Lots of factors affect blood sugar: food, exercise, emotions, stress, illness, medications, etc; and, we all want to keep blood sugar within a normal range. Lifestyle is the best way to take control of our health; but, could there be supplements that aid in blood sugar management??
Cinnamon has received lots of “hype” for blood sugar benefits; and, may be rightfully so according to the research. What’s even cooler is that the benefit wasn’t just seen with blood sugar. The spice may improve cholesterol, too!
In one study, people with type II diabetes were split into groups: two placebo, one given 1 g cinnamon (in pill form) per day, one given 3 g per day, and one given 6 g per day. Participants took the pills for 40 days followed by a 20 day “wash-out” to determine if there was an effect and if dosing made a difference.
The results? When cinnamon was taken for more than 20 days, there was a significant improvement in fasting blood sugar, and cholesterol! higher doses didn’t show greater benefits; and, actually, 1 g per day had the most improvements after the 20 day wash-out, meaning that effects lasted longer for smaller does.
This sounds great, but not all the research gives the same results (which is not a surprise), and while fasting blood sugar was improved, there was no change in A1c (average blood sugar). So, what does that mean?
Well, again, diet and exercise are the best ways to take ownership of our health. Since cinnamon is calorie-free and low-risk, try adding a sprinkle to toast, coffee, tea, oatmeal/cereal, fruit, etc.! You may see greater benefits, and it won’t hurt you, so who doesn’t want that?! 1 g of cinnamon is about 1/4-1/2 of a teaspoon, and it can be distributed throughout the day.
How cinnamon lowers blood sugar and cholesterol is not exactly understood; but, it seems to help insulin work better. Sugar storage seems to speed up for those using cinnamon, which takes that sugar out of the blood. Cinnamon also has antioxidant properties, which means it has even more health benefits!
You’re probably asking yourself: what’s the catch? Lower blood sugar, lower cholesterol, no Calories, antioxidants for cancer prevention…where’s the catch? These studies were short with small groups, and look at people with Type II diabetes (not Type I, or people just with high cholesterol or prediabetes). So, while the results look promising, we can’t say with 100% confidence that cinnamon will help everyone improve blood sugars. But, what we do know is that: when supplemented to a healthy, carbohydrate-controlled diet, cinnamon may help! AND, not only with blood sugar, but with cholesterol, too!
So, give it a shot! If you have or know someone who has Type II diabetes, try adding a little cinnamon to your day. I add mine to coffee and oatmeal. How will you add yours? Have you already started adding cinnamon to your day? What benefits have you found?