Cinnamon’s anti-diabetes benefits get clinical trial boost

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Type-2 diabetes, Diabetes mellitus

A daily dose of two grams of cinnamon for 12 weeks may improve blood pressure measures and blood sugar levels in people with type-2 diabetes, says new research from Imperial College London.

According to findings of the randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial, the spice may be considered as interesting supplement to the conventional diabetes medications.

“The two gram dose of cinnamon administered in our study was safe and well tolerated over the 12 weeks of treatment,” ​wrote Dr Rajadurai Akilen and his co-workers in Diabetic Medicine​.

“The sustainability and durability of the effect of cinnamon has not been tested, nor has its long-term tolerability and safety, both of which will need to be determined. However, the short-term effects of the use of cinnamon for patients with Type 2 diabetes look promising.”

Exploding statistics

The study adds to a growing body of research reporting that active compounds in cinnamon may improve parameters associated with diabetes.

With the number of people are affected by diabetes in the EU 25 projected to increase to 26 million by 2030, up from about 19 million currently – or 4 per cent of the total population –approaches to reduce the risk of diabetes are becoming increasing attractive.

The statistics are even more startling in the US, where almost 24 million people live with diabetes, equal to 8 per cent of the population. The total costs are thought to be as much as $174 billion, with $116 billion being direct costs from medication, according to 2005-2007 American Diabetes Association figures.

Study details

Dr Akilen and his co-workers recruited 58 people with type-2 diabetes and an average age of 55, and randomly assigned them to receive a daily supplement containing a daily two gram dose of cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia​, Holland and Barrett Ltd, UK) or placebo for 12 weeks.

At the end of the study the results indicated that the cinnamon supplement was associated with a mean decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure of 3.4 and 5.0 mmHg, respectively. No significant reductions were recorded in the placebo group.

In terms of blood sugar, the researchers noted a reduction in levels of glycated hemoglobin (used to measure blood sugar levels) over 12 weeks from 8.22 to 7.86 percent in the cinnamon group, compared with an increase in the placebo group from 8.55 to 8.68 percent over 12 weeks.

“This is the first clinical trial in the United Kingdom in a multiethnic population that has confirmed beneficial effects of 2 g cinnamon on [glycated hemoglobin] and blood pressure in Type-2 diabetes patients,” ​wrote the researchers.

Cinnamon and diabetes

Despite numerous studies championing the role of cinnamon for diabetes management, a recent meta-analysis questioned the potential benefits of cinnamon for type-2 diabetes. The analysis considered only five randomized placebo-controlled trials involving 282 subjects, and found no significant benefits of cinnamon supplement on glycated hemoglobin (A1C), fasting blood glucose (FBG), or other lipid parameters (Diabetes Care​, 2008, Vol. 31, pp. 41-43).

Source: Diabetic Medicine
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2010.03079
“Glycated haemoglobin and blood pressure-lowering effect of cinnamon in multi-ethnic Type 2 diabetic patients in the UK: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial”
Authors: R. Akilen, A. Tsiami, D. Devendra, N. Robinson

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