Bitter melon becomes alternative for treating Diabetes Mellitus

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Illustration by Feri Fenoria

UNAIR NEWS –   Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a metabolic disease with a symptom of hyperglycemia as a result of impaired insulin secretion. The lack of the insulin which changes glucose into energy source and synthesize fat is caused by the pancreas which is no longer able to secrete insulin. There is deficiency of insulin due to inadequate production compared to what the body needs.

This disease is very difficult to cure and usually there will be complications with other accompanying diseases such as hypertension and kidney function disorder. So the use of drugs is the main choice, the sulfonylurea and biguanid groups. However, all this time the use of drugs as anti-diabetes usually lasts a long time and causes unwanted side effects.

A lecturer of Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Prof. Dewa Ketut Meles, MS., drh found a new alternative to reduce the cost of treating DM by using bitter melon fruit. According to him, bitter melon contains charantin, polypeptide-P insulin and lectins which function to reduce blood glucose levels.

“The content of saponins, flavonoids, polyphenols, and vitamin C from bitter melon serves as an antioxidant warding off free radicals that often interfere with the survival of Leydig cells due to diabetes mellitus,” he explained.

Patients with diabetes mellitus, he said, often experience decreased levels of Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), Interstitial Cell Stimulating Hormone (ICSH), Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1), and Stem Cell Factor (SCF) due to insulin receptor sensitivity disorders. Thus, an increase in blood glucose will affect the decrease in ICSH leading to a decrease in the response of Leydig cells to secrete testosterone due to impaired insulin receptor sensitivity.

“Impaired sensitivity of insulin receptors causes decreased testicular SCF so that it will decrease Leydig cell replication which can cause interstitial testicular tissue to lose its density and decrease the amount of Leydig cell volume per interstitial space,” he said.

The results of this study showed that the extract of bitter melon (Momordica charantia Linn) has an antidiabetic effect in cases of hyperglycemia as it can reduce blood sugar levels, repair damaged pancreatic beta cells and increase the number of Leydig cells at a dose of 50 mg / 1ml / day on day 21 after treatment.

“Bitter melon fruit is used to reduce blood sugar levels in cases of hyperglycemia through improved function of the islets of Langerhans to produce insulin. The other benefits, it improves the role and function of Leydig cells in producing the hormone testosterone so that it does not directly improve sexual function, “he concluded.

Author: Khefti Al Mawalia

Editor: Nuri Hermawan


Dewa Ketut Meles, Wurlina, Dewa Putu Anom Adnyana, Chaterina Puspadewanti Rinaldhi, Rian Rizky Octaviani, Desak Ketut Sekar Cempaka. 2019. The antidiabetic effect of bitter melon (Momordicacharantia L.) extracts towards glucose concentration, langerhans islets, and leydig cells of hyperglycemic mice (Rattus norvegicus). EurAsian Journal of BioSciences, 13:757-762

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