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Does cinnamon help control diabetes?

Cinnamon: a spice full of properties

Much has been said about cinnamon as a possible remedy for diabetes. And, although it would be great if cinnamon, like a magic wand, made it disappear, studies carried out to date show controversial results. If you have diabetes, ask your doctor if its use is safe in your particular case and about its possible interaction with other supplements and herbs you are taking. And, above all, do not undertake a “cinnamon cure” on your own.

Cinnamon has multiple uses in the kitchen and bakers couldn't live without it. But in addition to its culinary use, medicinal properties are also attributed to this spice and people use it in infusions to control diarrhea and to regulate menstrual cycles. Many drink it to cope with the discomfort of a cold and even to combat bad breath!

What does the research say about cinnamon and diabetes?

Is it too much to ask cinnamon to control diabetes? What is true in this idea? Let's see. On the one hand, a study carried out at the University of California and the United States Department of Agriculture, and published in the Journal of Medicinal Foods, in September 2011, found that cinnamon (cinnamomum cassia) reduces glucose in the blood of diabetic people. According to the results of this study, consuming cinnamon, especially the extract, produced a modest but significant decrease in blood sugar levels. Apparently, this is due to a bioactive component in cinnamon, which acts similarly to insulin.

In another study, participants ate 1 to 6 grams of cinnamon for 40 days (one gram is about half a teaspoon). The conclusion was that it reduced the participants' cholesterol by 18% and blood sugar levels by up to 24%.

Other research shows that it can decrease insulin resistance, which lowers blood sugar. But it doesn't work as well in type 2 diabetes, and can actually increase sugar levels. And according to the results of other studies, it did not reduce cholesterol or blood sugar levels.

Finally, an evaluation of five clinical studies by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the National Institutes of Health in the United States) found that cinnamon does not appear to have any effect on diabetes or diabetes. (that is, blood sugar), nor in factors related to heart disease.

Can it be harmful to health?

Consuming cinnamon does not seem to be harmful for diabetes patients. But if you have liver problems you should be careful, because cinnamon can aggravate them.

What about cinnamon supplements?

Cinnamon supplements are considered a food, not a medicine. Unlike drugs, manufacturers do not have to prove that their products are safe or effective. Therefore, if you are going to buy these supplements, choose brands with labels that indicate a quality product, without contaminants or potentially harmful ingredients.

How does it interact with other medications or herbs?

Because cinnamon may lower blood sugar levels, you should be careful when combining it with other supplements that also lower blood sugar levels. Among them: alpha lipoic acid, bitter melon, chromium, garlic and Siberian ginseng.

The same goes for diabetes medications. If your doctor decides that cinnamon is right for you, pay special attention to your sugar levels, and tell him or her without delay if they drop too low. And if you have liver problems, be sure to consult before taking cinnamon supplements.

In conclusion: if you suffer from diabetes, do not start consuming cinnamon in supplements without your doctor's knowledge, nor abandon the medications he has prescribed to control it on your own. But if your doctor gives you the green light, you can try (although, as you'll see, science doesn't support its effectiveness). Do not forget, however, that neither medications, nor cinnamon nor other natural remedies can be substitutes for a healthy and balanced diet appropriate for your particular case, nor for regular physical activity, which remain excellent weapons to combat diabetes. …and many other diseases.

"Because prevention is better than cure"

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