The main characteristic of diabetes is the unusually high blood sugar. When not properly managed, it can lead to heart disease, nerve damage, and even kidney disease. Diabetic patients often depend on insulin injections and other medications to help lower their blood sugar. Studies show that some foods are instrumental in helping diabetic patients, and cinnamon is one these foods.
Cinnamon is a spice which we often add to sweet foods, such as pastries, and it’s available in the form of sticks and powder.
Can cinnamon actually help you cure diabetes? There are mixed findings in research on this topic. While some studies indicate that cinnamon could have a direct impact on the sugar levels in the blood, institutions such as the American Diabetes Association dismiss cinnamon use in the treatment of diabetes.
How Does It Work?
Diabetic patients suffer from one of two things. Either their pancreas is not able to produce adequate amounts of insulin, or their cells have the inability to respond to insulin adequately, causing high levels of blood sugar.
Studies show that cinnamon has the ability to imitate the effects of insulin. Thus, it can help in increasing the transportation of glucose into the cells. This ultimately would help lower blood sugar in diabetic patients.
Secondly, cinnamon also helps in lowering blood sugar, by increasing the sensitivity of the cells to insulin. By doing so, glucose is able to move into the cells more efficiently.
After a meal, especially one rich in carbohydrates, it is normal for your blood sugar levels to rise significantly. These blood sugar fluctuations can cause inflammation. This in turn places a lot of damage to one’s body cells, and ultimately, causes chronic disease. Research shows that cinnamon helps in keeping these sugar spikes, following a meal, in control. It does this by slowing down the speed at which the food is emptied from the stomach.
In one study, when 6 grams of cinnamon were added to rice pudding, blood sugar spikes were lower and it took a much longer time to empty the stomach. Further studies have indicated that cinnamon might have the ability to block digestive enzymes that metabolize carbs, and by doing so, helps in lowering blood sugar.
The conflicting results in the various studies conducted on the cinnamon’s ability to lower blood sugar could be attributed to the amounts of cinnamon administered during the different studies, the amount of blood glucose in the participants, as well as prior blood sugar management measures that could have been taken by the participants.
Cinnamon Safety For Patients With Diabetes
It’s safe for diabetics to consume cinnamon, unless you suffer from liver damage. In this case, taking cinnamon could worsen the liver problems.
If you’re a diabetic and already on medications to lower your blood sugar, ask your doctor’s advice before administering cinnamon. Since studies have shown that it does have the effect of lowering blood sugar in some people, interactions with other medications could cause your blood sugar levels to drop to dangerous low levels.
If you prefer taking cinnamon supplements, do it under the guidance of a doctor. Supplement producers usually don’t need to substantiate the safety of their products.