(NaturalNews) An ancient spice prized for its unique flavor, aroma and healing capabilities, cinnamon has received a lot of attention by the modern media as a possible treatment for diabetes. Several studies have shown that cinnamon is an effective medicine for lowering blood sugar levels. While most doctors do not suggest replacing traditional diabetes therapy with cinnamon, many people may find this spice to be an effective way to control blood sugar naturally.
One of the first studies to call attention to the blood sugar benefits of cinnamon was published in 2003 in Diabetes Care. The study included 60 participants with type II diabetes who were given a daily dosage of one, three or six grams of cinnamon in capsule form (which is about one-quarter to one teaspoon in typical powder form). The participants were monitored for 40 days, and all recorded a significant decrease in fasting blood glucose levels - some as much as 29 percent. There was not a notable difference in results between the three dosage levels.
Another study published in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation in 2006 examined the effects of cinnamon extract on blood sugar. There were 79 participants in this study, all with type II diabetes that was being treated with oral medication and diet therapy (as opposed to insulin medication and therapy). Participants were randomly given a placebo or a cinnamon extract capsule filled with 112 mg of water-soluble extract (which is equal to about one gram of cinnamon). The dosage was given three times daily. Those who were given the cinnamon extract showed more than a 10 percent improvement in fasting glucose levels, versus a 3 percent improvement in the control group.
A small Swedish study gave 14 participants a daily cup of rice pudding, plain or with six grams of cinnamon added. Researchers recorded blood glucose levels and the rate of gastric emptying after participants ate the pudding. The cinnamon appeared to slow down stomach emptying, and blood glucose levels were notably lower in those who ate the pudding with cinnamon.
Researchers aren't completely sure whether cinnamon influences insulin or whether it affects the rate at which sugars are absorbed, but the results of these and other studies are intriguing, and will hopefully lead to more research about just how cinnamon causes these positive blood glucose results.
For most people, adding a small daily dose of cinnamon to their diet is almost effortless. In fact, what better way is there to start the morning than with a bowl of whole-grain oatmeal, sweetened with stevia and flavored with cinnamon? It's an ideal breakfast food for someone aiming to control blood sugar. Or add a little cinnamon to your daily cup of tea, coffee or hot chocolate. You can also add an extra dash of cinnamon to desserts like apple pie or bread pudding to help tame the blood sugar highs that come with indulging in sweets. Of course, cinnamon isn't an excuse to over-indulge in sugar, but it can help balance our blood sugar when we do occasionally satisfy our sweet tooth. Cinnamon can also be used in capsule form for those who would rather not add the spice to their food.
Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more: www.livingthenourishedlife.com/2009/10/welco...