Cinnamon and Diabetes

Is cinnamon good for diabetes and is there a connection between them? Does including it in the diet of diabetics help keep blood glucose levels low? Research into the connection between cinnamon and diabetes is on-going. The results of some studies have been mixed.

Some tests seem to indicated that when cinnamon is used in a diabetes diet it does help in the managing of diabetes but others seem to show that it has no effect on glucose levels.

So the question arises…Should I include cinnamon in my diet to help control my glucose levels?

Lets examine the evidence about the both connection.

The Connection Between Cinnamon and Glucose Levels

  • Cinnamon may have an insulin-like effect, causing our blood sugar to be stored in the form of glycogen. In one study of rats, it appeared to cause an increase in the compound IRS-1, which is responsible for increasing glucose uptake in muscle tissue.
  • It may cause an increase in the transporter mechanisms (GLUT-4) that takes blood sugar out of the our blood stream and moves it into tissue.
  • It has also been suggested that cinnamon has a number of other properties that might contribute to any hypoglycemic effect we might have.

Cinnamon and Type l Diabetes

A study, published in an issue of Diabetes Care, examined the effects of cinnamon on people with Type 1 diabetes. Researchers found no differences between the two groups in terms of HbA1c levels, daily insulin use, or episodes of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels).

A NOTE OF CAUTION: German authorities are seeking to have cinnamon supplements be regulated medication. The reason given is that some forms of the supplements contain a compound (coumarin) that can reduce the blood’s ability to clot.

Cinnamon and Type 2 Diabetes

A case study done in Pakistan in 2003 by Dr Khan doing research on both connections showed:

  • lower levels of fasting glucose, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol after 40 days with levels continuing to drop for 20 days after that.
  • no changes in the placebo group were observed over the 40-day period. However, in the cinnamon groups reductions in fasting glucose were down 18 percent to 29 percent.

This study lists cinnamomum cassia as the cinnamon that was used. Agricultural Research Unit in Maryland in 2000 reported:

  • Research found it rekindled the ability of fat cells in diabetics to respond to insulin and greatly increased glucose removal.
  • It is believed that a substance in the ingredient called MHCP is the main reason for its beneficial results.
  • They recommend that type 2 diabetics should take a quarter to one full teaspoon of cinnamon per day.

A report from Maria Collazo-Clavell, M.D. of the Mayo Clinic explained:

  • In one preliminary 2006 study, cinnamon extract seemed to lower blood sugar in people who have Type 2 diabetes. The report went on to say other studies haven’t confirmed these results.
  • It doesn’t appear to improve hemoglobin A1clevels.
  • She concluded: At this point, it seems unlikely that it could play any role in the treatment for diabetics.

Benefits of Taking Cinnamon:

There has been research carried out to find out if there is a metabolic defect in diabetics that prevents the absorption of magnesium. The ingredient provides a readily available source of magnesium. So should it be part of your regime for controlling our diabetes?

Looks like there is no clear answer. As with the case of most treatments for diabetics, what works for some may not work for another. After all, we are so different in make-up no one thing will work for everyone.

When you read articles on cinnamon and diabetes keep an open mind. We know that such ingredient won’t hurt us but we should not expect it to miraculously bring down our blood glucose levels or cure our diabetes.

A Little More about Complications of Diabetes

Both long term and sort term complications of diabetes can be devastating because severe health problems that they can cause. It is in the best interests of the diabetic person and their family to avoid as many complications as possible.

When anyone in the family is diagnosed with diabetes the whole family is involved, one way or another. Everyone has to learn to cope with life-changing routines. How well that is done will determine to a large degree how many and how severe any complication will become.

The best way to avoid complications is by having glucose levels in control. Regularly monitoring your glucose is a great way to do this.

A1C tests are routinely given to see how well you have managed your blood sugar levels in the past three months. The higher your A1C level is the great your risk of developing diabetes complications.

Some of the complications can happen quickly while others develop over a long period of time. Some can be reversed, others can’t. Some complications such as diabetic seizures may occur when the levels of glucose are either too high or too low.

By keeping blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels as near to normal as possible, together with following a healthy lifestyle you can help prevent many of the complications of diabetes.