A plant that has been used as a natural anti diabetic by some indigenous populations is bitter melon or karela, mostly known by the name Goya, and for people suffering from malignant diseases it is a true gift from nature and a great aid.
It is very similar to cucumber with the difference Bitter melon grows as a vine with yellow flowers and fragmented leaves and is extremely bitter in taste. It’s quite similar in form to zuccini with an elongated shape. Its colors change from green to orange-yellow as it grows.
The ripe fruit opens in three parts and releases many red seeds. While many Eastern nations use it as food, the rest of the world uses it as a medicine.
A number of studies have found that bitter melon is extremely beneficial for treatment of certain types of cancer owing to its active ingredients, which inhibit the glucose metabolism in malignant cells thus reducing their carbohydrate supply and starving them to death.
Bitter melon can not only destroy cancer cells but also prevent from further spreading concluded experts from Saint Louis University Cancer Center.
Further more, that the side effects that occur during chemotherapy, can be eliminated by the melon juice which is usefull in slowing down the pancreatic tumor growth discovered another team of experts from the University of Colorado Cancer Center.
Because of its ingredient glycoprotein lectin bitter melon is very important in nutrition since its activity resembles that of the insulin due to tha fact that it decreases glucose concentration in the blood and functions as an immunomodulator.
This is the reason why this plant is very helpful in cases of liver, prostate, colon and lung cancer, leukemia and neuroblastoma. Unfortunately, consumption should be avoided by pregnant, breastfeeding women and children.
Nutritional value of 100 grams of fresh, raw bitter melon:
- Vitamin K – 4.8 mg
- Vitamin B1 (thiamin) – 0,040 mg
- Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) – 0,040 mg
- Vitamin B3 (niacin) – 0,400 g
- Vitamin C – 84 mg
- Calories – 17 kcal
- Carbohydrates – 3.70 g
- Dietary fiber – 2.8 g
- Fat – 0317 g
- Folate – 27 µg
- Protein – 1.00 g
- Potassium – 296 mg
- Calcium – 19 mg
- Phosphorus – 31 mg
- Magnesium – 17 mg
- Sodium – 5 mg
A 2010 study found that bitter melon extract is also beneficial for treatment of breast cancer. It acts in the same way as with pancreatic cancer inhibiting cancer cell growth by inducing apoptotic cell death. This apoptosis was followed by increased polymerase cleavage and caspace activation.
The study also confirmed that bitter melon extract modulates signal transduction pathways for inhibiton of breast cancer cell growth and can be used as a dietary supplement for prevention of breast cancer.
The anticancer properties of bitter melon in relation to pancreatic cancer specifically were confirmed by a clinical study conducted by the University of Colorado. As the results of the study revealed, bitter melon reduced the size of the pancreatic tumors by 64%.
The researchers found that bitter melon extract lowers the glucose metabolism in pancreatic cells thus destroying them. Scientists also examined whether the extract could be applied directly to pancreatic cancer cells since it showed positive results on patients with diabetes type 2, which often precedes pancreatic cancer. The study results showed that lab mice fed on bitter juice had 60% lower risk of developing cancer than the control group.
Bitter melon packs high amounts of the phyto-nutrient polypeptide-P, which is a plant insulin beneficial for reducing blood sugar levels. Plus, bitter melon has charantin, a unique phyto-constituent that also produces a hypoglycemic effect in the body. What this phytonutrient does is raise glucose metabolism and glycogen synthesis inside the cells of liver, muscle and adipose tissue, thus reducing blood sugar levels and supporting the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Three major compounds found in bitter melon were identified as hypoglycemic agents:
Vicine induced hypoglycemia in non-diabetic fasting rats by intraperitoneal administration.
A clinical study, conducted in January 2011 and published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, confirmed that using 2000mg bitter melon per day can considerably reduce blood glucose levels in patients with diabetes type 2.
Charantin it is a typical cucurbitane: type triterpenoid and a substance with antidiabetic properties. Researchers have found that this compound is more powerful than the oral agent tolbutamide.
Polypeptide – when injected subcutaneously, this p- a hypoglycemic protein reduces blood glucose levels in gerbils, langurs and humans. As it acts in a similar way to insulin in the human body, it can be used as a plant-based insulin replacement in patients with diabetes type 1.
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