Diabetes Self-Management Blog

At various times on DiabetesSelfManagement.com, we have covered research suggesting a possible role for cinnamon in controlling blood glucose levels. Now a new study led by Richard Anderson, PhD, a chemist at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), has added to the growing body of evidence that indicates cinnamon may have a place in preventing and treating diabetes and related conditions.

Twenty-two overweight or obese people with prediabetes (a condition in which blood glucose levels are elevated, but not enough for a diagnosis of diabetes) were recruited for the twelve-week study. They were randomly assigned to receive either a placebo (inactive treatment) or 250 milligrams of a dried, water-soluble cinnamon extract to be taken two times a day. No other dietary changes were made. To measure changes in blood glucose and antioxidant levels, blood samples were taken from the participants after an overnight fast at the beginning of the study, after 6 weeks, and after 12 weeks.

In people taking the cinnamon extracts, certain antioxidant levels increased by as much as 23%. These improved antioxidant levels were associated with a decrease in fasting blood glucose. The study authors concluded that, “this study supports the hypothesis that the inclusion of water-soluble cinnamon compounds in the diet could reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular disease.”

It is worth noting that this study was relatively small scale and short term. In a press release, the USDA scientists suggest that more research is necessary to determine the usefulness of cinnamon extracts for reducing oxidative stress and blood glucose levels in overweight and obese people. In the meantime, they say, weight loss remains the primary method for achieving these goals.

To learn more about the research, read the article “Cinnamon Extracts May Reduce Risk of Diabetes and Heart Disease, Study Suggests” or see the study’s abstract in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.

And to incorporate some cinnamon into your diet, try one of these great recipes:

Buttermilk oatmeal bread
Cinnamon–nutmeg custard
Granny’s old-fashioned apple granola
Island fruit with cinnamon and coconut

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