The bitter melon contains active ingredients that lower blood sugar. This is the result of a study by researchers at the Justus Liebig University (JLU) in Giessen (Germany).
Active ingredients from the bitter melon lower the blood sugar level
The bitter melon contains active ingredients that lower blood sugar. This was shown in a study by JLU researchers. An extract of this plant had an effect on the fasting blood sugar of people in the early stages of diabetes type 2 – so-called prediabetics.
The study included 52 volunteers who were in the early stages of diabetes and did not yet require drug therapy. Participants were assigned to different groups in a randomized, double-blind trial. The bitter melon group consumed 1 oz bitter melon extract in powder form daily for 8 weeks. The other group received a cucumber extract.
Effect may be more severe in diabetics than in prediabetics
The bitter melon is a common vegetable in the tropics. It belongs to the pumpkin family. It has long been used as a medicinal plant against diabetes. The current study showed that not all participants reacted to the extract. But if they did, the effect on fasted blood sugar increased the higher the initial value.
The scientists involved in the study concluded that the effect on diabetics was even higher than the observed in prediabetics.
Co-operative research in Giessen (Germany), Taiwan and Tanzania
Since the dietary approach is particularly important for people who do not have safe access to adequate drug treatment, the study was conducted in the city of Moshi in Tanzania at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center.
It was based on cooperative-research in Giessen (Germany), Taiwan and Tanzania, in which the blood sugar lowering effect of the bitter melon (Momordica charantia)
Several components of the bitter melon lower blood sugar
The test material from bitter melon and cucumber for comparison was produced in the World Vegetable Center in Taiwan, where preliminary studies had also been carried out in cooperation with the International Nutrition Working Group of the Giessen Institute of Nutritional Science. These studies showed that not a single active ingredient but several components are responsible for the blood sugar lowering effect of the bitter melon.
In recent decades, chronic, non-infectious diseases such as type 2 diabetes have spread rapidly worldwide because dietary habits have changed. This presents enormous challenges not only to individuals and their families but also to health care in less wealthy countries. This demonstrates the importance of prevention and treatment through a diet that prevents diabetes and its consequences. The study was published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology.
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