How Cinnamon Lowers Blood Sugar And Fights Diabetes
Diabetes is a disease characterized by abnormally high blood sugar.
If poorly controlled, it can lead to complications like heart disease, kidney disease and nerve damage .
Treatment often includes medications and insulin injections, but many people are also interested in foods that can help lower blood sugar.
One such example is cinnamon, a commonly used spice thats added to sweet and savory dishes around the world.
It provides many health benefits, including the ability to lower blood sugar and help manage diabetes.
This article tells you everything you need to know about cinnamon and its effects on blood sugar control and diabetes.
Can Cinnamon Lower Your Blood Sugar
A simple answer would be: yes! But lets dig into the subject a bit.
To go further, find out what are the virtues of cinnamon.
For the little story :It is a happy mistake that led Western researchers to find the effect of cinnamon on blood sugar .
Indeed, we owe this discovery to Dr Richard A. Anderson, who originally studied the properties of chromium. USDA researcher, senior scientist at Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, Beltsville, and physician. He has published over 230 scientific manuscripts and presented over 200 presentations at regional, national and international meetings around the world.
While studying the effects of chromium on diabetes, he realizes that apple pie stimulates insulin activity. No sense, the apple pie contains only a little chromium and a lot of sugar!
Anderson then thinks of the effect of apples, but quickly realizes that this effect is due to another ingredient in the pie cinnamon!
The scientist will therefore focus his studies on the effects of cinnamon on diabetics. Many other scientists will follow, all convinced that cinnamon is the best hope for a natural cure for diabetes.
What evidence for the effect of cinnamon on diabetes?
Following Dr Andersons discovery, hundreds of studies are being conducted on the bark by hundreds of scientists. Finally, it is Dr Anderson who will publish in 2010, a scientific article taking stock of the 16 main studies on cinnamon.
CASES WHERE CINNAMON HAS LITTLE OR NO EFFECT:
Drink Water And Stay Hydrated
Drinking enough water may help you keep your blood sugar levels within healthy limits.
In addition to preventing dehydration, it helps your kidneys flush out the excess sugar through urine.
One observational study showed that those who drank more water had a lower risk for developing high blood sugar levels (
Its important to monitor your waistline, as its perhaps the most crucial weight-related factor for estimating your diabetes risk.
A measurement of more than 35 inches for women and more than 40 inches for men is associated with an increased risk of developing insulin resistance, high blood sugar levels, and type 2 diabetes .
Having a healthy waist measurement may even be more important than your overall weight .
Keeping a moderate weight and waistline will help you maintain normal blood sugar levels and decrease your risk for developing diabetes.
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You May Find Relief From Arthritis Pain
If you suffer from arthritis or another type of chronic pain, youre probably familiar with the term inflammation. This refers to your bodys reaction to infection or injury. Acute inflammation is actually a natural part of your healing process, according to Harvard Health. Think about banging your arm on something and seeing your elbow swell up, turn red, and throb with a little bit of soreness for the next few hours. “When the body signals an injury, your immune system sends out an army of white blood cells to surround and protect the area,” the publication explained. However, its not a good thing if “white blood cells end up attacking nearby healthy tissues and organs” and spread to the rest of the body. This is whats known as chronic inflammation.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, cinnamon might be one of several spices that can help relieve the pain brought on by chronic inflammation. This may be because the compound cinnamaldehyde is able to prevent or lessen the damage caused by free radicals. Its important to note that cinnamon should be consumed in addition to other anti-inflammatory foods to truly achieve a noticeably reduced level of inflammation. Other spices that help with inflammation include turmeric, ginger, and cayenne.
Who Should Avoid Cinnamon
Cinnamon is safe for most people with diabetes.
However, people who have liver disease or believe they have a risk of developing liver disease may need to avoid cinnamon, particularly in large amounts.
Cinnamon comes in two forms: Ceylon and cassia. Cassia is common in the United States and contains small amounts of a substance called coumarin.
Some people are sensitive to this chemical and, if they take it in large doses, might develop liver disease. People who already have liver disease are especially at risk if they consume cinnamon.
Most research on the role of coumarin in liver failure looks at significantly larger quantities of cinnamon than a doctor would recommend for people with diabetes. This highlights the importance of starting out a course of cinnamon with very small doses.
People should also consider using a Ceylon cinnamon supplement rather than the more readily available cassia cinnamon.
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Stabilize Your Blood Sugar With Cinnamon
I love the aroma of cinnamon, and its health benefits make it one of my favorite spices. Cinnamon has been used since ancient times to aid digestion, and a teaspoon has more antioxidants than half a cup of blueberries. Plus, studies show that cinnamon helps blunt the rise in blood sugar that can occur when you eat a carbohydrate-rich mealgood news, since a spike in blood sugar raises levels of insulin and insulin-like growth factors, which may increase the risks of diabetes, heart disease, and even some cancers.
Take 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon infused in hot water 3 times a day to ease indigestion, or 2 to 4 teaspoons daily to see an impact on blood sugar levels. Both true cinnamon and cassia are sold as “cinnamon.” If you take more than 1 to 2 teaspoons, get true cinnamon, such as Frontier Organic Fair Trade Cinnamon ; cassia contains coumarin, a compound that in large amounts can adversely affect the liver.
Spice it upTwo new ways to add cinnamon to your diet:
1. Sprinkle a teaspoon over ground coffee before brewing. Research shows that hot-water extraction is one of the best ways to get the good stuff out of the spice.
2. Dust 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon on apple slices and place in a container for an after-lunch treat; the spice prevents fruit from browning.
Send your questions for Dr. Low Dog to .
Tieraona Low Dog, MD, is the author of Life Is Your Best Medicine.
Reduces Hba1c & Fasting Blood Sugar
A randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial of cinnamon supplementation on people diagnosed with;metabolic syndrome;was carried out for 16 weeks .;
All the participants were encouraged to follow a healthy diet and exercise regularly. Half the participants were received 6 grams of cinnamon extract, and the rest were given 6 grams of a placebo.;
There was a reduction in;HbA1c and fasting blood sugar;in the cinnamon group compared to placebo by week 16. There was also a greater reduction in waist circumference and BMI compared to placebo. This may explain the greater reduction in blood sugar.
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Tips For Using Cinnamon
The studies so far on the glucose-altering effects of cinnamon have used small quantities of the spice usually a teaspoon or less.
Just as different medications produce varying results and side effects in different people, cinnamon will not reduce blood sugar in every individual that tries it. Some people may even experience side effects.
Tips for consuming cinnamon safely and effectively include:
- Keep a food log.
- Stick to a diabetes care plan. Cinnamon is not a substitute for blood sugar monitoring, a healthful diet, or diabetes medications.
- Speak to a doctor before trying any new treatments for diabetes, including cinnamon and other herbal remedies. These might interact with existing medications or have unexpected effects on blood sugar.
- Use cinnamon as a flavoring agent for healthful foods, such as oatmeal and muesli. People should avoid eating cinnamon rolls, sticky buns, or other sugary foods that are rich in cinnamon or cinnamon flavoring.
Reducing Coumarin While Lowering Blood Sugar:
Q. I was recently diagnosed with pre-diabetes. From reading previous Peoples Pharmacy columns,;I was aware that cassia cinnamon can be toxic unless put in a paper filter with coffee grounds. I have been mixing one teaspoon of cinnamon in my coffee grounds before brewing my coffee every morning.
In a recent column, a reader wrote that he wound up in the emergency room after consuming the same amount of cinnamon on a daily basis that I have been taking. Is it no longer considered safe to put cinnamon in coffee as I have been doing? I love the taste of cinnamon and would hate to have to take it in capsule form.
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You May Find Some Relief From Period Pains
It doesnt seem fair that menstruating women have to suffer so much pain and discomfort for several days every month. But the good news is that cinnamon might be able to offer a little bit of relief.
According to Healthline, cinnamon has been shown to reduce many of the negative aspects of menstruation, including cramps, nausea, and vomiting. Cinnamon may even make periods lighter and PMS symptoms not as extreme. In one 2015 study published in the Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research, groups of women were given cinnamon, a placebo, or pain medicine. “Cinnamon compared with placebo significantly reduced the severity and duration of pain during menstruation, but this effect was lower compared with Ibuprofen,” wrote the researchers.
If you find yourself craving a cinnamon bun the next time youre on your period, well, go ahead and treat yourself. Just remember that the cinnamon bun isnt going to be as effective as painkillers.
Does Using Cinnamon Bring About Side Effects
In human studies, participants used varying amounts of cinnamon, from a fraction of a teaspoon to two teaspoons each day. Side;effects were rare when cinnamon is added to food in normal doses.
Cinnamon is also available as a dietary supplement, but it is important to be cautious, since dietary supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. If you are taking other medications or herbal supplements, always consult with your healthcare providerinteractions may occur between supplements and medications, resulting in adverse outcomes.
Although cinnamon is generally considered safe for short-term use by most people, some may have an allergic reaction to the spice. Cinnamon also contains a chemical known as coumarin, which can be harmful to individuals with liver disease. Although coumarin is a precursor to the blood-thinner known as warfarin, the precursor found in plants does not affect the ability of blood to clot.
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Cinnamon And Blood Sugar
Research looking at the potential effects of cinnamon on blood sugar levels suggest the spice may be beneficial in two ways. The first is by having an insulin-like effect in the bodyin other words, triggering cells to remove glucose from the blood. The second is by increasing the activity of the transporter proteins that move glucose out of the bloodstream and into cells.
Conclusive studies investigating the use of cinnamon in managing diabetes are lacking. Those that do exist are contradictory, with some showing significant positive effects and others showing little to no effect.
However, there have been some positive findings. The conclusions tend to be limited given the small size of the studies. Others are simply poorly designed.
Among the positive findings, a 2013 meta-analysis of 10 randomized controlled trials concluded that ingesting cinnamon can, in fact, lower fasting blood sugars. The analysis also found that cinnamon had a positive effect on total cholesterol, triglycerides, and “bad” low-density lipoprotein cholesterol.
When Is Cinnamon Spice Not So Nice The Great Danish Debate
Well, as we recently reported in The Salt, cassia cinnamon is the variety you are most likely to encounter in a grocery store. But cassia can contain high levels of coumarin, a naturally occurring ingredient that, when eaten in large enough amounts, can cause reversible liver toxicity in a small group of individuals sensitive to it.
“So the warning is, for cinnamon lovers, is to beware of excessive intake of cassia,” says diabetes educator Angela Ginn.
And Ikhlas Khan, a researcher at the University of Mississippi’s School of Pharmacy who recently looked at the amounts of coumarin in cinnamon-flavored foods in the U.S., recently told The Salt that people who do want to use cinnamon for medicinal purposes should consult their doctor before taking large amounts.
Some experts suggest investing instead in Ceylon cinnamon, a milder and pricier variety of the spice that comes from a tree distinct from but related to cassia.
How much cassia is too much? For an adult who is sensitive to coumarin, the limit is about a teaspoon a day, according to the daily tolerable intake set by the European Food Safety Authority.
So if you’re a cinnamon lover and your goal is to increase your daily intake, using Ceylon cinnamon can reduce the risk of consuming too much coumarin.
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Is Cinnamon Safe For People With Diabetes
If you are considering cinnamon supplements, talk with your doctor first, especially if you take any medication. Also, look for brands labeled with a quality seal. These include the NSF International, US Pharmacopeia, or Consumerlab seal. This helps assure that the supplement actually has the ingredients stated on the label and doesn’t have any contaminants or potentially harmful ingredients.
Unlike medications, supplement makers don’t have to prove their products are safe or effective. But the FDA can order a supplement off the market if it proves it’s unsafe.
Which Cinnamon Lowers Blood Sugar
In many research reports, the investigators do not specify which type of cinnamon they used in their study . Consequently, we have some difficulty determining which cinnamon lowers blood sugar most effectively. The first studies were conducted using cassia cinnamon. Soon thereafter, scientists began to examine C. verum to see if it can moderate blood sugar and insulin spikes after meals. Although initial results were discouraging , research in rats and a handful of human volunteers suggests that C. verum may also be useful for blood sugar control .
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Who Shouldnt Use Cinnamon
There are some people who should not use cinnamon capsules at all.; Its recommended that those who are pregnant and those who have problems with low blood sugar should consider using other herbs to improve their health.
There are always many good herbs to choose from.; A practicing herbalist or health practitioner versed in herbs can make this decision for you.; Checking with your doctor is always in order.
If you are on blood sugar lowering drugs and your doctor has given you the go-ahead to give cinnamon a try, its important to monitor your blood sugar levels daily.; Doing so will not only allow you to see progress, but also catch any blood sugar readings that are too low.
If this happens, your doctor will want to know this so that he/she can lower your blood sugar medications.
Another precaution is for those who may have problems with clotting.; Cinnamon is a coagulant and prevents bleeding while simultaneously increasing circulation. Some doctors will say stay away if a patient is on anticoagulant therapy.
Can You Take Cinnamon With Metformin
As a diabetic individual, you have to consider the effects of the food you take with the health drugs prescribed to diabetic management. Similarly, you must be cautious before adding Cinnamon to your diet too if you take medications like metformin.
But a very good part is that Cinnamon has no hindering effects on the functioning of metformin in the body. It is not harmful and does not at all react to form any diabetic complications.
You can take your medication of metformin and also practice the intake of Cinnamon without any worries or intended harm.
Experiments have concluded that diabetic individuals who take metformin and Cinnamon have not reported any cases of discomfort or further issues.
But it is important to consider the fact that all our bodies are different. Our reactions to different intakes may also vary depending on the health conditions. Hence, it is best to refer to your doctors once before deciding to add any new or different foods or techniques to control diabetes.
Make sure to consult your health experts as they know your diabetic conditions the best and can suggest necessary and safe measures. Ensure you are following all the precautions and restrictions to prevent any diabetic health severity.
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To Sum Up Cinnamon And Diabetes:
Should we consult a doctor? Yes, yes, and again yes, never stop treatment and seek the advice of your doctor before embarking on any cure.
Is it effective? Yes, but not for everyone.
For who? People with prediabetes, metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes, if you are not taking metformin. It is possible to consult your doctor to see if it is possible to lower the doses of metformin by adding cinnamon to your diet.
How? Or What? Add cinnamon every day to a healthy diet and exercise for 20 minutes per day.