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Copyright © 2017 Natural Medicines (www.naturalmedicines.com)
April 2013

Cinnamon May Improve Post-Meal Blood Sugar

Cinnamon may benefit people who have type 2 diabetes in terms of improving blood sugar, lipid levels, and body composition, according to a study.

Cinnamon has been used as a spice in several cultures for centuries. It was traditionally used to relieve stomach pain and gas; it is still used for these conditions today. The bark of two cinnamon species (Cinnamomum zeylanicum and Cinnamomum cassia) is used as a spice (cinnamon bark).

Diabetes is a chronic health condition where the body is unable to produce enough insulin and properly break down sugar in the blood. Sugar comes from food and is used by the cells for energy. Sugar is also made in the liver. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas, a large gland behind the stomach. Insulin is needed to move sugar into the cells where it can be used for energy needed for body processes. With Type 1 diabetes, the body does not make any insulin. With Type 2 diabetes, the more common type, the body does not make or use insulin properly. Without enough insulin, sugar stays in the blood and causes high blood sugar levels.

Researchers enrolled 44 type 2 diabetics into the current study. The participants were randomly assigned to receive either three grams of cinnamon or a placebo daily for eight weeks. Their weight, height, body fat mass, and blood pressure were measured at the beginning and end of the study, as well as blood sugar, insulin, and cholesterol.

Of the group, 37 people completed the study. The results suggested that over the course of the study, the cinnamon group had significant decreases in blood sugar, triglycerides, weight, and body fat mass, but significant changes were lacking in the placebo group.

Cinnamon may have moderate benefits in terms of improving blood sugar status, fat mass, and lipids in people who have type 2 diabetes, according to the scientists. More research is needed before a firm conclusion can be made.

There is still a lack of scientific information to support the use of cinnamon for any condition. However, laboratory studies suggest that cinnamon may be useful in the treatment of diabetes (type 2) due to its blood sugar-lowering effects.

Furthermore, cinnamon and its parts may have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, and antioxidant properties, and it may prove effective in the supportive treatment of conditions such as cancer or severe virus infections.

Other integrative therapies that have been studied for effects on blood sugar levels include alpha-lipoic acid, a compound that is made naturally in the body, and konjac glucomannan, a dietary fiber. Both of these treatments are supported by strong scientific evidence for their effectiveness on this condition.

For more information about cinnamon, please visit Natural Standard's Foods, Herbs & Supplements Database.

References

  1. Natural Standard: The Authority on Integrative Medicine. 
  2. Vafa M, Mohammadi F, Shidfar F, et al. Effects of cinnamon consumption on glycemic status, lipid profile and body composition in type 2 diabetic patients. Int J Prev Med. 2012 Aug;3(8):531-6. 

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