Why should I take a cinnamon extract supplement when I can add the spice to my food?
The good news is that you don’t have to eat fat-laden cinnamon buns or apple pie to get your daily fill of this amazing spice.
And while sprinkling cinnamon on your toast or cereal in the morning will help support healthy blood glucose levels, taking a full spectrum extract will enable you to get all the potential benefits of cinnamon in a concentrated, easy-to-take form.
What should I look for in a cinnamon supplement?
Most products contain just a water-soluble cinnamon extract and not the important fat-soluble cinnamon components. It’s important to take a supplement that provides the full spectrum of cinnamon’s active phytochemicals, including both the water-soluble and the important fat-soluble compounds including cinnamaldehyde.
Insulin resistance—also called Syndrome X—is a silent condition that increases the chances of developing diabetes and heart disease. After you eat, the food is broken down into glucose, the simple sugar that is the main source of energy for the body’s cells. But your cells cannot use glucose without insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, which directs cells to remove excess glucose from the bloodstream. Insulin helps the cells take in glucose and convert it to energy. When the pancreas does not make enough insulin or the body is unable to use the insulin that is present, the cells can’t use glucose. Excess glucose builds up in the bloodstream, setting the stage for diabetes.
Diabetes can go undetected for up to 40 years, or until serious complications begin to surface and the pancreas just can’t keep up with the demand for insulin. Some people produce two, three, or four times the normal amount of insulin. Yet, because the cells have lost their sensitivity to the hormone, they require even more of it to maintain normal glucose levels. The end result is often type II diabetes.
Type II diabetes kills 100 million people prematurely each year. In patients with the condition, fat and muscle cells gradually lose their ability to respond to insulin. As a result, glucose builds up in the blood, causing symptoms such as fatigue, weight loss, blurred vision and neuropathy (resulting in numbness in extremities), and circulatory problems.
The good news is that cinnamon extract dramatically helps to reduce risk of insulin resistance and type II diabetes.
In addition to the studies already mentioned, other recent studies found that:
- Cinnamaldehyde, a fat soluble cinnamon compound, decreased blood glucose levels and total cholesterol and triglyceride levels in diabetic laboratory animals. 6
- Cinnamon bark extract improved glucose metabolism in animals that were fed fructose. 7
Cinnamon extract given at different doses to diabetic animal models for six weeks had a regulatory role in blood glucose level and lipids, and it may have also exerted a blood glucose-suppressing effect by improving insulin sensitivity or slowing absorption of carbohydrates in the small intestine. 8
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This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always consult with a physician before embarking on a dietary supplement program.
Corn, Charles. The Scents of Eden: A Narrative of the Spice Trade (New York: Kodansha International, 1998), p. 202.
Anderson RA, Broadhurst CL, Polansky MM, Schmidt WF, Khan A, Flanagan VP, Schoene NW, Graves DJ. Isolation and characterization of polyphenol type-A polymers from cinnamon with insulin-like biological activity. J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Jan 14;52(1):65-70.
Cinnamon spice produces healthier blood, Nov. 24, 2003, Newscientist.com.
Khan A, Safdar M, Ali Khan MM, Khattak KN, Anderson RA. Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2003 Dec;26(12):3215-8.
Kim W, Khil LY, Clark R, Bok SH, Kim EE, Lee S, Jun HS, Yoon JW. Naphthalenemethyl ester derivative of dihydroxyhydrocinnamic acid, a component of cinnamon, increases glucose disposal by enhancing translocation of glucose transporter 4. Diabetologia. 2006 Oct;49(10):2437-48. Epub 2006 Aug 9.
Subash Babu P, Prabuseenivasan S, Ignacimuthu S. Cinnamaldehyde-A potential antidiabetic agent. Phytomedicine. 2007 Jan;14(1):15-22. Epub 2006 Nov 30.
Kannappan S, Jayaraman T, Rajasekar P, Ravichandran MK, Anuradha CV. Cinnamon bark extract improves glucose metabolism and lipid profile in the fructose-fed rat. Singapore Med J. 2006 Oct;47(10):858-63.
Kim SH, Hyun SH, Choung SY. Anti-diabetic effect of cinnamon extract on blood glucose in db/db mice. J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Mar 8;104(1-2):119-23. Epub 2005 Oct 5.
Prabuseenivasan S, Jayakumar M, Ignacimuthu S. In vitro antibacterial activity of some plant essential oils. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2006 Nov 30;6:39.
Quale JM, Landman D, Zaman MM, Burney S, Sathe SS. In vitro activity of Cinnamomum zeylanicum against azole resistant and sensitive Candida species and a pilot study of cinnamon for oral candidiasis. Am J Chin Med. 1996;24(2):1039.
Ooi LS, Li Y, Kam SL, Wang H, Wong EY, Ooi VE. Antimicrobial activities of cinnamon oil and cinnamaldehyde from the Chinese medicinal herb Cinnamomum cassia Blume. Am J Chin Med. 2006;34(3):511-22.
McCarty MF Toward prevention of Alzheimers disease--potential nutraceutical strategies for suppressing the production of amyloid beta peptides . Med Hypotheses. 2006;67(4):682-97. Epub 2006 Jul 7.
Preuss HG, Echard B, Polansky MM, Anderson R. Whole cinnamon and aqueous extracts ameliorate sucrose-induced blood pressure elevations in spontaneously hypertensive rats . J Am Coll Nutr. 2006 Apr;25(2):144-50.
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