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Bitter Melon Benefits: Reduces Blood Sugar, Lowers LDL Cholesterol & Improves Other Diabetic Conditions


An old Chinese and Indian plant food remedy for diabetes called Bitter Melon (also called Balsam Pear, Bitter Gourd, Momordica charantia in Latin and Ku Gua or Foo Gwah in Chinese) is proving helpful in treating diabetes. The plant resembles a small cucumber that has a bitter taste. Bitter Melon has been a common vegetable in the diet of many Asian countries for thousands of years. It is very popular in China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Thailand, India, Okinawa, Indonesia and the Philippines as well as some other countries in Asia. The melon is also a popular food in Africa, the Carribean and some South American countries near the tropics.

The young fruit of Bitter Melon is usually preferred. There are dozens of varieties of the plant, which are sold in the U.S.A. in Asian food store produce isles, and sometimes in grocery stores like Whole Foods or Wild Oats. The fruit is light to medium green, somewhat pointed, and from 4 to eight inches long. Ridges of light green bumpy protrusions run down the surface from the stem to the tip.

To most people, Bitter Melon is an acquired taste, something like a more concentrated cucumber taste, mixed with a strong, bitter background. New research has demonstrated the plant evidently improves fat metabolism, lowers blood sugar, improves cholesterol, eventually or indirectly lowers blood pressure and generally helps people suffering from diabetes.

How Bitter Melon Works in the Diabetic Body

Researchers say BITTER MELON works by reducing insulin resistance, stimulating the AMPK pathway inside cells. The AMPK pathway is the way sugar is metabolized to produce energy. Another process is the inhibition of sugar uptake in the intestines. A third process is stimulation of responsiveness to insulin in the liver.

Researched Benefits of Bitter Melon
  1. Reduces hyperglycemia, lowers blood sugar
  2. Reduces insulin resistance, lowers insulin levels
  3. Reduces sugar absorption by small intestine
  4. Reduces liver production of sugar
  5. Reduces size of individual fat (adipose) cells
  6. Reduces lipogenic activity of fat cells
  7. Lowers circulating LDL "bad cholesterol"
  8. Lowers triglycerides
  9. Raises HDL "good cholesterol"
In addition to developing high blood sugar and insulin, diabetics also suffer from loss of control of what scientists call lipogenic and lipolytic metabolism. They generate too much fat, and lose the ability to metabolize fats. Diabetics over-produce many fats in the body, including LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and so on. Lipolytic enzymes (lypases) are at least partially blocked by diabetes. So, they also become less able to "burn fat" inside the many kinds of tissues in the body, and tend to produce too much sugar and fat in the liver. Scientific studies reveal that Bitter melon tends to improve all of these processes.

Bitter Melon fruit - the anti-diabetic vegetable
BITTER MELON
The Anti-Diabetic Vegetable
Diabetics usually become resistant to insulin due to disruptions in the transport or movement of tiny glucose transporter molecules in muscle and organ cell tissues. Scientists think this disruption is linked to high fats inside the cells that somehow block the movement of glucose transporters, which make the cells unresponsive to insulin, resulting in high blood sugar and high levels of insulin itself at the same time. The liver too becomes unresponsive to insulin, which causes it to produce and store glucose in its own tissues and to produce very high levels of VLDL cholesterol, lower its HDL cholesterol production, and to produce higher levels of triglycerides -- all of which are bad. Research demonstrates that Bitter Melon tends to improve each of these processes.

Uncontrolled blood sugar and insulin conditions produce most of the deadly conditions diabetics suffer from -- heart disease, cancer, blindness, amputations of limbs, loss of kidneys, and strokes in the brain and other organs. Eventually one or more of these developments may lead to death for diabetics with poorly controlled blood sugar and insulin levels. Studies show that Bitter Melon may help prevent these serious and sometimes fatal diabetic complications.

Side Effects of Bitter Melon

Taking large amounts of Bitter Melon extracts may result in similar undesirable side effects as metformin, see below. Since there are few human trials of people taking effective doses of the active ingredients of these plant extracts, information on negative side effects is sparce. Common sense suggests that pregnant or nursing women should not take the supplements. Also, people with liver or kidney problems should not take the extracts. People who take cimetidine or Tagamet should reduce their daily Bitter Melon extract doses by half and monitor their response to the supplement program with extra care.

Similarity to Metformin or Glucophage

French Lilac the herbal inspiration for Glucophage
FRENCH LILAC
The herbal inspiration
for Metformin & Glucophage
The use of Bitter Melon extracts target several body processes that are also targeted by several patented, prescription diabetic "biguanide class" drugs -- including metformin, which is also sold under brands like Glucophage, Riomet, Fortamet, Glumetza, Diabex, Diaformin and others. The biguanide drugs have similar effects to Bitter Melon in most respects. Metformin is a prescription drug, sold under the Glucophage(tm) brand or as a non branded generic.

Metformin is a synthetic manufactured product originally derived from medicinally active phyto-chemicals found in the French Lilac plant, then synthesized and produced as a patented drug. The French Lilac plant is also known as Galega officinalis, commonly known as goat's rue, Italian fitch or professor-weed. French Lilac had been used for hundreds of years as an herbal treatment for diabetes from the middle east through Europe. The hardy plant grows widely over much of western Europe and the Mediterranean. It is sometimes used for cattle feeding and is often considered a weed, especially in the United States.

Metformin was initially described or "discovered" by scientists who were studying anti-diabetic herbs in 1957. It was marketed as a drug in France in 1979, approved by the U.S.A. FDA for diabetes in 1994, and finally appeared in the United States under the Glucophage brand in 1995. Today it is by far the most popular anti-diabetic drug. Over 35 million prescriptions were sold in the U.S.A. in 2006 alone.

Metformin was originally thought to function mainly by limiting sugar absorption in the small intestine, and by improving liver responsiveness to insulin.

Metformin's Mechanism of Action
  1. Reduces hepatic gluconeogenesis (mainly in the liver) -- the generation of glucose from non-sugar carbon substrates like pyruvate, lactate, glycerol, and glucogenic amino acids. Diabetics commonly have 3-times as much gluconeogenesis as non-diabetics. Metformin reduces this by about 30%.
  2. Reduces absorption of glucose in the small intestine -- thought to have been the primary action in early years.
  3. Increases muscle cell responsiveness to insulin -- stimulates the AMPK pathway so that GLUT4 molecules move to the cell membrane where they can transport glucose sugars into the cell for oxidation or "burning"
Each of these actions is very much like that reported by Bitter Melon researchers.

Recent research from 2001 onward has demonstrated that metformin importantly stimulates the AMPK pathway inside muscle cells to improve the cells ability to absorb and then burn glucose. This involves moving the GLUT4 molecules within the cell so they can transport glucose through the membrane, once they have been stimulated by an activated insulin receptor. The complex process involving all of these and some other factors is not yet fully understood. However, the improved glucose burning inside muscle cells has an additive effect to the beneficial intestinal and liver processes, significantly lowering after meal blood sugar as well as lowering average insulin levels. Metformin also works inside fat cells and in the liver to reduce production of blood lipids like cholesterol and triglycerides (although these fat related changes are only mildly helpful). These effects are precisely the way Bitter Melon works. Similarity between metformin and Bitter Melon may not be unexpected, since metformin itself was derived from research on the well known French Lilac plant.

Side Effects of Metformin

A few dozen or even fewer cases of lactic acidosis are reported every 100 million patient years, usually preceeded by poor liver or kidney function. Lactic acidosis is sometimes fatal in these patients. However this condition is so rare that metformin is considered an extremely safe drug as long as it is prescribed to people without liver or kidney problems. About 50% of people prescribed large doses of metformin will report some gastrointestinal upset, including diarrhea, cramps, nausea and vomiting. This usually is not serious and goes away after prolonged use. Extended-release metformin does not produce these gastro problems. A few long-term users develop a vitamin-b12 deficiency and increased homocysteine levels. These are managed by oral supplementation of additional B12 and folic acid. People who take Tagamet (cimetidine) may have to reduce their dose of metformin, since cimetidine causes the retention of metformin by the kidneys.

Similarity to Actos or Avadia
Thiazolidinediones or TZDs


Thiazolidinediones are pronounced THIGH-ah-ZO-li-deen-DYE-owns, or simply called TZDs.

While different in the chemical pathways they stimulate or control, studies show the beneficial functionality of Bitter Melon compares well with Thiazolidinediones. Thiazolidinediones or TZDs include Actos (pioglitazone) and Avandia (rosiglitazone). There used to be another member of the class, Rezulin (troglitazone), which has since been taken off the market due to excess liver toxicity. Rezulin produced drug induced hepatitis.

TZDs work by stimulating PPAR-gamma (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors) in cell nuclei. This stimulation tends to help lower blood sugar, improve cellular response to insulin, lower some markers of inflammation such as Interleukin-6, and slow the production of new fat cells (adipose differentiation).

Side Effects of TZDs

TZD drugs have a common side effect of producing fluid retention or edema, usually seen as swelling in the legs and ankles, fluid build-up in the lungs, and an enlarged heart. Patents will usually respond to lung edema by coughing. Swelling of the heart itself often occurs. This fluid retention can increase the risk of heart failure by about 70%. New research indicates Actos (pioglitazone) is somewhat better in this respect than Avandia (rosiglitazone). The recent PROactive studylink showed that Actos/pioglitazone may be helpful despite its serious side effects in preventing serious 2nd heart attacks or fatal 2nd heart attacks in diabetics. In light of this study, using Avandia/rosiglitazone appears to be more risky than using Actos/pioglitazone. Another undesirable side effect of TZDs is the increased production of the hormone Leptin, which increases hunger. Increased hunger usually results in significant weight gain for TZD users, a very serious problem for diabetics.

Understandably, many physicians and patients are reluctant to use such drugs, especially for diabetics who have never had a heart attack, who suffer from liver problems or are already overweight. By contrast, consuming Bitter Melon has shown no serious side effects in laboratory studies.

How Much Bitter Melon Should Diabetics Take?

While the results obtained are usually consistent, the amount of the food that must be eaten for best results is substantial -- averaging around 10% of the dietary caloric intake in many studies. To help achieve the desired results, scientists have extracted several of the chemicals they feel are most likely the active ingredients and performed studies using those extracts instead of the plant itself. Even so, the amount of extract required to produce the highest results is quite large -- up to 1 gram of the dried whole fruit for each kilogram of body weight. That means an obese man weighing 300 pounds (136.4 kilograms) would have to eat about 136.4 grams of dried bitter melon powder (about 5 ounces) every day!

A 300 Pound Example

A 10-to-1 extract of the active ingredients would permit 300-lb patients to consume only 1/2 ounce to get the optimum results, but that still means that heavily obese diabetics may have to take around 15 large 1-gram capsules of Bitter Melon extracts every day. Taking this much of any natural remedy needs to be very carefully monitored.

Proceed Carefully

It would be a good idea to gradually increase your dosages over a period of several weeks. Start by purchasing a well-known, high quality Bitter Melon extract in capsules. Most people begin with only 2 capsules per day, 1 morning and 1 evening. After a few days, they add one more morning and evening, then two more, and so on.

As you continue the Bitter Melon program, be sure to monitor your blood sugar with an accurate glucometer several times a day. If you're limiting your samples to control expenses, try at least 2 per day. Start one sample before breakfast every morning, and then again about an hour after lunch, around 1 to 1:30 p.m. in the afternoon. That way you get a good reading of your fasting blood sugar, as well as your after meal glucose levels. You should see your glucose levels decrease steadily. If you see a sudden drop, especially in the pre-breakfast sample, reduce your Bitter Melon immediately, and watch carefully over the next few days. You want to be sure you are not risking hypoglycemia or very low blood sugar.

The major threat of hypoglycemia is called "lactic acidosis". This condition results from liver or kidney diseases, and sometimes from using certain drugs such as metformin or other biguanide class drugs. Although evidence that Bitter Melon could produce lactic acidosis is lacking, the fact that it acts in similar ways to metformin suggests caution. Lactic-acidosis is a life threatening condition which can rapidly lead to sepsis, heart failure, strokes and death. This condition is very, very uncommon - essentially unheard of - among Bitter Melon or even metformin users. Still, caution makes good sense. Be sure to work closely with your doctors. Have them check your liver function, cholesterol and triglycerides, A1C, and other diabetic parameters with a monthly or quarterly blood test (whichever the doctor recommends) as they would with prescriptive medications. Don't be overconfident just because you are doing something "natural". Go into this remedy gradually, self monitor your daily blood sugar levels, and work with your doctor's blood tests. Actively seek the advice from healthcare professionals

WARNING: Never, never, never change your prescription anti-diabetic dosages or stop them without your doctor's permission! Your doctor will tell you how to change your dosages and medicines as they see your steady progress and as they see your health improve. Your doctor may gradually reduce many medications as they see your test results improve, including reducing or discontinuing metformin or Glucophage, Actos, Lipitor or other statins, and even insulin. But do not change any prescribed drug dosages without a doctor's advice.



All of this careful self-testing, dosing and consulting with doctors seems a daunting task for people who are already working hard with their diabetes. They take a number of medications, including insulin injections, oral anti-diabetic prescription pills like metformin, cholesterol reducing drugs like Lipitor, as well as controlling their food intakes, exercising and taking diet supplements. It's a lot of work!

The solution? The goal is to make taking an effective daily dose easier for patients. It may also be possible to raise the total effectiveness of these new agents to levels impossible to achieve with the old extracts. Researchers are exploring new highly concentrated extracts of the Bitter Melon plant. They are also looking into ways to synthesize artificial drugs that mimic the way Bitter Melon's active ingredients work to improve blood sugar control, reduce insulin resistance, help burn fat, lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, etc. This was a similar way that scientists produced anti-cholesterol drugs like Pravachol and Simvastatin decades ago. First they researched plants that tended to lower cholesterol (usually funguses), and then found the active ingredients -- finally designing artificial ways to manufacture more powerful agents to work the same way the natural plant-based products do.

It is Important to Note -- There are not enough long term, well-controlled studies of the specific effects of different doses of Bitter Melon's active ingredients among humans. Further, there are no controls on the manufacture or extraction of the actual active ingredients in Bitter Melon extracts, so you don't know precisely how much you are taking. You could be taking too much or too little, and therefore not get the natural remedy you're looking for. We need much more research on Bitter Melon; better studies, longer durations, more human participants. We also need pharmaceutical levels of quality controls to ensure we are consistently able to buy high grade, pure extracts of this natural product. In the meanwhile, anyone taking Bitter Melon supplements or eating the fruit or powders should work closely with their physician to monitor their blood sugar and A1C levels, their cholesterol, triglyceride and liver function indicators very carefully -- just as they would while taking a non-natural substance.



Bitter Melon Extract...
Bitter Melon
(Momordica Charantia)
Extract


Researchers Report
Moderately Improves
Many Diabetic
Symptoms
(see below)
 

Where to Buy Bitter Melon (Momordica Charantia) Extract


Bitter Melon GOLD - Concentrated High Potency Extract - 495 mg (60 vegicaps) - about $11.95 (prices change often)

Nutrigold Bitter Melon Extract is "The Gold Standard in Pure Bitter Melon Extract" (60 veggie capsules per bottle). Features the Highest percentage of bitters, at 49.5mg (10%) including true charantin (others have less than 5% or none at all) and the highest potency pure standardized extract at 495 mg per capsule (others usually have 500mg of cheap whole fruit, in a non-standardized powder). Nutrigold also includes BioPerine to maximize absorption (other brands usually have nothing added to increase absorption). NO additives, binders, fillers, preservatives, or colors. Free of all allergens.

Bitter melon is generally well tolerated and provides moderate levels of symptomatic relief for most people who are not already controlling their diabetes well. Diabetics seldom report side effects when using this herbal extract. Bitter melon should not be considered a cure nor a treatment for the disease. Your physician should be consulted before using this natural herbal extract in your supplementation program. Your health care professional may need to reduce or change your medications, since this herbal preparation may duplicate actions you are getting from his other recommendations. Be sure to include your doctor in developing and monitoring your supplementation program.


Newest Peer Reviewed Research
on Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia) Published Since 2005

Below we've reprinted the author's abstracts of 50 studies of Bitter Melon published since the end of 2005. Most of these studies were performed on laboratory rats, the animals commonly used to study most patented drugs before they begin testing among humans. A few of these studies report findings among humans taking the supplemental food or extracts, and a few more report lab chemical studies on human tissues exposed to extracts of Bitter Melon.

If you wish to read another 280 older research reports about this fascinating medicinally active vegetable published in 2005 or before, see our Bitter Melon Research Archive.More...

While certainly more research needs to be done, especially on diabetic humans, some overall conclusions can be drawn about the value of this ancient and proven food. We've discussed some of those conclusions above. We invite you to read through these report summaries below and make up your own mind:
  1. Bitter melon (Momordica charantia L.) inhibits adipocyte hypertrophy and down regulates lipogenic gene expression in adipose tissue of diet-induced obese ratslink

    Bitter melon (Momordica charantia; BM) has been shown to ameliorate diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance. To examine the effect of BM supplementation on cell size and lipid metabolism in adipose tissues, three groups of rats were respectively fed a high-fat diet supplemented without (HF group) or with 5 % lyophilized BM powder (HFB group), or with 0.01 % thiazolidinedione (TZD) (HFT group). A group of rats fed a low-fat diet was also included as a normal control. Hyperinsulinaemia and glucose intolerance were observed in the HF group but not in HFT and HFB groups. Although the number of large adipocytes (>180 micron) of both the HFB and HFT groups was significantly lower than that of the HF group, the adipose tissue mass, TAG content and glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase activity of the HFB group were significantly lower than those of the HFT group, implying that BM might reduce lipogenesis in adipose tissue. Experiment 2 was then conducted to examine the expression of lipogenic genes in adipose tissues of rats fed low-fat, HF or HFB diets. The HFB group showed significantly lower mRNA levels of fatty acid synthase, acetyl-CoA carboxylase-1, lipoprotein lipase and adipocyte fatty acid-binding protein than the HF group (P < 0.05). These results indicate BM can reduce insulin resistance as effective as the anti-diabetic drug TZD. Furthermore, BM can suppress the visceral fat accumulation and inhibit adipocyte hypertrophy, which may be associated with markedly down regulated expressions of lipogenic genes in the adipose. Authored by Huang HL, Hong YW, Wong YH, Chen YN, Chyuan JH, Huang CJ, Chao PM. Department of Health and Nutrition, Chia Nan University of Pharmacy and Science, Tainan, Taiwan. Published in Br J Nutr. 2008 Feb;99(2):230-9. Epub 2007 Jul 26.

  2. Modulatory effect of bitter gourd (Momordica charantia LINN.) on alterations in kidney heparan sulfate in streptozotocin-induced diabetic ratslink

    Glycoconjugates in the kidney play an important role in the maintenance of glomerular filtration barrier. Thickening of the glomerular basement membrane (GBM) is well characterized in diabetic nephropathy. Changes in GBM mainly include reduction and undersulfation of heparan sulfate, and laminin with accumulation of type IV collagen leading to kidney dysfunction and there is a need to identify therapies that arrest disease progression to end-stage renal failure. In the present investigation, effect of bitter gourd on streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats with particular emphasis on kidney heparan sulfate (HS) was studied. Earlier, our study showed partial reversal of all the diabetes-induced effects by bitter gourd. Increase in the components of glycoconjugates during diabetes was significantly decreased by bitter gourd feeding. Diabetes associated elevation in the activities of enzymes involved in the synthesis and degradation of glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) were significantly lowered by bitter gourd supplementation. GAGs composition revealed decrease in amino sugar, and uronic acid contents during diabetes and bitter gourd feeding was effective in countering this reduction. Decrease in sulfate content in the GAGs during diabetes was ameliorated by bitter gourd feeding. HS decreased by 43% in diabetic rats while bitter gourd feeding to diabetic rats showed 28% reduction. These results clearly indicate beneficial role of bitter gourd in controlling glycoconjugate and heparan sulfate related kidney complications during diabetes thus prolonging late complications of diabetes. Authored by Kumar GS, Shetty AK, Salimath PV. Department of Biotechnology, Daegu University, Republic of Korea. Published in J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Jan 17;115(2):276-83. Epub 2007 Oct 9.

  3. Trinorcucurbitane and cucurbitane triterpenoids from the roots of Momordica charantialink

    Five cucurbitacins, kuguacins A-E (1-5), together with three known analogues, 3beta,7beta,25-trihydroxycucurbita-5,(23E)-diene-19-al (6), 3beta,25-dihydroxy-5beta,19-epoxycucurbita-6,(23E)-diene (7), and momordicine I (8), were isolated from roots of Momordica charantia. Structures of 1-5 were elucidated by NMR and MS spectroscopic analysis. Among them, compounds 3-5 possess an unprecedented 25,26,27-trinorcucurbitane backbone. Compounds 3 and 5 showed moderate anti-HIV-1 activity with EC(50) values of 8.45 and 25.62mug/ml, and exerted minimal cytotoxicity against C8166 cells (IC(50)>200mug/ml), with a selectivity index more than 23.68 and 7.81, respectively. Authored by Chen J, Tian R, Qiu M, Lu L, Zheng Y, Zhang Z. State Key Laboratory of Phytochemistry and Plant Resources in West China, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650204, Yunnan, PR China; Graduate School of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100039, PR China. Published in Phytochemistry. 2008 Feb;69(4):1043-8. Epub 2007 Nov 28.

  4. Antiprotozoal and cytotoxic screening of 45 plant extracts from Democratic Republic of Congolink

    AIM OF THE STUDY: To evaluate in vitro the antiprotozoal and cytotoxic activities of 80% methanol extract from 45 medicinal plants collected in Sankuru (Democratic Republic of Congo) against Trypanosoma brucei brucei, Trypanosoma cruzi and the chloroquine-sensitive Ghanaian strain of Plasmodium falciparum, and MRC-5 cell lines respectively. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Different extracts were obtained by maceration of each plant part used with 80% methanol for 24h. The mixture was filtered and evaporated in vacuo to give corresponding dried extract. The activity against Trypanosoma brucei brucei and Trypanosoma cruzi were performed in 96 well tissue plates each containing 10 microl aqueous plant extract dilutions (100 to 0.01 microg/ml) with 10 microl of the parasite suspension cultured in Hirumi medium supplemented with 10% foetal calf serum, a solution of 2% penicillin/streptomycin (2% P/S) After 4 days incubation with Almar blue� solution, fluorescence was measured at 500 nm emission and 530 nm excitation and results expressed as percentage reduction in parasite compared to control wells. The antiplasmodial activity of was assessed in vitro against the chloroquine-sensitive Ghanaian strain of Plasmodium falciparum cultured in RPMI-1640 medium by the lactate deshydrogenase assay in the presence of plant extracts (50 to 0.01 microg/ml). Cell-lines MRC-5 were cultured in MEM medium supplemented with 20mM l-glutamine, 16.5mM NaHCO(3), 5% foetal calf serum and 2% P/S solution. After 4h incubation, cell proliferation/viability was spectrophotomecally assessed at 540 nm after addition of MTT. In each assay, the IC50 value for each sample was derived by the drug concentration-response curves. RESULTS: The extracts from Alcornea cordifolia leaves, Momordica charantia whole plant, Omphalocarpum glomerata, root bark and Piptadia africanum stem bark showed good antiprotozoal activity against Trypanosoma brucei brucei with IC50 values from 0.7 to 7 microg/ml. Only Piptadenia africanum extract showed a pronounced antiprotozoal activity against Trypanosoma cruzi (IC50=4.0+/-06 microg/ml). The extracts from Alchornea cordifolia, Polyathia swaveleons stem bark, Sapium cornutum stem bark and Triclisia giletii stem bark exhibited a pronounced antiplasmodial activity against P. falciparum Ghanaian strain with IC50 values ranging from 0.5 to 3.0 microg/ml. Piptadenia africanum extract was the most cytotoxic sample (CC50=0.25 microg/ml) with poor selectivity against all selected protozoa (SI<10) while other active extracts did not show a significant cytotoxic effect against MCR-5 cell-lines with good selectivity according to the case. CONCLUSION: These active plant extracts are selected for extensive studies leading to the isolation of active constituents. Authored by Mesia GK, Tona GL, Nanga TH, Cimanga RK, Apers S, Cos P, Maes L, Pieters L, Vlietinck AJ. University of Kinshasa, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, PO BOX 212, Kinshasa XI, People's Republic of Congo. Published in J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Feb 12;115(3):409-15. Epub 2007 Dec 18.

  5. Chemical composition and antimicrobial activity of Momordica charantia seed essential oillink

    The essential oil obtained from the seeds of Momordica charantia was analyzed by GC/MS. Twenty-five components, representing 90.9% of the oil, were identified. The main constituents were trans-nerolidol, apiole, cis-dihydrocarveol and germacrene D. Furthermore, the oil was tested for its antibacterial and antifungal activities. Staphylococcus aureus was found to be the most sensitive microorganism with MIC values <500 mug/ml. Authored by Braca A, Siciliano T, D'Arrigo M, German� MP. Dipartimento di Chimica Bioorganica e Biofarmacia, Universit� di Pisa, Via Bonanno, 33, 56126 Pisa, Italy. Published in Fitoterapia. 2008 Feb;79(2):123-5. Epub 2007 Dec 3.

  6. Extracts of Momordica charantia Suppress Postprandial Hyperglycemia in Ratslink

    Momordica charantia (bitter melon) is commonly known as vegetable insulin, but the mechanisms underlying its hypoglycemic effect remain unclear. To address this issue, the effects of bitter melon extracts on postprandial glycemic responses have been investigated in rats. An aqueous extract (AE), methanol fraction (MF) and methanol insoluble fraction (MIF) were prepared from bitter melon. An oral sucrose tolerance test revealed that administration of AE, MF or MIF each significantly suppressed plasma glucose levels at 30 min as compared with the control. In addition, the plasma insulin level at 30 min was also significantly lower after MF administration than in the control in the oral sucrose tolerance test. By contrast, these effects of bitter melon extracts were not observed in the oral glucose tolerance test. In terms of mechanism, bitter melon extracts dose-dependently inhibited the sucrase activity of intestinal mucosa with IC(50) values of 8.3, 3.7 and 12.0 mg/mL for AE, MF and MIF, respectively. The fraction with a molecular weight of less than 1,300 (LT 1,300) obtained from MF inhibited the sucrase activity most strongly in an uncompetitive manner with an IC(50) value of 2.6 mg/mL. Taken together, these results demonstrated that bitter melon suppressed postprandial hyperglycemia by inhibition of alpha-glucosidase activity and that the most beneficial component is present in the LT 1,300 fraction obtained from MF. Authored by Uebanso T, Arai H, Taketani Y, Fukaya M, Yamamoto H, Mizuno A, Uryu K, Hada T, Takeda E. Department of Clinical Nutrition, University of Tokushima Graduate School. Published in J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2008 Dec;53(6):482-8.

  7. Momordica charantia (bitter melon) reduces plasma apolipoprotein B-100 and increases hepatic insulin receptor substrate and phosphoinositide-3 kinase interactionslink

    Aqueous extracts or juice from unripened fruit of Momordica charantia (bitter melon) has traditionally been used in the treatment of diabetes and its complications. Insulin resistance is characterized by significant down-regulation of hepatic insulin signalling as documented by attenuated phosphorylation of insulin receptor (IR), IR substrates 1 and 2, phosphoinositide-3 kinase, protein kinase B, and over-expression of phosphotyrosine phosphatase 1B. We recently demonstrated that bitter melon juice (BMJ) is a potent inhibitor of apoB secretion and TAG synthesis and secretion in human hepatoma cells, HepG2, that may be involved in plasma lipid- and VLDL-lowering effects observed in animal studies. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of BMJ on plasma apoB levels and hepatic insulin signalling cascade in mice fed high-fat diet (HFD). Female C57BL/6 mice (4-6 weeks old) were randomized into three groups receiving regular rodent chow, HFD and HFD+BMJ. The data indicate that BMJ not only improves glucose and insulin tolerance but also lowers plasma apoB-100 and apoB-48 in HFD-fed mice as well as modulates the phosphorylation status of IR and its downstream signalling molecules. Investigating the biochemical and molecular mechanisms involved in amelioration of diabetic dyslipidaemia by BMJ may lead to identification of new molecular targets for dietary/alternative therapies. Authored by Nerurkar PV, Lee YK, Motosue M, Adeli K, Nerurkar VR. Laboratory of Metabolic Disorders and Alternative Medicine, Department of Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, HI 96816, USA. Published in Br J Nutr. 2008 Mar 5;:1-9 [Epub ahead of print]

  8. Larvicidal efficacy of five cucurbitaceous plant leaf extracts against mosquito specieslink

    Larvicidal activity of crude hexane, ethyl acetate, petroleum ether, acetone, and methanol extracts of the leaf of five species of cucurbitaceous plants, Citrullus colocynthis, Coccinia indica, Cucumis sativus, Momordica charantia, and Trichosanthes anguina, were tested against the early fourth instar larvae of Aedes aegypti L. and Culex quinquefasciatus (Say) (Diptera: Culicidae). The larval mortality was observed after 24 h of exposure. All extracts showed moderate larvicidal effects; however, the highest larval mortality was found in petroleum ether extract of C. colocynthis, methanol extracts of C. indica, C. sativus, M. charantia, and acetone extract of T. anguina against the larvae of A. aegypti (LC(50) = 74.57, 309.46, 492.73, 199.14, and 554.20 ppm) and against C. quinquefasciatus (LC(50) = 88.24, 377.69, 623.80, 207.61, and 842.34 ppm), respectively. The petroleum ether extract of C. colocynthis and methanol extract of M. charantia were more effective than the other extracts. This is an ideal eco-friendly approach for the control of the dengue vector, A. aegypti, and the lymphatic filariasis vector, C. quinquefasciatus. Authored by Rahuman AA, Venkatesan P. Unit of Bioactive Natural Products, Department of Zoology, C. Abdul Hakeem College, Melvisharam, 632 509, India, abdulrahuman6@hotmail.com. Published in Parasitol Res. 2008 Mar 15 [Epub ahead of print]

  9. Antidiabetic Activities of Triterpenoids Isolated from Bitter Melon Associated with Activation of the AMPK Pathwaylink

    Four cucurbitane glycosides, momordicosides Q, R, S, and T, and stereochemistry-established karaviloside XI, were isolated from the vegetable bitter melon (Momordica charantia). These compounds and their aglycones exhibited a number of biologic effects beneficial to diabetes and obesity. In both L6 myotubes and 3T3-L1 adipocytes, they stimulated GLUT4 translocation to the cell membrane-an essential step for inducible glucose entry into cells. This was associated with increased activity of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a key pathway mediating glucose uptake and fatty acid oxidation. Furthermore, momordicoside(s) enhanced fatty acid oxidation and glucose disposal during glucose tolerance tests in both insulin-sensitive and insulin-resistant mice. These findings indicate that cucurbitane triterpenoids, the characteristic constituents of M. charantia, may provide leads as a class of therapeutics for diabetes and obesity. Authored by Tan MJ, Ye JM, Turner N, Hohnen-Behrens C, Ke CQ, Tang CP, Chen T, Weiss HC, Gesing ER, Rowland A, James DE, Ye Y. State Key Laboratory of Drug Research, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 201203, China. Published in Chem Biol. 2008 Mar;15(3):263-73.

  10. Bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) improves insulin sensitivity by increasing skeletal muscle insulin-stimulated IRS-1 tyrosine phosphorylation in high-fat-fed ratslink

    The aim of this present study was to investigate the effect of bitter gourd extract on insulin sensitivity and proximal insulin signalling pathways in high-fat-fed rats. High-fat feeding of male Wistar rats for 10 weeks decreased the glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity compared to chow-fed control rats. Bitter gourd extract supplementation for 2 weeks (9th and 10th) of high-fat feeding improved the glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. In addition bitter gourd extract reduced the fasting insulin (43 (se 4.4) v. 23 (se 5.2) muU/ml, P < 0.05), TAG (134 (se 12) v. 96 (se 5.5) mg/dl, P < 0.05), cholesterol (97 (se 6.3) v. 72 (se 5.2) mg/dl, P < 0.05) and epidydimal fat (4.8 (se 0.29) v. 3.6 (se 0.24) g, P < 0.05), which were increased by high-fat diet (HFD). High-fat feeding and bitter gourd supplementation did not have any effect on skeletal muscle insulin receptor, insulin receptor subtrate-1 (IRS-1) and insulin- stimulated insulin receptor tyrosine phosphorylation compared to chow-fed control rats. However high-fat feeding for 10 weeks reduced the insulin-stimulated IRS-1 tyrosine phosphorylation compared to control rats. Bitter gourd supplementation together with HFD for 2 weeks improved the insulin-stimulated IRS-1 tyrosine phosphorylation compared to rats fed with HFD alone. Our results show that bitter gourd extract improves insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance and insulin signalling in HFD-induced insulin resistance. Identification of potential mechanism(s) by which bitter gourd improves insulin sensitivity and insulin signalling in high-fat-fed rats may open new therapeutic targets for the treatment of obesity/dyslipidemia-induced insulin resistance. Authored by Sridhar MG, Vinayagamoorthi R, Arul Suyambunathan V, Bobby Z, Selvaraj N. Department of Biochemistry, Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER), Pondicherry-605 006, India. Published in Br J Nutr. 2008 Apr;99(4):806-12. Epub 2007 Oct 17.

  11. Effect of exogenous ATP on Momordica charantia Linn. (Cucurbitaceae) induced inhibition of D-glucose, L-tyrosine and fluid transport across rat everted intestinal sacs in vitrolink

    Momordica charantia (MC) is a common oriental vegetable with known antidiabetic, laxative and antimicrobial properties. This study investigates the effects of aqueous fruit extract of MC on the transport of d-glucose, l-tyrosine and fluid across rat-everted intestine in vitro. Everted intestinal sacs from rats were mounted in an organ bath containing Krebs-Henseleit bicarbonate buffer. Graded concentrations (1.5-12mg/ml) of MC fruit extract were incubated in the mucosal solution with and without exogenous ATP in the mucosal bathing fluid. The serosal appearance and mucosal disappearance of d-glucose, l-tyrosine and the fluid absorptive capacity of the intestine were significantly inhibited (p<0.05) with increasing graded concentrations of MC. The concentration of d-glucose accumulated or metabolized by the enterocytes in the intestinal tissues were significantly higher (p<0.05) when incubated with MC. Increasing graded concentrations of exogenous ATP (25-200 microM) were incubated with 3.0mg/ml MC to confirm inhibition of the ATP-dependent active transport of d-glucose, l-tyrosine and fluid across rat enterocytes. It was found that increasing concentrations of mucosal ATP from 25 to 100 microM significantly (p<0.05) reverses the MC-depression of the d-glucose, l-tyrosine and fluid uptake across rat everted intestinal sacs. It is hypothesized that bioactive phytochemicals such as saponins in MC fruit extract inhibits the active transport of d-glucose, l-tyrosine and fluid across rat intestine by inhibiting the production of ATP responsible for the active transport of these molecules. It is likely that MC can be a potential alternative drug therapy of postprandial hyperglycaemia via inhibition of glucose uptake across the small intestine. Authored by Mahomoodally MF, Gurib-Fakim A, Subratty AH. Department of Health Sciences, University of Mauritius, Reduit, Mauritius. Published in J Ethnopharmacol. 2007 Mar 21;110(2):257-63. Epub 2006 Sep 26.

  12. Polyclonal antibodies mediated immobilization of a peroxidase from ammonium sulphate fractionated bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) proteinslink

    Polyclonal antibody bound Sepharose 4B support has been exploited for the immobilization of bitter gourd peroxidase directly from ammonium sulphate precipitated proteins. Immunoaffinity immobilized bitter gourd peroxidase exhibited high yield of immobilization. IgG-Sepharose 4B bound bitter gourd peroxidase showed a higher stability against heat, chaotropic agents (urea and guanidinium chloride), detergents (cetyl trimethyl ammonium bromide and Surf Excel), proteolytic enzyme (trypsin) and water-miscible organic solvents (propanol, THF and dioxane). The activity of immobilized bitter gourd peroxidase was significantly enhanced in the presence of cetyl trimethyl ammonium bromide and after treatment with trypsin as compared to soluble enzyme. Authored by Fatima A, Husain Q. Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Life Sciences, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh 202002, UP, India. Published in Biomol Eng. 2007 Jun;24(2):223-30. Epub 2006 Oct 27.

  13. Biotransformation of sinapic acid catalyzed by Momordica charantia peroxidaselink

    Biotransformation of sinapic acid (1) with H2O2/Momordica charantia peroxidase, which exists in the widely used food M. charantia, at pH 5.0, 43 degrees C, in the presence of acetone resulted in six compounds, including four new compounds. Compound 2 was the first isolation of a new unique sinapic acid tetrameric derivate, which is formed by peroxidase catalysis in vitro. Besides 2, three other new sinapic acid dimers, 3-5 have also been isolated. Their structures were established on the basis of spectroscopic data. Compound 5 showed a stronger antioxidative activity than the parent sinapic acid (1). Compounds 4 and 5 significantly inhibited the growth of HL-60 cell at the concentration of 10-5 microl/L. Authored by Liu HL, Wan X, Huang XF, Kong LY. Department of Natural Medicinal Chemistry, China Pharmaceutical University, 24 Tong Jia Xiang, Nanjing 210009, People's Republic of China. Published in J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Feb 7;55(3):1003-8.

  14. A role of glycosyl moieties in the stabilization of bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) peroxidaselink

    The possible role of carbohydrate moieties in the stabilization of proteins has been investigated by using bitter gourd peroxidase as a model system. A comparative study of glycosylated and non-glycosylated isoenzymes of bitter gourd peroxidase was performed at various temperatures, pH, water-miscible organic solvents, detergents and chaotropic agent like urea. The pH-optima and temperature-optima of both glycosylated and non-glycosylated isoforms of bitter gourd peroxidase remained unchanged. The probes employed were changes in the enzyme activity and fluorescence. The glycosylated form of peroxidase retained greater fraction of enzyme activity against the exposure caused by various physical and chemical denaturants. The unfolding of both forms of enzyme in the presence of high urea concentrations, studied by fluorescence, indicated greater perturbations in the conformation of non-glycosylated preparation. The different properties examined thus indicated that glycosylation plays an important role in the stabilization of native conformation of proteins against the inactivation caused by various types of denaturants. Authored by Fatima A, Husain Q. Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Life Sciences, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh 202 002, UP, India. Published in Int J Biol Macromol. 2007 Jun 1;41(1):56-63. Epub 2007 Jan 21.

  15. Inhibition of increases in blood glucose and serum neutral fat by Momordica charantia saponin fractionlink

    Focusing on a functional component of Momordica charantia, saponin, we investigated its effects on serum glucose and neutral fat levels. Saponin was extracted as a butanol-soluble fraction (saponin fraction) from hot blast-dried Momordica charantia powder. The disaccharidase-inhibitory activity and the pancreatic lipase-inhibitory activity of the saponin fraction were measured, and in vivo sugar- and lipid-loading tests were performed. The saponin fraction inhibited disaccharidase activity and elevation of the blood glucose level after sucrose loading. The fraction also markedly inhibited pancreatic lipase activity and elevation of the serum neutral fat level after corn oil loading. Based on these findings, the main active component related to the anti-diabetic effect of Momordica charantia is present in the butanol fraction, and it may be saponin. The blood glucose and serum neutral fat-lowering effects of Momordica charantia were closely associated with its inhibitory activity against disaccharidase and pancreatic lipase. Authored by Oishi Y, Sakamoto T, Udagawa H, Taniguchi H, Kobayashi-Hattori K, Ozawa Y, Takita T. Department of Nutritional Science, Faculty of Applied Bioscience, Tokyo University of Agriculture, Sakuragaoka, Tokyo, Japan. Published in Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2007 Mar;71(3):735-40. Epub 2007 Mar 7.

  16. Water extracts from Momordica charantia increase glucose uptake and adiponectin secretion in 3T3-L1 adipose cellslink

    To examine the effects of Momordica charantia on glucose uptake and adiponectin secretion in adipose cells, 3T3-L1 adipocytes were treated with three concentrations (0.2, 0.3 and 0.4mg/ml) of water and ethanol extracts of Momordica charantia fruit and seeds alone and in combination with either 0.5nM or 50nM insulin. The treatment combination of 0.2mg/ml water extract and 0.5nM insulin was associated with significant (p<0.05) increases in glucose uptake (61%) and adiponectin secretion (75%) over control levels. The ethanol extract was not associated with an increase in glucose uptake; however, a dose-dependent decrease in basal glucose uptake and insulin-mediated glucose uptake was observed with the ethanol extract in combination with 50nM insulin. In the absence of insulin, no effects on glucose uptake were observed in adipocytes exposed to the water extracts whereas the highest concentration (0.4mg/ml) of the ethanol extract was associated with a significant (p<0.05) decrease in glucose uptake relative to controls. The present results indicate that water-soluble component(s) in Momordica charantia enhance the glucose uptake at sub-optimal concentrations of insulin in 3T3-L1 adipocytes, which is accompanied by and may be a result of increased adiponectin secretion from the 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Authored by Roffey BW, Atwal AS, Johns T, Kubow S. School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, McGill University, Macdonald Campus, 21,111 Lakeshore, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Que., Canada H9X 3V9. Published in J Ethnopharmacol. 2007 May 30;112(1):77-84. Epub 2007 Feb 11.

  17. Cucurbitane triterpenoids from Momordica charantialink

    Three new cucurbitane-type triterpenoid saponins, 23-O-beta-D-allopyranosyl-5beta,19-epoxycucurbita-6,24-diene-3beta,22(S),23(S)-tr iol-3-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside (1), 23-O-beta-D-allopyranosyl-5beta,19-epoxycucurbita-6,24-diene-3beta,22(S),23(S)-tr iol-3-O-beta-D-allopyranoside (2), and 23-O-beta-D-allopyranosyl-5beta,19-epoxycucurbita-6,24-diene-3beta,19(R), 22(S),23(S)-tetraol-3-O-beta-D-allopyranoside (3), named momordicoside M, N, and O, respectively, along with one known saponin momordicoside L (4), were isolated from the fresh fruits of Momordica charantia. The structures of these saponins were elucidated on the basis of chemical properties and spectral data. Copyright 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Authored by Li QY, Chen HB, Liu ZM, Wang B, Zhao YY. Department of Natural Medicine, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Peking University Health Science Center, No. 38 Xueyuan Road, Beijing 100083, PR China. Published in Magn Reson Chem. 2007 Jun;45(6):451-6.

  18. Cloning and characterization of a balsam pear class I chitinase gene (Mcchit1) and its ectopic expression enhances fungal resistance in transgenic plantslink

    A balsam pear (Momordica charantia L.) chitinase (Mcchit1) was purified and sequenced at the N-terminal. The genomic and cDNA coding sequences of Mcchit1 were cloned by rapid amplification of 3' cDNA ends (3'-RACE) and the Y-shaped adaptor dependent extension (YADE) method. Sequence analysis showed that the Mcchit1 protein is a class I chitinase containing a chitin-binding domain and a catalytic domain, but no C-terminal extension. Northern blot indicated that the Mcchit1 transcription is wound-inducible. Overexpression of Mcchit1 dramatically increased intercellular and intracellular endochitinase activities, suggesting that the Mcchit1 gene encodes a secretory endochitinase. It was also found that overexpression of Mcchit1 significantly enhanced resistance to the plant pathogenic fungus Phytophthora nicotianae in transgenic N. benthamiana plants and against Verticillium wilt in transgenic cottons, indicating that the Mcchit1 gene can be a useful gene in plant engineering against fungal diseases. Authored by Xiao YH, Li XB, Yang XY, Luo M, Hou L, Guo SH, Luo XY, Pei Y. Key Laboratory of Biotechnology and Crop Quality Improvement of the Ministry of Agriculture of China, Biotechnology Research Center, Southwest University. Published in Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2007 May;71(5):1211-9. Epub 2007 May 7.

  19. Antioxidant activity of commonly consumed plant foods of India: contribution of their phenolic contentlink

    Antioxidants are important in protection against hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Polyphenols are potent antioxidants in plant foods, but their contribution to such protective effects is yet to be established. This study attempted to generate a database on the antioxidant activity (AOA) and phenolic content (PC) of some plant foods commonly consumed in India and to assess the contribution of the PC to their AOA. Plant foods belonging to different food groups such as cereals, legumes, oil seeds, oils, green leafy vegetables, other vegetables, spices, roots and tubers were analysed for AOA and PC. AOA was the highest in black pepper (0.43 mg food required for 50% inhibition of the coupled auto-oxidation of beta-carotene and linoleic acid in a mixture in vitro) and it had the highest PC (191 mg gallic acid equivalent/100 g food). The AOA (18.4 mg) as well as the PC (not detectable) were the lowest in sunflower oil. PC in oil seeds was higher than that in the oil, which could be due to the hydrophilic nature of phenolics and suggests the need for greater use of oil seeds than oils. A significant correlation was observed between the AOA and PC of the plant foods studied in general (r=-0.465), but the coefficient of correlation and determination were high only in spices (r=-0.86 and r2 =74%, respectively) and dehusked legumes (r=-0.65 and r2 = 42.2%, respectively). The results suggest that phenolics may contribute significantly to the AOA of some plant foods, such as spices and dehusked legumes. Authored by Saxena R, Venkaiah K, Anitha P, Venu L, Raghunath M. Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, National Institute of Nutrition, Hyderabad, India. Published in Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2007 Jun;58(4):250-60.

  20. Effects of processing methods on the proximate composition and momordicosides K and L content of bitter melon vegetablelink

    Bitter melon (Mormodica charantia L.) has been associated with health benefits such as hypoglycemic, antiatherogenic, and anti-HIV activities. The vegetable, however, has an unpleasant bitter taste. The purpose of this research was to establish the effect of various processing methods on the moisture, lipid, and protein content of the Sri Lanka variety of bitter melon and to determine the effect of the processing methods on momordicosides K and L contents. The processing methods used were frying, blanching, sun drying, oven drying, freeze drying, and bitter masking with five different commercial bitter masking agents. Moisture, lipid, and protein analyses were done using standard AACC methods. Drying decreased moisture content from 92% to 9.5-10.2%. Frying lowered moisture content to 0.8% while increasing lipid content from 3.6 to 67%. Protein content remained unaffected by treatments. A liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry (LC/ESI/MS) method was used to identify momordicosides K and L in methanolic extracts of fresh and processed samples. Only extracted ion chromatographs for blanched bitter melon and bitter melon with MY 68 agent showed the absence of momordicosides K and L. Authored by Donya A, Hettiarachchy N, Liyanage R, Lay J Jr, Chen P, Jalaluddin M. Department of Food Science, University of Arkansas, 2650 North Young Avenue, Fayetteville, Arkansas 72704, USA. Published in J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Jul 11;55(14):5827-33. Epub 2007 Jun 14.

  21. Expression of a ribosome-inactivating protein gene in bitter melon is induced by Sphaerotheca fuliginea and abiotic stimulilink

    The gene encoding a single-chain, ribosome-inactivating protein (SCRIP) was cloned from bitter melon (Momordica charantia L.) leaves infected with the fungus, Sphaerotheca fuliginea, by RT-PCR. The ORF was 861 bp. The ribosome-inactivating protein was expressed in E. coli and, when purified, it inhibited the growth of the Sphaerotheca fuliginea in vitro. Northern blot analysis revealed that RIP transcripts rapidly accumulated in leaves 1-day post inoculation with Sphaerotheca fuliginea and reached a peak at 3 d. The expression pattern of RIP induced by methyl jasmonate and salicylic acid were different from that of pathogen-induced expression. Mechanical wounding, silver nitrate and osmotic stress stimulated only a slight accumulation of RIP transcripts. Abscisic acid also induced transcription of RIPs. The signal compounds, ethylene and okadaic acid, induced a moderate accumulation of RIP transcripts. Authored by Xu J, Wang H, Fan J. State Key Laboratory of Virology, Wuhan Institute of Virology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan, 430071, China. Published in Biotechnol Lett. 2007 Oct;29(10):1605-10. Epub 2007 Jun 20.

  22. In vitro hypoglycemic activity of methanolic extract of some indigenous plantslink

    Pakistan is rich in medicinally important plants and has ancient herbal treatment methods. Present work is based on the study of six indigenous plants Eugenia jambolana, Lawsonia inermis, Momordica charantia, Morus alba, Nigella sativa and Trigonella foenum graecum which show the inhibitory effect of glucose utilization, and are in use as hypoglycemic agents of varying degree in traditional system of medicine. The glucose uptake activity of (methanolic extracts) of these plants was tested in vitro and glucose was estimated by glucose oxidase method. The results in three different media revealed that, hypoglycemic activity is more prominent in neutral and basic media as compared to acidic medium. Authored by Arayne MS, Sultana N, Mirza AZ, Zuberi MH, Siddiqui FA. Department of Chemistry, University of Karachi, Karachi-75270, Pakistan. msarayne@gmail.com Published in Pak J Pharm Sci. 2007 Oct;20(4):268-73.

  23. Cucurbitane-type triterpenoids from the fruits of Momordica charantia and their cancer chemopreventive effectslink

    Thirteen cucurbitane-type triterpene glycosides, including eight new compounds named charantosides I (6), II (7), III (10), IV (11), V (12), VI (13), VII (16), and VIII (17), and five known compounds, 8, 9, 14, 15, and 18, were isolated from a methanol extract of the fruits of Japanese Momordica charantia. The structures of the new compounds were determined on the basis of spectroscopic methods. On evaluation of these triterpene glycosides and five other cucurbitane-type triterpenes, 1-5, also isolated from the extract of M. charantia fruits, for their inhibitory effects on the induction of Epstein-Barr virus early antigen (EBV-EA) by 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) in Raji cells, these compounds showed inhibitory effects on EBV-EA induction with IC(50) values of 200-409 mol ratio/32 pmol TPA. In addition, upon evaluation of compounds 1-5 for inhibitory effects against activation of (+/-)-(E)-methyl-2[(E)-hydroxyimino]-5-nitro-6-methoxy-3-hexemide (NOR 1), a nitrogen oxide (NO) donor, compounds 1-3 showed moderate inhibitory effects. Compounds 1 and 2 exhibited marked inhibitory effects in both 7,12-dimethylbenz[a]anthracene (DMBA)- and peroxynitrite (ONOO-; PN)-induced mouse skin carcinogenesis tests. Authored by Akihisa T, Higo N, Tokuda H, Ukiya M, Akazawa H, Tochigi Y, Kimura Y, Suzuki T, Nishino H. College of Science and Technology, Nihon University, 1-8 Kanda Surugadai, Tokyo 101-8308, Japan. akihisa@chem.cst.nihon-u.ac.jp Published in J Nat Prod. 2007 Aug;70(8):1233-9. Epub 2007 Aug 9.

  24. Oligomers of resveratrol and ferulic acid prepared by peroxidase-catalyzed oxidation and their protective effects on cardiac injurylink

    Peroxidase extracted from Momordica charantia was used for the oligomerization of trans-resveratrol and ferulic acid on a preparative scale. One new heterocoupling oligomer, trans-3 E-3-[(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)methylene]-4-(3,5-dihydroxyphenyl)-5-(4-hydroxyph enyl)tetrahydro-2-franone (6), and six resveratrol dimers, leachianol G (1), restrytisol B (2), parthenostilbenins A (3) and B (5), 7- O-acetylated leachianol G (4), and resveratrol trans-dehydrodimer (8), and one known ferulic acid dehydrodimer, (3alpha,3aalpha,6alpha,6aalpha)tetrahydro-3,6-bis(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)-1 H,4 H-furo[3,4-c]furan-1,4-dione (7) were obtained. Bioactive experiments showed that compounds 6- 8 have strong free radical scavenging effects and also have protective effects on doxorubicin-induced cardiac cell injury when tested in vitro. Authored by Yu BB, Han XZ, Lou HX. School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Shandong University, Jinan 250012, People's Republic of China. Published in J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Sep 19;55(19):7753-7. Epub 2007 Aug 16.

  25. An experimental evaluation of the antidiabetic and antilipidemic properties of a standardized Momordica charantia fruit extractlink

    BACKGROUND: The MCE, Momordica charantia fruit extract Linn. (Cucurbitaceae) have been documented to elicit hypoglycemic activity on various occasions. However, due to lack of standardization of these extracts, their efficacy remains questionable. The present study was undertaken by selecting a well standardised MCE. This study reports hypoglycemic and antilipidemic activities of MCE employing relevant animal models and in vitro methods. METHODS: Diabetes was induced in Wistar rats by a s.c., subcutaneous injection of alloxan monohydrate (100 mg/kg) in acetate buffer (pH 4.5). MCE and glibenclamide were administered orally to alloxan diabetic rats at doses of 150 mg/kg, 300 mg/kg & 600 mg/kg, and 4 mg/kg respectively for 30 days, blood was withdrawn for glucose determination on 0, 7, 14, 21 and 30th days. On the 31st day, overnight fasted rats were sacrificed and blood was collected for various biochemical estimations including glycosylated haemoglobin, mean blood glucose, serum insulin, cholesterol, triglcerides, protein and glycogen content of liver. The hemidiaphragms and livers were also isolated, carefully excised and placed immediately in ice cooled perfusion solution and processed to study the glucose uptake/transfer processes. Hypolipidemic activity in old obese rats was evaluated by treating two groups with MCE (150 mg/kg & 300 mg/kg) orally for 30 days and determining total cholesterol, triglyceride and HDL-CH, LDL-CH and VLDL-CH levels from serum samples. RESULTS: Subchronic study of MCE in alloxan induced diabetic rats showed significant antihyperglycemic activity by lowering blood glucose and GHb%, percent glycosylated haemoglobin. Pattern of glucose tolerance curve was also altered significantly. MCE treatment enhanced uptake of glucose by hemidiaphragm and inhibited glycogenolysis in liver slices in vitro. A significant reduction in the serum cholesterol and glyceride levels of obese rats following MCE treatment was also observed. CONCLUSION: Our experimental findings with respect to the mechanism of action of MCE in alloxan diabetic rats suggest that it enhances insulin secretion by the islets of Langerhans, reduces glycogenesis in liver tissue, enhances peripheral glucose utilisation and increases serum protein levels. Furthermore, MCE treatment restores the altered histological architecture of the islets of Langerhans. Hence, the biochemical, pharmacological and histopathological profiles of MCE clearly indicate its potential antidiabetic activity and other beneficial effects in amelioration of diabetes associated complications. Further, an evaluation of its antilipidemic activity in old obese rats demonstrated significant lowering of cholesterol and triglyceride levels while elevating HDL-cholesterol levels. Also, the extract lowered serum lipids in alloxan diabetic rats, suggesting its usefulness in controlling metabolic alterations associated with diabetes. Authored by Fernandes NP, Lagishetty CV, Panda VS, Naik SR. Prin,K,M,Kundnani College of Pharm, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Jote Joy Building, Rambhau Salgaonkar Marg, Cuffe Parade, Mumbai 4000 05, India. nfernandes@rediffmail.com Published in BMC Complement Altern Med. 2007 Sep 24;7:29.

  26. A new oviposition deterrent to the leafminer, Liriomyza trifolii: cucurbitane glucoside from Momordica charantialink

    A new cucurbitane glucoside, 23-O-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-7-hydroxy-3-O-malonylcucurbita-5,24-dien-19-al, named momordicine V, has been isolated from Momordica charantia leaves, along with the previously reported compounds, momordicines I, II, IV and 3-O-malonylmomordicine I. The structure of the new compound was established on the basis of spectral analysis, as well as by its conversion to momordicine II by alkaline catalyzed hydrolysis. Momordicine V deterred significantly the oviposition by L. trifolii on host plant leaves treated at 26.16 microg/cm2 leaf surface. Authored by Kashiwagi T, Mekuria DB, Dekebo A, Sato K, Tebayashi S, Kim CS. Department of Bioresources Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Kochi University, B200 Monobe, Nankoku 783-8502, Japan. Published in Z Naturforsch [C]. 2007 Jul-Aug;62(7-8):603-7.

  27. Repellent activity of selected plant essential oils against the malarial fever mosquito Anopheles stephensilink

    In recent years, use of environment friendly and biodegradable natural insecticides of plant origin have received renewed attention as agents for vector control. In this study, essential oils extracted by steam distillation from leaves of five plant species Centella asiatica L., Ipomoea cairica L., Momordica charantia L., Psidium guajava L. and Tridax procumbens L. were evaluated for their topical repellency effects against malarial vector Anopheles stephensi in mosquito cages. All essential oils were tested at three different concentrations (2, 4 and 6%). Of these, the essential oils of I. cairica, M. charantia and T. procumbens exhibited relatively high repellency effect (>300 minutes at 6% concentration), followed by C. asiatica and P. guajava which showed less effective (< 150 minutes at 6 % concentration). However, the ethanol applied arm served as control provided maximum 8.0 minutes repellency in this study. In general, clear dose-response relationships were established in all essential oils, with the highest concentration of 6% provided high repellency effect. The results obtained from this study suggest that essential oils of I. cairica, M. charantia and T. procumbens are promising as repellents at 6% concentration against An. stephensi and could be useful in the search for new natural repellent compounds. Authored by Rajkumar S, Jebanesan A. PG and Research Department of Zoology & Wild life Biology, A.V.C. College, Mannampandal-609 305, Tamil Nadu, India. Published in Trop Biomed. 2007 Dec;24(2):71-5.

  28. Regeneration of beta cells in islets of Langerhans of pancreas of alloxan diabetic rats by acetone extract of Momordica charantia (Linn.) (bitter gourd) fruitslink

    Acetone extract of whole fruit powder of M. charantia (bitter gourd) in doses 25, 50 and 75 mg/100 g body weight lowered the blood glucose from 13.30 to 50% after 8 to 30 days treatment in alloxan diabetic albino rats, confirming antihyperglycemic effect of this plant in diabetic animals and humans. Histological observations with acetone extract showed different phases of recovery of beta cells of the islets of Langerhans of pancreas, which in the untreated diabetic rats were less in number and showed varied degree of atrophy. The most important finding of the present study was observation of the presence of small scattered islets among the acinar tissue in some experimental animals, which may reflect neoformation of islets from pre-existing islet cells. The liver of alloxan diabetic rats showed hydropic degeneration, fatty change and necrosis at some places but liver of extract treated animals was normal. Glycogen localization in liver of diabetic rats was faint but after 30 days treatment with different doses of extract, normal to heavy glycogen localization was observed. Authored by Singh N, Gupta M. Environmental Endocrinology and Biomedical Research Unit, Department of Zoology, Meerut College, Meerut 250 003, India. n27singh@yahoo.com Published in Indian J Exp Biol. 2007 Dec;45(12):1055-62.

  29. The partially unfolded state of beta-momorcharin characterized with steady-state and time-resolved fluorescence studieslink

    The specific conformation of partially unfolded state of beta-momorcharin was characterized through the steady-state and time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopic studies on a single Trp-190 which located adjacently to the active site. The content of secondary structure was retained, the binding of ANS was remarkably enhanced, and the correlation time of entire protein rotation was prolonged at the partially unfolded state formed by being equilibrated with the mild concentration of guanidine hydrochloride. The time-resolved fluorescence depolarization and excitation energy transfer analysis suggest that Trp-190 approached 2 A closer to Tyr-70 and was hidden from the exposure to the protein surface, while the rotational correlation time and freedom of its segmental motion were shortened and enhanced, respectively. These results suggest that the transient folding/unfolding intermediate state of beta-momorcharin adopt the specific conformation at the vicinity of the active site, although it exhibits very similar properties with those of the generally known molten-globule state. Authored by Fukunaga Y, Nishimoto E, Yamashita K, Otosu T, Yamashita S. Institute of Biophysics, Faculty of Agriculture, Graduate School of Kyushu University, Higashiku, Fukuoka 812-8581, Japan. Published in J Biochem. 2007 Jan;141(1):9-18. Epub 2006 Dec 13.

  30. The effect of Momordica charantia capsule preparation on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus needs further studieslink

    BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Momordica charantia, locally known as Ampalaya, is being widely used and advertised for its hypoglycemic effects. However, to date, no large clinical trial has been published on the efficacy of any type of preparation. The main objective of this study is to determine if addition of M. charantia capsules to standard therapy can decrease glycosylated hemoglobin (hemoglobin A1c or HbA1c) levels in diabetic patients with poor sugar control. STUDY DESIGN AND SETTING: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted between April and September 2004 at the outpatient clinics of the Philippine General Hospital. The trial included 40 patients, 18 years old and above, who were either newly diagnosed or poorly controlled type 2 diabetics with A1c levels between 7% and 9%. On top of the standard therapy, the patients were randomized to either M. charantia capsules or placebo. The treatment group received two capsules of M. charantia three times a day after meals, for 3 months. The control group received placebo at the same dose. The primary efficacy endpoint was change in the A1c level in the two groups. The secondary efficacy endpoints included its effect on fasting blood sugar, serum cholesterol, and weight. Safety endpoints included effects on serum creatinine, hepatic transaminases (Alanine aminotransferase/ALT and Aspartate aminotransferase/AST), sodium, potassium, and adverse events. RESULTS: Baseline characteristics between the treatment and control groups were similar. The difference in mean change in A1c between the two groups was 0.22% in favor of M. charantia (95% CI: -0.40 to 0.84) with P=0.4825.There was no significant effect on mean fasting blood sugar, total cholesterol, and weight or on serum creatinine, ALT, AST, sodium, and potassium. There were few adverse events and these were generally mild. CONCLUSION: This is the first randomized controlled trial to shed light on the issue concerning the hypoglycemic effects of M. charantia. The investigators targeted a 1% decline in A1c at the outset with an estimated power of 88%. With the observed decline of 0.24%, the achieved power was only 11%. For this reason, we are unable to make a definite conclusion about the effectiveness of M. charantia. However, the results of this study can be used estimate the sample size for bigger studies. Authored by Dans AM, Villarruz MV, Jimeno CA, Javelosa MA, Chua J, Bautista R, Velez GG. Department of Medicine, Philippine General Hospital Medicine, Taft Avenue, Manila, Philippines. tdans@zpdee.net Published in J Clin Epidemiol. 2007 Jun;60(6):554-9. Epub 2006 Nov 13.

  31. Screening of antihelminthic effects of Indian plant extracts: a preliminary reportlink

    INTRODUCTION: The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the antihelminthic effect of plants from the Ayurvedic system of medicine traditionally used in India. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Six plant extracts were assayed for their activity against free-living nematodes. Inhibitory effects on free-living nematodes were evaluated in vitro using aqueous or ethanolic extracts. CONCLUSIONS: Of six plants assayed, Momordica charantia yielded the best results, its crude extract producing 96% mortality. Authored by Das P, Sinhababu SP, Dam T. Department of Zoology, Visva Bharati University, Santiniketan, Birbhum, West-Bengal, India. Published in J Altern Complement Med. 2006 Apr;12(3):299-301. Erratum in: J Altern Complement Med. 2006 Jul-Aug;12(6):595.

  32. Anti-diabetic potentials of Momordica charantia and Andrographis paniculata and their effects on estrous cyclicity of alloxan-induced diabetic ratslink

    Momordica charantia and Andrographis paniculata are the commonly used herbs by the diabetic patients in Pampanga, Philippines. While the anti-diabetic potential of Momordica charantia is well established in streptozocin- or alloxan-induced diabetic animals, the anti-diabetic potential of Andrographis paniculata in alloxan-induced diabetic rat is not known. Neither the effects of these herbs on estrous cyclicity of alloxan-induced diabetic rats are elucidated. Thus, in these experiments, Momordica charantia fruit juice or Andrographis paniculata decoction was orally administered to alloxan-induced diabetic rats. Rats that were treated with Momordica charantia and Andrographis paniculata had higher body weight (BW) compared with diabetic positive control (P < 0.01) from day 22 to day 27 (D27) but exhibited lower BW than the non-diabetic control (P < 0.05). These rats had lower feed (P < 0.05) and liquid intakes (P < 0.01) compared with diabetic positive control from day 17 to D27, but similar with the non-diabetic control. The blood glucose levels in these groups were significantly reduced from day 12 to D27 compared with diabetic positive control (P < 0.01), however, comparable with non-diabetic control. The diabetic positive control had extended mean estrous cycles (8 days) compared to Momordica charantia and Andrographis paniculata-treated diabetic rats (5 days; P < 0.05). Our results suggest that the anti-diabetic potentials of Momordica charantia and Andrographis paniculata could restore impaired estrous cycle in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. Authored by Reyes BA, Bautista ND, Tanquilut NC, Anunciado RV, Leung AB, Sanchez GC, Magtoto RL, Castronuevo P, Tsukamura H, Maeda KI. Thomas Jefferson University, Department of Neurosurgery, Farber Institute for Neurosciences, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107, USA. bsr103@jefferson.edu Published in J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Apr 21;105(1-2):196-200. Epub 2005 Nov 18.

  33. Effect of bitter gourd and spent turmeric on constituents of glycosaminoglycans in different tissues in streptozotocin induced diabetic ratslink

    Diet is now one of the well established means in the management of diabetes. Bitter gourd and spent turmeric at 10% level were tested for their efficacy on glycosaminoglycan metabolism in various tissues viz., liver, spleen, lungs, heart and testis in control, diabetic and treated rats. The glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) were isolated from defatted and dried tissues. The contents of sulfated GAGs decreased in all the tissues and the decrease was more prominent in heart and testis. In the isolated GAGs, contents of total sugar, amino sugar, uronic acid and sulfate were studied. Decrease in total sugar content was maximum in testis. Amino sugar content decreased considerably in testis (38%) and lungs (15%). The content of uronic acid also decreased in testis (33%) besides heart (29%) and liver (25%). Sulfate groups in GAGs perform pivotal functions in many biological events and decrease in sulfate content was significant in heart (40%), testis (37%) and liver (37%). GAGs profile on the cellulose acetate electrophoresis revealed that heparan sulfate (HS), hyaluronic acid (HA) and chondroitin sulfate/dermatan sulfate (CS/DS) were present in liver, spleen and lungs. HS, CS were present in heart, DS/CS was observed in testis. The observed beneficial effects in GAGs metabolism during diabetes may be due to the presence of high amounts of dietary fibres present in bitter gourd and spent turmeric, besides, possible presence of bioactive compounds in one or both of them. Authored by Kumar GS, Vijayalakshmi B, Salimath PV. Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition, Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore 570 020, India. Published in Mol Cell Biochem. 2006 Jun;286(1-2):53-8. Epub 2006 Mar 11.

  34. Cucurbitane glucosides from Momordica charantia leaves as oviposition deterrents to the leafminer, Liriomyza trifoliilink

    The American serpentine leaf mining fly, Liriomyza trifolii, whose larva feeds on more than 120 plant species is well characterized by its high degree of polyphagy. Observations on the oviposition behavior by L. trifolii demonstrated that among cucurbitaceous plants, Momordica charantia is rarely attacked by L. trifolii. The methanol extract of M. charantia leaves strongly deterred the females from ovipositing on kidney bean leaves treated at a concentration of 1 g leaf equivalent extract/ml. Analysis of the polar fraction of the methanol extract of M. charantia leaves resulted in the isolation of a novel cucurbitane glucoside, 7-O-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-3,23-dihydroxycucurbita-5,24-dien-19-al, named momordicine IV, along with another known compound, momordicine II. Momordicine II and IV deterred oviposition by L. trifolii significantly when bioassays were carried out on kidney bean leaves treated at 75.6 and 20.3 microg/cm2 leaf surface, respectively. There was no synergistic effect on oviposition deterrent when the two compounds were combined in their natural abundance. Authored by Mekuria DB, Kashiwagi T, Tebayashi S, Kim CS. Department of Bioresources Science, Faculty of Agriculture, Kochi University, B200 Monobe, Nankoku 783-8502, Japan. daniel_bisrat98@yahoo.com Published in Z Naturforsch [C]. 2006 Jan-Feb;61(1-2):81-6.

  35. Inheritance of gynoecism in bitter gourd (Momordica charantia L.)link

    The inheritance of sex expression in cucumber (Cucumis sativus) and other cucurbits is well documented; however, the genetics of female sex (gynoecism) expression in bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) has not been described. Inheritance of gynoecism in bitter gourd was studied in a 100% gynoecious line (Gy263B). The F(2) and testcross segregation data revealed that gynoecism in Gy263B is under the control of a single, recessive gene. Following the gene nomenclature of cucurbits, it is proposed that the gene symbol, gy-1, be assigned for the expression of gynoecism in bitter gourd. Authored by Ram D, Kumar S, Singh M, Rai M, Kalloo G. Indian Institute of Vegetable Research, PB # 5002, PO BHU, Varanasi 221005, India. Published in J Hered. 2006 May-Jun;97(3):294-5. Epub 2006 Apr 13.

  36. In vitro refolded napin-like protein of Momordica charantia expressed in Escherichia coli displays properties of native napinlink

    Napins belong to the family of 2S albumin seed storage proteins and are shown to possess antifungal activity. Napins, in general, consist of two subunits (derived from single precursor) linked by disulphide bridges. Usually, reducing environment of the E. coli cytosol is not conducive for proper folding of heterodimeric proteins containing disulphide bridges. Present investigation reports for the first time expression of napin-like protein of Momordica charantia (rMcnapin) in E. coli and its in vitro refolding to produce biologically active protein. Full-length cDNA encoding napin-like protein (2S albumin) was isolated from M. charantia seeds by immunoscreening a cDNA expression library. The cDNA consisted of an open reading frame encoding a protein of 140 amino acid residues. The 36 amino acids at the N-terminus represent the signal and propeptide. The region encoding small and large chains of the M. charantia napin is separated by a linker of 8 amino acid residues. The region encoding napin (along with the linker) was PCR amplified, cloned into pQE-30 expression vector and expressed in E. coli. rMcnapin expressed as inclusion bodies was solubilized and purified by Ni2+-NTA affinity chromatography. The denatured and reduced rMcnapin was refolded by rapid dilution in an alkaline buffer containing glycerol and redox couple (GSH and GSSG). Refolded His-rMcnapin displayed similar spectroscopic properties as that of mature napin-like protein of M. charantia with 48.7% alpha-helical content. In addition, it also exhibited antifungal activity against T. hamatum with IC50 of 3 microg/ml. Refolded His-rMcnapin exhibited approximately 90% antifungal activity when compared with that of mature napin-like protein of M. charantia. Thus, a heterologous expression system and in vitro refolding conditions to obtain biologically active napin-like protein of M. charantia were established. Authored by Vashishta A, Sahu T, Sharma A, Choudhary SK, Dixit A. Gene Regulation Laboratory, Center for Biotechnology, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi-110067, India. Published in Biochim Biophys Acta. 2006 May;1764(5):847-55. Epub 2006 Apr 21.

  37. Slow Acting Protein Extract from Fruit Pulp of Momordica charantia with Insulin Secretagogue and Insulinomimetic Activitieslink

    The protein from Thai bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) fruit pulp was extracted and studied for its hypoglycemic effect. Subcutaneous administration of the protein extract (5, 10 mg/kg) significantly and markedly decreased plasma glucose concentrations in both normal and streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats in a dose-dependent manner. The onset of the protein extract-induced antihyperglycemia/hypoglycemia was observed at 4 and 6 h in diabetic and normal rats, respectively. This protein extract also raised plasma insulin concentrations by 2 fold 4 h following subcutaneous administration. In perfused rat pancreas, the protein extract (10 mug/ml) increased insulin secretion, but not glucagon secretion. The increase in insulin secretion was apparent within 5 min of administration and was persistent during 30 min of administration. Furthermore, the protein extract enhanced glucose uptake into C(2)C(12) myocytes and 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Time course experiments performed in rat adipocytes revealed that M. charantia protein extract significantly increased glucose uptake after 4 and 6 h of incubation. Thus, the M. charantia protein extract, a slow acting chemical, exerted both insulin secretagogue and insulinomimetic activities to lower blood glucose concentrations in vivo. Authored by Yibchok-Anun S, Adisakwattana S, Yao CY, Sangvanich P, Roengsumran S, Hsu WH. Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University. Published in Biol Pharm Bull. 2006 Jun;29(6):1126-31.

  38. Conjugated fatty acids accumulate to high levels in phospholipids of metabolically engineered soybean and Arabidopsis seedslink

    Expression of Delta(12)-oleic acid desaturase-related fatty acid conjugases from Calendula officinalis, Momordica charantia, and Vernicia fordii in seeds of soybean (Glycine max) or an Arabidopsis thaliana fad3/fae1 mutant was accompanied by the accumulation of the conjugated fatty acids calendic acid or alpha-eleostearic acid to amounts as high as 20% of the total fatty acids. Conjugated fatty acids, which are synthesized from phosphatidylcholine (PC)-linked substrates, accumulated in PC and phosphatidylethanolamine, and relative amounts of these fatty acids were higher in PC than in triacylglycerol (TAG) in the transgenic seeds. The highest relative amounts of conjugated fatty acids were detected in PC from seeds of soybean and A. thaliana that expressed the C. officinalis and M. charantia conjugases, where they accounted for nearly 25% of the fatty acids of this lipid class. In these seeds, >85% of the conjugated fatty acids in PC were detected in the sn-2 position, and these fatty acids were also enriched in the sn-2 position of TAG. In marked contrast to the transgenic seeds, conjugated fatty acids composed <1.5% of the fatty acids in PC from seeds of five unrelated species that naturally synthesize a variety of conjugated fatty acid isomers, including seeds that accumulate conjugated fatty acids to >80% of the total fatty acids. These results suggest that soybean and A. thaliana seeds are deficient in their metabolic capacity to selectively catalyze the flux of conjugated fatty acids from their site of synthesis on PC to storage in TAG. Authored by Cahoon EB, Dietrich CR, Meyer K, Damude HG, Dyer JM, Kinney AJ. USDA-ARS Plant Genetics Research Unit, Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, 975 North Warson Road, St. Louis, MO 63132, USA. ecahoon@danforthcenter.org Published in Phytochemistry. 2006 Jun;67(12):1166-76. Epub 2006 Jun 9.

  39. Potential applications of immobilized bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) peroxidase in the removal of phenols from polluted waterlink

    The potential applications of immobilized bitter gourd peroxidase in the treatment of model wastewater contaminated with phenols have been investigated. The synthetic water was treated with soluble and immobilized enzyme preparations under various experimental conditions. Maximum removal of phenols was found in the buffers of pH values 5.0-6.0 and at 40 degrees C in the presence of 0.75 mM H(2)O(2). Fourteen different phenols were independently treated with soluble and immobilized bitter gourd peroxidase in the buffer of pH 5.6 at 37 degrees C. Chlorinated phenols and native phenol were significantly removed while other substituted phenols were marginally removed by the treatment. Phloroglucinol and pyrogallol were recalcitrant to the action of bitter gourd peroxidase. Immobilized bitter gourd peroxidase preparation was capable of removing remarkably high percentage of phenols from the phenolic mixtures. Significantly higher level of total organic carbon was removed from the model wastewater containing individual phenol or complex mixture of phenols by immobilized bitter gourd peroxidase as compared to the soluble enzyme. 2,4-dichlorophenol and a phenolic mixture were also treated in a stirred batch reactor with fixed quantity of enzyme for longer duration. The soluble bitter gourd peroxidase ceased to function after 3h while the immobilized enzyme was active even after 6h of incubation with phenolic solutions. Authored by Akhtar S, Husain Q. Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Life Sciences, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh 202002, UP, India. Published in Chemosphere. 2006 Nov;65(7):1228-35. Epub 2006 Jun 9.

  40. Some toxicological studies of Momordica charantia L. on albino rats in normal and alloxan diabetic ratslink

    Momordica charantia L. (MC) (Cucurbitaceae) commonly known as balsam pear, bitter gourd or karela, used in several purposes in traditional medicine is an important medicinal plant. Two sets of experiments were carried out, the first experiment indicated that the LD(50) for MC juice and alcoholic extracts were 91.9 and 362.34 mg/100g b.wt., respectively, of subcutaneously "s.c." injected mice. The toxic signs were recorded within the first 24 h post-injection. The second experiment was performed to evaluate the effect of MC juice and alcoholic extracts on blood glucose and other biochemical parameters in normal and diabetic rats. Both extracts induced a significant decrease in serum glucose levels in normal and diabetic rats. The two extracts did not show any significant effect in urea, creatinine, ALT, AST and AP in normal rat, while in diabetic rats the two extracts caused a significant decrease in serum urea, creatinine, ALT, AST, AP, cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Also, these results suggested that MC extracts possesses anti-diabetic, hepato-renal protective and hypolipidemic effect in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. Thus, MC is alternative therapy that has primarily been used for lowering blood glucose levels in patients with diabetes mellitus. Authored by Abd El Sattar El Batran S, El-Gengaihi SE, El Shabrawy OA. Pharmacology Department, National Research Center, Dokki, Giza, Egypt. Published in J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Nov 24;108(2):236-42. Epub 2006 May 26.

  41. Momordica charantia constituents and antidiabetic screening of the isolated major compoundslink

    Bioguided fractionation of the methanol extract of Momordica charantia dried gourds led to the isolation of three new cucurbitane triterpenoids (1-3), together with eight known compounds (4-11). The aglycone of momordicoside I was isolated from the ether soluble fraction in a high amount. The structures of the metabolites were established on the basis of one and two dimensional NMR spectroscopic evidence, X-ray analysis, and comparison with the reported data in the literature. A number of phytochemicals have been isolated from Momordica charantia but the constituents responsible for the hypoglycaemic/antihyperglycaemic activities have not been determined. Therefore, in order to evaluate the contribution of the cucurbitane triterpenoids of the ether fraction of M. charantia methanol extract to in vivo anti-diabetic effects, the major compounds, 5beta,19-epoxy-3beta,25-dihydroxycucurbita-6,23(E)-diene (4), and 3beta,7beta,25-trihydroxycucurbita-5,23(E)-dien-19-al (5) have been tested and have shown blood hypoglycaemic effects in the diabetes-induced male ddY mice strain at 400 mg/kg. The two aglycones of charantin did not show any hypoglycaemic effects. Our finding is the first demonstration that major pure cucurbutanoid compounds of M. charantia have in vivo hypoglycaemic effects. Authored by Harinantenaina L, Tanaka M, Takaoka S, Oda M, Mogami O, Uchida M, Asakawa Y. Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Tokushima Bunri University; Yamashiro-cho, Tokushima 770-8514, Japan. Published in Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2006 Jul;54(7):1017-21.

  42. Lipid lowering effects of Momordica charantia (Bitter Melon) in HIV-1-protease inhibitor-treated human hepatoma cells, HepG2link

    1. Hyperlipidemic effects of HIV-1-protease inhibitors (PI) are associated with increased hepatic production of triglyceride (TG)-rich lipoproteins, rather than lipoprotein clearance. PI are known to increase apolipoprotein B (apoB) secretion, apoC-III mRNA expression and decrease apoA-1 secretion. Nutritional therapy remains an important strategy to manage PI-associated hyperlipidemia. 2. This study investigated the in vitro efficacy of Asian vegetable, Momordica charantia or bitter melon (BM) to ameliorate PI-associated apoB and lipid abnormalities in HepG2 cells. 3. Our study demonstrates that bitter melon juice (BMJ) significantly reduced apoB secretion and apoC-III mRNA expression and normalized apoA-I expression in PI-treated HepG2 cells. BMJ also significantly reduced cellular TG and microsomal TG transfer protein, suggesting that lipid bioavailability and lipidation of apoB assembly may play a role in decreased apoB secretion. 4. Identifying molecular targets of BM may offer alternative dietary strategies to decrease PI-associated hyperlipidemia and improve quality of life among HIV-1-infected patients. Authored by Nerurkar PV, Lee YK, Linden EH, Lim S, Pearson L, Frank J, Nerurkar VR. Laboratory of Metabolic Disorders and Alternative Medicine, Department of Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering, College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, Room 415H, East-West Road, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA. pratibha@hawaii.edu Published in Br J Pharmacol. 2006 Aug;148(8):1156-64. Epub 2006 Jul 3.

  43. Bitter gourd (Momordica Charantia): A dietary approach to hyperglycemialink

    Bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) is a vegetable with pantropical distribution. It contains substances with antidiabetic properties such as charantin, vicine, and polypeptide-p, as well as other unspecific bioactive components such as antioxidants. Metabolic and hypoglycemic effects of bitter gourd extracts have been demonstrated in cell culture, animal, and human studies. The mechanism of action, whether it is via regulation of insulin release or altered glucose metabolism and its insulin-like effect, is still under debate. Adverse effects are also known. Nevertheless, bitter gourd has the potential to become a component of the diet or a dietary supplement for diabetic and prediabetic patients. Well-designed interdisciplinary research by nutritionists, medical doctors, and agronomists is needed before a dietary recommendation can be given and a product brought to the market. Authored by Krawinkel MB, Keding GB. Department of International Nutrition, Institute of Nutritional Science, Justus-Liebig-University, Giessen, Germany. michael.krawinkel@uni-giessen.de Published in Nutr Rev. 2006 Jul;64(7 Pt 1):331-7.

  44. Cucurbitane-type triterpenoids from Momordica charantialink

    Five new cucurbitane-type triterpenes, (23E)-25-methoxycucurbit-23-ene-3beta,7beta-diol (1), (23E)-cucurbita-5,23,25-triene-3beta,7beta-diol (2), (23E)-25-hydroxycucurbita-5,23-diene-3,7-dione (3), (23E)-cucurbita-5,23,25-triene-3,7-dione (4), and (23E)-5beta,19-epoxycucurbita-6,23-diene-3beta,25-diol (5), together with one known triterpene, (23E)-5beta,19-epoxy-25-methoxycucurbita-6,23-dien-3beta-ol (6), have been isolated from the methanol extract of the stems of Momordica charantia. The structures of the new compounds were elucidated by spectroscopic methods. Authored by Chang CI, Chen CR, Liao YW, Cheng HL, Chen YC, Chou CH. Graduate Institute of Biotechnology, National Pingtung University of Science and Technology, Pingtung 912, Taiwan, Republic of China. Published in J Nat Prod. 2006 Aug;69(8):1168-71.

  45. Potassium excretion in healthy Japanese women was increased by a dietary intervention utilizing home-parcel delivery of Okinawan vegetableslink

    Potassium, which is abundant in vegetables, is inversely related to blood pressure. Although the situation has changed somewhat in recent years, the Okinawan diet has generally included a large amount of vegetables, and until recently Okinawans had the lowest rates of mortality due to stroke and coronary heart disease in Japan. Based on the hypothesis that these low mortality rates are partly attributable to increased potassium intake resulting from the high vegetable consumption, this study examined whether increasing the consumption of typical yellow-green Okinawan vegetables increases potassium intake. The purpose of this investigation was to determine whether increased consumption of these vegetables should be one of the dietary modifications recommended in public health promotion programs for Okinawans. The study employed 56 healthy, normotensive, free-living Japanese women aged 18-38 years living in Okinawa. They were randomized to a dietary intervention group (n=27) or a control group (n=29). Members of the dietary intervention group received an average weight of 371.4 g/day of a combination of the following vegetables twice weekly through an express home parcel deliver service for a period of 14 days: Goya (Momordica charantia), green papaya (Carica papaya), Handama (Gynura bicolor), Karashina (Brassica juncea), Njana (Crepidiastrum lanceolatium), Fuchiba (Artemisia vulgaris) and Fudanso (Beta vulgaris); and they consumed an average of 144.9 g/day, resulting in a 20.5% increase in their urinary potassium excretion over the baseline (p=0.045). The members of the control group were asked to avoid these vegetables, and the change in potassium excretion in this group was not significant (p=0.595). Urinary sodium and magnesium excretions, systolic and diastolic blood pressures, folic acid, triglycerides and serum high density lipoprotein cholesterol, low density lipoprotein cholesterol and total cholesterols changed non-significantly in both groups. Also, post-intervention urinary potassium excretion correlated positively with vegetable consumption in both the dietary intervention (p<0.0001) and control (p=0.008) groups and with Okinawan vegetable intake in the dietary intervention group (p=0.0004). Authored by Tuekpe MK, Todoriki H, Sasaki S, Zheng KC, Ariizumi M. Department of Environmental and Preventive Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of the Ryukyus, Nishihara-cho, Okinawa, Japan. Published in Hypertens Res. 2006 Jun;29(6):389-96.

  46. Fractionation and identification of 9c, 11t, 13t-conjugated linolenic acid as an activator of PPARalpha in bitter gourd (Momordica charantia L.)link

    Bitter gourd (Momordica charantia L.) is a common vegetable in Asia that has been used in traditional medicine for the treatment of Diabetes. PPARs are ligand-dependent transcription factors that belong to the steroid hormone nuclear receptor family and control lipid and glucose homeostasis in the body. We previously reported that the ethyl acetate (EA) extract of bitter gourd activated peroxisome proliferator receptors (PPARs) alpha and gamma. To identify the active compound that activated PPARalpha, wild bitter gourd EA extract was partitioned between n-hexane and 90% methanol/10% H(2)O, and the n-hexane soluble fraction was further separated by silica gel column chromatography and finally by preparative HPLC. A transactivation assay employing a clone of CHOK1 cells stably transfected with a (UAS)(4)-tk-alkaline phosphatase reporter and a chimeric receptor of GAL4-rPPARalpha LBD was used to track the active component. Based on Mass, NMR, and IR spectroscopy, 9cis, 11trans, 13trans-conjugated linolenic acid (9c, 11t, 13t-CLN) was identified as a PPARalpha activator in wild bitter gourd. The isolated 9c, 11t, 13t-CLN rich fraction also significantly induced acyl CoA oxidase (ACO) activity in a peroxisome proliferator-responsive murine hepatoma cell line, H4IIEC3, implying that 9c, 11t, 13t-CLN was able to act on a natural PPARalpha signaling pathway as well. The content of 9c, 11t, 13t-CLN was estimated to be about 7.1 g/kg of our dried wild bitter gourd sample. The concentration of 9c, 11t, 13t-CLN and activation activity in the hydrolyzed EA extract of the seeds was higher than that of the flesh. The potential health benefits of 9c, 11t, 13t-CLN through the PPARalpha regulated mechanism are worthy to be further characterized in in vivo studies. Authored by Chuang CY, Hsu C, Chao CY, Wein YS, Kuo YH, Huang CJ. Nutritional Biochemistry Laboratory, Institute of Microbiology and Biochemistry, National Taiwan University, 1, Sec. 4, Roosevelt Rd., Taipei, 106, Taiwan. Published in J Biomed Sci. 2006 Nov;13(6):763-72. Epub 2006 Sep 6.

  47. Ethnomedicines used in Trinidad and Tobago for urinary problems and diabetes mellituslink

    BACKGROUND: This paper is based on ethnobotanical interviews conducted from 1996-2000 in Trinidad and Tobago with thirty male and female respondents. METHODS: A non-experimental validation was conducted on the plants used for urinary problems and diabetes mellitus: This is a preliminary step to establish that the plants used are safe or effective, to help direct clinical trials, and to inform Caribbean physicians of the plants' known properties to avoid counter-prescribing. RESULTS: The following plants are used to treat diabetes: Antigonon leptopus, Bidens alba, Bidens pilosa, Bixa orellana, Bontia daphnoides, Carica papaya, Catharanthus roseus, Cocos nucifera, Gomphrena globosa, Laportea aestuans, Momordica charantia, Morus alba, Phyllanthus urinaria and Spiranthes acaulis. Apium graviolens is used as a heart tonic and for low blood pressure. Bixa orellana, Bontia daphnoides, Cuscuta americana and Gomphrena globosa are used for jaundice. The following plants are used for hypertension: Aloe vera, Annona muricata, Artocarpus altilis, Bixa orellana, Bidens alba, Bidens pilosa, Bonta daphnoides, Carica papaya, Cecropia peltata, Citrus paradisi, Cola nitida, Crescentia cujete, Gomphrena globosa, Hibiscus sabdariffa, Kalanchoe pinnata, Morus alba, Nopalea cochinellifera, Ocimum campechianum, Passiflora quadrangularis, Persea americana and Tamarindus indicus. The plants used for kidney problems are Theobroma cacao, Chamaesyce hirta, Flemingia strobilifera, Peperomia rotundifolia, Petiveria alliacea, Nopalea cochinellifera, Apium graveolens, Cynodon dactylon, Eleusine indica, Gomphrena globosa, Pityrogramma calomelanos and Vetiveria zizanioides. Plants are also used for gall stones and for cooling. CONCLUSION: Chamaesyce hirta, Cissus verticillata, Kalanchoe pinnata, Peperomia spp., Portulaca oleraceae, Scoparia dulcis, and Zea mays have sufficient evidence to support their traditional use for urinary problems, "cooling" and high cholesterol. Eggplant extract as a hypocholesterolemic agent has some support but needs more study. The plants used for hypertension, jaundice and diabetes that may be safe and justify more formal evaluation are Annona squamosa, Aloe vera, Apium graveolens, Bidens alba, Carica papaya, Catharanthus roseus, Cecropia peltata, Citrus paradisi, Hibsicus sabdariffa, Momordica charantia, Morus alba, Persea americana, Phyllanthus urinaria, Tamarindus indicus and Tournefortia hirsutissima. Several of the plants are used for more than one condition and further trials should take this into account. Authored by Lans CA. BCICS, University of Victoria, British Columbia, V8W 2Y2, Canada. cher2lans@netscape.net Published in J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2006 Oct 13;2:45.

  48. Structures of new cucurbitane-type triterpenes and glycosides, karavilagenins and karavilosides, from the dried fruit of Momordica charantia L. in Sri Lankalink

    Three new cucurbitane-type triterpene called karavilagenins A, B, and C and five new cucurbitane-type triterpene glycosides called karavilosides I, II, III, IV, and V were isolated from the dried fruit of Sri Lanka Momordica charantia L. (Cucurbitaceae) together with two known cucurbitane-type triterpenes, 19(R)-methoxy-5beta,19-epoxycucurbita-6,23-dien-3beta,25-diol and 5,19-epoxycucurbita-6,23-diene-3,25-diol, and nine known cucurbitane-type triterpene glycosides, goyaglycosides-b, -c, and -d, and momordicosides F1, F2, G, I, K, and L. The structures of karavilagenins and karavilosides were elucidated on the basis of chemical and physicochemical evidence. Authored by Nakamura S, Murakami T, Nakamura J, Kobayashi H, Matsuda H, Yoshikawa M. Kyoto Pharmaceutical University, Misasagi, Kyoto, Japan. Published in Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 2006 Nov;54(11):1545-50.

  49. Hypoglycaemic and hypotensive effects of Momordica charantia Linn (Cucurbitaceae) whole-plant aqueous extract in ratslink

    Various morphological parts (roots, stems, leaves and fruits) of Momordica charantia Linn (family: Cucurbitaceae) are used traditionally in African folk medicine to manage, control and/or treat a plethora of human ailments, including diabetes mellitus and hypertension. In order to scientifically appraise some of the folkloric, anecdotal and ethnomedical uses of M charantia, the present study was undertaken to investigate the hypoglycaemic and hypotensive effects of M charantia whole-plant aqueous extract (MCE) in rat experimental paradigms. The hypoglycaemic effect of the plant extract was examined in normal and diabetic rats, using streptozotocin (STZ)- induced diabetes mellitus models. Normotensive (normal), and hypertensive Dahl salt-sensitive rats were used to probe the hypotensive (antihypertensive) effect of the plant extract. Chlorpropamide was used as reference hypoglycaemic agent for comparison. Acute oral administrations of the plant extract caused dose-related, significant hypoglycaemia in normal (normoglycaemic) and STZ-treated, diabetic rats. Furthermore, acute intravenous administrations of MCE produced dose-dependent, significant reductions in systemic arterial blood pressure and heart rates of normal, and hypertensive Dahl salt-sensitive rats. Although the exact hypoglycaemic and hypotensive mechanisms of action of the plant extract remain speculative at the moment, it is unlikely that the herb causes hypotension in the mammalian experimental animal model used via cholinergic mechanisms, since its cardiovascular effects are resistant to atropine pretreatment. However, the findings of this experimental animal study indicate that the plant extract possesses hypoglycaemic and hypotensive properties, and therefore, lend pharmacological credence to folkloric, ethnomedical uses of the plant in the management and/or control of diabetes mellitus and hypertension in some rural African communities. Authored by Ojewole JA, Adewole SO, Olayiwola G. Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa. Published in Cardiovasc J S Afr. 2006 Sep-Oct;17(5):227-32.

  50. The effect of silicon on the infection by and spread of Pythium aphanidermatum in single roots of tomato and bitter gourdlink

    The effect of silicon (Si) supply on the infection and spread of Pythium aphanidermatum was studied in the roots of tomato [Lycopersicon esculentum (=Solanum lycopersicum), an Si excluder] and bitter gourd (Mormodica charantia, an Si intermediate accumulator). Individual roots were mounted into PVC compartmented boxes which allowed the application of Si and zoospores to defined root zones. Two days after inoculation, root growth was recorded, and P. aphanidermatum colonization of individual root sections was determined by ELISA. In tomato as well as in bitter gourd the root tip was the root section most sensitive to P. aphanidermatum infection. Application of Si did not affect severe root-growth inhibition by P. aphanidermatum in either species. However, continuous Si supply significantly inhibited the basipetal spread of the pathogen from the infected root apex in bitter gourd but not in tomato. Si application to the roots only during pretreatment or only during/after the infection of the roots failed to inhibit the spread of P. aphanidermatum. Determination and compartmentation of Si in the roots of bitter gourd revealed that apoplastic Si was not, but symplastic Si was, associated with the ability of the plant to reduce the spread of the fungus in roots. It is concluded that accumulation of Si in the root cell walls does not represent a physical barrier to the spread of P. aphanidermatum in bitter gourd and tomato roots. The maintenance of elevated symplastic Si contents is a prerequisite for Si-enhanced resistance against P. aphanidermatum. Authored by Heine G, Tikum G, Horst WJ. Institute of Plant Nutrition, University of Hannover, Herrenhaeuser Str. 2, D-30419 Hannover, Germany. Published in J Exp Bot. 2007;58(3):569-77. Epub 2006 Dec 6.





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Replace omega-6 vegetable oils with omega-9 olive oil... Eat oily fish like tuna, sardines, anchovy, salmon, herring... Beans, lentils, peas add fiber... Nine or more 3-ounce servings of fruits or vegetables per day...