Swimming in cold water and using a cinnamon supplement could be a potential diabetes treatment, the findings of a recent rat study has suggested.

Researchers have found that this new approach helped reduce the blood sugar levels of rats with diabetes.

Diabetes is one of the leading causes of mortality in developing countries. Apart from insulin use and diet regulation, many studies have looked into how non-pharmacological solutions could prevent diabetes and improve the conditions of those who have it, including participation in physical activities and the use of herbal supplements.

In a recent study published in Nature Nutrition & Diabetes, researchers investigated the effects of the combined treatment of cold water swimming exercise and cinnamon supplementation in rats for eight weeks.

They examined 91 rats, 78 of which had symptoms of diabetes. These rats were categorized into seven groups: a healthy control group, a healthy control group with diabetes, those subjected to cold-water swim training, those undergoing cold-water swim training combined with cinnamon supplementation, rats exposed to warm-water swim training, rats undergoing warm-water swim training with cinnamon supplements and those solely receiving cinnamon supplements.

The rats in the swimming group swam in a specially designed tank for up to four minutes every day. Their blood and plasma samples were taken 48 hours after the training session to check for TBC1D4 and TBC1D1 — proteins that help control skeletal muscle glucose transport. The average blood glucose levels were also measured using HbA1c levels.

"The study revealed that the combination of swimming training in cold water and cinnamon consumption led to a significant reduction in TBC1D1, TBC1D4 and HbA1c. Therefore, this non-traditional exercise approach coupled with cinnamon supplementation can be considered an effective method for improving insulin sensitivity, fasting blood glucose and HbA1c levels and is proposed as an optimal method to improve glucose indices," the researchers wrote.

However, further research is required to confirm how this particular approach will affect humans.

Swimming in cold water may have potential health advantages, but it is still important for any individual to seek medical advice before trying it. This activity can pose some risks, particularly to those who are unfamiliar with it, as it can trigger an initial neurogenic cold shock response or lead to a gradual decline in swimming efficiency and progressive hypothermia, potentially resulting in serious consequences, including death.

Cinnamon supplementation, on the other hand, is generally considered safe. However, excessive intake of cinnamon can have dangerous side effects and is not advisable for people at risk of liver disease.

Hence, it is best to consult a health care professional before one changes their diet and exercise routine.