Cinnamon may lower blood sugar...
|Cinnamon may control sugar levels...||Darrell Miller||07/08/05|
July 08, 2005 10:48 AM
Author: Darrell Miller (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Subject: Cinnamon may control sugar levels...
a staple ingredient in apple pie, has remained one of the
world's favorite spices throughout recorded history. The
evergreen cinnamon tree (Cinnamomum verum), considered to be
true cinnamon, is native to Sri Lanka. Chinese cinnamon
(Cinnamomum cassia or Cinnamomum aromaticum), the cinnamon most
commonly sold in the U.S., goes by the name “Cassia.” Usage of
cinnamon in Chinese medicine is said to date back over 4,000
years. Mentioned in the Bible, cinnamon was imported to Egypt
and Europe from the Far East by 500 B.C. In addition to its
value as culinary spice, cinnamon has traditionally been
utilized as a folk medicine for colds and minor digestive
complaints. True cinnamon and cassia are very similar; cassia
has a more pungent flavor. Cassia buds can be found in potpourri
and used as a flavoring agent in sweets and
Recent research has revealed that constituents in
cinnamon bark called procyanidin Type-A polymers help maintain
the body's ability to metabolize glucose in a healthy way.* Best
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Use as Part of Your Diet to Help
Maintain a Healthy Blood Sugar Level*
In Vitro and Animal
Research has revealed that a number of herbs and
spices have insulin-like activity.2 In a study by the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA), cinnamon demonstrated the
greatest ability to stimulate cellular glucose metabolism among
49 botanicals tested.3
In a 2001 study, researchers at the
USDA's Human Nutrition Research Center showed that bioactive
compounds in cinnamon trigger an insulin-like response in fat
cells.4 These compounds stimulated glucose uptake into cells and
increased glycogen (stored glucose) production via activation of
the enzyme, glycogen synthase.
The bioactive compounds in
cinnamon appear to potentiate insulin activity at the level of
the cell receptor for insulin. It has been shown that insulin
resistance involves down regulation of “insulin signaling”
characterized by dephosphorylation of the receptor.5 Enzymes
called “protein tyrosine kinases” (PTPases) are believed to
decrease receptor phosphorylation, and increased PTPase activity
has been observed in insulin resistant rats.6 Cinnamon compounds
have demonstrated the in vitro ability to inhibit PTP-1 and
increase autophosphorylation of the insulin receptor.7
recent animal study, cinnamon (cassia) extract was administered
to rats for three weeks. Following this, the rats were infused
with insulin and glucose to assess their insulin response.
Increased phosphorylation of the insulin receptor was observed
in skeletal muscle of these rats, suggesting that cinnamon has
the ability to potentiate insulin function by normalizing
insulin signaling, leading to improved uptake of glucose into
Until recently, the precise molecular
structure of the bioactive compounds in cinnamon had not been
clearly defined. The USDA has now determined that the bioactive
compounds in cinnamon are water-soluble procyanidin Type-A
polymers of catechin and epicatechin. In a 2004 study, type-A
polymers were isolated from cinnamon and characterized by
nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectroscopy. Type-A
polymers were found to increase in vitro insulin activity by a
factor of 20. Type-A polymers also exhibited antioxidant
activity, as measured by inhibition of free radical production
in platelets. These results suggest that, in addition to
regulating glucose metabolism, cinnamon may help protect cell
membranes by controlling the lipid peroxidation associated with
disruptions in insulin function.9
The effect of cinnamon on glucose and blood lipids
levels on people with type 2 diabetes was tested in a recent
randomized, placebo-controlled trial. A total of 60 subjects
were divided into six groups administered 1, 3, or 6 grams of
cinnamon daily, in 500 mg capsules, or equal numbers of placebo
The cinnamon or placebo capsules were consumed for
two periods of 20 days each. Serum glucose, triglyceride,
cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol were measured
after 20 days, 40 days and again at the end of a 20-day wash-out
period, during which neither cinnamon nor placebo was
In all three cinnamon groups, statistically
significant reductions in blood glucose levels occurred, with
decreases ranging from 18 to 29 percent. Interestingly, glucose
levels remained significantly lower after the 20-day wash-out
period (60 days from the study start) only in the group that
took the lowest cinnamon dose (1 gram daily). The placebo groups
showed no significant changes.
Decreases in triglyceride
levels ranging from 23 to 30% were observed in all three
cinnamon groups after 40 days. When the study ended at 60 days,
triglyceride levels remained lower than at the study start in
the 1 and 3 gram cinnamon groups, but not in the group taking 6
grams daily. Cholesterol reductions also occurred with the three
cinnamon doses, with decreases ranging from 13 to 25% that were
maintained at the study end. For LDL, the 3 and 6 gram cinnamon
groups showed significant reductions from 10 to 24%, while in
the 1 gram cinnamon group, non-significant reductions occurred
after 40 days; LDL levels continued to decrease, reaching
statistical significance at 60 days. With respect to HDL,
significant increases were seen only in the 3 gram cinnamon
group after 20 days; non-significant changes occurred in the 1
and 6 gram groups after 40 days.
The overall results of this
trial demonstrate that cinnamon exerts a beneficial effect on
blood glucose and lipid levels in people with type 2 diabetes,
at daily intakes of 1 gram, and that this low dose is equally
efficacious as are the higher doses of 3 and 6
The various species of cinnamon are
classified as GRAS (generally regarded as safe) herbs.11 The
Botanical Safety Handbook lists Cinnamomum cassia a “Class 2b”
herb; not to be used during pregnancy.12 The water-soluble
cinnamon extract is largely free of the lipid-soluble components
of cinnamon most likely to be toxic at high dose of cinnamon and
long-term consumption of the herb.9
*This statement has not
been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product
is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any
1. Manniche, L. An Ancient
Egyptian Herbal. 1989, Austin , TX : University of Texas
2. Khan A, Bryden NA, Polansky MM, Anderson RA.
Insulin potentiating factor and chromium content of selected
foods and spices. Biol Trace Elem Res 1990;24(3):183-8.
Broadhurst CL, Polansky MM, Anderson R. Insulin-like biological
activity of culinary and medicinal plant aqueous extracts in
vitro. J Agric Food Chem 2000;48(3):849-52.
KJ, Anderson RA, Graves DJ. A hydroxychalcone derived from
cinnamon functions as a mimetic for insulin in 3T3-L1
adipocytes. J Am Coll Nutr 2001;20(4):327-36.
5. Nadiv O,
Shinitzky M, Manu H, et al. Elevated protein tyrosine
phosphatase activity and increased membrane viscosity are
associated with impaired activation of the insulin receptor
kinase in old rats. Biochem J. 1998;298(Pt 2):443-50.
Begum N, Sussman KE, Draznin B. Differential effects of diabetes
on adipocyte and liver phosphotyrosine and phsophoserine
phosphatase activities. Diabetes 1991;40(12):1620-9.
Imparl-Radosevich J, Deas S, Polansky MM, et al. Regulation of
PTP-1 and insulin receptor kinase by fractions from cinnamon:
implications for cinnamon regulation of insulin signalling. Horm
8. Qin B, Nagasaki M, Ren M, et al.
Cinnamon extract (traditional herb) potentiates in vivo
insulin-regulated glucose utilization via enhanced insulin
signaling in rats. Diabetes Res Clin Pract
9. Anderson R, Broadhurst CL, Polansky MM,
et al. Isolation and characterization of polyphenol type-A
polymers from cinnamon with insulin-like biological activity. J
Agric Food Chem 2004; 52(1):65-70.
10. Khan A, Safdar S,
Muzaffar M, et al. Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of
people with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care
11. Duke, JA. Handbook of Phytochemical
Constituents of GRAS Herbs and Other Economic Plants. 1992. Boca
Raton, FL: CRC Press.
12. Botanical Safety Handbook. American
Herbal Products Association. McGuffin M, et al., eds. 1997; Boca
Raton , FL : CRC Press.
Acting as a biochemical
"super-thiamin," it does this through several different cellular
mechanisms, as discussed below.
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