bitter melon on wooden cutting board

Bitter Melon Extract: New Treatment for Type 2 Diabetes?

Bitter melon extract may be the newest way to manage your type 2 diabetes. The fruit grows in tropical climates like South America, Asia, and the Caribbean, and is used to treat a myriad of health issues, like colic, fever, burns, chronic cough, painful menstruation and even malaria. But now, scientists are studying the effect it has on blood sugar.

How it works

Bitter melon contains three active substances that help regulate blood sugar. The first is charantin, which has a blood sugar lowering effect. The second is vicine, an insulin-like compound. The third is lectin, which reduced blood-glucose concentrations and even suppresses appetite. Together, the three substances work together to stabilize blood sugar in patients with type 2 diabetes.


Several studies, including one published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, show that a daily dose of 2,000 mg reduced post-meal blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes and had a similar effect to 1,000 mg of metformin. However, another study published in the Journal of Clinical Epidemeology showed that bitter melon extract had little to no impact on patients’ A1c levels. More research is needed before bitter melon extract is considered a safe a viable option for those with type 2 diabetes.

Side effects

Taking high concentrations of bitter melon can have side effects including diarrhea and hypoglycemia. To avoid dangerous drops in blood sugar, it is recommended that you consult with your doctor before beginning any new treatment regimen.