Bitter Melon, or Momordica charantia, modifies body composition for the better, according to animal studies. If you give Bitter Melon extracts to lab animals, you see an increase in their muscle mass and a decrease in their fat mass. Molecular biologists at the University of Hawaii at Manoa did a cell study which shows how Bitter Melon makes short work of fat cells.
The researchers exposed human fat cells to Bitter Melon juice [BMJ]. They used young cells, which were not fully-grown and still developing into adult cells.
In the test tubes, the juice reduced the number of fat droplets in the fat cells [OD]. The juice also inhibited the synthesis of the protein PPAR-gamma in the fat cells. PPAR-gamma is like a sensor which tells the fat cells when they should store fat.
The juice also inhibited the synthesis of another protein in the fat cells: perilipin. The vesicles in which the fat cell stores its fat are made of this protein. It encapsulates the fat droplets. Two slimming supplements which work in this way are the Russian Aralox and – possibly – good old L-arginine. This means that you might be able to combine Bitter Melon with L-arginine in a slimming supplement. [Combining Aralox with Bitter Melon is probably risky.]
"A few clinical studies have investigated the anti-diabetic effects of BMJ in humans", the researchers write. "However, long-term studies testing the effects of BMJ on glucose and lipid metabolism, body weight as well as identifying the pharmacokinetics and effective dose of BMJ is warranted, before it can be recommended as an effective alternative and/or complementary therapy."
BMC Complement Altern Med. 2010 Jun 29;10:34.