Clayton's Health Facts: Momordica.

Clayton South, SPN (ISSA), is a recognized expert in the bodybuilding / fitness industry with over 150 bodybuilding, fitness and nutrition publications to his credit.

What Is It?
And Where Does It Come From?

Bitter MelonMomordica charantia (Bitter Melon) is a fruit that grows on the momordica charantia plant. Momordica grows in tropical climates and has been used as a traditional medicine for thousands of years. 1

The leaves and vines of the momordica charantia plant are frequently used in traditional medicine, but the fruit is used most often, due to its effectiveness and safety.

What Does It Do?
And What Scientific Studies Give Evidence To Support This?

Momordica has been used in traditional medicine to treat a number of ailments. Chief amongst these are diabetes and indigestion. Animal research has supported Momordicas efficacy as a diabetes mellitus treatment, 2,3,4,5 while support for momordica as a digestive aid has not been supported.

Momordica is of benefit to persons with diabetes because it can help prevent cataracts6, it has insulin-like molecules7, and it helps to remove glucose from the bloodstream8.

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Insulin dependant diabetics may also derive benefit from momordica use, because momordica has been shown to support the immune system through its nitric oxide scavenging abilities9, and because it has been shown to act like insulin by forcing amino acid uptake into skeletal muscle tissue.10

Persons with diabetes frequently experience significant losses in lean muscle tissue and subsequent increases in body fat. This process further increases their level of dependence on insulin. By supplementing with momordica, the diabetic can support immune function and support the maintenance and rebuilding of lean muscle tissue.

Momordica has been shown in animal studies to decrease bodyfat11, heal ulcers12, prevent colon cancer13 and lower the level of liver triglycerides14.

The lowering of bodyfat will favorably affect the testosterone to estrogen ratio and will subsequently be efficacious to muscular hypertrophy, and the lowering of liver triglyceride levels will favorably impact liver function and prevent fatty liver disease.

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Through improving glucose utilization, momordica may favorably impact the aging process and prevent a number of disorders. 15 By increasing glucose utilization efficiency, momordica offsets the suppression of growth hormone that is typically seen with prolonged periods of elevated insulin levels.

Momordica may also have anti-inflammatory properties16, although more research is needed to investigate this possibility.

Supplementation is believed to be safe.17

Who Needs It?
And What Are Some Symptoms Of Deficiency?

All persons can benefit from momordica supplementation. Its ability to favorably impact the aging process and regulate glucose levels can assist all persons in staying healthy and lean.

Bodybuilders can benefit from Momordica supplementation as momordica can release insulin18 in the absence of carbohydrates. This will allow bodybuilders to utilize the anabolism of insulin to encourage protein synthesis and muscular hypertrophy without having to ingest excessive calories in the form of simple carbohydrate.

How Much Should Be Taken?
And Are There Any Side Effects?

Scientific literature suggests that users of momordica be cleared by a physician prior to use. 19 Persons with chronically low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia) should not use this product.

Side effects of overdose can include diarrhea and abdominal pain.20

Strictly adhere to label instructions.


    1. Grover JK, Yadav SP. Pharmacological actions and potential uses of Momordica charantia: a review. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004 Jul;93(1):123-32.

    2. Ahmed I, Adeghate E, Cummings E, Sharma AK, Singh J. Beneficial effects and mechanism of action of Momordica charantia juice in the treatment of streptozotocin-induced diabetes mellitus in rat. Mol Cell Biochem. 2004 Jun;261(1-2):63-70

    3. Miura T, Itoh Y, Iwamoto N, Kato M, Ishida T. Suppressive activity of the fruit of Momordica charantia with exercise on blood glucose in type 2 diabetic mice. Biol Pharm Bull. 2004 Feb;27(2):248-50.

    4. Platel K, Srinivasan K. Plant foods in the management of diabetes mellitus: vegetables as potential hypoglycemic agents. Nahrung. 1997 Apr;41(2):68-74.

    5. Sarkar S, Pranava M, Marita R. Demonstration of the hypoglycemic action of Momordica charantia in a validated animal model of diabetes. Pharmacol Res. 1996 Jan;33(1):1-4.

    6. Rathi SS, Grover JK, Vikrant V, Biswas NR. Prevention of experimental diabetic cataract by Indian Ayurvedic plant extracts. Phytother Res. 2002 Dec;16(8):774-7.

    7. Ng TB, Wong CM, Li WW, Yeung HW. Insulin-like molecules in Momordica charantia seeds. J Ethnopharmacol. 1986 Jan;15(1):107-17.

    8. Mahomoodally MF, Fakim AG, Subratty AH. Momordica charantia extracts inhibit uptake of monosaccharide and amino acid across rat everted gut sacs in-vitro. Momordica charantia extracts inhibit uptake of monosaccharide and amino acid across rat everted gut sacs in-vitro. Biol Pharm Bull. 2004 Feb;27(2):216-8.

    9. Jagetia GC, Baliga MS. The evaluation of nitric oxide scavenging activity of certain Indian medicinal plants in vitro: a preliminary study. J Med Food. 2004 Fall;7(3):343-8.

    10. Cummings E, Hundal HS, Wackerhage H, Hope M, Belle M, Adeghate E, Singh J. Momordica charantia fruit juice stimulates glucose and amino acid uptakes in L6 myotubes. Mol Cell Biochem. 2004 Jun;261(1-2):99-104.

    11. Chen Q, Chan LL, Li. Bitter melon (Momordica charantia) reduces adiposity, lowers serum insulin and normalizes glucose tolerance in rats fed a high fat diet. J Nutr. 2003 Apr;133(4):1088-93.

    12. Gurbuz I, Akyuz C, Yesilada E, Sener B. Anti-ulcerogenic effect of Momordica charantia L. fruits on various ulcer models in rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2000 Jul;71(1-2):77-82.

    13. Chiampanichayakul S, Kataoka K, Arimochi H, Thumvijit S, Kuwahara T, Nakayama H, Vinitketkumnuen U, Ohnishi Y. Inhibitory effects of bitter melon (Momordica charantia Linn.) on bacterial mutagenesis and aberrant crypt focus formation in the rat colon. J Med Invest. 2001 Feb;48(1-2):88-96.

    14 Senanayake GV, Maruyama M, Shibuya K, Sakono M, Fukuda N, Morishita T, Yukizaki C, Kawano M, Ohta H.The effects of bitter melon (Momordica charantia) on serum and liver triglyceride levels in rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004 Apr;91(2-3):257-62.

    15. McCarty MF. Does bitter melon contain an activator of AMP-activated kinase? Med Hypotheses. 2004;63(2):340-3.

    16. Ou L, Kong LY, Zhang XM, Niwa M. Oxidation of ferulic acid by Momordica charantia peroxidase and related anti-inflammation activity changes. Biol Pharm Bull. 2003 Nov;26(11):1511-6.

    17. Virdi J, Sivakami S, Shahani S, Suthar AC, Banavalikar MM, Biyani MK. Antihyperglycemic effects of three extracts from Momordica charantia. J Ethnopharmacol. 2003 Sep;88(1):107-11.

    18. Welihinda J, Arvidson G, Gylfe E, Hellman B, Karlsson E. The insulin-releasing activity of the tropical plant momordica charantia. Acta Biol Med Ger. 1982;41(12):1229-40.

    19. Basch E, Gabardi S, Ulbricht C. Bitter melon (Momordica charantia): a review of efficacy and safety. Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2003 Feb 15;60(4):356-9.

    20. Brown DJ, Gaby A, Reichert R, Yarnell E. Phytotherapeutic and nutritional approaches to diabetes mellitus. Quart Rev Nat Med 1998;Winter:329-54.

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