Bitter Melon and Type 2 Diabetes
Bitter Melon also known as Bitter Gourd, Karela and Momordica charantia has been used for hundreds of years by people from the Asian countries in the knowledge that it can be useful in lowering the sugar levels in the blood stream and therefore it has been used a lot to help people with type 2 diabetes.
The availability of Bitter Melon for use a natural means of treating or helping people with type 2 diabetes is in the form of a tea, (made from the fruits or the leaves) a juice, and also pills and powder extracts.
A number of clinical trials have been undertaken in recent years on laboratory animals and there is a very good good indication that administration of Bitter Gourd has positive effects on blood sugar levels, something people practicing Ayurvedic medicine have known for some time.
Insulin Resistance & Bitter Melon
In people with Type 2 diabetes, the liver, the muscle, as well as the fat tissues become generally unresponsive to insulin—they are defined as being “insulin resistant.” Trials with rats and mice that were either insulin resistant or had type 2 diabetes have shown that bitter gourd can help to either prevent or even reverse insulin resistance.
The anti-oxidative nature of Bitter Melon is also thought to play a role in reducing the impact of diabetic complications of the eye, nerves, feet, kidneys, etc.
It is thought that the reason Bitter melon consumption helps reduce blood sugar levels is because it contains a chemical that acts similarly to insulin itself.
Evidence from trial to date has been inconclusive due to various factors. Some suggest the fruit is efficient as a means of reducing blood sugar levels, whilst others remain inconclusive. It may be that it works for some people and not others. I personally haven’t taken Bitter Melon directly as fruit, or a tea, but I have taken some nutritional supplements that contain small amounts of it. I can’t say I noticed anything different after having taken it for a month or so, but then again the amounts in these supplements may have been too small to be impactive.
Bitter Gourd Side Effects
There are a few potential side effects that you need to consider or look into before taking Bitter Melon. (Best to consult your GP beforehand) These relate to pregnant women, and eating the seeds can have an adverse effect for sone people.
Regardless whether you refer to it as Momordica charantia, Bitter Melon, Karella, or Bitter Gourd, whatever you decide to call it, has found favor in Indian cultures for hundreds of years, so I believe that where there’s smoke, there’s got to be fire. Therefore if there is limited research to date to substantiate one way or another that this product works, then you’ll have to make up your own mind, or even potentially consult with an Ayurvedic Medical expert, or even a naturopath.
This is something I will probably try out myself one day. My understanding is it grows in hotter climates as a fruit, and it is described as being a strongly bitter tasting item. If you live in areas of the world where you cant get hold of the fresh (or frozen) fruits, then taking supplementation may be another option. Either way, ensure you buy from a reputable supplier that provides bio-effective products and is well within the use by dates.