Natural Remedies For Diabetes: Learn About Cinnamon And Diabetes

by Cindy

Cinnamon: One Of The Natural Remedies For Diabetes!

cinnamon sticks
Creative Commons License photo credit: S. Diddy
For patients with type 2 diabetes, finding new and natural ways to decrease blood sugar levels is exciting news. 

As most diabetics know, the key to reducing blood sugar levels lies in good eating habits, daily exercise and the ability to keep a healthy weight.  However, if you are searching for a different, easy and inexpensive way to reduce your blood sugar readings and improve a1c blood test levels, the answer may lie within your spice rack! 

Recent studies have suggested that simply adding some cinnamon to the diet may help improve blood sugar levels for patients with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Is Cinnamon A Good Natural Remedy For Diabetes?

Cinnamon is a widely used spice that is enjoyed by the culinary world to flavor dishes. The use of cinnamon to treat diabetes dates back thousands of years.  In recent years, modern science has taken an interest in the relationship between diabetes and this natural substance.  Current research is focused on the learning if cinnamon can truly be used to improve blood sugar in type 2 diabetic patients.  At this time, research suggests that cinnamon may have properties that help reduce blood sugar levels but it is unclear if it is significant enough to affect the a1c blood test readings as well.

Why Is Cinnamon Good For Patients With Type 2 Diabetes?

Recent studies have shown the cinnamon affects the type 2 diabetic patient in the following ways:

  • Increased Insulin Sensitivity:  Studies have shown that adding cinnamon extract affects the body similarly to adding more insulin.  It is believed that cinnamon improves the cells’ ability to recognize and use naturally produced insulin to store excess sugar.  In other words, it appears that cinnamon make insulin more effective requiring less of this hormone to bring high sugars back to normal blood sugar levels.
  • Decreased Insulin Resistance:  Research has indicated the rats fed high sugar diets, required less insulin to process those sugars when they were given cinnamon extract. Scientists have suggested that cinnamon prevents insulin resistance from developing. 
  • Decreased Inflammation:  It is well understood that certain inflammatory markers in the body are associated with the development of type 2 diabetes. Cinnamon has been shown to decrease certain inflammatory markers that are associated with type 2 diabetes and also with abnormal cholesterol. 
  • Control Of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF):  Vascular endothelial growth factor is a substance that plays a role in fat production and insulin resistance. It also plays a role in the productions of new blood vessels in diabetic retinopathy.  Cinnamon has been shown to play a role in keeping these processes under good control.
  • Decrease Blood Glucose Levels:  Multiple studies have been done monitoring the use of cinnamon in healthy patients who do not have diabetes.  One study in particular demonstrated a 24% reduction in glucose levels in patients who consumed cinnamon for 40 days. These studies have shown that cinnamon reduces sugar levels and improves the use of insulin in healthy people.  It is reasonable to assume that cinnamon should have a similar effect on a patient with diabetes.
  • Improve Metabolic Syndrome: One study tested the use of cinnamon in patients with metabolic syndrome and found that fasting sugar levels and blood pressure decreased in these patients.  Patients with metabolic syndrome who were given cinnamon were also found to lose body fat.
  • Improved A1c Blood Test: Other studies have been done and demonstrated a reduction in glucose readings as measured by the hemoglobin A1c test.
  • Improved Cholesterol:  Isolated studies indicated that patients who were given cinnamon had lower total cholesterol and LDL levels and better cardioprotective HDL levels.  One study documented an 18% decrease in cholesterol levels in the diabetic patients who used cinnamon supplements.  

Should Cinnamon Be Used As A Diabetes Treatment?

At this time, it is not clear how cinnamon actually affects the type 2 diabetic.  Although some studies are quite promising there are also many conflicting publications, making the true effects of this natural remedy unclear.  Currently there is no formal recommendation from the American Diabetes Association advising people to take this supplement.  In fact, the American Diabetes Association does not yet support the use of cinnamon at all for decreasing blood sugar readings.

Cinnamon Supplements For Diabetes

There are many different cinnamon supplements that are marketed for diabetic patients. It is important to remember that these supplements are not regulated by the FDA and can be marketed as effective and safe despite lack of research and regulation. Cinnamon supplements are generally safe for most diabetic patients but should be used with caution in those with liver problems.  In addition, ask your pharmacist if your supplement will interact with any of your current medications.

The truth about the effectiveness of cinnamon for diabetes control remains unclear.  More studies are being conducted to better understand the role that this important spice plays in regulation of blood sugar.  The early research is promising that cinnamon may act as a natural remedy for diabetes.

Learn more about cinnamon and diabetes from Diabetes Care!

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