Bitter gourd is a functional fruit with beneficial effects on health. Bitter gourd is popular in some Asian countries, where the health benefits of the plant are well-known. Particularly, its ability to lower blood glucose in diabetics. Here is an in depth look how it works to lower your blood sugar levels.
is very low in calories but dense with precious nutrients. It is an excellent source of vitamins B1, B2, and B3, C, magnesium, folate, zinc, phosphorus, manganese, and has high dietary fiber. It is rich in iron, contains twice the beta-carotene of broccoli, twice the calcium of spinach, and twice the potassium of a banana.
contains a unique phyto-constituent that has been confirmed to have a hypoglycemic effect called charantin. There is also another insulin-like compound known as polypeptide P which have been suggested as insulin replacement in some diabetic patients. Below is the full nutritional profile for bitter gourd:
has been used to treat diabetes in traditional medicine and is now commercially available as tea (from fruits or leaves), juice, extracts, and pills. In recent years researchers worldwide have started to focus on the anti-diabetic effects of bitter gourd. The goal is to provide safe and clear preparation and dosage recommendations so that consumers will realize the greatest benefit from consuming fresh bitter gourd or bitter gourd products.
is not like most medicinal drugs, which are effective only in one target organ or tissue; rather, it influences glucose metabolism all over the body. Bitter gourd treatments of cell cultures or feeding trials with laboratory animals such as mice or rats show bitter gourd does have blood glucose lowering properties.
The starting point of glucose metabolism is your gut, where carbs and sugars are transformed into glucose. From here your digestive system transports glucose to your blood. Researchers have found bitter gourd reduces the amount of glucose that is released into the blood by inhibiting the enzymes that break down disaccharides to two monosaccharides (e.g. glucose). According to research studies bitter gourd can also influence the transport channels for glucose, which also reduces the amount of glucose transport into the blood. This discovery is very helpful for the treatment of both Type I and Type II diabetic patients and helps to prevent high blood sugar levels after meals.
Insulin is necessary to lower high blood sugar levels. When your blood sugar increases, pancreas react secreting insulin in your blood, Insulin helps to transport the sugar from the blood to the skeletal muscle and the fat tissue where it is used to produce energy. Insulin also stops the liver from producing sugar from glycogen storage's in your body. In Type I diabetes, the pancreas does not produce or secrete enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels low. Bitter gourd has been shown to be effective in treating Type I diabetes in rats or mice by increasing pancreatic insulin secretion. Additionally, scientists found an insulin-like molecule in bitter gourd. Although bitter gourd may reduce the number of insulin injections required to manage Type 1 diabetes, it cannot replace insulin treatment completely or heal this form of the disease.
In Type II diabetes, the liver, skeletal muscle, and fat tissues do not respond adequately to insulin—they are insulin resistant. Research studies show bitter guard helps to prevent or reverse insulin resistance. Bitter gourd can play a role in the prevention and treatment of Type II diabetes, People with insulin resistance or those with a high risk of developing Type II diabetes have a good chance to prevent and treat the disease without drugs by increasing their physical activity and including bitter gourd in their diet.
Consuming bitter gourd can help prevent complications resulting from chronic high sugar concentrations from Type I and Type II diabetes wihich increase the risk of inflammation and oxidation in the whole body, resulting in complications like blindness, diabetic feet, kidney disease, stroke, or heart attack. Consuming bitter gourd not only decreases blood sugar levels, but also has some antioxidative properties.