People use bitter melon for diabetes, obesity, stomach and intestinal problems, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
How does it work ?
Uses & Effectiveness ?
Insufficient Evidence for
- Athletic performance. Early research shows that taking bitter melon extract might reduce fatigue in people taking part in intense physical training at high temperatures.
- Diabetes. Research is conflicting and inconclusive. Some research shows that taking bitter melon can reduce blood sugar levels and lower HbA1c (a measure of blood sugar control over time) in people with type 2 diabetes. But these studies have some flaws. And not all research agrees. Higher quality studies are needed.
- Prediabetes. Early research shows that bitter melon does not reduce blood sugar in people with prediabetes.
- Osteoarthritis. Early research shows that bitter melon decreases the amount of pain medicine needed by people with osteoarthritis. But it doesn't seem to improve symptoms.
- A grouping of symptoms that increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke (metabolic syndrome).
- A type of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis).
- Indigestion (dyspepsia).
- Infection of the intestines by parasites.
- Kidney stones.
- Liver disease.
- Scaly, itchy skin (psoriasis).
- Stomach ulcers.
- Wound healing.
- Other conditions.
When applied to the skin: There isn't enough reliable information to know if bitter melon is safe when applied to the skin. It might cause a rash.
Special Precautions and Warnings
Diabetes: Bitter melon can lower blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes and take medications to lower your blood sugar, adding bitter melon might make your blood sugar drop too low. Monitor your blood sugar carefully.
Glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency: People with G6PD deficiency might develop "favism" after eating bitter melon seeds. Favism is a condition named after the fava bean, which is thought to cause "tired blood" (anemia), headache, fever, stomach pain, and coma in certain people. A chemical found in bitter melon seeds is related to chemicals in fava beans. If you have G6PD deficiency, avoid bitter melon.
Surgery: There is a concern that bitter melon might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop using bitter melon at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs) interacts with BITTER MELON
Bitter melon can decrease blood sugar levels. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking bitter melon along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to be too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.
Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.
Be cautious with this combination
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Konishi T, Satsu H, Hatsugai Y, et al. Inhibitory effect of a bitter melon extract on the P-glycoprotein activity in intestinal Caco-2 cells. Br J Pharmacol. 2004;143(3):379-87. View abstract.
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Rahman IU, Khan RU, Rahman KU, Bashir M. Lower hypoglycemic but higher antiatherogenic effects of bitter melon than glibenclamide in type 2 diabetic patients. Nutr J. 2015;14:13. View abstract.
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Welihinda J, et al. Effect of Momordica charantia on the glucose tolerance in maturity onset diabetes. J Ethnopharmacol 1986;17:277-82. View abstract.
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