Bitter melon is a fruit that can be found in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean which has been used to treat numerous diseases and conditions for centuries. The fruit was discovered to kill pancreatic cancer cells in vitro and in mice in a study conducted at the University of Colorado, which is exciting news for cancer patients. “IHC analyses of MiaPaCa-2 xenografts showed that BMJ(Bitter Melon Juice) also inhibits proliferation, induces apoptosis and activates AMPK (adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase) in vivo. Overall, BMJ exerts strong anticancer efficacy against human pancreatic carcinoma cells, both in vitro and in vivo, suggesting its clinical usefulness,” the study concluded.
Pancreatic cancer is very difficult to treat as it is often discovered late. Traditional therapies are unable to provide results and almost no advancements were made in studies regarding this type of cancer. Interestingly, cannabis has shown to induce apoptosis in human pancreatic cells in vitro and stopped pancreatic tumor growth in vivo. This clearly shows that cannabis is a viable cancer cure as many health advocates have noted.
Cancerous tumors have insulin receptors which help move glucose to cancer cells and allows them to grow and divide. According to studies, insulin stimulates pancreatic cancer cells to grow in a dose dependent manner, but as bitter melon can regulate insulin levels, it may be the best option for prevention of pancreatic cancer.
The study at the University of Colorado was led by Dr. Rajesh Agarwal and examined the effects of bitter melon on 4 different lines of pancreatic cancer cells. For the in vivo studies, mice were injected with pancreatic tumor cells and were divided into 2 groups – the first group of mice received water, while the second was given bitter melon juice for a period of 6 weeks. The results were astonishing – not only did bitter melon inhibit cancer cell proliferation, it also induced apoptosis in the cells! Compared to the control group, bitter melon inhibited 60% of tumor growth and had no adverse side-effects in the mice.
Numerous studies suggest that bitter melon may be effective against diabetes as well. As diabetes is a precursor to pancreatic cancer, bitter melon can prevent pancreatic cancer down the line. Results of a 2011 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology showed modest hypoglycemic effects and significant fructosamine management for people taking 200 mg. a day of bitter melon. “Bitter melon had a modest hypoglycemic effect and significantly reduced fructosamine levels from baseline among patients with type 2 diabetes who received 2,000 mg/day. However, the hypoglycemic effect of bitter melon was less than metformin 1,000 mg/day,” the study said.
Another study from 2008 suggested that bitter melon can improve glycemic control and help the cells up their glucose intake, while improving the overall glucose tolerance. The study was again performed on mice.
In contrast to these studies, a 2008 study didn’t found anything positive, but the British Journal of Nutrition said that more and better-designed clinical trials are required to confirm the fruit’s role in cancer treatment. Since then, there have been plenty more structured studies on bitter melon’s effects on cancer.
Ongoing studies show that bitter melon juice is a viable cancer cure, although further research is still needed. However, the fruit remains a promising option and presents a great challenge to scientists around the world who are hoping to defeat this terrible disease.