New research shows that the fruit of a tropical vine may help fight breast cancer. The study comes from Dr. Ratna Ray, a professor of pathology at St. Louis University. She specializes in studying the regulation of cell growth.
And while the results of her study, published in the journal Cancer Research, are preliminary… they are also very promising.
“Our result was encouraging,” she says. The extract “significantly induced death in breast cancer cells.” She also says it stopped breast cancer cells from growing and spreading.
Two Percent Concentration Kills Cancer Cells
The tropical extract comes from the fruit of the bitter melon. Like its name, the fruit is indeed bitter, but still edible.
In her study, Dr. Ray applied a two percent bitter melon extract to breast cancer cells. She found that this was the minimum amount needed to kill a significant number of breast cancer cells. In fact, at that concentration, the extract killed 80 percent of breast cancer cells.
Further research published in the journal Anticancer Research offers more insight into how bitter melon may work. It attacks the HER2 gene that makes breast cancer aggressive. Once it impacts the gene… the tumor can no longer grow.
Dr. Ray plans on testing her extract on animals next. If those results are positive, she’ll move to human trials.
“There have been significant advances in breast cancer treatment,” she says. “However, women continue to die of the disease and new treatment strategies are essential.”
Where to Find Bitter Melon
You can get bitter melon as a supplement in tablet or capsule form. There is no doctor-recommended dose at this time. However, manufacturers of the supplement recommend 500 mg per day.
You can also purchase bitter melon raw at Asian grocery stores. Experts say you can eat one small raw melon per day to see the same benefits as a supplement.
Bitter melon offers an additional health benefit. It has also been shown to lower your blood sugar levels.
The fruit is generally regarded as safe. In animal studies, the only adverse reaction was hypoglycemia. That happens when blood sugar levels fall too low. So be especially careful if you’re on diabetic medications.