Cinnamon and Diabetes
Discover How Cinnamon Can Help Lower Blood Sugar Levels
Cinnamon has a very long history going back to biblical times, when it was used in rituals and ceremonies as an
anointing oil. It has a pungent and spicy taste. Back then only the privileged were able to use it because of its
very high cost. The true cinnamon spice, Cinnamomum zeylanicum, comes from Sri Lanka. There is another
cinnamon, which is called Cinnamomum cassia, but it is thought to be inferior to true cinnamon.
Health Benefits of Cinammon
This spice is derived from the inner bark of the cinnamon
tropical evergreen tree. It is now available to us in dried tubular form (quills or sticks), powdered, liquid (oil)
and in extract form. Because of the many studies that have validated its medicinal capabilities, cinnamon is now
being used as an alternative treatment for diarrhea, stomach disorders and nausea. It can also improve brain
function and circulation. It can also increase energy and vitality. But most recently, it was found to help those
afflicted with diabetes.
Studies on Cinnamon and Diabetes
There are scientific studies that show that cinnamon’s
insulin-like properties enable it to reduce blood glucose levels, as well as cholesterol and triglycerides.
These are vital in treating patients with Type 2 diabetes. They found that cinnamon contains polyphenols, active
ingredients that can boost the levels of three key proteins. These proteins promot the normal processes of insulin
signaling, efficient glucose transportation and healthy inflammatory response.
The test was conducted in Pakistan over a period of 40 days, involving 60 volunteers with type 2 diabetes. They
were divided into six groups, with 10 people in each group. Three groups were given one, three, or six grams of
cinnamon powder in capsules three times a day after meals. The other three groups were the control groups and were
only given placebos. After a few weeks, those in the cinnamon group showed blood sugar levels 20% lower (on the
average) than those of the control group. In some of the cases, the blood sugar levels even returned to normal. But
their blood sugar levels started to increase again when the cinnamon capsule treatment were withdrawn.
The results of the tests convinced the scientists that taking cinnamon, even as little as 1 gram per day,will
benefit people afflicted with Type 2 diabetes. In addition, they have also proved that cinnamon can also lower
levels of bad cholesterol and fat. This is corroborated by a report published in New Scientist, in August
2000,which stated that the ability of fat cells to respond to insulin improved when cinnamon is taken. In addition,
the glucose uptake of the cells also increased immensely.
This was made possible because of an active ingredient of cinnamon, a water-soluble polyphenol called methyl
hydroxyl chalcone polymer (MHCP). This chemical compound showed its ability to mimic insulin’s capacity to activate
the insulin receptors and enhance the positive effects of insulin on resistant cells.
Cinnamon Is Safe for Diabetes
Cinnamon is basically a food substance and not a
drug,therefore it is safe for normal use. Different scientific tests have already proven its worth for diabetic
patients, especially those with Type 2 diabetes. However, since this substance can lower blood sugar levels, take
the necessary precaution if you are also using supplements or medicine that lower blood sugar evels. It is always
wise to seek the counsel of your medical provider before taking cinnamon while taking other supplements. Also a
word of caution to those who have liver problems aside from being diabetic: increased amounts of cinnamon in your
system may further damage your liver. Again, it is better to seek your doctor’s approval first.
Type 2 diabetes is more common than type 1 diabetes. It accounts for about 85% of diabetics. In type 2 diabetes,
the pancreas still produces insulin – the hormone which signals the body to remove excess glucose in the
bloodstream. However, in conventional insulin treatments, the cells that remove glucose from the blood usually
become resistant to the effects of insulin – resulting in higher blood sugar levels. Since cinnamon is a natural
substance, it does not weaken these cells but makes them even more effective.
Using Cinnamon in Lowering your Blood Sugar Level
A study conducted by the Department of
Human Nutrition showed that the consumption of cinnamon can lower blood sugar from 18% to 29% for those who are
suffering from type 2 diabetes. But since most physicians have not acknowledged cinnamon as an effective treatment
for diabetes, if you think you would like to try this substance, do consult your doctor to make sure that your
blood sugar level does not go way below safe levels.
Here are some basic ways of using cinnamon for lowering your blood sugar level:
1) Always use fresh cinnamon. It can be bought from your local health food store or your local grocery.
There is traditional cinnamon powder, but there are also cinnamon capsules or pills which are more convenient
to take. If you prefer cinnamon sticks, be sure that their aroma is still strong and sweet.
2) Taking cinnamon powder is very simple. You can add it to your cereal, coffee, tea or toast. You can
control your blood glucose levels by taking between ¼ and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon per day, as several studies
suggest. If you are taking cinnamon capsule supplements, consume the amount as directed by your doctor, or as
indicated on the bottle.
3) Take your prescribed dosage of cinnamon every day and continue monitoring your blood glucose levels.
Stop taking it when your blood sugar levels get too low.
Using cinnamon is a very cost-effective way of treating health problems related to high blood glucose
levels, such as type 2 diabetes. If you are diagnosed as having low blood sugar levels, you can use
cinnamon to bring your sugar levels back to normal. They are available in many forms at your local health store and
grocery. To be safe, seek the counsel of your doctor before taking it in place of, or in addition to,
your current treatment.