Cinnamon Could Help in the Fight Against Diabetes
Cinnamon could be used in the battle against type 2 diabetes, according to USDA scientists.Their study, based on a water-soluble extract of cinnamon, suggested that the spice could have a beneficial effect on insulin or blood glucose (aka sugar) levels.
“Insulin is a key hormone that ‘opens a door’ within cells and then escorts glucose into those cells, thus providing fuel to them,” according to the USDA website explaining the research. “Without a sufficient insulin supply, or ability to use available insulin, glucose builds up in the blood instead of going into cells where it can be metabolized and used for fuel. Over time, damage occurs to the eyes, kidneys, heart and nerves.”
Researchers randomly assigned 22 volunteers who had metabolic syndrome — a condition that increases diabetes risk — either a water-soluble cinnamon extract or a placebo to supplement their diet with for 12 weeks. Those taking the spicy supplement experienced significant decreases in fasting blood glucose levels as well as small increases in lean muscle mass — a sign of improved body composition. The placebo group did not. Also, other symptoms of metabolic syndrome, such as abnormal blood LDL or HDL cholesterol levels or triglycerides, were not affected.
If you are considering cinnamon to keep your blood sugar at bay, consider the advice of a previous study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition last year. Three grams of cinnamon daily provided benefits such as improved insulin function and increased levels of a peptide reported to delay the emptying of the stomach. Delayed stomach emptying may help people eat less, preventing overeating which can lead to spikes in blood sugar.
Note: Whole and powdered cinnamon (used for cooking) contains coumarin, a compound that can cause liver damage in large amounts. If you want to use cinnamon therapeutically, it is safest to use a water-soluble cinnamon extract supplement.