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Bitter melon, otherwise known as karela or bitter gourd, is a plant with quite a unique fruit that offers great health benefits.
As the name suggests, bitter melon does actually have a very bitter taste which is probably why it’s not the most popular fruit out there.
One way to take advantage of the strong nutritional profile of this fruit without actually eating it is by taking bitter melon extract capsules.
We’ve had a look at some of the best bitter melon extract supplements available on the market and have selected our top five.
BITTER MELON EXTRACT SUPPLEMENTS:
What is Bitter Melon?
Named momordica charantia in latin, bitter melon is a subtropical vine originating from India. The plant is now widely grown in large parts of Africa, Asia and the Caribbean, mainly because of its nutritious fruit.
The fruit is usually eaten in its early stages when it is still green or slightly yellow. The flesh is watery, similar to kiwano fruit, and has a very bitter taste. The flesh becomes even more bitter as it ripes further into an orange color.
The bitter melon fruit has been a popular in Asian culture for centuries. The fruit has long been used as a versatile ingredient in curry and stir fry recipes, but also in herbal teas and soups.
Bitter melon has also long been widely used in traditional medicine. It is believed that bitter melon can be used to fight diabetes by lowering blood sugars, treat skin diseases and promote healthy digestion.
Nutritional Profile of Bitter Melon
Bitter melon has a rich nutritional profile offering a variety of vitamins and minerals. It is particularly rich in dietary fiber, potassium, magnesium, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B-6, vitamin C and folate.
It is particularly rich in dietary fiber, magnesium, potassium, zinc, B-vitamins (especially folate), vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin K. Another benefit of bitter melon that’s worth mentioning is that it’s very low in sodium, sugars and cholesterol.
It must be pointed out that some of the claimed health benefits of bitter melon fruit, such as combating diabetes, have very little scientific backing.
|Bitter Melon Nutritional Profile (cooked without salt – 100 g)|
|>> Dietary fiber||2 g|
|>> Sugars||1.95 g|
|Calcium||9 mg (1% DV)|
|Iron||0.38 mg (3% DV)|
|Magnesium||16 mg (5% DV)|
|Manganese||0.086 mg (4% DV)|
|Phosphorus||36 mg (5% DV)|
|Potassium||319 mg (7% DV)|
|Sodium||6 mg (0% DV)|
|Zinc||0.77 mg (8% DV)|
|Vitamin A (RAE)||6 μg (1% DV)|
|Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)||0.051 mg (4% DV)|
|Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)||0.053 mg (4% DV)|
|Vitamin B3 (Niacin)||0.28 mg (2% DV)|
|Vitamin B6||0.041 mg (3% DV)|
|Vitamin B9 (Folate)||51 µg (13%)|
|Vitamin C||33 mg (40%)|
|Vitamin E||0.14 mg (1%)|
|Vitamin K||4.8 µg (5%)|
|Sources: USDA, Wikipedia|
5 Best Bitter Melon Extract Supplements
Bitter melon as a fruit is not always readily available. In addition, not everyone appreciates its bitter flavors. This is why bitter melon supplements are a great way to take in the nutrients of the fruit without having to actually eat it.
Bitter melon extract supplements come in different varieties. Some come in dried powdered form, others as whole fruit extracts. Always read the labels to see how much you’re getting out of the product.
Here are 5 of the best bitter melon extract supplements available on the market today.
1. Jarrow Formulas Wild Bitter Melon Extract
Founded in 1977 and now based in Los Angeles, Jarrow Formulas is a formulator and supplier of superior nutritional supplements. Their mission is to promote optimal health with high quality formulations which are based on sound scientific research data.
Their bitter melon supplement uses Glycostat, a clinically tested, patent pending, proprietary extract of wild bitter melon which is shown to be superior in published research. This product contains 60 tablets (30 servings) with each serving offering 1500 mg of wild bitter melon extract.
Jarrow Formulas Wild Bitter Melon Extract:
- 60 tablets
- Serving size: 2 tablets
- 1500 mg wild bitter melon extract per serving
2. Himalaya Organic Bitter Melon Caplets
Himalaya Herbal Healthcare has been in business since 1930, distributing products to more than 90 countries. Integrating the principles of traditional medicine with modern science, Himalaya offers a wide range of clinically-studied herbal formulations.
Their organic bitter melon supplement is a touch different in the sense that it provides bitter melon extract from the stem as well as from the fruit. It contains 60 caplets with one serving containing 410 mg of bitter melon powder and 250 mg of fruit extract.
Himalaya Organic Bitter Melon Caplets:
- 60 capsules
- Serving size: 1 capsule
- 410 mg organic bitter melon powder (stem) per serving
- 250 mg organic bitter melon extract (fruit) per serving
3. Real Herbs Bitter Melon Extract
Started in 2008, Real Herbs is a natural herbal supplement company that promotes good health by using the power of nature. Real Herbs only use wild-crafted, fresh herbs that contain the highest number of bio-active ingredients.
Their bitter melon extract supplement contains 50 vegetarian capsules. Each capsule offers 375 mg bitter melon extract with a claimed strength of 10:1 which is very high.
Real Herbs Bitter Melon Extract:
- 50 vegetarian capsules
- Serving size: 2 capsules
- 750 mg bitter melon extract per serving (10:1 strength)
4. Ahana Nutrition Organic Bitter Melon Capsules
Based in California, Ahana Nutrition is a natural supplements and nutrition company that provides solutions based on elements from nature to boost mental and physical health.
Their all natural, organic bitter melon extract supplements contains no less than 90 capsules with 1 capsule representing 1 serving. Each capsule provides you with 500 mg of bitter melon extract.
Ahana Nutrition Organic Bitter Melon Capsules:
- 90 capsules
- Serving size: 1 capsule
- 500 mg bitter melon extract per serving
5. Emerald Bitter Melon Fruit Extract
Based in Carson, California, Emerald Laboratories prides itself in offering pure, additive-free, whole-food based supplements that are gluten free and vegan and/or vegetarian where possible. Their supplements are doctor formulated based on clinical research.
This bitter melon fruit extract supplement contains 60 vegetable capsules with each serving of two capsules offering 1000 mg of bitter melon fruit extract powder.
Emerald Bitter Melon Fruit Extract:
- 60 capsules
- Serving size: 2 capsules
- 1500 mg powdered bitter melon fruit extract per serving
Bitter melon may not be everyone’s favorite fruit, but its health benefits and nutritional profile definitely stand out. While supplements in general are not always the best answer, bitter melon extract capsules are a great way to take advantage of those nutrients.
As always, the most important thing is to always try and maintain a balanced diet. A diet that gives you all the nutrients your body needs to perform well on a daily basis. A balanced diet makes most types of supplements unnecessary.
Speak with a doctor or dietician before taking any supplements to make sure you are doing the right thing to your body.