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Cinnamon and Blood Sugar Control

 
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Terri R.
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Joined: 21 Apr 2004
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Location: So. Calif.

PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2004 2:04 pm    Post subject: Cinnamon and Blood Sugar Control Reply with quote

Blood Sugar Control
Cinnamon may significantly help people with non-insulin dependent (Type 2) diabetes improve their ability to respond to insulin, thus normalizing their blood sugar levels. Both test tube and animal studies have shown that compounds in cinnamon not only stimulate insulin receptors, but also inhibit an enzyme that inactivates them, thus significantly increasing cells’ ability to use glucose. Studies to confirm cinnamon’s beneficial actions in humans are currently underway with the most recent report coming from researchers from the US Agricultural Research Service, who have shown that less than half a teaspoon per day of cinnamon reduces blood sugar levels in persons with NIDDM. Their study included 60 Pakistani volunteers with NIDDM who were not taking insulin. Subjects were divided into six groups. For 40 days, groups 1, 2 and 3 were given 1, 3, or 6 grams per day of cinnamon while groups 4, 5 and 6 received placebo capsules. Even the lowest amount of cinnamon, 1 gram per day (approximately ¼ to ½ teaspoon), produced an approximately 20% drop in blood sugar; cholesterol and triglycerides were lowered as well. When daily cinnamon was stopped, blood sugar levels began to increase. (December 30, 2003)

Test tube, animal and human studies have all recently investigated cinnamon’s ability to improve insulin activity, and thus our cells’ ability to absorb and use glucose from the blood.

On going in vitro or test tube research conducted by Richard Anderson and his colleagues at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center is providing new understanding of the mechanisms through which cinnamon enhances insulin activity. In their latest paper, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Anderson et al. characterize the insulin-enhancing complexes in cinnamon—a collection of catechin/epicatechin oligomers that increase the body’s insulin-dependent ability to use glucose roughly 20-fold.. Some scientists had been concerned about potentially toxic effects of regularly consuming cinnamon. This new research shows that the potentially toxic compounds in cinnamon bark are found primarily in the lipid (fat) soluble fractions and are present only at very low levels in water soluble cinnamon extracts, which are the ones with the insulin-enhancing compounds.

A recent animal study demonstrating cinnamon’s beneficial effects on insulin activity appeared in the December 2003 issue of Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice. In this study, when rats were given a daily dose of cinnamon (300 mg per kilogram of body weight) for a 3 week period, their skeletal muscle was able to absorb 17% more blood sugar per minute compared to that of control rats, which had not received cinnamon, an increase researchers attributed to cinnamon’s enhancement of the muscle cells’ insulin-signaling pathway. In humans with type 2 diabetes, consuming as little as 1 gram of cinnamon per day was found to reduce blood sugar, triglycerides, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and total cholesterol, in a study published in the December 2003 issue of Diabetes Care. The placebo-controlled study evaluated 60 people with type 2 diabetes (30 men and 30 women ranging in age from 44 to 58 years) who were divided into 6 groups. Groups 1, 2, and 3 were given 1, 3, or 6 grams of cinnamon daily, while groups 4, 5, and 6 received 1, 3 or 6 grams of placebo. After 40 days, all three levels of cinnamon reduced blood sugar levels by 18-29%, triglycerides 23-30%, LDL cholesterol 7-27%, and total cholesterol 12-26%, while no significant changes were seen in those groups receiving placebo. The researchers’ conclusion: including cinnamon in the diet of people with type 2 diabetes will reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.(January 28, 2004)

The latest research on cinnamon shows that by enhancing insulin signaling, cinnamon can prevent insulin resistance even in animals fed a high-fructose diet! A study published in the February 2004 issue of Hormone Metabolism Research showed that when rats fed a high-fructose diet were also given cinnamon extract, their ability to respond to and utilize glucose (blood sugar) was improved so much that it was the same as that of rats on a normal (control) diet. Cinnamon is so powerful an antioxidant that, when compared to six other antioxidant spices (anise, ginger, licorice, mint, nutmeg and vanilla) and the chemical food preservatives (BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), and propyl gallate), cinnamon prevented oxidation more effectively than all the other spices (except mint) and the chemical antioxidants. (May 6, 2004)
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Terri R.
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Joined: 21 Apr 2004
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Location: So. Calif.

PostPosted: Thu Jul 15, 2004 2:06 pm    Post subject: How to Select and Store Cinnamon Reply with quote

Cinnamon is available in either stick or powder form. While the sticks can be stored for longer, the ground powder has a stronger flavor. If possible, smell the cinnamon to make sure that it has a sweet smell, a characteristic reflecting that it is fresh.

Oftentimes, both Ceylon cinnamon and Chinese cinnamon (cassia) are labeled as cinnamon. If you want to find the sweeter, more refined tasting Ceylon variety, you may need to shop in either a local spice store or ethnic market since this variety is generally less available. Just like with other dried spices, try to select organically grown cinnamon since this will give you more assurance that it has not been irradiated (among other potential adverse effects, irradiating cinnamon may lead to a significant decrease in its vitamin C and carotenoid content.)

Cinnamon should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark and dry place. Ground cinnamon will keep for about six months, while cinnamon sticks will stay fresh for about one year stored this way. Alternatively, you can extend their shelf life by storing them in the refrigerator. To check to see if it is still fresh, smell the cinnamon. If it does not smell sweet, it is no longer fresh and should be discarded.
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Terri R.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 24, 2004 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wouldn't it be wonderful if an inexpensive spice that many of us use often would reduce insulin resistance? Researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville Maryland, thought so too. So they tested about 50 plant extracts.

One of them—cinnamon—increased glucose metabolism about 20-times in test tube assays of fat cells. None of the other plants tested so far come close.

Led by ARS chemist Dr. Richard A. Anderson, the researchers subsequently confirmed their findings with in vitro measurements. Studies involving feeding of cinnamon to people with diabetes and determining their improvement in blood glucose have not yet been published. But two publications regarding this work are being submitted for publication, Dr. Anderson tells us.

"We tried all [species of cinnamon] and they all worked similarly," he says. "We also tried numerous commercial bottles of cinnamon and they also worked."

There is one red flag. The Dutch health and food newsletter "Gezond" recently published an article about the risks of coumarin, one of the flavorings in cinnamon. In animal studies coumarin is a carcinogen and genotoxic agent.

However, essentially all toxic materials in cinnamon are lipid soluble, Dr. Anderson says. Therefore, he uses a water-soluble extract.

"We recommend that people take ¼ to 1 teaspoon daily," he tells us. "Or if they want to take more, to boil cinnamon in water and pour off the soluble portion and discard the solid cinnamon."

Increasing the amount of cinnamon that you use won't cure your diabetes. But it could reduce how much insulin or oral medications you need. That means you will need to test even more often.
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