Cinnamon may significantly help people with type 2 diabetes improve their ability to regulate their blood sugar. As a matter of fact, this study found that it increased glucose metabolism 20-fold.
In a test tube and in animal studies, the spice appeared to increase glucose metabolism by about 20 times.
Clinical trials using a cinnamon extract on humans are due to begin in 6 months.
Researchers maintain that this could be a good means of lowering or controlling blood glucose levels at very little cost and could prove helpful to millions of people.
Approximately 16 million Americans suffer from diabetes with 95% of them having type 2 diabetes, where the body's cells fail to recognize insulin.
As a result, the amount of sugar in the blood remains high, leading to fatigue, blurred vision, and other problems. Over the long term, excess blood glucose can increase the risk of heart disease, kidney failure and blindness.
Diabetes is the seventh-leading cause of death in the US, according to the American Diabetes Association. Yet, because of its influence in raising the risk of other problems, particularly heart disease, diabetes may be responsible for many more deaths than is attributed to it.
Dr. Richard A. Anderson, lead scientist at the Beltsville, Maryland-based Human Nutrition Research Center, a branch of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), explained that his mostly unpublished research shows that a compound in cinnamon called methylhydroxy chalcone polymer (MHCP) makes fat cells more responsive to insulin by activating an enzyme that causes insulin to bind to cells and inhibiting the enzyme that blocks this process.
While it is too soon to recommend the spice as a regular treatment for type 2 diabetes, Dr. Anderson said patients could try adding 1/4 - 1 teaspoon of cinnamon to their food. "The worst that will happen is it won't do any good and the best is that it will help dramatically," he stated.
Preliminary Findings Announced by the USDA August, 2000.
Wow, what a delightful way to improve diabetic control, especially if you are as crazy about cinnamon as I am. Since this is a food, the likelihood of this causing any long-term complications is very small. However, even though it is "natural" it is important to remember that it is not the "cure" for diabetes. The "cure" for most would be rigid restriction of all grains and replacing them with large amounts of vegetables as per my dietary recommendations. One hour of daily exercise is also essential to improve insulin sensitivity.