The Truth about Cinnamon and Diabetes


There are literally hundreds of substances mentioned in the news and online that supposedly help people with diabetes. Not all of them are supported by scientific tests and studies. However, there have been quite a few studies done on cinnamon and its relationship with blood-sugar levels. It appears that this may be the ‘real deal’.

Cinnamon information

The cinnamon spice we use comes from the cambium or inner bark of a shrub-like tree. This is removed, ground, soaked in salt water and then the water is removed. The dried cinnamon is often pulverized at this point to result in a powder.

All of this is well and good, but there are well in excess of 200 species of cinnamon plants. Of those commonly sold in the United States and throughout the world, two species are the most common. One is usually called true cinnamon and the other is sometimes called cassia.

True cinnamon has been used for thousands of years, including medicinally. It is even mentioned in the bible. Cassia hasn’t been in use nearly as long. People might wonder if the studies were done with both true cinnamon and cassia and the answer is yes. The results are similar between the two and if anything, cassia may be the more beneficial of the two.

The studies and findings

Independent studies have been done in 2003, 2006, 2007 (two separate studies done that year) and 2012. The results of all of these is interesting, to say the least.

It is important to understand that diabetes is a disease in which the cells of the body become less able to use insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that allows the cells to metabolize or ‘burn’ glucose, which is a kind of sugar. The cells are said to become insulin resistant and since they don’t adequately use the glucose, the blood-sugar level increases. The pancreas can even get to the point that it stops producing insulin as it should. In extreme cases, this can cause coma or death. Insulin injections work by increasing the amount of insulin in the body.

What does this have to do with cinnamon? Each of the studies have shown that cinnamon doesn’t break down the glucose. Instead, it lowers the concentration in the blood. Are you thoroughly confused? Don’t be – what the cinnamon does is makes the cells less resistant to insulin. This helps the cells to begin to metabolize the glucose better. With the cells functioning closer to normal, the blood-sugar levels drop.

Thus, as little as one twenty-fifth of an ounce or one gram of cinnamon, eaten daily, can help treat diabetics by lowering blood-sugar levels. Note: Because of its action, if a person is taking medication for the treatment of diabetes, they should consult their doctor before taking cinnamon daily. Not doing so can cause the medication to work too efficiently, resulting in the opposite condition; low blood-sugar.

The studies also concluded something else that is quite interesting. The same 1 gram, or even a quarter of this amount, of cinnamon daily was shown to lower cholesterol and in particular the bad cholesterol or LDL cholesterol by over 25%. Additionally, it has been shown to lower the level of┬átriglycerides by nearly a third. All of this is quite significant and it should also be noted that the studies have included blind studies to make sure that the results weren’t due to the placebo effect.

It seems pretty clear that cinnamon really does help diabetics control the disease. It certainly can’t be said that it hasn’t been in use long enough, either, since it has been used medicinally and as flavoring for over 2,000 years. This gives additional reason to use cinnamon in cooking and in diets.




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