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BITTER MELON REPAIRS CANCEL CELLS

Cancer cells are repaired with Bitter Melon

Bitter Melon Extract Shown to Block Cancer Cell Formation

St. Louis researchers say bitter melon can differentiate between healthy cells and cancerous cells.

If the findings regarding the anti-cancer benefits of bitter melon are accurate, bitterness may be the new sweetness.

Bitter melon isn’t widely known here in the states, but it’s long been a natural health staple for South Americans and Asians alike.

Grown primarily in warm climates like the Caribbean and parts of sub-Saharan Africa, bitter melon (which looks an awful lot like an English cucumber) may sound gross and inedible.  After all, it has “bitter” in its name.  How good could it taste?

But you may be surprised to know that bitter melon is a frequent accompaniment to savory stir-fries, seafood salads, and in Indian cuisine like thoran.

Where bitter melon really makes its hay, though, is in the medicinal realm, as it’s long been touted for helping relieve digestive problems like heartburn, ulcers, dyspepsia and constipation.  It’s also known for having some cholesterol and blood sugar-lowering properties as well.

All that’s impressive, but I’m willing to bet that bitter melon’s claim to fame will eventually be for its cancer-fighting properties.

Researchers from St. Louis University discovered this after treating human breast cancer cells with bitter melon extract.  Their results?  Well, unlike chemotherapy, which kills all cells—including the healthy ones—bitter melon extract was able to differentiate between cancerous cells and healthy cells.  In other words, it left the healthy cells untouched and killed the malignant cells.

In a statement, the study’s lead researcher, Dr. Ratna Ray, said, “To our knowledge, this is the first report describing the effect of bitter melon extract on cancer cells.  We have shown that bitter melon extract significantly [emphasis added] induced death in breast cancer cells and decreased their growth and spread.”

Now, as Ray would go on to say, this finding should not suggest that bitter melon is a cure for cancer.  Just as other therapies don’t ensure curing someone from disease, neither does bitter melon.  So this finding is a small step in that respect.

Where it’s a giant step, though, is with regards to future research.  With information like this, researchers can perhaps use other natural herbs to make a truly potent cancer fighter so we can finally be rid of a disease that’s affected millions upon millions of lives.

The study’s published in the March 1st 2010 issue of the journal Cancer Research.

If bitter melon sounds familiar to you, there’s a reason for it.  I wrote about bitter melon in 2008, as researchers at the time found it to be an effective treatment for type II diabetes.

Now, if you want to add bitter melon to your next stir-fry, you’re not likely to find it in your grocer’s produce aisle.  But you will find it in pill form at virtually any supplement and vitamin store that’s out there.

There are lots of options to choose from, but I like to stick with what I know.  And one company I know well is Nature’s Way.

Nature’s Way doesn’t have a bitter melon supplement specifically, but they do have a product called Blood Sugar with Gymnema.  Among other blood-sugar lowering ingredients, it contains 150 milligrams of bitter melon, which is a good amount of bitter melon.

Remember, just as can get too many vitamins, you can get too much bitter melon.  Side effects are generally minor (e.g. diarrhea, stomach pain) but if you’re pregnant, it’s best to avoid bitter melon altogether (some pregnant women taking bitter melon have experienced premature labor).  As always, use bitter melon as directed

Sourced and published by Henry Sapiecha 17th March 2010

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