent scientific evaluation of this plant extracts also showed potential therapeutic benefit in diabetes and obesity-related metabolic dysfunction in experimental animals and clinical studies. These beneficial effects are mediated probably by inducing lipid and fat metabolizing gene expression and increasing the function of AMPK and PPARs, and so forth. This review will thus focus on the recent findings on the beneficial effect of Momordica charantia extracts on metabolic syndrome and discuss its potential mechanism of actions”.

The referenced article introduces the shrub as “cultivated mainly in Asia: Bangladesh, India, China, and Korea. The plant also grows in tropical areas of Amazon, East Africa, and the Caribbean. It belongs to family Cucurbitaceae and the scientific name is Momordica charantia. Generally, two varieties of the plant are found in Bangladesh, while the small size one is locally called “Ucche” and the large size one is locally known as “Korolla”. However, some other wild-type African species are also found in the country that include M. balsamina L., M. foetida Schum., and M. rostrata A. Zimm. Bitter melon fruits are taken as culinary vegetable in Bangladesh and in Indian subcontinent; it is also used as a traditional medicinal plant for the treatment of various diseases in Bangladesh as well as other developing countries like Brazil, China, Colombia, Cuba, Ghana, Haiti, India Mexico, Malaya, Nicaragua, Panama, and Peru. Perhaps the most common traditional use of the plant is to treat diabetes in different countries around the globe. It is also used for the treatment of various other pathological conditions such as dysmenorrhea, eczema, emmenagogue, galactagogue, gout, jaundice, kidney (stone), leprosy, leucorrhea, piles, pneumonia, psoriasis, rheumatism, and scabies. Momordica charantia are also documented to possess abortifacient, anthelmintic, contraceptive, antimalarial, and laxative properties.”

“Recent scientific exploration on this plant elucidated potential biological effect on both animal and clinical studies. Apart from its potential antibacterial and antiviral activities, bitter melon extracts are also effective against cancer and were found to be effective for the treatment of ulcer, malaria, pain and inflammation, psoriasis, dyslipidemia, and hypertension. Momordica charantia also contains biologically active chemical compounds such as glycosides, saponins, alkaloids, fixed oils, triterpenes, proteins, and steroids [38]. Several other biologically active chemical constituents have so far been isolated from different parts of the plant, including the leaves, fruit pulp, and seeds.”

Sidnee Chong, DACMc, L.Ac
Magic-maker, Wizard

Alam, M. A., Uddin, R., Subhan, N., Rahman, M. M., Jain, P., & Reza, H. M. (2015). Beneficial Role of Bitter Melon Supplementation in Obesity and Related Complications in Metabolic Syndrome. Journal of Lipids, 2015, 496169.

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