Cinnamon For Diabetes And Cholesterol
That cinnamon can improve glucose and cholesterol levels in the blood is important information for people with type 2 diabetes, and those fighting high cholesterol.
Researchers have long speculated that foods, especially spices, could help treat diabetes. In lab studies, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, and turmeric have all shown promise in enhancing insulin's action, writes researcher Alam Khan, PhD, of the NWFP Agricultural University in Peshawar, Pakistan. His study appears in the December issue of Diabetes Care.
Cinnamon can improve glucose metabolism and the overall condition of individuals with diabetes. It can also improve cholesterol metabolism; remove artery-damaging free radicals from the blood, and improve function of small blood vessels, he explains.
Onions, garlic, Korean ginseng, and flaxseed have the same effect.
In deed, studies with rabbits and rats show that fenugreek, curry, mustard seeds, and coriander have a positive effect on cholesterol.
The first study to actually pin down the effects of cinnamon involved 60 men and women. In this Khan study subjects had a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes for an average of 6½ years but were not yet taking insulin. The participants in this study had been on anti-diabetic drugs that cause an increase in the release of insulin. Each took either wheat-flour placebo capsules or 500 milligram cinnamon capsules.
- Group 1 took 1 gram (two capsules, equaling 1/28 ounce total for 20 days)
- Group 2 got 3 grams(six capsules, equaling about l/8 ounce total)
- Group 3 took 6 grams(twelve capsules, equaling about l/4 ounce total)
Blood samples were taken at each level of the study.
Cinnamon did make a difference. After 40 days, there were significant reductions in blood glucose levels in all three groups that took cinnamon, ranging from 18 to 29 percent.
After stopping the cinnamon consumption for 20 days, only the group (Group 1) that consumed the lowest level of cinnamon continued with significantly improved glucose levels. The placebo groups didn't show any significant differences.
Taking more cinnamon also seem to improve the blood levels of fats called triglycerides. All the patients had better triglyceride levels in their 40-day tests - between 23 to 30 percent reductions. But again, those taking the most cinnamon had the best levels.