Bitter Melon Cancer

Bitter melon also called bitter gourd or wild cucumber or ampalaya.

Bitter melon can assist in a holistic cancer treatment. Bitter melon will not cure cancer alone but in combination with other herbs, juices and therapies, bitter melon will boost cancer treatment effectiveness.

Scientists found extracts from bitter melon that can cure breast cancer. Tests showed ingredients in the spiky green fruit prevent division of human breast cancer cells also triggered cell death. Bitter melon extract has use an anticancer agent.

Researchers found a significant decrease in cell proliferation (increase in the number of cells) as a result of cell growth and cell division and induced apoptotic cell death (often referred to as cell suicide) after Bitter melon extract (BME) treatment of breast cancer cells. Studies showed that bitter melon extracts blocked the growth of cancer developing cells.

Furthermore, bitter melon extract is being popularized as a dietary supplement in Western Countries, since it is known to contain additional glycosides such as mormordin, vitamin C, carotenoids, flavanoids and polyphenols.

Bitter Melon Breast Cancer Research

There have been many studies that show how bitter melon kills breast cancer cells. The latest research comes from St. Louis University and concludes that an extract from bitter melon inhibits the growth of breast cancer in vitro. This means is the extract kills cancer cells in a test tube environment.

This research is exciting because it involved two different breast cancer cell lines and the bitter melon extract killed 80% of the cells within 48 hours. It also prevented the breast cancer cells from dividing and proliferating. The bitter melon extract was also put with healthy breast cells and did not cause any cell death.

Bitter melon is an excellent source of polyphenols and carotenoids which are good for you and have proven anti-cancer activity. There are no recorded safety or efficacy concerns regarding bitter melon.

“When we used the extract from that melon, we saw that it kills the breast cancer cells,” said lead researcher Ratna Ray, a professor of pathology at Saint Louis University. But their work was done in a laboratory, not in humans, she noted.

The bitter melon extract killed only the cancer cells, not the healthy breast cells. “We didn’t see any death in the normal cells,” she said.

However, these results are not proof that bitter melon extract prevents or cures breast cancer. “I don’t believe that it will cure cancer,” Ray said. “It will probably delay or perhaps have some prevention.”

Eating bitter melon could also have a beneficial effect, Ray said. “It has ingredients which are good for the health.” Those ingredients include Vitamin C and flavonoids.

Marji McCullough, strategic director of nutritional epidemiology at the American Cancer Society, expressed interest in the findings. “The results of this laboratory study are intriguing,” McCullough said. “But before recommending bitter melon extract supplements for cancer prevention, we need appropriate clinical trials to establish its safety and efficacy in humans.”

For now, the cancer society recommends getting nutrients through foods, not supplements, McCullough said.

Anti-Cancer Compounds

Bitter melon is rich in vitamin C, mormordin (a glycoside), carotenoids, flavonoids, and polyphenols.

1. Vitamin C/ Ascorbic Acid
Ascorbic acid is well known for its antioxidant activity, acting as a reducing agent to reverse oxidation in liquids. Ascorbic acid behaves not only as an antioxidant but also as a pro-oxidant. Pro-oxidants are chemicals that induce oxidative stress produced by these chemicals can damage cells and tissues/Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine.

The North American Dietary Reference Intake recommends 90 milligrams per day and no more than 2 grams (2,000 milligrams) per day.

2. Polyphenols are known for their anti-cancer properties. The polyphenols trigger apoptosis, which causes death of the cancer cells. Polyphenols also act as antioxidants to fight against the free radicals and tissue damage that cancer can cause.

3. Carotenoids give the color to the plant. In recent years, carotenoids have received a tremendous amount of attention as potential anti-cancer and anti-aging compounds.

Carotenoids are powerful antioxidants, protecting the cells of the body from damage caused by free radicals. Carotenoids, and specifically beta-carotene, are also believed to enhance the function of the immune system.

Carotenoids have shown the ability to stimulate cell to cell communication. Researchers now believe that poor communication between cells may be one of the causes of the overgrowth of cells, a condition which eventually leads to cancer. By promoting proper communication between cells, carotenoids may play a role in cancer prevention.

It is also believed that carotenoids participate in female reproduction. Although the exact function of carotenoids in female reproduction has not yet been identified, it is known that the corpus luteum has the highest concentration of beta-carotene of any organ in the body, suggesting that this nutrient plays an important role in reproductive processes.

4. Flavonoids
Flavonoids (both flavonols and flavanols) are most commonly known for their antioxidant activity in vitro. Flavonoids could also induce mechanisms that may kill cancer cells and inhibit tumor invasion. UCLA cancer researchers have found that study participants who ate foods containing certain flavonoids, such as catechins found in strawberries and green and black teas; kaempferol from brussel sproutsand apples; and quercetin from beans, onions and apples, may have reduced risk of obtaining lung cancer.

Research also indicated that only small amounts of flavonoids may be needed for possible benefits. Taking large dietary supplements likely provides no extra benefit and may pose risks.

However, certainty of neither a benefit nor a risk has been proven yet in large-scale human intervention trials.

Bitter Melon Contra Indication

Excessive bitter melon consumption in any form can lead to diarrhea and pain in the stomach and abdomen. Eating too many seeds can lead to fever, headache and even coma.

Pregnant women and those suffering from low blood sugar or hypoglycemia should not take any form of bitter melon because of its ability to lower blood sugar. Bitter melon extract may interfere with drugs used to treat diabetes.

On the other hand, bitter melon has been scientifically validated herbal medicinal plant, can lower elevated blood sugar levels to treat diabetes, said by the Philippine Department of Health. A recent scientific study at the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, India, has proved that bitter melon increases insulin sensitivity.

Buy Bitter Melon Products Online

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Bitter Melon Research Links

Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia) Extract Inhibits Breast Cancer Cell Proliferation by Modulating Cell Cycle Regulatory Genes and Promotes Apoptosis

Bitter Melon: antagonist to cancer.

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