Bitter melon or Momordica Charantia is a vegetable which grows in tropical areas like East Africa, Asia, South Africa, and the Caribbean. This vegetable is rich in iron, beta carotene, calcium, potassium, phosphorus and other dietary fibers. In many countries, it is also used as an herbal medicine due to its properties that help improve insulin production. Clinical studies show that bitter melon increases the production of beta cells in the pancreas which leads to improvement in the insulin production of the body. It is also believed to be beneficial for the liver and can act as an anti-tumor agent. Because of its health benefits, bitter melon is used by many as an alternative treatment for diabetes.
Diabetes is a disease that is characterized by the presence of high levels of blood glucose and by the secretion of excess glucose in the urine. This ailment develops because of relatively low levels of insulin which leads to irregular carbohydrate, protein, and fat metabolism. Diabetic persons feel hungry and thirsty most of the time. In addition, these people get easily tired physically and mentally. They may also suffer from constipation, excessive itchiness around the genital area, and general weakness. Other body parts that are affected by diabetes are the heart, kidney, eyes, blood vessels, and the nerves. In addition to these health effects, diabetes is one of the major causes of erectile dysfunction (ED) or impotence among men.
Diabetes causes impotence because it alters the body systems such as the circulatory, nervous, and the endocrine system. The organs in these systems all work in harmony to let blood flow into the penis so erection can take place. Higher levels of glucose caused by diabetes damages the blood vessels and the nerves. Complications in the state of blood vessels may hamper the flow of blood to the penis, hampering erection. In addition, a number of medical studies show that diabetic persons are more likely to have low testosterone levels. Testosterone is a hormone that is responsible enhanced libido, energy, and other reproductive health concerns. Men with type 1 diabetes are more likely to become impotent once they reach 40 years of age.
Many health experts are recommending the use of alternative medicines like bitter melons for diabetic management. Many studies show that bitter melon is able to reduce the blood sugar levels in the body. Charantin, polypeptide P, and oleonolic acid glcosides are some of the ingredients of bitter melon that are essential in diabetes treatment. Charantin consists of mixtures of natural steroids which are shown to reduce blood sugar levels in the body. Polypeptide P, contains alkaloids that can also promote healthy blood sugar levels. Oleanolic acid glycosides, on the other hand, may prevent the retention of sugar from the intestines. Improvements in these area leads to improved insulin levels in the body
Diabetes can be treated with alternative medicine and adjustments in lifestyles. Many health experts advice diabetic persons to include bitter melon in their diet to reduce their intake of anti-diabetic drugs. This alternative healing method, however, should not be regarded as a stand-alone treatment.