If you’re looking for the best bitter melon supplements to buy this year, then you’ve come to the right place.
You can also get more info by jumping to our Bitter Melon Supplements Guide.
Top 10 Bitter Melon Supplements
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|#1||Bulksupplements Pure Bitter Melon Extract||Get it on Amazon|
|#2||Jarrow Formulas Wild Bitter Melon Extract||Get it on Amazon|
|#3||Himalaya Herbal Healthcare Organic Bitter Melon||Get it on Amazon|
|#4||Nutricost Bitter Melon||Get it on Amazon|
|#5||Swanson Premium Full-Spectrum Bitter Melon||Get it on Amazon|
|#6||Best Naturals Bitter Melon||Get it on Amazon|
|#7||Real Herbs Bitter Melon Extract||Get it on Amazon|
|#8||Puritan’s Pride Bitter Melon||Get it on Amazon|
|#9||Source Naturals Bitter Melon||Get it on Amazon|
|#10||Planetary Herbals Bitter Melon||Get it on Amazon|
Bitter melon is a plant used as a food source in India and some other parts of Asia. It also grows in the tropical regions of Africa, the Caribbean, and South America. The scientific name of the plant is Momordica charantia.
The plant grows a fruit that resembles a dimpled cucumber ranging in color from white to pale green to yellow-orange when ripe and has a very sour/bitter taste that has been described as “chalky.” In addition to a food source, bitter melon has also been used as a traditional folk remedy.
The common names of the bitter melon plant include:
- African cucumber
- Balsam apple
- Balsam pear
- Bitter apple
- Bitter cucumber
- Bitter gourd
- Bitter squash
- Carilla gourd
- Vegetable insulin
- Wild cucumber
Even though it is called by many other botanical names, the bitter melon is actually a member of the squash family.
Possible side effects include cramping, diarrhea, headaches, stomach ulcers, and upset stomach. More serious, though rare, side effects of consuming bitter melon include irregular heartbeat, decreased fertility, drooling, and muscle weakness.
Many medications for diabetes control are known to have interactions with bitter melon supplements. Other medications that may have interactions with bitter melon supplements include corticosteroids and medications for fertility.
Individuals who have diabetes and who are susceptible to low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) may not want to try bitter melon supplements, since the supplements could cause one’s blood sugar to drop to a dangerously low level. Those experiencing the symptoms of hypoglycemia should consult a health care provider right away. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include:
- Blurred vision
- Constant hunger
Long-term use of bitter melon supplements has been correlated with elevated liver enzymes, which in turn can lead to atherosclerosis (“hardening of the arteries”). Those who have a history of liver disease, including cirrhosis, hepatitis, or HIV/AIDS, should not use bitter melon supplements.
Bitter melon supplements should not be used within two weeks of any scheduled surgery, since the supplements are thought to have the potential to interfere with blood sugar control. Those who take bitter melon supplements should discontinue taking the supplements two weeks prior to surgery.
Individuals who have glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase [G6PD, an enzyme responsible for helping red blood cells maintain their shape] deficiency should not take bitter melon supplements. Bitter melon supplements can trigger favism in people with G6PD deficiency, causing symptoms that include anemia, back pain, convulsions, dark urine, fever, headache, stomach pain, yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes (jaundice), and sometimes coma.
“Favism” is named after fava beans, which can trigger the same reaction and contain a chemical that is also found in the bitter melon plant. This condition is more common in males than in females and most often seen in men of African, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Southeast Asian descent.
People who are pregnant should not take bitter melon supplements or any product that contains bitter melon plant. The plant has been known to induce miscarriage in pregnant animals. It has been known to cause uterine contractions and uterine bleeding in human beings.
Always speak with a medical professional or doctor before taking any supplements. Always read the product label for instructions and directions.
Taking Bitter Melon Supplements
Users can take bitter melon supplements in several ways, including eating the fruit or drinking a juice made from the fruit. The juice is associated with stomach upset and diarrhea in some drinkers. Fruits from the bitter melon plant may be cooked before being eaten; in Chinese cooking, it is often added as an ingredient to soups.
Extracts from the plant can be made into capsules, tablets, tinctures, and powders. Researchers have also investigated an injectable bitter melon extract, although this method should only be used by qualified health care providers and should not be attempted by untrained individuals at home or serious injury could result.
The plant can also be made into a tea, which consumers may be able to find at Asian food grocery stores. Unlike the fresh fruit, the tea is said to have a pleasant taste. Some consumers prefer the tea to the capsules because of cost.
What to Look for in a Good Bitter Melon Supplement
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not established a safe amount of bitter melon supplement to take per day, since the agency does not test dietary supplements. Bitter melon supplements may vary greatly in concentration of active ingredients from manufacturer to manufacturer.
One way for consumer to help ensure that they are purchasing safe, consistent supplements from a reliable manufacturer is to look for a seal of approval from a respected third party agency. ConsumerLabs.com, NSF International, and U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP) are three organizations whose seal of approval help assure consumers they are buying a quality product.