Bittermelon Reduces Heart Risk in Diabetics
PESHAWAR, Pakistan – A study out of Pakistan shows bitter melon reduces the risk of cardiovascular problems in diabetics more effectively than glibenclamide.
The study was published in the January 2014 edition of Nutrition Journal.
Bitter melon has been used in Asia to treat diabetes for generations, but clinical trials show conflicting conclusions regarding its effectiveness.
The current study assessed the hypoglycemic and antiatherogenic effects as well as the safety of two different doses of bitter melon with glibenclamide.
Three randomized groups with a total of 95 participants were used. Group I and group II received bitter melon (2 g/day and 4 g/day respectively) and group III received glibenclamide (5 mg/day) for 10 weeks. Glycemic control and antiatherogenic effects were determined by assessing glycohemoglobin (HbA1-c), fasting plasma glucose, 2 hour oral glucose tolerance test, plasma sialic acid, systolic blood pressure, blood lipids and atherogenic index at different time periods.
This study concludes that bitter melon has a weaker hypoglycemic effect, but improves the diabetes-associated cardiovascular risk factors more effectively than glibenclamide.
“I would be interested in seeing a study that compared these therapeutic interventions for a longer period of time,” said Dr. Anne Williams, ND, LAC. “Bitter melon is a food that is recommended for frequent consumption by many different cultures. It is possible that 10 weeks is not long enough to see its full effect on blood sugar regulation. Study length aside, it is encouraging to see the use of traditional foods being studied for diabetes and heart disease. We need to encourage patients to change their diets and to see food as medicine.”