Cinnamon again linked to improved blood sugar control for diabetics: Support from China


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The study is said to be the first such trial in China. Photo credit: Luc Viatour
The study is said to be the first such trial in China. Photo credit: Luc Viatour

Related tags Cinnamon Diabetes mellitus Blood sugar

Supplements of a cinnamon extract may help control blood sugar, as well as benefiting triglyceride levels in Chinese people with type-2 diabetes, says a new study.

Results of a randomized, double-blinded clinical study with 66 type-2 diabetics indicated that a low and high doses of a water-extract from cinnamon were associated with improvements in blood sugar (glucose) levels, while the low-dose was also linked to significant reductions in triglyceride levels.

 “To our knowledge, this is the first clinical study to analyze the effect of cinnamon supplements on type 2 diabetes in China,” ​wrote researchers led by Yan Chen from the Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

“Based on our observations as well as other groups' reports, we propose that cinnamon be considered a promising supplement for the therapy of type 2 diabetes when hyperglycemia cannot be satisfactorily controlled by other strategies such as diet, exercise, and prescribed medication.”

Exploding statistics

The study adds to a growing body of research reporting that active compounds in cinnamon may improve parameters associated with diabetes.

With the number of people are affected by diabetes in the EU 25 projected to increase to 26 million by 2030, up from about 19 million currently – or 4 per cent of the total population –approaches to reduce the risk of diabetes are becoming increasing attractive.

The statistics are even more startling in the US, where almost 24 million people live with diabetes, equal to 8 per cent of the population. The total costs are thought to be as much as $174 billion, with $116 billion being direct costs from medication, according to 2005-2007 American Diabetes Association figures.

Study details

Writing in the journal Nutrition Research​, ​the researchers note that 66 type-2 diabetes were randomly assigned to one of three groups: A placebo group, or one of two groups receiving a water-extract from cinnamon at daily doses of 120 or 360 mg per day. All participants were also taking gliclazide during the study.

After three months of intervention, the researchers found that fasting blood glucose levels were significantly reduced in the low-dose group by an average of 1.01 mmol/L in the low-dose group and by an average of 1.62 mmol/L in the high-dose group, while no changes were observed in the placebo group.

In addition, blood triglyceride levels decreased were also significantly reduced in the low-dose group by an average of 0.78 mmol/L, while the placebo and high dose groups displayed a slight increase.

Extract characteristics

“It is noteworthy that the effect of cinnamon on blood glucose control is likely dependent on the form of cinnamon used for the patients,” ​wrote the researchers. “Furthermore, different extraction methods might affect the efficacy of cinnamon.

“We used cinnamon extract from the water-soluble fraction of cinnamon in this study. It has been shown that the water-soluble polyphenol polymers from cinnamon could markedly increase insulin-dependent glucose metabolism in vivo as well as lead to an elevated antioxidant activity.

“The aqueous extract from cinnamon was also able to enhance insulin signaling by inhibiting protein-tyrosine phosphatase 1B, a phosphatase that negatively regulates insulin action.

“In the future, it is important to further identify the active component of cinnamon and elucidate its molecular mechanism that is responsible for its effect on insulin sensitivity,”​ they concluded.

Source: Nutrition Research
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2012.05.003
“Cinnamon extract improves fasting blood glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin level in Chinese patients with type 2 diabetes”
Authors: T. Lu, H. Sheng, J. Wu, Y. Cheng, J. Zhu, Y. Chen

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