Study under review: Effects of Cinnamon Consumption on Glycemic Indicators, Advanced Glycation End Products, and Antioxidant Status in Type 2 Diabetic Patients
Type 2 diabetes is a worldwide problem, as Figure 1 shows. In 2014, the overall global prevalence of diabetes among adults was 8.5%. In North America, it was estimated to be 9.6%. Proper nutrition, maintaining a healthy bodyweight, and exercising can help reduce the risk for developing diabetes, while similar lifestyle habits and pharmaceutical interventions can help manage or treat the disease in people who have it. But is there a role for supplements in diabetes treatment or prevention?
Cinnamon is primarily used in cooking, but in some traditions, the spice is used as medication for multiple ailments. In diabetes, cinnamon is thought to work by helping optimize glucose tolerance and lower insulin resistance, or by lowering systemic inflammation, which is also considered a risk factor for metabolic disease and diabetes. In vitro and in vivo evidence suggests that cinnamon has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and insulin-sensitizing properties, all of which could theoretically help prevent and manage diabetes.
However, much of the existing research has involved test tubes and animals. Existing research on the potential effects of cinnamon on glucose tolerance in humans is mixed. One of the first human trials to test this effect found that cinnamon supplementation improved blood lipids and glucose in people with diabetes. However, a 2007 study using similar methods was unable to replicate the original results; researchers found no effect of cinnamon supplementation on outcomes.
In the study under review, researchers sought to add to the limited literature on the matter by examining the effects of cinnamon supplementation on adults with diabetes. By measuring biomarkers of glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity as well as markers of antioxidant capacity and oxidative stress, the investigators attempted to measure any beneficial effects of cinnamon in both glucose management and systemic inflammation.
Due to a growing worldwide prevalence of diabetes, researchers are interested in applications of natural foods like cinnamon to control blood sugar and curb inflammation. Current research exists in cells and animals showing that cinnamon can help manage diabetes and has anti-inflammatory properties, but more research in humans is still needed. In the study under review, researchers tested the effects of cinnamon supplementation in adults with diabetes.
Other Articles in Issue #36 (October 2017)
Interview: Kelsey Kinney, MS, RD
Registered dietitian, blogger, and podcaster Kelsey Kinney shares her wealth of knowledge about how gut bacteria can impact digestive health, and discusses how the concept of functional medicine plays a role in her work.
Interview: Brad Schoenfeld, PhD, CSCS
Have questions about load’s effect on hypertrophy, supplements with the strongest evidence base, and effective weight loss strategies? Researcher and renowned body composition expert Brad Schoenfeld has answers.
Lifting the weight of anxiety
Aerobic exercise has been shown to be moderately effective for reducing anxiety. Does resistance training have similar benefits?
Can dieting actually suppress food craving?
It makes sense that the body would signal the brain to crave certain nutrients during dieting, since overall nutrient intake is cut. The truth may be a little more complicated.
Be the tortoise or the hare: it doesn’t matter for fat loss
Interval training and moderate-intensity aerobic exercise can affect the body in different ways. But do these differences extend to fat loss?
Antioxidants for the eyes: can they prevent or delay age-related macular degeneration?
AMD is a major cause of vision loss, and may be tied to the high amount of oxidative stress the eyes undergo. Some antioxidants could help delay its progression.
Something smells fishy: is your fish oil oxidized?
Previous research found that a lot of fish oil being sold in New Zealand was subpar. Newer research out of Australia says otherwise.