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Cinnamon: An effective traditional therapy for type two diabetes

Cinnamon
(Photo: Envato Elements)
AMMAN — In ancient times, herbal remedies were the go-to option in the absence of modern medicine. Although some practices are now considered questionable, there are many herbs and spices that have real and practical applications in treatment. اضافة اعلان

These natural remedies can be quite useful and can be used to treat many aspects of health including weight loss and gastrointestinal problems. As November is diabetes month, let us take a look at cinnamon, a spice extracted from the bark of several tree species from the genus Cinnamomum.

What is diabetes?

Before jumping into the health benefits of cinnamon, a quick look diabetes is in order. In our diet we consume sugars which can take the form of complex sugars such as carbohydrates. These sugars are broken down into a simple sugar known as glucose. Glucose is responsible for providing energy to all parts in our body. In order to ensure the body has enough glucose throughout the day and in between meals, our body will regulate how much of it circulates in the blood. 

After a meal, our body will release a hormone called insulin which is produced by the pancreas. Insulin converts glucose into an inert form that is stored in the liver and muscles for later use, to be reconverted and used. 

A broad definition is that diabetes is the body’s inability to regulate blood sugar due to an issue relating to insulin. There are different types of diabetes. The two most common are type one and type two. Type one is an autoimmune disease that typically presents in early life and manifests when the body’s immune system attacks the pancreas. This will result in little or no insulin being secreted.

Treatment for type one diabetes requires external insulin to be administered. In type two, however, insulin is still being produced but the body does not respond to it as well as it used to. This is more formally known as insulin insensitivity and is often the result of obesity and overeating. In order to treat type two diabetes, the use of oral hypoglycemic agents, such as metformin hydrochloride, is commonly prescribed.

Cinnamon shows promise as Diabetes therapy

The use of cinnamon to treat type one diabetes is extremely limited, but in type two diabetes, there have been promising results. A study conducted in 2003 by the American Diabetes Association, compared different doses of cinnamon 1gram, 3grams, and 6grams per day against a placebo over the course of 60 days.

The first and most important parameter measured was fasting serum glucose levels. The normal range for fasting serum glucose levels should be between 3.9 to 5.5 mmol/L. Between 5.6 – 6.9 mmol/L is considered prediabetes and more than 7 mmol/L is diabetes. Within 20 days, the group taking 6g of cinnamon per day had a significant reduction in fasting levels from baseline.

Within 40 days, all doses showed significant reduction in fasting levels. After cinnamon was stopped on the 40th day, only those taking 1g per day showed a maintained significant reduction from baseline.

Cinnamon affects triglyceride and cholesterol levels

Although blood sugar levels are the most important metric to determining control with diabetic treatment, there are other parameters that must be measured in those with diabetes. Diabetes is often associated with dyslipidemia. Dyslipidemia is when levels of fat fall out of the normal range and place patients at higher risk for serious complications, particularly cardiovascular complications. 

Triglyceride levels were reduced in those taking cinnamon, particularly those taking 1gram and 6grams of cinnamon, whereas those in the placebo group showed an increase. With prolonged use of over 20 days, the reduction in triglyceride levels became significant. Similarly, a significant reduction in total cholesterol was seen in all doses after 20 and 40 days. Significant reduction in LDL “bad” cholesterol was only seen after 40 days, and only in those taking 3grams and 6grams per day.

Cinnamon: zero calories

Based on the study’s findings, they determined that cinnamon reduced serum glucose, triglyceride, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol levels in people with type two diabetes. More importantly, cinnamon does not contribute to caloric intake and therefore, people with type two diabetes may benefit from the regular inclusion of cinnamon in their daily diet. 

Even for those who do not suffer from diabetes, cinnamon may be beneficial as a means to prevent and control elevated glucose and blood lipid levels. It should be noted that the use of cinnamon should only be used as an addition to your regimen and not as a substitution to any medication you have been prescribed. If you have any questions regarding the addition of cinnamon supplements to your diabetes management, consult your healthcare professional.

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