Diabetes and Cinnamon
Just half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day significantly reduces blood sugar levels in diabetics, a new study has found. The effect, which can be produced even by soaking a cinnamon stick your tea, could also benefit millions of non-diabetics who have blood sugar problem but are unaware of it.
The discovery was initially made by accident, by Richard Anderson at the US Department of Agriculture's Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland.
"We were looking at the effects of common foods on blood sugar," he told New Scientist. One was the American favourite, apple pie, which is usually spiced with cinnamon. "We expected it to be bad. But it helped," he says.
Sugars and starches in food are broken down into glucose, which then circulates in the blood. The hormone insulin makes cells take in the glucose, to be used for energy or made into fat.
But people with Type 1 diabetes do not produce enough insulin. Those with Type 2 diabetes produce it, but have lost sensitivity to it. Even apparently healthy people, especially if they are overweight, sedentary or over 25, lose sensitivity to insulin. Having too much glucose in the blood can cause serious long-term damage to eyes, kidneys, nerves and other organs.
The active ingredient in cinnamon turned out to be a water-soluble polyphenol compound called MHCP. In test tube experiments, MHCP mimics insulin, activates its receptor, and works synergistically with insulin in cells.
To see if it would work in people, Alam Khan, who was a postdoctoral fellow in Anderson's lab, organised a study in Pakistan. Volunteers with Type 2 diabetes were given one, three or six grams of cinnamon powder a day, in capsules after meals.
All responded within weeks, with blood sugar levels that were on average 20 per cent lower than a control group. Some even achieved normal blood sugar levels. Tellingly, blood sugar started creeping up again after the diabetics stopped taking cinnamon.
The cinnamon has additional benefits. In the volunteers, it lowered blood levels of fats and "bad" cholesterol, which are also partly controlled by insulin. And in test tube experiments it neutralised free radicals, damaging chemicals which are elevated in diabetics.
Buns and pies
"I don't recommend eating more cinnamon buns, or even more apple pie - there's too much fat and sugar," says Anderson. "The key is to add cinnamon to what you would eat normally."
The active ingredient is not in cinnamon oils. But powdered spice can be added to toast, cereal, juice or coffee.
Anderson's team were awarded patents related to MHCP in 2002. But the chemical is easily obtained. He notes that one of his colleagues tried soaking a cinnamon stick in tea. "He isn't diabetic - but it lowered his blood sugar," Anderson says.
The group now plans to test even lower doses of cinnamon in the US, and also look at long-term blood sugar management with the spice.
Journal reference: Diabetes Care (vol 26, p 3125)
The diabetes and cinnamon connection was recently established by Dr. Richard Anderson, Albert Khan, PhD., and the University of Pakistan that conducted a clinical study on cinnamon and blood sugar diabetic treatment that was released in 2003.
This study established the relationship between cinnamon and blood sugar and cinnamon being used as an effective cinnamon and blood sugar diabetic treatment for persons with Type 2 diabetes. The study was not for cinnamon and type I diabetes.
This diabetes and cinnamon research proves that cinnamon lowers blood sugar!
There were sixty people in this study divided into six groups. Thirty women and thirty men, average age was 52. Three groups of ten people each took wheat-flour placebo capsules, and three groups of ten people took different quantities of cinnamon for diabetes treatment.
Here is what happened:
• For the diabetes and cinnamon groups, the first group took
one gram daily - or about 1/4 teaspoon a day for 40 days.
After stopping the diabetes and cinnamon supplementation, the reductions in blood glucose levels in all three groups that took cinnamon were impressive - ranging from 18% to 29% reductions with cinnamon and blood sugar!
You can see the full report by selecting the "Full Text of Khan et. al." link at the bottom of the abstract summary that follows. See the abstract study on diabetes and cinnamon research here.
What is the diabetes and cinnamon substance that Dr. Anderson found lowered blood sugar?
The substance identified by Dr. Anderson in diabetes and cinnamon that is responsible for the cinnamon and blood sugar lowering phenomenom is called a "polyphenol type-A polymer".
Here's how it works. After eating, the starches and sugars in foods are broken down into blood sugar which is called glucose. Glucose then circulates in the bloodstream, and in healthy bodies, insulin makes it possible for the body’s cells to absorb glucose, which will either be used as energy or will be stored as fat.
If the body either doesn’t produce insulin (Type 1 diabetes) or has lost its sensitivity to it (Type 2), higher levels of glucose will remain in the blood - and long-term elevated glucose levels are associated with many health problems such as eye health problems, kidney health problems and several other organs health problems.
What Dr. Anderson and his research staff found in their cinnamon and blood sugar diabetic research was this - a particular substance in cinnamon reduced blood sugar levels in persons with Type 2 diabetes.
The diabetes and cinnamon connection is – cinnamon and blood sugar diabetic research proves that cinnamon improves insulin and glucose metabolism and reverses insulin resistance!
See the full research report : http://care.diabetesjournals.org/cgi/content/full/26/12/3215?
This is GREAT NEWS!
Cinnamon Helps Stop Type 2 Diabetes
By Mike Hodge
American scientists have claimed that a teaspoon of cinnamon a day may help prevent the onset of diabetes.
The common spice could help millions of sufferers of Type II, non-insulin dependent diabetes. This condition usually develops in middle-age and prematurely kills 100 million people around the world every year. Type II diabetes causes cells to lose their ability to respond to insulin, the hormone that tells the body to remove excess glucose in the bloodstream. If glucose builds up in the blood, tiredness, weight-loss and blurred vision are some of the resulting symptoms. In extreme cases this can lead to blindness, heart disease and premature death.
Data from the Agricultural Research Unit in Maryland was first published in the New Scientist in August 2000. The researchers found that cinnamon rekindled the ability of fat cells in diabetics to respond to insulin and greatly increased glucose removal. It is believed that a substance in cinnamon called MHCP is the main reason for its beneficial results.
When mice were given MHCP, their glucose levels fell dramatically and tests on humans have begun this year. The researchers are so confident that cinnamon will have the same dramatic effect of reducing insulin tolerance in humans they recommend that type II diabetics should take a quarter to one full teaspoon of cinnamon per day.
Many Type II diabetics have already found a new feeling of well-being and improvement in health by using this simple cinnamon supplementation in their diet. Cinnamon has long been known as an "energizing" spice, and it is likely that increasing the intake of this common and cheaply available food will benefit even non-diabetics, if used as a daily energizing tonic.
The insulin resistance that leads to type II diabetes develops relatively slowly as the body ages and even those who have not yet experienced severe symptoms may have some degree of elevated insulin resistance.
Cinnamon is also a rich source of magnesium, which is essential for maintaining bone density, electrolyte balance, certain enzyme functions and many other crucial biochemical processes. Magnesium is also linked to the more dramatic forms of diabetes that occur earlier in life.
Much research has been carried out to establish a metabolic defect in diabetics that prevents the absorption of magnesium. As cinnamon provides a readily available source of MHCP, magnesium and possibly other beneficial substances it seems like a very cost-effective way of offsetting future health problems related to glucose/insulin imbalances as we grow older.
Cinnamon can be bought inexpensively in a convenient powdered form at almost any food shop and taking it couldn't be easier: just use up to a teaspoon a day in milkshakes or fruit juice.
I personally take a half-teaspoon daily in this way every morning and can confirm a distinct energy benefit. Diabetics should always inform their doctor before taking cinnamon as it may affect medication requirements.
Diabetes and Cinnamon
I've been experimenting with my Type 2 diabetes over the last month by including cinnamon in my diet in various ways; the most common being adding it to my coffee. My anecdotal evidence thus far is that it apparently does act to lower my blood sugar count by an average of 15 to 20%. That's good news because I would far rather find "natural" additives to my diet and use increased physical activity to control my acquired insensitivity to insulin (which is central to Type 2 diabetes) than to be tied to the prescriptive and expensive chemicals I am required to consume on a daily basis at the moment.
My average blood sugar at the time of discovering I was diabetic was about 325mg/ml of whole blood. That's a lot. Untreated, that level will cause circulatory and other organ damage. Now I average around 120 (with a range of 80 to 160) The normal range is 90-120, depending on whether a person has eaten or not and what was eaten.
Refined starches and sugars can boost readings to 140-180 even in a non diabetic person. Not a good thing, because diets which habitually produce such high levels are quite likely a major influence on the incredible increase in diabetes cases over the last couple of decades...the other major cause being lack of even moderate exercise.
I have upped my daily exercise from minor to moderate...I walk about 12 miles a day and that has had an enormous effect on both my blood sugar and peripheral circulation.
My plan is to re-sensitize myself to insulin so that I can control my
diabetes with diet and exercise alone and eventually wean myself off the
Diabetes, Diet and Exercise. The three are inseparable. To control DIABETES, you must DIET and EXERCISE. Read about any prescription drug for diabetes, and the first sentence always says that "X" with diet and exercise will control diabetes. I have been taking a prescription drug (let's call it X) for several years. It barely controlled my blood sugar level. Normal blood sugar range is 70 or 80 for a low to 140 for a high. My long term (6 month average measured by the amount of sugar stuck to my red blood cells) readings were over 150. This was with diet and exercise. If I didn't do either, the readings were much higher.
Then I read about taking cinnamon to control blood sugar. So I tried it. I put 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon on buttered toast (cinnamon must be dissolved in fat), once in the morning and again at night time. My evening readings were going down into the 60's and 50's. It scared me. I was going too low. I tried various combinations of diet, exercise, X and cinnamon. Diet and exercise were essential, and so was cinnamon OR X. So, I stopped taking X. Six months later, my doctor was surprised to see my long term blood sugar reading of 120. Cinnamon alone (with diet and exercise) was controlling my blood sugar better than X ever did. Cinnamon costs me 50 cents a month, X cost me 50 dollars a month. I felt much better. If you read the data sheet that comes with X, you find out that it can kill you very quickly.
If you want to try taking cinnamon, then be sure to closely monitor you blood sugar daily, or even a couple of times during the day. This is not something you want to fool around with if it's not working for you.