Effects of Momordica charantia powder on serum glucose levels and various lipid parameters in rats fed with cholesterol-free and cholesterol-enriched diets.


Jayasooriya AP, Sakono M, Yukizaki C, Kawano M, Yamamoto K, Fukuda N




J Ethnopharmacol


The effects of dietary bitter melon (Momordica charantia) freeze-dried powder on serum glucose level and lipid parameters of the serum and liver were studied in rats fed diets supplemented with and without cholesterol. Rats were fed the diets for 14 days containing bitter melon freeze-dried powder at the level of 0.5, 1 and 3% without an added dietary cholesterol (experiment I) and those containing bitter melon at the level of 1% with or without 0.5% cholesterol and 0.15% bile acid (experiment II). No adverse effect of dietary bitter melon powder on growth parameters and relative liver weight were noted. Dietary bitter melon resulted in a consistent decrease in serum glucose levels in rats fed cholesterol-free diets, but not in those fed cholesterol-enriched diets, although no dose-response was noted. Addition of cholesterol to the diets as compared to those without added cholesterol caused hypercholesterolemia and fatty liver. Bitter melon had little effect on serum lipid parameters, except for high density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol; HDL-cholesterol levels tended to decrease by dietary cholesterol, while they were consistently elevated by dietary bitter melon both in the presence and absence of dietary cholesterol, indicating an antiatherogenic activity of bitter melon. In addition, bitter melon exhibited a marked reduction in the hepatic total cholesterol and triglyceride levels both in the presence and absence of dietary cholesterol; the reduction of triglyceride levels in the absence of dietary cholesterol was in a dose-dependent manner. These results suggest that bitter melon can be used as a health food.