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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Comments
  1. I am having a glucose tolerance test in a few days time. I have been given some cinnamon sticks imported form Thailand? Are thse Safe to use? I went oerboard and made tea by steeping sticks in boiling water. I think I should have boiled the sticks. I reused two of these and made a tea. Unfortunatley, I overdid it a bit and now have a very red face. Do you suggest I delay my test for a couple of days? I hoped to reduce the level from 7.9 before the test.

    Posted by Betty |
  2. Of course larger studies are needed. But they probably won’t happen, because who would fund them? Cinnamon will never have a $500 a month price tag like a new drug.

    Maybe some country with a national health plan will do the study.

    Posted by David Spero RN |
  3. I hate to be a cynic - but gotta agree with David on this one! You can add cinnamon to your foods, or choose snacks that use real cinnamon, but it will be hard to see large stuides if no one is really going to profit from increase cinnamon consumption. (For example, the biggest defender of HFCS is the Corn Refiners Association.)

    David’s recent blog post listed a lot of inexpensive things that can improve your health. We could add cinnamon to the list.

    -> coffee, wine, sex, massage, pets, naps, fun, and laughter

    This was great advice from David’s blog post 8/25/10: “Don’t do things because you should do them, or because somebody told you to (even me!). Do things because you WANT to do them. Do them because they make you feel good.”

    Posted by Jonathan Lindberg |
  4. My experience has been very encouraging I use it in pancakes with fresh blueberries and my glucose levels do not spike plus they taste better ;-)

    Posted by Phil c |
  5. It would be helpful if a list of readily available types of cinnamon could be posted.

    Thanks,

    Posted by oliver |
  6. Hi Oliver,

    Thanks for your comment. Much more information about cinnamon can be found on this blog entry by diabetes dietitian Amy Campbell.

    Sincerely,
    Diane Fennell
    Web Editor

    Posted by Diane Fennell |
  7. I have trouble keeping with my morning sugars. I can usually keep my sugar between 108 - 187 during the day. I eat no later than 7:00pm and most of the time my sugar at bedtime is 165 or less but when I get up at 6:00 am and test it always higher sometimes as much as 190. What can I do. I take Byetta shots twice a day and am on metformin twice a day. My father and 2 brother are bad diabetics taking shots and sugars still going sky-high or the bottom falling out. Any suggestions?

    Thank You,
    Margaret

    Posted by Margaret Hattabaugh |
  8. Betty - Based on your goal of lowering a 7.9 reading, I assume it’s an A1C test you’re taking. That measures your glucose level over a long period, so your cinnamon binge shouldn’t impact it much.

    It sounds like you’re cramming for a blood test the way a student crams for an exam. If you change your habits right before the test to influence the results, you’re only fooling yourself. You want to change your habits for the long haul to get test results that really tell you whether you’ve making the changes you need to.

    Posted by Gary |
  9. I put a teaspoon of sugar in my coffee basket each morning. It makes the coffee taste better and helps me get my cinnamon intake each day. I believe that is why my numbers stay consistently good.

    Posted by Judy |
  10. As far as I’m concerned cinnamon is one of the most effective aids in controlling glucose levels one can find but it MUST BE USED with disciplined diet habits, just like any other effective approach. And, frankly, I consider STUDY X, Y or Z largely irrelevant. I’ve been using cinnamon as part of my diet for over 10 years—after reading various studies and comments on its potential for helping blood sugars—and I strongly recommend sprinkling a teaspoonful or so on breakfast cereals and any kind of sugar free dessert…or any other food it might compliment. Just BE CAREFUL and get the standard “100% PURE” grind——Spice Supreme brand makes this form——because some some products are enhanced for flavor with sweeteners. I recommend cinnamon to everyone, again, AS PART OF overall, disciplined diet habits, and my type-1 A1Cs run 6 AND UNDER and have so for years. Also——even if dietitians may disagree––some people respond quickly to things like cinnamon while others take longer. It may take time for your body to “learn” to absorb such foods properly——so don’t be turned off without immediate and perfect reactions.

    Posted by TK |
  11. I tried doing a cinnamon regime several years back. Bought and filled my own 500mg capsules. Took 4 to 6 a day and never saw any difference in my condition. Just had nice tasting belches during the day.

    Posted by Jeff |
  12. And I did this for over 6 months to see if a longer term would help as well. Still no effect.

    Posted by Jeff |
  13. I have no answer for Jeff but would suggest to SKIP THE CAPSULES and try the ground cinnamon and see what happens.

    Posted by TK |
  14. Thanks for all your comments and ideas. I’m new to all of this and I’m trying to learn. Thanks again!

    Posted by Pat |
  15. tk ,thanks for your info on ground cinnamon, i want to try it. where can i get the supreme brand?is it on line or from a particular store?

    Posted by squire |
  16. I’m suggesting Spice Supreme but any Pure Ground brand should work as well and this brand may not be available where you live. If you are in New York City the chain of Jack’s 99 Cent Stores carries it in its spice section. And if you can get to any of the City’s Street Fairs that may still be running, it can usually be found there with a very large size running about $2.50. Check your local supermarkets as well. JUST BE SURE THERE’S NOTHING ELSE IN THE CONTENTS LIST. Also, you can check with Spice Supreme’s web site for sales outlets where you live. And again, go slow and give it time for your system to begin responding. I realize it’s NOT a medicine and that the body should react to food types as they are used, but I have have found this is not always the case and that a period of adjustment is often required. BTW there is a good article in cinnamon at

    http://www.diabetesselfmanagement.com/Blog/Amy-Campbell/can_cinnamon_help_you_control_your_diabetes/?ref=ls/

    Posted by TK |
  17. Just a quick follow up on my above comment to SQUIRE. If you read the article I mentioned—which was printed in 2006!—don’t be bothered by the references to cinnamon being something for use by only by Type-2s. I’m a long, long term Type-1 and, as you see from my posts, I stand fully behind it.

    Posted by TK |
  18. I am a T2 and have been using cinnamon in my morning coffee since my diagnosis 3 years ago, I haven’t found any significant drop in my readings but love the taste. Maybe I don’t take enough of it throughout the day. My main problem is enormous spikes during the night. Sometimes as much as 80 points. I was told to try a snack late night before going to bed this has made no difference. Anyonw out there faced this big a difference with overnight fasting and any suggestions?

    Posted by Lesley Clagett |

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Diane Fennell
Overweight People With Type 2 May Benefit From Gastric Banding (04/11/14)
FDA Panel Votes in Favor of Inhalable Insulin; Diet Drug Recalled (04/09/14)
Good News About Good Diabetes Self-Management (03/28/14)
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