Lower hypoglycemic but higher antiatherogenic effects of bitter melon than glibenclamide in type 2 diabetic patients

Nutr J. 2015 Jan 26:14:13. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-14-13.


Objective: Since antiquity bitter melon has been in use for treating diabetes but clinical trials show conflicting results about its usefulness. The present study aims to asses and compare the hypoglycemic and antiatherogenic effects as well as the safety of two different doses of bitter melon with glibenclamide.

Methods: A total of 95 participants were randomized into 3 groups; group I and group II received bitter melon (2 g/day and 4 g/day respectively) and group III received glibenclamide (5 mg/day) for 10 weeks. Glycemic control and antiatherogenic effects were determined by assessing glycohemoglobin (HbA1-c), fasting plasma glucose (FPG), 2 hour oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), plasma sialic acid (PSA), systolic blood pressure (SBP), blood lipids and atherogenic index at different time periods.

Results: Compared to baseline, mean reduction in HbA1-c at the endpoint was significant among patients of group I, group II and group III (p ≤ 0.05, p ≤ 0.02 and p < 0.005 respectively) and same was the case for FPG (p ≤ 0.05, p < 0.04, p < 0.003 respectively), but the improvement in 2 hour OGTT was significant only in group III (p < 0.03). The decrease in PSA was observed only among group I and group II with the later showing significant reduction from baseline (p < 0.01). In group III, the level slightly increased. Parameters including blood lipids, atherogenic index, body weight and SBP improved among patients of group I and group II but deteriorated among group III patients.

Conclusions: Our study concludes that bitter melon has a weaker hypoglycemic effect but ameliorates the diabetes associated cardiovascular (CV) risk factors more effectively than glibenclamide.

Trial registration: The trial was registered with Naseer Teaching Hospital Clinical Trials Registry number GU2014492233.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Atherosclerosis / diet therapy*
  • Atherosclerosis / drug therapy
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / diet therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Endpoint Determination
  • Fasting
  • Female
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Glyburide / pharmacology*
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Insulin / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Momordica charantia / chemistry*
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid / blood
  • Phytotherapy


  • Blood Glucose
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin
  • N-Acetylneuraminic Acid
  • Glyburide