Cinnamon again found to benefit diabetics

Back in December I wrote this post which explored the apparent ability of cinnamon to reduce blood sugar levels, particularly in diabetics. One of the studies mentioned in this post showed that cinnamon added to normal diabetic care led to improved outcomes compared to standard diabetic care alone. While this result was certainly promising, the study was somewhat hampered by the fact that it did not include a proper ‘control’ group (i.e. a group taking a placebo/dummy pill).

So, I was interested to read about a new study which tested cinnamon in diabetics, but this time against a group using a placebo [1]. In this study, 58 adults with type 2 diabetes were treated with 2 grams of cinnamon a day, or a placebo, for 12 weeks.

Compared to the group taking placebo, those assigned to take cinnamon saw a significant reduction in their levels of HbA1c (also known as glycosylated haemoglobin – which gives an indication of braod blood sugar control over the preceding 2-3 months or so). In other words, treatment with cinnamon led to improved blood sugar control in type 2 diabetics.

But that’s not all, because those treated with cinnamon also enjoyed improvements in a range of other parameters including blood pressure (both the higher ‘systolic’ and lower ‘diastolic’ values) and waist circumference. Taken together, these findings would be expected to translate in to a reduced risk of chronic disease including cardiovascular disease (e.g. heart disease and stroke) and diabetic complications.

The authors of this study concluded that, “Cinnamon supplementation could be considered as an additional dietary supplement option to regulate blood glucose and blood pressure levels along with conventional medications to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus.”

From a nutritional perspective, I’ve seen diabetics generally get much improved blood sugar control by eschewing conventional advice to eat starchy carbohydrate at every meal. I wrote about this here. Generally speaking, eating less of these blood sugar-disrupting carbs at meals means less blood sugar disruption and less evidence of diabetes in the long term, pure and simple.

References:

1. Glycated haemoglobin and blood pressure-lowering effect of cinnamon in multi-ethnic Type 2 diabetic patients in the UK: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial. Akilen R, et al. Diabetic Medicine 2010;27(10):1159-67

9 Responses to Cinnamon again found to benefit diabetics

  1. hans keer 28 September 2010 at 10:23 pm #

    I’m a cinnamon lover but not a diabetic. Would you think the two grams of cinnamon per day could have an adverse effect on non-diabetics?

  2. Mallory 28 September 2010 at 11:13 pm #

    i put cinnamon in my full fat yogurt quite often!!! it also blends well wih spice rubs, surprisingly! especially pork :)

  3. Bill 28 September 2010 at 11:22 pm #

    I’ve tried to incorporate cinammon into my daily diet, and have found the best and easiest way for me is to add a teaspoon of cinammon powder to a good dollop of probiotic full fat yoghurt, with a small amount of honey.

    I also recommend you buy your cinammon at an ethnic store. 500 grams costs about the same as the tiny jars you find in the supermarkets.
    The same goes price-wise for other spices; such as black peppercorns, turmeric, fresh ginger, chillies and garlic. I try to take all of these on a daily basis in my food.
    Buying from asian shops saves me over 60 per cent.

  4. Justin Lusty 1 October 2010 at 12:29 pm #

    I understand that some varieties of cinnamon contain Coumarin which can cause liver and kidney damage. Ceylon cinnamon aka ‘true cinnamon does not contain Coumarin whereas Cassia cinnamon does. So one question may be to find out where you can get Ceylon cinnamon – and know it is the genuine article.

    Does anyone know a supplier?

  5. Gail Singh 1 October 2010 at 8:52 pm #

    This is how I take cinnamon.
    I take equal amount of cinnamon and fennegrek powder and mix it with either olive oil,grapeseed
    oil or sesime oil and add honey to taste. Mixed
    it well and take a spoon full with any breverage.
    It taste good. Cinnamon and fennegrek are both good for diabetes.

  6. darrell 2 October 2010 at 11:49 pm #

    cinnamon needs to be *organic* because convential products probably contains a chemical used in processing and you don’t want this in your body.

  7. Chris 7 October 2010 at 7:31 pm #

    Darrell, there is an underlying sense of economic determinism that suggests there is probability in what you allege, but a sense of determinism is not, in itself, satisfactory evidence. Can you support the claim that non-organic cinnamon may contain residual chemical(s) from processing with a link to a source? It would be of interest if tou could. Guidance on inserting a link can be found (here).

    I am type II diabetic and I have dabbled with cinnamon. In supplementing cinnamon on my food I felt better if only for the reason that I thought I was doing something positive; taking responsibility, if you like. However, I now recognise the pertinance of evolution and co-evolution of human diet. Introducing something ‘novel’ may have unintended consequence. Very probably we have been exposed to the active compounds in cinnamon over the long run of our past because of the likely hood they can be found elsewhere, but, crucially, perhaps not in the same concentrations. Many things, including water, are toxic at some level. From a point of view of determinisn I would now elect not to self-medicate with a lot of cinnamon. On the other hand the idea that something may improve insulin sensitivity is interesting.

    From personal experience I found I feel consistently better with (perceived) less frequent glcocylation and lethargy coincident with a deliberate policy of ditching margarine and vegetable oils, which, from the long view, are quite novel introductions to the human diet. Association alone, though, is not neccessarily causation. The idea that careful choice of dietary fats in tandem with cutting back on the sugars and starchy carbs, as Dr Briffa says, can assist control of blood sugar and/or improve insulin sensitivity is in keeping with my personal experience.

  8. Chris 7 October 2010 at 7:39 pm #

    Duh! Proof be needed, indeed! I mean “liklihood” LOL !!

  9. TerryJ 16 August 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    Shop bought cinnamon capsules are very expensive so I make my own. I buy organic Sri Lankan cinnamon powder online from from Steenbergs which costs £9 for 500g. This will make about 1000 Size 00 capsules which I bought from Dr T & T Health UK (www.purecapsules.co.uk) for 19.70.

    Total cost for ingredients and delivery about £45 which will make 1000 x 500mg capsules (plus your labour to fill the capsules). To buy the same from Holland and Barrett would cost about £170 for non-organic Cassia type cinnamon.

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