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Cinnamon - Does It Really Benefit Diabetics?

April 15, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 169

If you're a diabetic you probably have heard that cinnamon can help lower your blood sugar levels. It wouldn't be a surprise to find yourself adding a dash of cinnamon to your coffee or cereal. Does cinnamon really benefit diabetics?

What it is

Cinnamon is an aromatic spice sourced from the bark of several species of the cinnamon tree. The spice' essential oil called cinnamonaldehyde gives it a highly aromatic flavor. Cassia cinnamon is the most commonly used species.

During ancient times cinnamon was a highly priced spice as a gift worthy for kings. This flavorful spice is used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for various illnesses and conditions.

Worldwide, it is used in a various ways in different cultures. It's mostly used as a flavoring added to pancakes, breads, buns, pies, candies, tea, liquors, hot cocoa, donuts and cakes. In Middle Eastern countries, cinnamon is used as a condiment and flavoring for dishes of lamb and chicken.

Research

There had been a lot of debate whether cinnamon can benefit people with diabetes..

An early research study in 2003 conducted by Khan et al entitled, "Cinnamon Improves Glucose and Lipids of People with Type 2 Diabetes" involved 60 type 2 diabetics - 30 men and 30 women. Divided into two groups, one group was given a placebo while the other was given cinnamon daily for 40 days. After a 20 day washout period, the group given cinnamon showed a decrease not only in blood glucose levels but a decrease in triglyceride, LDL and total cholesterol serum levels. The decrease in triglyceride, LDL and cholesterol levels are also beneficial because it reduces the risk factors of cardiovascular disease which is higher in diabetics.

Subsequently, there were a lot of researches done in different countries, age groups and diabetes types. All researches had utilized cassia cinnamon. They concluded with different results.

A doctor of naturopathic medicine, Dr. Ryan Bradley, made a comparative study and analysis as discussed in Diabetic Action on all the available research studies conducted on cinnamon worldwide. This included the earlier research of Khan et al in 2003. He compared the following:

• Mang et al in 2006 among German type 2 diabetics

• Suppapitporn et al 2006 among Thai type 2 diabetics

• Vanschoon-beeket et al in 2006 among European menopausal women with Type 2 diabetes

• Altschuler et al in 2007 among US adolescents with Type 1 diabetes

• Blevins et al in 2007 among US adults with Type 2 diabetes

• Crawford in 2009 among US adults with Type 2 diabetes

• Roussel et al in 2009 among US adults with Type 2 diabetes

• Stoeker et al in 2010 among Chinese adults with pre-diabetes.

There were varied and conflicting results from these researches but one thing stood out - cinnamon has an effect on Type 2 diabetics on lowering blood glucose levels.

What Type of Diabetic Benefits from Cinnamon?

However, cinnamon according to Dr. Bradley shouldn't be relied on solely when a diabetic has poorly controlled blood sugar. It would significantly benefit diabetics whose goal is "a small reduction in blood glucose to tighten control" and beneficial if not taking "insulin sensitizing, medication like metformin, rosiglitazone or pioglitazone..."

Summing it up is this piece of advice from the Mayo clinic medical experts. Mayo clinic says that cinnamon may help type 2 diabetics as a supplement to diabetes treatment.

Mayo clinic cited a study in 2009. When cinnamon is taken twice daily for three months or 90 days, the subjects showed an improved hemoglobin A1C levels of type 2 diabetics with poorly controlled blood sugar levels. It is theorized that cinnamon increases insulin sensitivity of cells.

Should you Consider Taking Cinnamon?

It is safe to say that cinnamon may help as a supplement to your anti-diabetic medications. Diabetics sometimes, have a tendency to be desperate in seeking solutions to their condition that anything that might help is good news. So, here is cinnamon that may help. It's easy to incorporate cinnamon in your daily diet. You can add it in baking, cooking or simply sprinkling it to your cereal or coffee. Or you can consume it in a pill form whichever is convenient for you. The optimum dose of cinnamon is at least a gram a day according to experts or you can ask the advice of your doctor. Cinnamon nutritional supplements come in standardized capsules of 500 mg.

If you decide to take cinnamon supplements exercise caution when you combine it with other supplements that can lower your blood sugar levels. These supplements are bitter melon, chromium, alpha lipoic acid, devil's claw, fenugreek, garlic, horse chestnut, psyllium, Siberian ginseng and Panax.

Always remember that managing your diabetes consists of a lifelong commitment of healthy eating habits, regular exercise, taking your medications or insulin therapy and blood sugar monitoring.

A B Stephens is a chemical engineer by profession. Her passion to help diabetics stems from the fact that members of her family and her husband's family are diabetics. They launched http://www.typefreediabetes.com in 2007 - a one-stop shop for people who have diabetes - a lifestyle store complete with whatever a diabetic would need to live his/her life to the fullest! Cinnamon, a fragrant spice, can be taken in capsule form in 500 mg standard dose. Here's a cinnamon nutritional supplement for glucose control by Bronson http://www.typefreediabetes.com/Nutritional-Supplement-Cinnamon-p/203b.htm

Source: EzineArticles
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