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Does autumn have you craving foods like pumpkin bread, apple pie, spiced cider,
and pumpkin spice lattes? Well, recent research provides some welcome news:
Cinnamon may help you better regulate your insulin levels and even lower your
In a double-blind study, 79 patients with type 2 treated with oral antidiabetics
(such as metformin) or diet, were randomly assigned to take either a cinnamon
extract or a placebo capsule three times a day for 4 months. The amount of cinnamon
extract corresponded to 3 g (1 teaspoon) of cinnamon powder per day. The cinnamon
group had a significantly higher reduction of fasting glucose (10.3%) than in the placebo
group (3.4%). Based on these results, the researchers suggest that cinnamon extract
seems to have a moderate effect in reducing fasting glucose levels in diabetic patients
and therefore, women with PCOS. Reductions in glucose levels associated with
cinnamon have also been found in individuals without diabetes.
Other research shows that cinnamon not only lowers fasting glucose levels but
cholesterol levels too. Sixty people with type 2 diabetes were divided randomly into six
groups. The first 3 groups consumed 1, 3, or 6 g of cinnamon daily, while the remaining
groups were given placebo capsules that corresponded to the number of capsules
consumed for the three levels of cinnamon. After 40 days, all three levels of cinnamon
reduced the mean fasting serum glucose (18-29%), triglyceride (23-30%), LDL
cholesterol (7-27%), and total cholesterol (12-26%) levels.
Cinnamon seems to work by increasing the phosphorylation of insulin receptors
which leads to improved insulin function and sensitivity. It may also reduce insulin levels
by slowing the movement of food from the stomach into the small intestine (a part of
digestion called "gastric emptying") which also slows the breakdown of carbohydrates.
Since it may lower glucose and insulin levels, you should discuss the use of cinnamon
with your doctor. Careful monitoring of blood sugar levels is important to prevent
hypoglycemia, which a lot of women with PCOS tend to experience as a result of
elevated insulin levels. While side effects are very minimal, there is no need to exceed
more than 2 teaspoons (6 grams) per day to get results.
Cinnamon contains no calories nor does it have any carbohydrates in it, making it
a great spice to use in foods. Cinnamon can be sprinkled on
cereal, coffee drinks, peanut butter sandwiches, oatmeal, cottage cheese, yogurt and on
other foods. It can also be taken in a capsule form sold as cinnamon cassia extract to
meet therapeutic dosages. Bon Appetite!
1. Khan A, Safdar M, Khan MMA, et al. Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with
type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2003;26:3215-3218.
2. Mang B, Wolters M, Schmitt B, Kelb K, Lichtinghagen R, Stichtenoth DO, Hahn A. Effects
of a cinnamon extract on plasma glucose, HbA, and serum lipids in diabetes mellitus type
2. Eur J Clin Invest. 2006;36:340-4.
3. Hlebowicz J, Darwiche G, Bjorgell O, Olof L. Effect of cinnamon on postprandial blood
glucose, gastric emptying, and satiety in healthy subjects. Amer J Clin Nutr.
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