Bitter melon supplements are becoming more popular, but read this before you take them

Bitter melon is on the rise.

It's long been a staple in Asian, African and Caribbean kitchens, either cooked or eaten raw. But now, bitter melon is becoming trendy as a popular supplement that supposedly helps prevent or improve certain health ailments. Even Kourtney Kardashian's supplement brand Lemme offers a bitter melon supplement that claims it helps "reduce cravings, promote healthy blood sugar levels and support glucose metabolism."

"Like other fruits and vegetables, bitter melon contains beneficial micronutrients like calcium, potassium and vitamin C that can support overall health," registered dietitian Miranda Galati tells USA TODAY. "It also contains fiber and fluid, which can help with satiety, gut health and weight management."

But bitter melon isn't safe for everyone to take. If you're in adding the fruit or supplement to your daily routine, here's what nutritional experts say you need to know first.

Is bitter melon bad for kidneys?

Though some early research has produced positive results, there isn't yet enough data to suggest that bitter melon has any "substantial health benefits," especially for diabetes management or low blood pressure, according to Galati. She also notes that there are also a handful of potential side effects that come from consuming large amounts of bitter melon or from taking bitter melon supplements.

"It can interact with medications, and like with any supplement, there’s risk for contamination if it’s not third-party tested with a reputable lab," Galati says. Kidney damage is among the possible side effects of bitter melon supplements, as are general gastrointestinal issues.

"Be sure to check with your healthcare team to discuss safety and dosage before starting something new," Galati recommends.

More: You may want to eat more cantaloupe this summer. Here's why.

What is the healthiest fruit?

There's no one-size-fits-all approach to eating healthy, Galati says.

“​​The healthiest food in any category will depend on you, your budget, your culture, your health goals, and so much more,” Galati says. “It’s amazing to make more nutrient-dense choices when possible, but choosing the more processed or convenient option isn’t always a bad thing either. As a registered dietitian who wants you to build a healthy lifestyle that lasts, I’d recommend ditching the idea that there’s a healthiest version of anything.”

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Is bitter melon bad for kidneys? All about the popular supplement