Is Taking Cinnamon for Diabetes a Good Idea?

According to Dr. Richard Anderson of the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, cinnamon may show very good promise in being able to help combat diabetes.

taking cinnamon for diabetesBased on many trials, cinnamon not only seems to increase insulin activity in the body, but it also seems to be a powerful antioxidant and inflammatory spice.

If further test prove out this theory, cinnamon would prove to be a very inexpensive weapon in helping to reduce insulin resistance in the body.

In test tubes, cinnamon increased the ability of fat cells to metabolize glucose by approximately 2000%. There are many species of cinnamon but laboratory tests show no difference in the results.

All species of cinnamon seem to have a dramatic effect on insulin. In their test, it also didn’t seem to matter how the cinnamon was processed, as all commercial brands of cinnamon seem to have similar effects.

Dr. Anderson has recently been working on testing the effect of cinnamon on diabetes on people.  The trials involved having diabetics take measured portions of cinnamon and studying the effects on the blood glucose levels.

The test results have been riveting. It was found that a consumption of half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day reduced blood glucose levels by approximately 25% in diabetic patients. But even more, it reduced the levels of triglycerides by a similar amount and reduced the amount of bad cholesterol by nearly as much.

But regardless of the tests, it doesn’t mean that anyone with diabetes should rush out and begin taking voluminous doses of cinnamon. For one thing, cinnamon contains the flavoring coumarin. Even though coumarin is a natural flavoring, it is also a known carcinogen. Coumarin is banned in many countries and it was banned in the United States as a food additive in 1978. An exception is made if coumarin is contained in parts of another plant that is used to flavor food. This is the case with cinnamon which is why it is allowed to be used in cinnamon.

Another bit of caution regarding cinnamon is that it been found that relatively small amounts of cinnamon can harm the liver. Although, supposedly the damage is reversible, more study is needed to really determine long term effects on the liver as well as other organs in the body.

Because coumarin is carcinogenic, Dr. Anderson removed it in the tests involving the diabetes participants. Coumarin is fat soluble which means that when it has contact with fatty objects, such as the liver, it is easily absorbed by them. It is not water soluble, however. So by mixing cinnamon in water, the cinnamon is dissolved in the water and the coumarin left as solid waste. If the cinnamon water is drained, you are left with a save version of cinnamon, containing no coumrain.

For diabetics that want to test the effects of cinnamon themselves, “We recommend that people take ¼ to 1 teaspoon daily, or if they want to take more, to boil cinnamon in water and pour off the soluble portion and discard the solid cinnamon.” This makes a nice cinnamon “tea”. But, if you don’t like the taste of cinnamon in water, there’s nothing to stop you from adding it to other liquid drinks such as orange juice, coffee, tea, and so on.

If you want a ready made solution, many companies are now selling cinnamon products for diabetes.

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