Bitter Melon Juice Regulates Pancreatic Metabolism to Dramatically Lower Pancreatic Cancer Risk
A group of scientists working at the Colorado University Cancer Center in Denver have released the results of a study in the journal Carcinogenesis, demonstrating how bitter melon juice restricts the ability of pancreatic cancer cells to metabolize glucose, thus cutting the cells' energy source and eventually killing them. In the past, researchers have shown that bitter melon juice kills breast cancer cells in a Petri-dish culture medium. This study provides compelling evidence that the natural extract effectively neutralizes pancreatic cancer cells.
Lead study author, Dr. Rajesh Agarwal commented “We used the juice… people especially in Asian countries are already consuming it in quantity. We show that it affects the glucose metabolism pathway to restrict energy and kill pancreatic cancer cells.” Scientists became interested in the connection between pancreatic cancer and bitter melon juice because diabetics are known to be at much higher risk of developing the disease and bitter melon has been shown to effect diabetes through centuries of use in China and India.
Limit Dietary Sugar and Monitor Body Weight to Prevent Metabolic Breakdown that Fuels Pancreatic Cancer
Using a mouse model to determine the effect of bitter melon juice on pancreatic cancer cells, the researchers found that the juice regulates insulin secretion by pancreatic beta cells. After analyzing cell cultures, the team showed that mouse models of pancreatic cancer that were fed bitter melon juice were sixty percent less likely to develop the disease than controls. After a detailed examination, scientists found that bitter melon juice alters pancreatic cancer cell metabolism and activates the AMP-activated protein kinase, an enzyme that indicates low energy levels in the cells.
Noting that bitter melon juice may provide a natural treatment to pancreatic cancer that avoids the use of toxic pharmaceuticals, Dr. Agarwal concluded “It's a very exciting finding… many researchers are engineering new drugs to target cancer cells' ability to supply themselves with energy, and here we have a naturally-occurring compound that may do just that.” Closely monitoring body weight and sugar intake to avoid metabolic dysfunction may help to protect against pancreatic cancer. Health-minded individuals may want to supplement with bitter melon extract (500 mg/day) to provide an added level of protection against this devastating disease.