Are you struggling with symptoms of poor blood sugar control? If so, you may be among the 34.2 million people in the US with diabetes or the 88 million American adults with pre-diabetes (1).
Blood sugar conditions put a huge burden on your body and the healthcare system. The good news is bitter melon is an herbal remedy used in K-Health that may provide support.
What is Bitter Melon?
Bitter melon is a tropical vine fruit from the Momordica charantia plant that's beloved in both Asian cuisine and traditional medicine. Also known as bitter gourd, it's grown in Korea and is related to vegetables like zucchini, squash, and pumpkin. Funnily enough, it doesn't look like a melon at all, but rather a cucumber covered in bumpy ridges!
Whether stuffed or stir-fried, its bitter flavor and sweet aftertaste make it popular for use in a variety of dishes. Bitter melon is also used to make a health-giving juice rich in B vitamins, vitamin C, folic acid, potassium, zinc, iron, magnesium, and beta-carotene. If you frequent Asian grocers, you've likely come across bitter melon in fruit, juice, or supplement form!
What has been a popular fruit in K-Health for centuries is now gaining traction around the world for its health properties.
Bitter Melon’s Impact on Blood Sugar
Glucose is the spark of life; it's your cell's main energy source and is necessary for survival. However, blood sugar levels need to be tightly regulated with the help of insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas that moves glucose out of the bloodstream to be used as energy or stored. In the case of pre-diabetes and diabetes, the body stops responding to or producing insulin, resulting in dangerously elevated blood glucose levels. If left uncontrolled, it has disastrous consequences for your health.
Enter SJ Yeoju from Sejong Biotech, a natural bitter melon extract that may promote healthy blood sugar levels. Research suggests it has insulin-mimicking properties thanks to a compound called polypeptide-p.
A 2018 study of type-2 diabetics found that taking 2000 mg of bitter melon extract improved insulin secretion, blood glucose levels, as well as hemoglobin A1C – a measure of long-term blood glucose regulation (2). Don't worry if you didn't understand that – all you need to know is that bitter melon showed promising results!
Bitter Melon and Metabolic Syndrome
When insulin resistance or diabetes is accompanied by weight gain around the abdomen and markers of heart disease, it's known as metabolic syndrome. Research suggests bitter melon may improve measures of metabolic syndrome by contributing to a reduction in body mass index (BMI), fat mass, and waist circumference (2, 3).
What to Look for When Buying a Bitter Melon Supplement
If you're new to herbal extracts, keep reading!
It's important to ensure that the product you're buying is of good quality and contains standardized bitter melon extract, with no fillers or unnecessary additives. The herbal supplement should be made in a facility that uses Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) to ensure it is of high quality and potency. You also want to look out for supplement facts on the packaging that tell you the list of ingredients, dosage, and serving size.
SJ Yeoju is a blood sugar formula containing 500 mg of bitter melon extract per capsule. We're happy to say it's free of additives and manufactured in a GMP facility. Keep in mind that this natural formula isn't a replacement for your diabetes medication. It works best when used in conjunction with regular exercise and a calorie-controlled, whole food diet.
1. The Center for Disease Control's National Diabetes Statistics Report. (2020) Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/data/statistics-report/index.html
2. Cortez-Navarrete et al. (2018). Momordica charantia administration improves insulin secretion in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29431598/
3. Tsai et al. (2012). Wild bitter gourd improves metabolic syndrome: A preliminary dietary supplementation trial. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3311063