Cinnamon been used as an herbal medicine for over a thousand years. Made from the bark of a small Southeast Asian evergreen tree, it comes in oils, a powder or in rolls called quills. It's claimed to have beneficial effects for indigestion, colic, anorexia, the common cold and the flu. The Chinese have used it for thousands of years for stomach, liver conditions, diarrhea, and influenza.
Cinnamon, Insulin, and Type 2 Diabetes
Cinnamon appears to fight inflammation and help insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar. According to Richard Anderson, PhD, CNS, of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Md, ""Cinnamon has insulin-like activity and also can potentiate the activity of insulin. The latter could be quite important in treating those with type 2 diabetes. Cinnamon has a bio-active component that we believe has the potential to prevent or overcome diabetes."
Type 2 diabetes, the most common form, is when your body can't produce enough (or cannot use) insulin. It's insulin (produced in the pancreas) that takes sugar from blood to cells where it's a source of energy. Excess sugar is stored in your liver. Too little insulin? Too much sugar in your blood!
Cinnamon Actives: Proanthocyanidin
Anderson and colleagues presented two papers on cinnamon at the Experimental Biology 2006 meeting, held in San Francisco. One of Anderson's studies focused on cinnamon's insulin-like effects. In lab tests, Anderson's team found that cinnamon contains antioxidants called polyphenols that boost levels of three key proteins. Those proteins are important in insulin signaling, glucose (blood sugar) transport, and inflammatory response, the researchers write. The second study found a natural compound in cinnamon that may have insulin-like propertie, call proanthocyanidin, which is a type of polyphenol. Proanthocyanidin, worms its way inside cells, where it activates the insulin receptor. Once this receptor is activated, whether by insulin or cinnamon, chemical reactions occur allowing the cell to use energy from sugar.
Cinnamon Research for Type 2 Diabetes & Lowering Cholesterol
Previously, the US Department of Agricultural also tested cinnamon on people with type 2 diabetes. 30 diabetes patients took varying daily doses (1 to 6g) of cinnamon for 40 days. The patients' insulin sensitivity improved during the study and had a significant decrease in blood glucose, triglycerides, LDL, and cholesterol. No differences were seen among the three doses of cinnamon.
Twenty days after the patients stopped taking cinnamon, those effects were fading but were still significant, meaning that they didn't seem to be due to chance, according to the study.Although the research isn't conclusive (yet), it suggests that cinnamon escorts blood sugar into the cells, making them more sensitive to the insulin that's available. Those findings were presented at the fourth International Congress Dietary Antioxidants and Trace Elements, held in Monastir, Tunisia, in April 2005.
Cinnamon and Weight Loss
Cinnamon is a potent thermogenic agent. This means it can be used as a healthy adjunct to a weight loss program that includes dietary modification and proper exercise. The excessive consumption of simple sugars in conjunction with poor diet and sedentary lifestyles can cause unhealthy blood sugar patterns that can lead to overeating and resistance to insulin. Anything that helps support healthy blood sugar levels while providing thermogenic support can have long-lasting health benefits