New research from Harvard scientists shows that having high blood glucose levels is the fifth most deadly health risk factor, making it more dangerous than high LDL cholesterol. 1
The researchers found that there were between 163,000 and 217,000 high blood glucose-related deaths in 2005 that could have been avoided with proper nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. 1
Increased blood glucose levels lead to insulin resistance or pre-diabetes, which often leads to type 2 diabetes. When insulin sensitivity is lost, the body has to produce more insulin in order to keep blood glucose under control. Eventually, the pancreas is unable to keep up with the need for increased insulin, and diabetes sets in usually within 10 years unless a major lifestyle change is made by:
- Losing weight
- Making dietary changes
- Increasing physical activity
Studies show that adding chromium and cinnamon extract to your daily health regimen can help support healthy glucose levels.
A recent study at the School of Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK, found that cinnamon improved fasting glucose in eight male volunteers who underwent two 14-day studies involving cinnamon or placebo supplementation. Placebo supplementation was continued for 5 days following this 14-day period.
Cinnamon reduced the response to oral glucose tolerance tests throughout the two-week period. It also improved insulin sensitivity on the 14th day. The researchers noticed, however, that although cinnamon may improve glycemic control and insulin sensitivity, the effects were quickly reversed when the men stopped taking the cinnamon supplements. 2
There are many studies showing that chromium supplementation improves glucose tolerance in diabetic mice. Human studies are not as common, but an article published in June 2009 analyzed clinical evidence of complementary and alternative treatments of type 2 diabetes from 1966 to 2008.3 The Canadian researchers found that in a large meta-analysis:
- Chromium supplementation reduced glycosylated hemoglobin (the amount of glucose in red blood cells) and fasting blood glucose (FBG) levels.3
- Cinnamon improved fasting blood glucose. 3
- Gymnema sylvestre, the extract of a vine from the rain forests of India, reduced glycosylated hemoglobin levels in two small trials. 3
A third recently published article discusses a number of studies showing that:
- Cinnamon reduced mean fasting serum glucose by 18-29%, total cholesterol by 12-26% and LDL-cholesterol by 7-27% in subjects with type 2 diabetes after 40 days of daily consumption of 1-6 grams. 4
- Cinnamon improved fasting blood glucose, systolic blood pressure, percentage of body fat and increased lean body mass compared with the placebo group in patients who had metabolic syndrome. 4
- Chromium supplements improved glucose, insulin, cholesterol and glycosylated hemoglobin in patients with type 2 diabetes. 4
You might wonder why taking a supplement containing cinnamon is more beneficial than just sprinkling cinnamon on your food. While sprinkling cinnamon on your toast or cereal in the morning will help, taking a full spectrum extract will enable you to get all the potential benefits of cinnamon in a concentrated, non-caloric, easy-to-take form.
Additionally, taking a supplement that includes cinnamon, chromium and other proven ingredients such as Gymnema sylvestre can help support overall blood glucose, as well as insulin and cholesterol levels.
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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.
Danaei G, Ding EL, Mozaffarian D, Taylor B, Rehm J, Murray CJ, Ezzati M. The preventable causes of death in the United States: comparative risk assessment of dietary, lifestyle, and metabolic risk factors. PLoS Med. 2009 Apr 28;6(4):e1000058. Epub 2009 Apr 28.
Solomon TP, Blannin AK.Changes in glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity following 2 weeks of daily cinnamon ingestion in healthy humans. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2009 Apr;105(6):969-76. Epub 2009 Jan 22.
Nahas R, Moher M. Complementary and alternative medicine for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Can Fam Physician. 2009 Jun;55(6):591-6.
Anderson RA.Chromium and polyphenols from cinnamon improve insulin sensitivity. Proc Nutr Soc. 2008 Feb;67(1):48-53.