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September 2020

New Study Suggests Cinnamon Improves Blood Sugar Control

A small study suggests that taking a cinnamon combination product daily improves blood sugar control in people with prediabetes. This study is getting a fair amount of media attention, but it’s likely too soon to make any recommendations.

The 12-week study included a total of 54 patients with prediabetes. They were randomized to receive a capsule containing 200 mg Padang cassia (Cinnamomum burmannii) and 300 mg of an unspecified cinnamon species (Cinnamomum spp.), or placebo, three times daily. After 12 weeks, the cinnamon group experienced no change in blood sugar, whereas those in the placebo group experienced an average increase of 4.5 mg/dL. While this finding is promising, the study was small and relatively short. Also, there are many different types of cinnamon, and the evidence varies depending on which species is used. Previous research shows that taking other combination products containing Padang cassia may benefit people with prediabetes. Cassia cinnamon is another species that has been evaluated for benefit in people with prediabetes, with mixed results. But this study did not clarify the second cinnamon species that was used.

If patients ask about cinnamon for blood sugar control, tell them that most studies have looked at different dosage forms, so it’s hard to make specific recommendations. Remind them that there are many different types of cinnamon. And make sure to explain that the cinnamon species commonly used as a spice in the US is actually Ceylon cinnamon. There isn’t any evidence that Ceylon cinnamon benefits people with prediabetes. In general, advise patients to stick to healthy eating and exercise habits, and to keep taking the medicines prescribed by their healthcare provider.

To learn more about cinnamon, check out our monographs on Cassia cinnamon, Padang cassia, Ceylon cinnamon, Cinnamomum tamala, and Saigon Cinnamon.

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