More Evidence That Cinnamon
Lowers Blood Sugar

High blood sugar is strongly associated with insulin resistance, a precursor condition to type 2 diabetes. In fact, preserving insulin sensitivity may be a key to longevity (see Insulin Sensitivity May Be a Key to Longevity). So when we receive new information substantiating that cinnamon can help lower blood sugar, it is time for you to pay even more attention, and bring more of this spice into your life.

In a new study, Swedish researchers found that a teaspoon of cinnamon added to a bowel of rice pudding reduced the post-meal blood sugar rise in healthy volunteers.1 This finding contributes to a growing body of evidence supporting a role for cinnamon in a health maintenance program. Or better yet—as other papers indicate—it is the water-soluble polyphenol type-A polymer extractable from this spice that is most effective (see Controlling Blood Sugar with Cinnamon).

While one study has shown that this type-A polymer can lower blood sugar in type 2 diabetics (see Cinnamon Reduces Blood Sugar in Diabetic Patients), diabetes is a severe disorder in which the body loses its ability to properly use the sugar-regulating hormone insulin, and thus should not be taken lightly, and no treatment should be considered without the care of a health professional. Nevertheless, having lower blood sugar is a good thing, even for healthy individuals.

In the Swedish study, Dr. Joanna Hlebowicz and her colleagues measured the blood sugar levels of the volunteers before and after eating a bowl of rice pudding, alternating between one with cinnamon and one without. Tests were taken after an 8-hour fast to assure that blood sugar levels were normal. Then, after consuming the rice puddings, the volunteers were tested every 15 minutes for two hours. The reduction of blood sugar was significantly greater for the cinnamon-containing pudding.

Another measurement taken by the scientists was the speed with which food passed from the stomach to the intestines. By means of ultrasound scans, volunteers were found to have a slower gastric emptying rate (GER) when they ate the cinnamon rice pudding. Gastric emptying has been found to contribute to the regulation of postprandial blood glucose response, and thus a delay in GER leads to a lower postprandial blood glucose concentration.

However, the GER differences were not as significant as blood sugar reduction, so while the researchers thought that this effect partially contributed to blood sugar reduction, some other mechanism had to be involved such as: the improvement of insulin receptor function; the stimulation of insulin receptor activity leading to enhanced glucose cellular uptake; and the enhancement of insulin signaling.

To put a cherry on top of the pudding, other studies have found that cinnamon goes way beyond controlling blood sugar: reducing blood pressure (see Cinnamon and Chromium Reduce Blood Pressure); reducing triglycerides, LDL- and total cholesterol (see Cinnamon Reduces Blood Sugar and Cholesterol Levels); indirectly helping to preserve cognitive functioning (see Avoiding Diabetes Can Help You Avoid Alzheimer’s); and by possibly helping to fight cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma (see Can Cinnamon Fight Cancer?).

Reference

  1. Hlebowicz J, Darwiche G, Bjorgell O, Almer LO. Effect of cinnamon on postprandial blood glucose, gastric emptying, and satiety in healthy subjects. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007 Jun;85(6):1552-6.

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