Bitter Melon Activates AMPK, an Essential Protein that Fights Prediabetes
Bitter melon, also called bitter gourd or bitter squash, is a long warty fruit that has been used as an herbal medicine in Asian and African cultures for centuries. A 2008 study discovered that compounds in bitter melon activate a protein in the human body that regulates glucose uptake.
This protein, called AMPK, is normally activated in the body through exercise. Though there are medications on the market that can also activate this protein, bitter melon produces the same result with no side effects.
Another study shows that activating AMPK may be beneficial to people who have retinal inflammation caused by diabetes. Eating bitter melon also increases insulin sensitivity, which happens when the hormone insulin becomes less effective at lowering blood sugar, a problem for many people who have or are developing diabetes.
It takes more to prevent diabetes than eating bitter melon, but for people who are trying to reverse years of unhealthy living, the fruit may offer special benefits.