Bitter Melon Supplement Review

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Bitter Melon
  Evaluated for:
Effectiveness Rating Effectiveness Rating
Type II Diabetes
-2 (Ineffective/Toxic)
Anti-viral Activity
-2 (Ineffective/Toxic)
Anti-cancer Cell Activity
-2 (Ineffective/Toxic)

PRO

  • Bitter melon has been used traditionally as a remedy for lowering blood sugars in diabetics.
  • Sometimes called "vegetable insulin," extracts and powdered formulations of the fruit are most frequently used, although traditional practitioners sometimes recommend teas made from the stems and leaves of the plant.
  • Bitter melon, taken orally, may lower blood sugars. Like with all other agents for treating diabetes, its use would require close medical supervision and strict monitoring of blood sugars.
  • Bitter melon is thought to have antiviral and possibly antineoplastic (anti-cancer) properties. It has been mentioned in the treatment of psoriasis, infertility, gastrointestinal cramps, infections, and cancer, and for inducing abortion. Again, there is no reliable human evidence for these claims.

CON

  • There is no real evidence to support the claimed benefits or use of bitter melon.
  • The same property that provides its alleged benefit, namely its theoretical ability to lower blood sugars, might pose a significant risk under other circumstances, particularly if bitter melon were taken at the same time as other similar agents or without close monitoring of blood sugars.
  • Bitter melon may cause spontaneous abortion.
  • The active components of bitter melon are unclear, and dosing standards cannot be determined.
  • The FDA does not consider bitter melon safe.
  • Bitter melon can cause headaches and GI effects.

* *ADVISORY* *
In animal studies, bitter melon has been noted to lower serum insulin and glucose levels, decrease fertility, induce abortions, and decrease sperm production. Can cause uterine contractions and possibly abortion. It should not, therefore, be taken by any woman who is pregnant, may be pregnant, or is hoping to become pregnant. Based on two reports of hypoglycemic coma in children who drank bitter melon tea, it should be avoided in children. Caution if hypoglycemic. Seeds and rind are toxic. Do not use if you have a melon allergy.

CONCLUSION:We do not recommend the use of bitter melon. There is insufficient evidence to support its use for lowering blood sugars, and there is concerning information about its use in the general population. Bitter melon is not a safe choice, especially in light of the many other proven and useful things people can do to treat diabetes.

REFERENCES
“Bitter Melon.” Natural Standard –The Authority on Integrative Medicine. Natural Standard, 2013.
“Bitter Melon.” Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Therapeutic Research Faculty, 2013. 8 November 2013.


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