Complimentary Therapy # 1 -- Bitter Melon juice (4oz. each morning)

Well, as a little background: I was diagnosed in late 2007 with Type 2, and have lost 30 pounds since, with another 80 or so to go in order to reach my BMI goal, and a 40 inch waist. I have a Masters degree in Public Health (MPH), and try to keep up with the latest on Diabetes. I’m currently on the extended release Metformin, after discontinuing Januvia – based in part on what I read in here. My latest A1C was 5.

For about the past two weeks I have begun taking Bitter Melon juice, 4 ounces (8 tablespoons) every morning – along with 2 tablespoons of lime juice to make it more palatable. I started when my fasting BG readings first thing in the morning were in the 120s, which were a little high for me. I ran generally around 115, but had been as low as 94. During the first day of taking the Bitter Melon juice my BG dropped (almost immediately) to 74, which I believe is on the low end of the normal range, and my BG didn’t break 130 (either one or two hours after eating) all that day. I must have tested myself 15 times at least. The feeling that day was one of euphoria, and I felt especially clear-headed. That night I had the best sleep in recent memory. Since then, my fasting BG has ranged from 70 to 115, with one and two hours after meals as high as 145, depending on the meal. Incidentally, the morning after St. Patrick’s Day, my morning BG was just 84,
after admittedly over-indulging on carbs, protein, fat and alcohol during the previous day. I’m back to my more healthful routine now.

Has anyone else tried Bitter Melon juice? I hasten to add that one should closely monitor BG with this, as hypoglycemia can result. I had rescue glucose tablets (chewable type) on hand, if it fell much
below 70. As with anything, consult your Physician first. The benefits of Bitter Melon are being studied by the University of Michigan and others. It appears to be an organic insulin mimetic, imitating the action of insulin and causing the body to release less glucose in the blood. Pregnant women need to exercise particular caution, as the use of Bitter Melon could induce a miscarriage. Some studies indicate it has a sustained benefit after discontinuing it. Bitter Melon (also known as Bitter Gourd, Balsam Pear, Karela and Ampalaya) is a staple across many Asian cultures and their respective cuisines. Be aware that it is one of the most bitter substances on Earth. Bitter tasting things are all but unknown in the Western diet, except for coffee or rhubarb maybe. My local Italian market keeps it regularly stocked, luckily, and I juice three or four of them every few days to maintain a fresh supply, rather that doing a big batch all in one day for the week. Although there are many Asian markets in the Metropolitan Detroit area (where I live), I have not found any place that carries Bitter Melon juice – just the Bitter Melons. I am getting used to juicing them up, but I wouldn’t mind the convenience of having them already juiced. The taste is actually enjoyable to me now, with the addition of a little lime juice.

I didn’t submit this under Alternative Ways of Treating Diabetes, because I take alternative to mean instead of, whereas I am trying this approach to compliment the prescription Diabetes medication (currently Metformin HCL, two 500mg tablets at night with last meal). This is my first posting, and perhaps a little long. Maybe I should start a blog? I plan on trying some Vanadium compounds next.

Hello Fat Leprechaun. Welcome to the community. Wow, that is a pretty good A1C…well done!
I am aware of bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) or bitter melon as a vegetable (not the juice). I am of Asian descent so “Ampalaya” was a common household dish where I came from, and is usually prepared stir fried, sauteed, and salads. Personally I find the taste despicable since it is indeed bitter (duh)! Both the fruit and the leaves are edible.
Asian traditional medicine claims that bitter melon promotes digestion, helps with infections, excellent source of B Vitamins and vitamin C. I also read articles and researches claiming that it also helps with diabetes (hypoglycemic effect), HIV and breast cancer. At the same time it also claims that it can cause diarrhea, abdominal pain, and may stimulate the uterus that may lead to preterm labor, if consumed excessively.
There many products now claiming its medicinal properties like pills, tea and juices. Personally I have not tried any.

Hi Teena – how nice to hear from you. Thank you for the welcome. If I can kick myself in the butt a little more, I will lose the weight I need to, and better ensure continued good A1C readings. My lovely Niece just lost 50 pounds doing Weight Watchers, and is a true inspiration to her Uncle Bill. As to the bitter melons – I personally tried scrambling them up with eggs, but could not stand it. My Aunt (by marriage, who also has Diabetes Type 2) tried it and has still not forgiven me. Her daughter-in-law (my cousin’s wife) is of Vietnamese descent, and uses it fairly regularly – she got a big kick out of the fact that we were trying it. So then I tried juicing them up and following a recommended dose (from various sources) of 4 ounces each morning, and no more, because of the side effects of taking too much which you aptly described. I was supposed to experience the benefit after a month, but it was immediate… which is good for any guy, I think. No undesirable effects with the 4 ounces so far. Lime juice, which I love, really helps the taste. I’m glad you mentioned about it being high in those vitamins. There is a product made from the seeds that is sold in India and quite popular there, which I obtained via eBay, that had no effect on me whatsoever, so I can not personally recommend that one. I do drink the tea (made from the leaves) from time to time, however, which is not the least bit bitter… with a subtle, calming effect on me. By the way, I was walking/talking with a really cool lady in the race that I was in recently (Corktown 5K Run/Walk in Detroit) while she was pushing her baby in a stroller (as seen in the picture posted to the slideshow), and she told me that her mother – who was born in the Philippines – used to be given bitter melon… as punishment!

Yep. Teena personally confirmed it (above), and this is from Wikipedia:

“Bitter melon is prepared in various dishes in the Philippines, where it is known as ampalayá. It may also be stir-fried with ground beef and oyster sauce, or with eggs and diced tomato. A very popular dish from the Ilocos region of the Philippines, pinakbet, consists mainly of bitter melons, eggplant, okra, string beans, tomatoes, lima beans, and other various regional vegetables stewed with a little bagoong-based stock. The young shoots and leaves may also be eaten as greens; these are locally called dahon (leaves) ng ampalayá”.

Now that’s cruel! LOL
My Mom is a dietician by profession. One of her doctoral studies was in the field of herbal suplements. Her study was limited to several fruit and veggies like malungay (Moringa Oleifera), Okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) and Bitter Gourd. That is how I came to know some of its “nutritional” values. One of her recommendations was to endorse the fruit/veggie to be a part of an average family’s diet meal (preferably prepared better for a more suitable taste especially for children) and not the juice nor pill suplements. The study was pretty interesting actually. Unfortunately for me…the taste outweighs the nutritional values…Euw! LOL

Thank you, Varena Ngai, that is interesting because at the market where I get the bitter melons they are petite one week, and very long the next, but the juice of either seem just as bitter to me, so I wonder if you have a special milder one (the bigger type you mentioned) cultivated in Singapore? My experience with apple cider vinegar was similar, in that it put me off food and made me generally nauseous – all day. Although it did curb my appetite (in a disturbing way), and appeared to slow the absorption of carbs, I just could not tolerate taking apple cider vinegar with every meal, and discontinued it. Everyone is different. For example, I tried Hoodia Gordonii to suppress my appetite and it had no effect whatsoever, while other people swear by it. Sounds like a great recipe… I’ll be over for dinner on the next available flight!

I know – I laughed when she said it. How great it must be to have a Mom that is a Dietician… she must keep you on your toes! Funny you should mention moringa oleifera, because I was actually looking into that myself, for energy mainly – in addition to being nutritious, and it looks pretty easy to grow yourself on a terrace like I have. It is also available on eBay… to which I have a mild addiction! I’d like to try Amargozin (tablet form) produced in the Philippines, an anti-diabetic medicine developed by the National Integrated Research Program on Medicinal Plants (NIRPROMP) along with Pascual Laboratories / Altermed, and also Charagen Ampalaya (capsules and tea). It appears to be made from the leaves of the bitter melon / ampalaya. I see it online, but have not tried it. There are a lot of companies producing bitter melon supplements. This one looks like it was produced as a medicine, though. Again, I haven’t tried it and do not endorse it (yet) but would like to try it. I wish the leaves were available at the market, so I could toss them in when juicing them up.