Investigating the Potential of Cinnamon Supplements in Lowering Blood Sugar Levels
Cinnamon, derived from the inner bark of trees belonging to the Cinnamomum genus, is commonly utilized in culinary practices and has gained popularity as a dietary supplement. Its perceived health benefits encompass antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antidiabetic properties. A recent study adds weight to the evidence supporting its antidiabetic effects, revealing that a 4-week regimen of cinnamon supplements led to reduced blood glucose levels in individuals with obesity or overweight and prediabetes.
Historically, Cinnamon has been employed since approximately 2800 BCE for flavoring, anointing oil, and medicinal purposes. The Romans used it for digestive and respiratory ailments, while ancient Egyptians incorporated it for fragrance and flavoring.
Contemporary research has extensively explored the potential health advantages of cinnamon, revealing its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, and potential anticancer effects. The latest double-blind crossover study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, further suggests that cinnamon supplements may contribute to lowering blood glucose levels in individuals with obesity or overweight and prediabetes.
However, Kelsey Costa, a registered dietitian nutritionist and nutrition consultant for Diabetes Strong, emphasizes caution in extrapolating the study’s findings to a broader demographic due to the small sample size. She acknowledges the study’s innovative use of continuous glucose monitoring, providing a more precise understanding of cinnamon’s impact on blood sugar levels.
Exploring the potential role of cinnamon in managing obesity and prediabetes, the study focused on an 18-person cohort with overweight or obesity and prediabetes. Participants underwent a 4-week randomized, double-blind crossover trial with cinnamon supplementation. The study employed a 2-week “washout” phase, during which participants took no capsules before switching groups, ensuring a comprehensive evaluation.
Costa and Dr. Menka Gupta express concerns about the use of maltodextrin as a placebo, emphasizing its potential impact on blood glucose levels. Future research is urged to consider non-glycemic placebos or transparently account for maltodextrin’s effects in the analysis.
Utilizing continuous glucose monitoring devices and oral glucose tolerance tests, the researchers found that participants taking cinnamon exhibited consistently lower blood glucose levels, suggesting potential benefits. The researchers attribute this effect to cinnamon’s rich polyphenol content and diverse bioactive compounds, which enhance insulin sensitivity, reduce inflammation, and promote the storage of excess glucose as glycogen in the liver.
Moreover, the impact of cinnamon on the gut microbiome is proposed as another potential mechanism affecting blood glucose levels. Encouraging the growth of beneficial bacteria and inhibiting others may contribute to lower inflammation and improved insulin sensitivity.
In conclusion, while promising, further research with larger and more diverse populations is essential to validate and expand upon the findings of this study on the potential benefits of cinnamon supplements in managing blood sugar levels.