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Recent studies have determined that consuming as little as one-half teaspoon of Cinnamon each day may reduce blood sugar, "bad" cholesterol, and triglyceride levels by as much as 20% in Type II diabetes patients who are not taking insulin.

Cinnamon Spice Produces Healthier Blood  November 24th 2003 - Cinnamon significantly reduces blood sugar levels in diabetics. Sugars and starches in food are broken down into glucose, which then circulates in the blood. The hormone insulin makes cells take in the glucose, to be used for energy or made into fat. But people with Type 1 diabetes do not produce enough insulin. Those with Type 2 diabetes produce it, but have lost sensitivity to it. Even apparently healthy people, especially if they are overweight, sedentary or over 25, lose sensitivity to insulin. Having too much glucose in the blood can cause serious long-term damage to eyes, kidneys, nerves and other organs.

Molecular Mimic - The active ingredient in cinnamon turned out to be a water-soluble polyphenol compound called MHCP. In test tube experiments, MHCP mimics insulin, activates its receptor, and works synergistically with insulin in cells. To see if it would work in people, Alam Khan, who was a postdoctoral fellow in Anderson's lab, organized a study in Pakistan. Volunteers with Type 2 diabetes were given one, three or six grams of cinnamon powder a day, in capsules after meals. All responded within weeks, with blood sugar levels that were on average 20 per cent lower than a control group. Some even achieved normal blood sugar levels. Tellingly, blood sugar started creeping up again after the diabetics stopped taking cinnamon. The cinnamon has additional benefits. In the volunteers, it lowered blood levels of fats and "bad" cholesterol, which are also partly controlled by insulin. And in test tube experiments it neutralized free radicals, damaging chemicals which are elevated in diabetics.

Cinnamon Helps Type 2 Diabetes - Also Helps Cholesterol  December 5th, 2003 - A spicy tip: Cinnamon can improve glucose and cholesterol levels in the blood. For people with type 2 diabetes, and those fighting high cholesterol, it's important information. Researchers have long speculated that foods, especially spices, could help treat diabetes. In lab studies, cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves, and turmeric have all shown promise in enhancing insulin's action, writes researcher Alam Khan, PhD, with the NWFP Agricultural University in Peshawar, Pakistan. His study appears in the December issue of Diabetes Care.

Botanicals such as cinnamon can improve glucose metabolism and the overall condition of individuals with diabetes - improving cholesterol metabolism, removing artery-damaging free radicals from the blood, and improving function of small blood vessels, he explains. Onions, garlic, Korean ginseng, and flaxseed have the same effect. In fact, studies with rabbits and rats show that fenugreek, curry, mustard seeds, and coriander have cholesterol-improving effects. But this is the first study to actually pin down the effects of cinnamon, writes Kahn. Studies have shown that cinnamon extracts can increase glucose metabolism, triggering insulin release - which also affects cholesterol metabolism. Researchers speculated that cinnamon might improve both cholesterol and glucose. And it did!

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 anti-diabetic drugs that cause an increase in the release of insulin. Each took either wheat-flour placebo capsules or 500 milligram cinnamon capsules.

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