Cinnamon Can Help Lower Blood Sugar But One Variety May Be Best
Studies suggest cinnamon can help control blood sugar, but if you want to incorporate more of this spice in your diet, consider using the Ceylon variety.hide caption
If I say cinnamon, you say … sugar? It’s a popular combination, of course.
But if you’re interested in the health-promoting effects of cinnamon, you may want to think anew about the spice.
For instance, says John Critchley, executive chef at Bourbon Steak Restaurant in Washington, D.C., why not add it to savory dishes? He uses cinnamon to create a spice and herb rub for lamb loin. He also whips up a great spinach salad with raisins, pine nuts and cinnamon.
Critchley is a fan of the intense aromatics in cinnamon, especially in Saigon a cousin of the cassia varieties of cinnamon most commonly used in the U.S. and Europe. And he says adding cinnamon to spice blends is a great way to layer flavors when you’re cooking.
And when you start to look at the potential health-promoting effects of the spice, there’s even more incentive to experiment with it in the kitchen.
Cinnamon comes from the bark of trees. It has long been considered a medicinal plant. There are several varieties, harvested from southern China to Southeast Asia.
John Critchley, executive chef at Bourbon Steak Restaurant in Washington, D.C., uses cinnamon in many savory dishes, including a spice and herb rub for lamb loin. Allison Aubrey/NPRhide caption
The Great Debate: Does Cinnamon Actually Help People With Diabetes
While numerous small studies have explored cinnamons effect on blood sugar, the results have been mixed.
A 2013 study of 70 people with type 2 diabetes found that people who took 1 gram of cinnamon a day for 60 days in addition to their regular diabetes treatment saw no improvements in blood sugar compared to participants in a placebo group.
And according to the nutrition guidelines of the American Diabetes Association , theres no good evidence that the spice or any other supplement or herb can treat diabetes.
But a 2016 review published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reached a different conclusion.
The researchers looked at 11 existing studies on cinnamon and diabetes management and found that all of them showed a small but statistically significant reduction in fasting blood sugar levels.
They also noted modest improvements in hemoglobin A1C , a longer-term measurement of blood sugar.
In most of the studies, the spice was used in conjunction with the participants diabetes medication. Doses varied widely among the studies, from 120 milligrams to 6,000 milligrams per day.
Its also important to note that only four of the studies showed reductions in fasting blood glucose and HbA1C that met the ADAs treatment goals.
So what does that mean? Cinnamon appears to contain compounds that activate insulin receptors in your body and improve insulin sensitivity, though were not really sure how they work.
Cinnamon Water Against Diabetes
Drink 1 liter of cinnamon water every day. According to Dr. Broadhurst, cinnamon contains a phytochemical that helps type 1 and type 2 diabetics use their blood sugar. Over the past 10 years, 60 other medicinal and food plants have been tested at the USDA Beltsville Nutrient Requirements and Functions Laboratory in Maryland for research into their effects against diabetes. According to Dr. Broadhurst, “None matched the consistent results of cinnamon.”
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Warnings For Taking Cinnamon For Diabetes
Here are some tips and warnings to keep in mind before taking cinnamon to treat type 2 diabetes:
- Despite being an effective method, as we have said, you must follow a series of indications such as consult with your doctor before following this technique.
- You must not never substitute diabetes medications for the cinnamon since it is not a treatment as such.
- In addition, it could interact with drugs that you are taking, therefore, it is advisable to go to the doctor. Keep in mind that cinnamon works by lowering blood sugar levels, as well as hypoglycemic agents that you may be taking. Together they could make the levels too low, causing hypoglycemia, which is just as dangerous as high levels.
- It is also important to take into account the amount of cinnamon that you take and keep track of your sugar levels. In this way you will know which is the appropriate amount, although as we have mentioned before, it is recommended that 1 gram a day is equivalent to 1 or half a teaspoon of cinnamon.
- The cinnamon supplement It will be more effective if, in addition, you combine it with a healthy diet and habits. Always following the instructions of your doctor.
This article is merely informative, at oneHOWTO we do not have the power to prescribe any medical treatment or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
The Spice Lowered Blood Glucose In Patients Who Were Not On Any Other Medication In A Recent Study
With Giulio Romeo MD
For more than a decade, there have been studies attempting to determine whether using cinnamon can help people with diabetes control their blood sugar levels. Two review articles, from 2007 and 2019 respectively, found a few trials that can be considered substantive enough to lead to physicians considering cinnamon supplements to help control blood sugar in patients with type 2 diabetes.
The reviews found cinnamon to be safe and well-tolerated, and one found a beneficial impact on blood pressure for those with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. One review noted that high levels of coumarin a substance which has been shown to potentially cause cancer and liver damage at high doses present in cinnamon could be problematic. It is present in larger quantities in cassia, rather than Ceylon, or true, cinnamon. Most cinnamon purchased in the United States is cassia.
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How To Use Cinnamon
Here are some of my favorite ways to add more of this spice into life:
- Add it to your morning coffee. Lately, Ive been loving Four Sigmatic Mushroom Coffee with Lions Mane, for brain-boosting power. I like to make it with a few tablespoons of coconut milk, 1/2 scoop of collagen protein powder and 1/2-1 teaspoon of Ceylon cinnamon.
- Add a teaspoon of cinnamon to your smoothie or smoothie bowl.
- Add it to winter vegetable dishes, like this recipe for whipped butternut squash.
- Simmer a cinnamon stick and star anise in 1 cup of coconut milk or almond milk. You can add a small amount of raw honey or grade B maple syrup for a sweet, warming beverage.
- Use it to flavor meat. Yes, meat! Try this spiced ground lamb recipe. You wont regret it.
- Make cinnamon spiced nuts by roasted pecans or walnuts with maple syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg.
- Use it to add even more flavor and spice to curries.
- In honor of pumpkin spice season, you can also try this recipe for anti-inflammatory pumpkin spice blend:
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.
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How Can Cinnamon Lower Blood Sugar
Romeo explains that cinnamon is thought to work by increasing glucose transporter type 4 membrane translocation, stimulating after-meal levels of glucagon-like peptide, inhibition of alpha glucosidase activity, and antioxidant properties.
Participants all had to have impaired fasting glucose, defined as fasting glucose between 100 and 125 mg/dl a two hour plasma glucose level of 140 to 199 mg/dL based on 75-g oral glucose tolerance test and HbA1c of 5.7% to 6.4%. They were initially screened after an overnight fast. Baseline tests included A1c, fasting plasma glucose, fasting insulin, fasting lipids, a comprehensive chemistry panel, and a standard 75g oral glucose tolerance test. Participants were randomized to take a 500 mg cinnamon capsule or placebo three times daily over the course of the study. The cinnamon capsules contained 300 mg of cinnamon extract, and 200 mg of cinnamomum burmanii powder.
The participants were randomized within 2 weeks of having their baseline tests and were seen at week 6 and week 12 after randomization. A safety follow-up took place a week or two after the final visit. There was no additional coaching on lifestyle or diet changes that could positively impact blood sugar levels.
Fasting plasma glucose levels were similar in both groups at baseline, and similar after 6 weeks. But by 12 weeks, the people in the placebo group saw an increase in their baseline average, while the cinnamon group showed no significant difference.
Adding Cinnamon To Your Diet
In addition to adding cinnamon to your food, there are also cinnamon supplements that you can buy online and at nutritional supplements stores. There are no guidelines for the appropriate use of these supplements, although some manufacturers recommend 2,000 milligrams per day.
An April 2019 review in Clinical Nutrition reported that the most common side effects from cinnamon consumption include gastrointestinal symptoms and allergic reactions. Side effects tended to be transient and improve on their own treatment was stopped.
Cinnamon may be unsafe to use with medications or supplements known to reduce sugar levels, such as alpha-lipoic acid, bitter melon, chromium, devil’s claw, fenugreek, garlic, horse chestnut, Panax ginseng, Siberian ginseng, and psyllium.
That said, adding reasonable amounts of cinnamon to food isn’t likely to be harmful. In studies that found cinnamon had a positive effect on blood sugar levels, subjects ingested the equivalent of one teaspoon per day amounts small enough to easily work into a regular diet simply by sprinkling it on morning oatmeal, adding it to a chili recipe, or sipping it in tea.
As with all dietary supplements, it should be noted that supplements are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Since much more research is needed to prove cinnamon’s effectiveness in reducing glucose levels, the American Diabetes Society does not endorse using cinnamon supplements to manage diabetes.
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It Contains Antioxidants That Provide Many Health Benefits
A quick glance at cinnamons nutrition facts may not lead you to believe that its a superfood .
But while it doesnt contain a lot of vitamins or minerals, it does contain large amounts of antioxidants, which give it its health benefits.
In fact, one group of scientists compared the antioxidant content of 26 different herbs and spices and concluded that cinnamon had the second highest amount of antioxidants among them .
Antioxidants are important because they help the body reduce oxidative stress, a type of damage to cells, which is caused by free radicals.
One study showed that consuming 500 mg of cinnamon extract daily for 12 weeks decreased a marker of oxidative stress by 14% in adults with prediabetes .
This is significant, since oxidative stress has been implicated in the development of nearly every chronic disease, including type 2 diabetes .
Cinnamon does not contain many vitamins or minerals, but it is loaded with antioxidants that decrease oxidative stress. This may potentially protect against diabetes.
Cinnamon In Oven Recipes
Cinnamon can be used in some oven recipes, especially pastries. In addition to being a substitute for sugar, in small quantities, you can use it in some recipes such as homemade bread. The cinnamon combines very well with the dry flour, you should mix well so that there are no lumps. If the recipe already included cinnamon, you can add a little more and remove a little of another spice, such as nutmeg.
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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.
How Is Cinnamon Useful For Managing Diabetes
- The spice is known to stimulate cells for glucose consumption. Consuming cinnamon promotes the release of insulin from pancreas and boosts insulin sensitivity that helps in the processing of glucose.
- It contains some anti-diabetic compounds that help lower down the rate at which glucose enters our body. This helps in maintaining the level of fasting blood sugar in people suffering from Type-2 diabetes.
- Cinnamon improves the digestive system, which is directly linked to the problem of diabetes. A healthy digestive tract will process, digest sugar and flush out excess sugar to keep the sugar level in the blood under control.
Cinnamon can be used in many ways in our diet to manage diabetes
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Can Cinnamon Help Prevent Diabetes
In addition to cinnamons possible benefits for those with type 2 diabetes, theres some evidence it may help stave off the disease in the first place.
A recent study in the International Journal of Food Science divided 41 healthy adults into three groups and gave them varying daily doses of cinnamon: 1 gram, 3 grams, and 6 grams.
After 40 days, all three groups had significant improvements in blood glucose levels after eating a meal, particularly those who took the 3- and 6-gram doses.
The researchers noted that cinnamon appears to have a regulatory effect, keeping blood sugar within normal limits.
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.
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How Does Cinnamon Affect Blood Sugar
The magic compound that comes into play is called: polymer methylhydroxychalcone , the most active compound in the bark.
Indeed, studies by Professor Anderson have shown that this substance increases the metabolism of glucose up to 20 times, the process which converts sugar into energy. As such, cinnamon is the ally of diets!
Cinnamon facilitates the work of insulin and therefore helps to get sugar into cells. As such, it would affect comparable to certain drugs such as thiazolidinediones , which reduce insulin resistance.
Also, MHCP is a formidable antioxidant, from a class of polyphenols found in cocoa beans, which also has an impact on diabetes. Antioxidants prevent the formation of free radicals, which damage the DNA of cells and which therefore lead to chronic diseases, including diabetes. There are many studies on the action of antioxidants on diabetes and cholesterol reduction.
How Can I Incorporate Cinnamon Into My Diet
Theres no official recommended dose of cinnamon for healthy people who want to take advantage of its benefits. However, most of the existing research has found effects at doses between one and six grams. This lines up with the 2003 USDA study mentioned earlier, which found benefits of taking even just half a teaspoon, or a little more than a gram.
Here are our three favorite ways to incorporate cinnamon into meals:
- Add 1-2 teaspoons to a smoothie
- Put it in your coffee. Dont just dump a big spoonful in your joe or you could end up with a sludgy mess. Here are tips for incorporating cinnamon into your coffee. And heres a recipe for a cinnamon coconut latte made with cinnamon and slow-digesting fat .
- Add it to a rub for meat or tofu. Cinnamon is one of the spices in Chinese Five Spice, a great addition to veggie or tofu dishes. If you eat meat, add cinnamon to your rub.
If youre not a fan of the taste, taking cinnamon supplements might be a viable option. Although researchers havent compared the effects of raw cinnamon and cinnamon capsules, both have been used in studies and produced similar outcomes.
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