Over the past several decades, rates of obesity have begun to grow at an alarming rate. While severe weight gain was once common only in the United States and other “westernized” parts of the world, it has now begun to spread to every corner of the globe. Recent research suggests that certain supplements—such as bitter melon extract—may be beneficial for those who are interested in weight loss. Understanding the basics behind this product, its benefits, nutritional profile, and side effects are all important for those considering the use of the product.
What is Melon Extract?
Before one can decide whether or not bitter melon extract is a good choice, they should have a basic understanding of the product. As suggested by the name, bitter melon extract comes from the seeds and fruit of the bitter melon plant. Though originally grown in India, its numerous health benefits lead to its export to China, Japan, and even parts of the Caribbean during the last several centuries. Extract from this plant is obtained through a distillation process, and is sold in a number of countries around the world.
Benefits of Melon Extract
So what, exactly are the benefits of bitter melon extract? Can it be used for specific health conditions? As mentioned previously, bitter melon extract has grown in popularity due to its link to weight loss. In fact, some studies suggest that over the course of six months, individuals who consume bitter melon extract on a regular basis can expect to lose as much as fifteen pounds! In addition, bitter melon extract is associated with improvements in glucose levels, lowered rates of certain types of cancer, and the prevention of heart disease. Those who have been diagnosed with any of the conditions listed above should be sure to speak to their healthcare professional before initiating the use of bitter melon extract.
Understanding the nutritional profile of bitter melon is also important for those considering its use. Bitter melon extract is perhaps most well-known for its high concentration of anti-oxidants. In addition, this product has been found to be low in sodium, high in fiber, and rich in vitamin C. Finally, dieters will be pleased to learn that bitter melon is considered to be relatively low in calories and carbohydrates, which are often linked to weight gain and retention.
Side Effects of Melon Extract
Before using bitter melon extract for weight loss, dieters should also familiarize themselves with the side effects o the product. And while the benefits associated with this extract are substantial, the risks are also relatively high. Some studies suggest that individuals who use bitter melon extract on a regular basis may be afflicted with seizures or fall into a coma. Chronic headaches, low blood sugar, and infertility are also common side effects associated with bitter melon extract. Those who suffer from chronic health conditions should speak to their pharmacist before adding bitter melon extract to their diet to avoid potential medication interactions.