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Cinnamon Helps Type 2 Diabetes and Cholesterol

The search for a natural way to keep blood sugar levels normal began more than a decade ago when ARS chemist Richard A. Anderson and co-workers at the Beltsville (Maryland) Human Nutrition Research Center assayed plants and spices used in folk medicine. They found that a few spices especially cinnamon made fat cells much more responsive to insulin, the hormone that regulates sugar metabolism and thus controls the level of glucose in the blood

Anderson and colleagues found that its most active compound methylhydroxy chalcone polymer (MHCP) increased glucose metabolism roughly 20-fold in a test tube assay of fat cells.

Richard A. Anderson is at the USDA-ARS Bldg. 307, Room 224, 10300 Baltimore Ave., Beltsville, MD 20705-2350; phone (301) 504-8091, fax (301) 504-9062.


A natural way to manage type 2 diabetes and cholesterol

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Cinnamon Sticks 1 lb



Cinnamon joins battle against cholesterol

Alam Khan, PhD, with the NWFP Agricultural University in Peshawar, Pakistan.

The 60 men and women in Khan's study had a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes for an average of 6 1-2 years but were not yet taking insulin. The participants in his study had been on antidiabetic drugs that cause an increase in the release of insulin. Each took either wheat-flour placebo capsules or 500 milligram cinnamon capsules.

  • Group 1 took 1 gram (two capsules equaling about one-quarter of a teaspoon) for 20 days.
  • Group 2 took 3 grams (six capsules, equaling a little less than one teaspoon) for 20 days.
  • Group 3 took 6 grams (12 capsules, equaling about one and three-quarters teaspoons) for 20 days.

Blood samples were taken at each level of the study.

Cinnamon made a difference! Twenty days after the cinnamon was stopped, there were significant reductions in blood glucose levels in all three groups that took cinnamon, ranging from 18 to 29%. But these was one peculiar finding that researchers don't understand at this point. Only the group that consumed the lowest level of cinnamon continued with significantly improved glucose levels -- group 1. The placebo groups didn't get any significant differences.

Taking more cinnamon seems to improve the blood levels of fats called triglycerides. All the patients had better triglyceride levels in their 40-day tests -- between 23% to 30% reductions. Those taking the most cinnamon had the best levels.

In groups taking cinnamon pills, blood cholesterol levels also went down, ranging from 13% to 26%; LDL cholesterol also known as "bad" cholesterol went down by 10% to 24% in only the 3- and 6-gram groups after 40 days. Effects on HDL ("good cholesterol") were minor.

Cinnamon should be part of our daily diet -- whether we have type 2 diabetes or not, writes Kahn. However, for the best effects, just a sprinkle isn't enough.

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