Medicinal and anti-oxidant effects of Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia) in the treatment of diabetic cardiomyopathy

Smail, Manal M. A., Howarth, Frank. C., Abdulkhalek, Samar, Ismail, Abla Mohamed, Singh, Ram B., Hanoman, Carlin, Rupee, Khemraj, Rupee, Sunil, Cummings, Emanuel et al Medicinal and anti-oxidant effects of Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia) in the treatment of diabetic cardiomyopathy. World Heart Journal, 12 (3). ISSN 1556-4002

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Obesity is a major risk factor for diabetes mellitus (DM), which is a major global metabolic health disorder currently affecting over 460 million people and this number is rising rapidly. Heart failure (HF) is the major cause of death among diabetic patients. The disorder is due to elevated blood glucose or hyperglycemia (HG) beyond physiological level, which in turn leads to a number of long-term or end-organ complications over time and over 80% of all diabetics will eventually die from either HF or cardiomyopathy if left untreated. Treatment of DM is very costly and as such, patients turn to non-pharmacological or alternative forms of treatment, including weight loss, diet modifications and plant-based medicines, which are more cost-effective. There are several medicinal plants, which are currently used to treat for DM and they are known to exhibit anti-diabetic properties. One such plant is Momordica charantia, or bitter melon, which is used in many tropical countries as a traditional functional food and medicine, especially for the treatment of obesity, DM, hypertension and cancer. This review is related to the anti-oxidant beneficial effect of Momordica charantia in the treatment of diabetic cardiomyopathy (DCM). The beneficial effects of Momordica charantia in the treatment of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) have been reported in clinical and experimental animal studies and this review addresses some of these useful effects. However, the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying its therapeutic antidiabetic effects of M charantia via its anti-oxidant activities are not fully known and further research studies need to be done.

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