Skip to comments.Cinnamon and DiabetesóDisease Type Appears to Matter
Posted on 04/15/2007 12:53:48 PM PDT by neverdem
Cinnamonit's not just for perking up the flavor of pies and applesauce anymore. A teaspoonful of the spice can have medicinal properties, at least for most people with diabetes, several trials have indicated. However, the latest study identifies one population that cinnamon doesn't seem to benefit: individuals suffering from what was once referred to as juvenile diabetes.
"Ours is just one study," cautions team leader Kevin M. Curtis of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H. It was also a small study. Just 57 teens completed the 3-month trial. However, Curtis notes emphatically, "we saw no benefit" in blood sugar control. If anything, he says, there were hints that people who were not getting the cinnamon might have fared better than those who did.
Insulin is a powerful hormone that the body needs to get energyin the form of blood sugar, or glucoseinto cells. Earlier studies tested cinnamon's potential to stabilize blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes, the form of the disease in which the body makes ample insulin but cells don't respond adequately. Called insulin resistance, this condition typically occurs in people who are overweight and older than 40. However, with a rise in juvenile obesity in recent decades, a childhood epidemic of this type of diabetes is now under way.
Type 1 diabetes is a radically different disease. An autoimmune condition, it develops when the body mistakes insulin-secreting, or beta, cells for invaders and inappropriately attacks them. When enough beta cells die, the body can no longer make enough insulin to keep blood sugar in check. Its victims must regularly inject themselves with the hormone to survive.
The new 90-day study recruited adolescents 13 to 19 years old with type 1 disease and asked them to take a daily capsule that might contain cinnamon. Randomly assigned, half the volunteers got 1 gram of cinnamon a day, and the others instead received lactose, a complex sugar found in milk. All capsules looked the same and came packaged in identical pill bottles. During the trial, neither the teens nor the physicians administering the capsules learned who was consuming cinnamon.
Curtis' team selected adolescents for the study because their growth spurts and other body changes associated with puberty make tight control of blood sugar especially difficult. A lack of blood sugar control can result in serious complications, from heart disease to kidney failure, blindness, and even limb amputations.
The Dartmouth team looked primarily for changes in measures of hemoglobin A1C among the teens. A person's A1C reading indicates the proportion of red blood cells that have glucose stuck onto them. A high A1C reading indicates that the person's blood sugar has been too high for months. The researchers focused on this measurement, rather than periodic tests of blood sugar itself, because hemoglobin A1C "has clearly been the best predictor of complications in both type 1 and type 2 diabetics," Curtis told Science News Online.
At the end of the new study, teens taking both cinnamon and lactose had A1C values averaging roughly 8.75, according to a report in the April Diabetes Care.
By chance, the group assigned to receive lactose capsules for 3 months started the study with an average A1C value of 8.75. The teens getting the cinnamon capsules started the study with an average 8.4 A1C reading. Clearly, there was no advantage to getting the cinnamon treatment, Curtis says.
It's possible that the daily gram of cinnamon administered to the teens was too small to have a measurable effect in people with type 1 diabetes, the researchers say. On the other hand, the scientists note that this quantity was sufficient to improve glucose control in a 2003 study of people with type 2 disease (SN: 5/1/04, p. 282). More likely, Curtis' group concludes, is that "whatever effect cinnamon has on glucose uptake in type 2 diabetic subjects is not present in those with type 1 diabetes."
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Altschuler, J.A. . . . and K.M. Curtis. 2007. The effect of cinnamon on A1C among adolescents with type 1 diabetes. Diabetes Care 30(April):813-816. Abstract available at http://care.diabetesjournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/30/4/813.
Khan, A. . . . and R.A. Anderson. 2003. Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care 26(December):3215-3218. Available at http://care.diabetesjournals.org/cgi/content/full/26/12/3215.
American Diabetes Association. What is diabetes? Available at http://www.diabetes.org/for-parents-and-kids/what-is-diabetes.jsp.
American Diabetes Association. Type 1 diabetes complications. Available at http://www.diabetes.org/type-1-diabetes/complications.jsp.
Anderson, R.A., et al. 2004. Isolation and characterization of polyphenol type-A polymers from cinnamon with insulin-like biological activity. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 52(Jan. 14):65-70. Abstract available at http://pubs.acs.org/cgi-bin/abstract.cgi/
Anderson, R.A. 2003. Chromium and insulin resistance. Nutrition Research Reviews 16(December):267-275. Abstract available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1079/NRR200366.
Raloff, J. 2004; Coffee, spices, wine. Science News 165(May 1):282-284. Available at http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20040501/bob10.asp.
American Diabetes Association
1701 North Beauregard Street
Alexandria, VA 22311
Web site: http://www.diabetes.org
Kevin M. Curtis
Department of Emergency Medicine
Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center
Lebanon, NH 03756
From Science News, Vol. 171, No. 15, April 14, 2007
Copyright (c) 2007 Science Service. All rights reserved.
Cool. I'll take two, then.
One more reason to have some cinnamon, my favorite spice anyway!
...learned who was consuming cinnamon.
’ been taking cinnamon for a while. It’s supposed to be good at keeping cholestrol low. You WILL have a cinnamon ‘after-taste’ occasionally.
You mean like the way peanut butter sandwichs and hot dogs do?
Coffee is great with some cinnamon in it.
I’ve been putting cinnamon in my food for a while now, seems to have helped my blood sugar control. Wasn’t hard to do - I like cinnamon anyway. Cinnamon in coffee anyone?
This “report” is from the same man that promotes rectal evacuation as the cure all for almost condition or disease process affecting humans. Check out the “network” site. One other snake oil sales pitch from the same old snake.
May be so, but I'd heard it from some other sources as well. I asked my endocrinologist about it, and he said it may help - it doesn't hurt, so go ahead (just don't stop doing the other things).
No matter what I did, I couldn’t get a morning/fasting sugar lower than 100mg/dl. Then I started taking plain cinnamon caps. My morning sugars are in the low-normal range now. It really WORKS for Type II. Of course, this doesn’t mean I can once again start eating all the junk I was stuffing into my piehole before...
Hey thanks for this post.
Where can one obtain the cinnamon caps? Sounds like it’s worth a try.
I bought mine at GNC. I do not remember the cost, but they sell them in bottles of 100-150 capsules.
“Looks like its breakfast at the Savoy tomorrow for some of their plate size cinnamon rolls.”
Which would be completely counterproductive. The value of the cinnamon is in shocking the beta cells of the pancreas back into producing insulin, a part of the homeostasis that is failing in the patient with Type 2 diabetes. Part of the body cells have become insulin-resistant, because of excessive conversion of glucose into fat stores, rather than energy. The body systems react to the excess insulin produced, by signaling to the beta cells, to produce less. Then when the body again gets a surge of blood glucose, there is not enough insulin to properly metabolize this surge of glucose, and the individual cells of the body CONTINUE to store the excess glucose as fat. It becomes a tightening spiral, and eventually, the beta cells produce less and less.
Diet and exercise go far to reverse this progressive failure, by forcing the entire body to go to fat-burn, once the blood glucose is taken to relatively low levels. There is the distinct possibility that the individual may then become hypo-glycemic (low blood sugar, less than 50 mg/dL), at which point, the patient is stumbling, weak, sweating profusely, and shows signs of going into shock.
Cinnamon rolls, by their very nature (sugary, white-flour relatively high-fat pastries) have a high glycemic index, that is, they put one helluva surge of glucose in the bloodstream within minutes of consumption. The person with Type 2 diabetes, with the sluggish insulin production from dysfunctional beta cells, may experience an increase of blood glucose up to hyper-glycemic levels (250+ mg/dL), at which point there may be a “sugar high”, giddiness, hyperactivity, and strangely enough, signs of shock. To the casual observer, this looks almost exactly like the kind of shock that accompanies hypo-glycemia. But the two different situations are treated quite differently.
For hypoglycemia, the patient is administered glucose tablets. For hyperglycemia, injectable insulin is the emergency treatment of choice. Administering the wrong one only accentuates the condition of shock, and have been known to lead to death.
The cinnamon is only effective if taken in the absence of high-glycemic carbohydrates. Put it in your artificially sweetened tea. (Apple cider has a very high ratio of sugar, and consequently, a relatively high glycemic number.)
Thank you very much for this informative response. It is much appreciated.
Folks with Type II diabetes should never drink juice of any kind ~ NEVER NEVER NEVER.