According to a recent review study, cinnamon serves more than just a purpose in baking. It can provide a spicy solution for type 2 diabetes by lowering blood sugar and total cholesterol levels in sufferers of the condition.
Findings of the review published online in The Annals of Family Medicine reveal that patients with type 2 diabetes showed improved blood glucose and cholesterol levels when they took cinnamon in a pill form. The researchers examined data from 10 randomized, controlled trials involving 543 patients with type 2 diabetes. The studies compared patients who took cinnamon supplements in doses ranging from 120 milligrams to 6 grams a day for four to 18 weeks to patients who did not take cinnamon.
Cinnamomum cassia — also known as Chinese cinnamon — was found to be the most popular cinnamon pill used in six out of the 10 trials. The participants of these studies had to take the supplement before, during, and after their meals.
The authors of the review study found that type 2 diabetes patients who took cinnamon supplements had lower blood sugar fasting levels compared to patients who did not take them. The common kitchen spice was also found to reduce LDL “bad” cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and increase HDL “good” cholesterol, LiveScience reports.
The participants in all 10 trials took the cinnamon supplements in addition to their diabetes medicine — a combination that lowered their fasting blood sugar levels by approximately 25 milligrams/deciliter. This reduction in blood sugar levels is slightly higher than that seen in type 2 diabetes patients who only took sitagliptin — a diabetes drug.
Usually, blood sugar levels are the lowest in the morning, before a person’s first meal of the day, also known as the fasting level. Type 2 diabetes patients will naturally experience a rise in blood glucose levels in the early hours of the morning due to insulin resistance, which prevents muscle and fat cells from using sugar. For those that do not have diabetes, the increase in blood sugar levels is balanced by an increase in insulin production, according to Cristy Parkin, R.N., from Diabetes Forecast.
"When we combined the results of all the trials, we found that in patients with type 2 diabetes, there was a benefit on blood glucose and cholesterol levels," said Olivia Phung, a research of the study and assistant professor of pharmacy practice at Western University of Health Sciences.
Phung expressed the need for more research to determine whether there is a valid cause-and-effect relationship between cinnamon and improved diabetes control, reports Yahoo News!
"It's not going to replace your diabetes medications," said Phung. "If you're thinking about taking cinnamon [for diabetes control], definitely talk to your doctor or a pharmacist about it."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes. For those who are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes, losing 10 to 14 lbs. and getting at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week can cut the risk by nearly 60 percent. For more information on type 2 diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association.