Saturday, September 17, 2016

Could Cinnamon Really Benefit Diabetics?

Being a spice obtained from the inner bark of the cinnamon tree, cinnamon has long been used as a spice and as a medicine. While cinnamon can be a valuable condiment that can be added to foods to create a fragrant and sweet taste, there are reports that it can also help diabetics.

Unfortunately, findings regarding cinnamon’s health effects have been mixed. For instance, researchers reported in one study that cinnamon reduced cholesterol by about 18 percent and blood sugar levels by 24 percent in participants who ate 1 to 6 grams of cinnamon for 40 days. Yet in other studies, cinnamon was reported to be of no effect in lowering blood sugar or cholesterol levels.

High cholesterol levels, especially the bad one (LDL or low-density lipoprotein), and high blood glucose levels, are 2 of the risk factors that could lead to development of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and other chronic diseases. 

In China, cinnamon has been used as a traditional treatment for thousands of years. To find out whether cinnamon supplements could aid in the treatment of Type-2 diabetes in Chinese subjects, Chinese researchers enrolled a total of 66 patients with Type-2 diabetes, and randomly divided them into 3 groups: placebo, low-dose and high-dose supplementation with cinnamon extract at 120 and 360 mg/d, respectively.

During the course of 3 months, the researchers found that both hemoglobin A1c and fasting blood glucose levels were significantly reduced in patients in the low- and high-dose groups, but no change in the placebo group. The blood triglyceride levels were also found to be significantly reduced in the low-dose group. On the other hand, the blood levels of total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and liver transaminase remained unchanged in the 3 groups.

Their findings, which were published online June 14, 2012 in ‘Nutrition Research’, seemed to indicate that cinnamon supplementation can significantly improve blood glucose control in Chinese patients with Type-2 diabetes. As the study may be too small to assess the true effects of cinnamon dose on blood glucose levels, it appears that more research is still required to confirm these findings.

Nevertheless, it should be fine to enjoy cinnamon in food unless one has liver damage. This is because large amounts of cinnamon may worsen the condition of these people.

As a word of caution, people who want to take cinnamon supplements should consult their doctors first, especially those who also take other supplements or medications that also lower blood sugar levels. It is feared that cinnamon may interact with these supplements and medications.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this very useful and important post...