Wild Bitter Gourd: Interesting, though not yet proven
This is a follow up to a post on /r/PEDs about Wild Bitter Gourd, and some pretty amazing qualities listed in the abstract.
Wild Bitter Gourd aka bitter melon, aka BPG, grown in Asia, Africa and Central America. It's being investigated for a range of health benefits, such as treatment of diabetes, as an anti-inflammatory... and now as a selective androgenic receptor modulator (SARM). The original extract is a dead link when you get behind the paywall, and redirects to an irrelevant study. But I found it hosted here: https://www.docdroid.net/Kta5na6/wild-bitter-melon-is-a-natural-sarm.pdf
I'm not sure if the prep is important, but essentially thes wild type gourds used in the study I’m going to discuss were sliced, freeze dried and ground to produce the bitter gourd powder.
1: sham-operated mice fed the high sucrose (HS) diet (Sham,n= 7)
2: castrated mice fed the HS diet (Cast,n= 8)
3: castrated mice fed the bitter gourd powder diet (Cast + BGP,n= 8)
4: castrated mice fed the test prop diet (Cast + TP,n= 7).
At the studies conclusion, the mice were gassed, and the absolute weights of androgen responsive tissues/organs including epididymis (ew, gross), SV/prostate, and levator ani and bulbocavernosus muscles weighed. The in vivo efficacy of a SARM is tested by the Hershberger assay, a kinda accurate way of determining the anabolic / androgenic properties of a compound. In the Hershberger assay the weights of Levator Ani muscle, prostate and seminal vesicles of treated castrated rats (in this case, Cast + BPG) are compared to those of castrated and sham-operated rats. The group fed the gourd powder diet had a 71% increase in levator ani muscle weight over the castrated high sucrose diet. And this was without any significant impact to the prostate.
The researchers make many. Apparently, they see evidence of:
- activation of PPARa
- activation of estrogen receptors
- stimulation of glucagon-like peptide 1 secretion
- activation of AMPK
Among others. I’m not familiar enough with the staining, gene expression, etc. to comment on this stuff. I’ll defer comment until it can be studied in humans.
The results do indicate that the gourd diet did reduce catabolism and improved performance in forelimb strength tests. The group fed the gourd diet did just marginally worse than the castrated group fed the test prop (as expected) but did better than that of the castrated group fed the high sucrose diet. I'm unclear what impact the high sucrose diet may have had by itself, which is a question mark I have over the study.
At this point, effective dose is unclear. It's relatively inexpensive as a supplement, and I found a reputable vitamin brand selling the equivalent of 30 days supply at 1 gram a day for less than $3.
Given that it is a relatively weak agonist of the AR, I'm not terribly excited though I could see it being added into OTC fat burners, for example, to help substantiate their marketing claims. For me, it's not going to replace my use of SARMs, AAS and their ancillaries. But at such a low cost, trying it out and providing some anecdotes wouldn't be the worst thing in the world either.