Cinnamon For Type 2 Diabetes, An Update
Cinnamon for type 2 diabetes has been in the news previously, and now a team of experts from various institutions have come together to provide an update on what is known about this approach to managing the disease. Their meta-analysis findings may bode well for people who have prediabetes or type 2 diabetes, and here’s why.
How can cinnamon help type 2 diabetes?
The reviewers from Canada and the United Kingdom evaluated data involving the short-term use of cinnamon on regulation of blood pressure among people with prediabetes or type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels are elevated but not at the point defined as definitive type 2 diabetes. Approximately 79 million people in the United States have prediabetes, while an estimated 25.8 million have diabetes (90-95% of which are type 2 diabetes).
Three randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials were included in the analysis: two involving type 2 diabetes and 1 that included people with prediabetes. Cinnamon doses ranged from 500 mg to 2.4 grams daily, and all the trials lasted 12 weeks.
Overall, the analysis showed that cinnamon had a positive impact on both systolic (the upper number of a blood pressure reading) and diastolic blood pressure. Specifically, it lowered systolic blood pressure by an average of 5.39 mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by an average of 2.6 mmHg.
There is more good news. The reviewers also noted that their findings “confirmed that cinnamon and components of cinnamon” have a positive impact on many factors associated with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, including blood pressure, insulin resistance, glucose levels, lipids (e.g., cholesterol, triglycerides), antioxidants, weight, and inflammation.
Previous research on cinnamon and type 2 diabetes
In a study not covered by the meta-analysis, a research team from Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences evaluated the use of cinnamon extract in 66 people who had type 2 diabetes. Participants were assigned to one of three groups: 120 mg of cinnamon supplement daily, 360 mg daily, or a placebo. The double-blind, placebo-controlled study lasted three months, and all of the patients were also using an oral antidiabetic drug (gliclazide, a sulfonylurea similar to glyburide).
At the end of three months, patients in both cinnamon groups had significantly lower fasting blood glucose levels than did those in the placebo group. Specifically, the average was 1.01 mmol/L lower in the low-dose group and 1.62 mmol/L in the high-dose group.
Use of cinnamon also had a positive impact on triglyceride levels. Patients in the low-dose cinnamon group showed a significant reduction by an average of 0.78 mmol/L, while triglycerides were only slightly lower among those taking the higher dose of cinnamon.
These findings led the researchers to concluded that cinnamon “be considered a promising supplement for the therapy of type 2 diabetes” when high blood sugar levels cannot be adequately managed using diet, medications, and exercise.
The authors of the new meta-analysis concluded that their work “indicates that the consumption of cinnamon (short term) is associated with notable reduction of systolic and diastolic blood pressure in patients with prediabetes and [type 2 diabetes].” In addition, they emphasized that researchers still do not understand the “precise relationship between blood pressure regulation and the effect of cinnamon on humans” and that future studies are needed.
Akilen R et al. Effect of short-term administration of cinnamon on blood pressure in patients with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Nutrition 2013; Epub ahead of print. DOI: 10.1016/j.nut.2013.03.007
American Diabetes Association
Lu T et al. Cinnamon extract improves fasting blood glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin level in Chinese patients with type 2 diabetes. Nutrition Research 2012 June published online. DOI: 10.1016/j.nutres.2012.05.003