Living with diabetes can seem like an all consuming challenge. Trying to keep up with everything needed for proper diabetes care can be more like a full-time job, according to Karmeen Kulkami, MS, RD, CDE, and former president of the American Diabetes Association health care and education.
Does Cinnamon Help Control Blood Sugar Levels in Diabetics with Type 2 Diabetes?
There are two types of cinnamon – Ceylon cinnamon and cassia cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon is the type that is used for baking and cooking. It's also the type of cinnamon that most researchers use when studying cinnamon and diabetes.
Could cinnamon be an effective way to lower blood sugar for people with Type 2 Diabetes?
The American Diabetes Association has conducted a study to determine whether cinnamon does, in fact, improve blood glucose, triglyceride, cholesterol (HDL and LDL) in people who have Type 2 diabetes.
Some research has shown that cinnamon can lower blood sugar by decreasing insulin resistance. For people with Type 2 diabetes, the sugar-lowering hormone insulin does not work as well, and can lead to higher blood sugar levels.
In one study, volunteers ingested 1 to 6 grams of cinnamon for 40 days (one gram of ground cinnamon is about ½ teaspoon). The results indicated that cinnamon reduced cholesterol by approximately 18% and blood sugar levels by 24%.
In another study, volunteers were given cinnamon and rice pudding after meals. These volunteers had reduced blood sugar levels.
However, in other studies, cinnamon did not decrease blood sugar or cholesterol levels.
Sixty people who have Type 2 diabetes (30 men and 30 women) aged 52 to 63 years, were divided into six groups. Groups 1, 2 and 3 ingested 1 to 6 grams of cinnamon daily. Groups 4, 5 and 6 consumed equal amounts of placebo capsules. The cinnamon was ingested for 40 days and followed by a 20-day period on none.
Results: After 40 days, all three levels of cinnamon had reduced glucose (1829%), triglyceride (2330%), LDL cholesterol (727%) and total cholesterol levels (1326%. There were no changes in the groups that took the placebo capsules.
Accordingly, the results of the ADA study demonstrated that taking 1, 3 or 6 grams of cinnamon per day does reduce serum glucose, triglyceride, LDL and total cholesterol levels in people with Type 2 diabetes. The study indicated that cinnamon added to the diet of people with Type 2 diabetes will reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Although the study indicated cinnamon to be effective in lowering blood sugar levels in Type 2 diabetics, the American Diabetes Association does not recommend cinnamon as treatment of diabetes.
Is Cinnamon Safe for Diabetics?
Cinnamon appears to be safe for people who have diabetes. However, people who have liver damage should use caution because large amounts of cinnamon can increase liver problems. Cinnamon supplements are considered food, not a drug. Supplement makers do not have to prove their products to be safe or effective, as they do in medications.
When choosing cinnamon supplements look for brands labeled with a quality seal; These will include the NSF International, US Pharmacopoeia or Consumer lab seal. This will help to assure that the supplement ingredients are stated on the label, and helps to guarantee that no contaminants or potentially harmful substances are in the product.
What Happens when Cinnamon is Taken with Other Drugs?
Although cinnamon may lower blood sugar levels, use caution in combining it with other sugar lowering medicines or supplements. Be careful to monitor that sugar levels do not fall too low when combining cinnamon with alpha lipoic acid, bitter melon, devil's claw, garlic, horse chestnut, Siberian ginseng, chrominium, Panax or psyllium.
Early in 2006, the Journal of Nutrition reported on another study about cinnamon. This study evaluated 25 post-menopausal women who had Type 2 diabetes, and were treated with 1.5 grams of cinnamon each day for six weeks. The results of this study indicated that cinnamon was not associated with any significant change in insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance or cholesterol profile.
Should Cinnamon be Recommended?
To date, there is insufficient data regarding cinnamon's ability to reduce glucose levels in diabetic people. Some concerns about cinnamon are that cinnamon contains coumarin (a compound) that can reduce the blood's clotting ability. Always monitor blood sugar levels and never replace prescribed medicines or depend solely on cinnamon to control high blood sugar levels.
American scientists are reporting that one teaspoon of cinnamon can actually circumvent Type 2 diabetes. Millions of people suffer from Type 2, non-insulin dependent diabetes around the world. Cinnamon, is a common spice and is s howing possible preventive benefits.
According to the Anti-Aging Forum on www.immortalhumans.com, January 2010, cinnamon has many other benefits. Cinnamon is a relizble source of magnesium, which is necessary to ensure electrolyte balance, bone density, and enzyme function. Cinnaon is proving to be a quality supplement to avoid metabolic defects in diabetes and to balance glucose insulin levels as people age.
The forum also reported that consuming one-quarter to one teaspoon of cinnamon a day could be a cost-effective way to keep blood sugar in check. The cinnamon can be mixed with juice or most anything edible. Cinnamon has been shown to be effective whether taken in stick or powder form.