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bitter gourd and amla on diabetes and hypertension

    What is the effect of the fruits bitter gourd and amla on diabetes and hypertension?
  • Samuel Grossman, BS Pharm, Pharm.D, CDE PROFESSIONAL
    Amla is a fiber rich fruit. Its bitter and sour taste triggers various taste receptors and is reported to makes the digestive enzymes active. These juices in the fruit help in proper breaking of the food and make digestion efficient. Low sugar and high fiber fruit are ideal for any diabetic patient. Antioxidants in the fruit are reported to help in reducing glycosylated end product. Thus, amla is reported to regulate blood sugar. Polyphenols present in amla fruit are reported to help in lowering the high blood pressure. The literature reports that the it is most effective when consumed empty stomach in the morning yet it should not replace medications for the treatment of diabetes. Bitter gourd is a popular vegetable that is reported to have an ability to lower blood glucose in diabetics. In recent years, researchers worldwide have started to focus on the anti-diabetic effects of bitter gourd. Bitter gourd has been shown to be effective in treating type 1 diabetes in rats or mice by increasing pancreatic insulin secretion. Bitter gourd is reported to reduce the amount of glucose that is released into the blood by inhibiting the enzymes that break down sugar from disaccharides to two monosaccharides. This effect is important in patients with diabetes and helps to prevent high blood sugar levels after meals. Although bitter gourd is reported to reduce the use of insulin injections in different studies in type 1 and can be used in type 2 diabetes, it cannot replace insulin treatment completely or heal a patient from diabetes. Bitter gourd has also an effect on other disease states. In mice and rats, bitter gourd has been shown in different studies to reduce body weight and lead to reduction in hypertension and cholesterol levels. Yibchok-Anun et al. 2006, Fernandes et al. 2007. Singh et al. 2004, Nerurkar et al. 2008