Sugar and Spice: Cinnamon reduces glucose in diabetics

Less than a half-teaspoon per day of ground cinnamon helped volunteers with type II diabetes reduce their levels of blood sugar – and reduce several heart disease risk factors, as well. That’s according to a preliminary study of a small group of 60 men and women, all of whom had been diagnosed several years earlier with type II diabetes. Scientists conducted the 60-day study and reported their findings in the December 2003 issue of Diabetes Care.

Volunteers, aged 40 to 65, ate one of three different quantities of cinnamon in capsules for 40 days of the study, or took cinnamon-free placebo capsules.

The researchers found that those who received any of the three quantities of cinnamon lowered their blood sugar levels by 18 to 29%. They also lowered their levels of triglycerides (23 to 30%), total cholesterol (12 to 26%) and LDL cholesterol (7 to 27%). That’s important, because high levels of those biochemicals are risk factors in heart disease. Individuals with type II diabetes are two to four times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease than people without diabetes.

The researchers found no advantage in eating more than the smallest dose. They point out the study is preliminary and is based on findings from a relatively small group of volunteers.

US Department of Agriculture, Jan 2004