Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia)

Healing Properties

  • Blood Sugar:
  • Exercise & Training: Bitter Mellon Improves running endurance.
  • Increases mitochondrial content in gastrocnemius muscle (the gastrocnemius forms half of the calf muscle. Its function is plantar flexing the foot at the ankle joint and flexing the leg at the knee joint.).[1]
  • Improved endurance capacity via stimulation of mitochondrial biogenesis and function, potentially influencing muscle metabolism and fiber-type composition.[1]

Disease / Symptom Treatment

  • Diabetes:

Adverse Affects

  • Sex-related variations in responses to dietary supplementation (aimed at combating metabolic syndrome): Dietary intake of Bitter Melon supplements was tested for its ability to ameliorate obesity-induced insulin resistance and metabolic inflexibility on mice challenged with a high-fat diet. Bitter melon supplementation was shown to evoke a divergent, and generally less favorable, set of metabolic responses in females compared to males.[2]

Sources

  1. Title: Bitter melon seed oil increases mitochondrial content in gastrocnemius muscle and improves running endurance in sedentary C57BL/6 J mice
    Author(s): Fei Koon Chana, Chin Hsub, Tsai-Chung Lic, d, Wen-Hung Chene, Kuo-Tang Tsenge, Pei-Min Chao
    Institution(s): Department of Nutrition, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan, Department of Exercise Health Science, National Taiwan University of Sport, Taichung City, Taiwan, Department of Public Health, College of Public Health, China Medical University, Taichung, Taiwan, Department of Healthcare Administration, College of Medical and Health Science, Asia University, Taichung, Taiwan, Aquavan Technology Co., Ltd., Taipei City, Taiwan
    Publication: The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry
    Date: 6 June 2018
    Abstract: The α-eleostearic acid (α-ESA) in bitter melon seed oil (BMSO) is efficiently converted by the body into rumenic acid. The objective of this study was to investigate effects of BMSO on skeletal muscle fiber-type switch and endurance capacity in mice, with or without exercise training. In a 3 x 2 factorial design, C57BL/6 J mice were fed a 30% high-fat diet composed of soybean oil, butter or a 1:1 mixture of BMSO and soybean oil, i.e. SB, BT and BM diets respectively and were allocated to be sedentary or undergo exercise (Ex). The Ex groups received a 15-min training regimen on a motorized treadmill 5 times a week. After 3-wk intervention, endurance capacity was evaluated (total running time and distance until exhaustion). Mice fed a BM diet had significantly less body fat, with increased muscle percentage and improved endurance capacity. Combining sedentary and Ex groups, mice fed a BM diet ran 33% longer and 50% further than those fed SB, or 25% longer and 36% further than those fed BT (P<.01). The BM diet-increased gastrocnemius cytochrome c protein and mitochondrial DNA content was more prominent in sedentary than in trained mice. Histochemical staining shows sedentary BM-fed mice had a higher succinate dehydrogenase activity among groups. Based on a reporter assay, rumenic acid, rather than α-ESA itself, activated PPARδ ligand binding domain. We concluded that BMSO, improved endurance capacity via stimulation of mitochondrial biogenesis and function, potentially influencing muscle metabolism and fiber-type composition in sedentary mice.
    Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jnutbio.2018.05.008
    Citations:

  2. Title: Potential adverse effects of botanical supplementation in high-fat-fed female mice
    Author(s): Scott Fuller, Yongmei Yu, Tamra Mendoza, David M. Ribnicky, William T. Cefalu, Z. Elizabeth Floyd
    Institution(s): Pennington Biomedical Research Center Louisiana State University System Baton Rouge USA; School of Kinesiology University of Louisiana at Lafayette Lafayette USA; Biotech Center Rutgers University New Brunswick USA
    Publication: Biology of Sex Differences
    Date: September 2018
    Abstract: Background: Insulin resistance underlies metabolic syndrome and is associated with excess adiposity and visceral fat accumulation, which is more frequently observed in males than females. However, in young females, the prevalence of metabolic syndrome is rising, mainly driven by accumulation of abdominal visceral fat. The degree to which sex-related differences could influence the development of insulin resistance remains unclear, and studies of potential therapeutic strategies to combat metabolic syndrome using rodent models have focused predominantly on males. We therefore evaluated the effects of two nutritional supplements derived from botanical sources, an extract of Artemisia dracunculus L. (termed PMI5011) and Momordica charantia (commonly known as bitter melon), on female mice challenged with a high-fat diet in order to determine if dietary intake of these supplements could ameliorate obesity-induced insulin resistance and metabolic inflexibility in skeletal muscle. Methods: Body composition, physical activity and energy expenditure, fatty acid oxidation, insulin signaling, and gene and protein expression of factors controlling lipid metabolism and ectopic lipid accumulation were evaluated in female mice fed a high-fat diet supplemented with either PMI5011 or bitter melon. Statistical significance was assessed by unpaired two-tailed t test and repeated measures ANOVA. Results: PMI5011 supplementation resulted in increased body weight and adiposity, while bitter melon did not induce changes in these parameters. Pyruvate tolerance testing indicated that both supplements increased hepatic glucose production. Both supplements induced a significant suppression in fatty acid oxidation in skeletal muscle homogenates treated with pyruvate, indicating enhanced metabolic flexibility. PMI5011 reduced lipid accumulation in skeletal muscle, while bitter melon induced a downward trend in lipid accumulation in the skeletal muscle and liver. This was accompanied by transcriptional regulation of autophagic genes by bitter melon in the liver. Conclusions: Data from the current study indicates that dietary supplementation with PMI5011 and bitter melon evokes a divergent, and generally less favorable, set of metabolic responses in female mice compared to effects previously observed in males. Our findings underscore the importance of considering sex-related variations in responses to dietary supplementation aimed at combating metabolic syndrome.
    Link: Source
    Citations: