by Dr. Leo Galland
Cinnamon is not only delicious, but this fragrant spice is also the subject of scientific research for its potential health benefits.
Some studies suggest that powdered cinnamon, about a half teaspoon a day, may help prevent diabetes or reduce blood sugar in adults who have diabetes.
One study found that cinnamon helped reduce levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in people with type 2 diabetes.
If you are taking medication to lower blood sugar, check with your doctor before adding cinnamon to your routine, since cinnamon can also lower blood sugar.
Interesting Research Abstracts on Cinnamon:
Diabetes Care. 2003 Dec;26(12):3215-8.
Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes.
Khan A, Safdar M, Ali Khan MM, Khattak KN, Anderson RA.
Department of Human Nutrition, NWFP Agricultural University, Peshawar, Pakistan
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to determine whether cinnamon improves blood glucose, triglyceride, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: A total of 60 people with type 2 diabetes, 30 men and 30 women aged 52.2 +/- 6.32 years, were divided randomly into six groups. Groups 1, 2, and 3 consumed 1, 3, or 6 g of cinnamon daily, respectively, and groups 4, 5, and 6 were given placebo capsules corresponding to the number of capsules consumed for the three levels of cinnamon. The cinnamon was consumed for 40 days followed by a 20-day washout period.
RESULTS: After 40 days, all three levels of cinnamon reduced the mean fasting serum glucose (18-29%), triglyceride (23-30%), LDL cholesterol (7-27%), and total cholesterol (12-26%) levels; no significant changes were noted in the placebo groups. Changes in HDL cholesterol were not significant.
CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study demonstrate that intake of 1, 3, or 6 g of cinnamon per day reduces serum glucose, triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes and suggest that the inclusion of cinnamon in the diet of people with type 2 diabetes will reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Diabetes Obes Metab. 2009 Dec;11(12):1100-13.
The potential of cinnamon to reduce blood glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance.
Kirkham S, Akilen R, Sharma S, Tsiami A.
Faculty of Health & Human Sciences, Thames Valley University, Brentford, TW8 9 GA, UK.
AIM: Cinnamon has a long history as an antidiabetic spice, but trials involving cinnamon supplementation have produced contrasting results. The aim of this review was to examine the results of randomized controlled clinical trials of cinnamon and evaluate the therapeutic potential amongst patients with diabetes and insulin-resistant patients, particularly the ability to reduce blood glucose levels and inhibit protein glycation.
METHODS: A systematic electronic literature search using the medical subject headings ‘cinnamon’ and ‘blood glucose’ was carried out to include randomized, placebo-controlled in vivo clinical trials using Cinnamomum verum or Cinnamomum cassia conducted between January 2003 and July 2008.
RESULTS: Five type 2 diabetic and three non-diabetic studies (total N = 311) were eligible. Two of the diabetic studies illustrated significant fasting blood glucose (FBG) reductions of 18-29% and 10.3% (p < 0.05), supported by one non-diabetic trial reporting an 8.4% FBG reduction (p < 0.01) vs. placebo, and another illustrating significant reductions in glucose response using oral glucose tolerance tests (p < 0.05). Three diabetic studies reported no significant results.
CONCLUSIONS: Whilst definitive conclusions cannot be drawn regarding the use of cinnamon as an antidiabetic therapy, it does possess antihyperglycaemic properties and potential to reduce postprandial blood glucose levels. Further research is required to confirm a possible correlation between baseline FBG and blood glucose reduction and to assess the potential to reduce pathogenic diabetic complications with cinnamon supplementation.