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Cinnamon and Diabetes

Cinnamon is certainly delicious, but have you heard of its health benefits?

stacked cinnamon sticks and ground cinnamon shaker

Photo: bitzi (flickr)

Cinnamon is a good source of manganese, an important component of a healthful diet.

Cinnamon is certainly delicious, but have you heard of its health benefits?

Cinnamon is a good source of manganese, an important component of a healthful diet. What’s especially exciting is evidence that cinnamon may lower the blood sugar levels of people with Type II diabetes, as well as lower their cholesterol levels, including the bad one, LDL. As little as half a teaspoon a day of cinnamon can produce these benefits.

In a small preliminary study in Pakistan, people with Type II diabetes given half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day for 40 days lowered their blood sugar levels by about 20%. The decrease in their cholesterol levels was only slightly lower.

Cinnamon contains a substance which activates formerly inhibited insulin receptors. Turning on these receptors enables insulin to be taken up, and thus the glucose in insulin to be converted into energy. More research needs to be done, though. For example, Pakistanis with Type II diabetes may have a different degree of obesity or different dietary patterns from Americans with Type II diabetes.

As far as lowering cholesterol goes, cholesterol-lowering drugs are a more effective treatment. Type II diabetes patients taking insulin medication should talk to their doctors about whether or not adding cinnamon to their diets is a good idea and how it might interact with their medication.

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