Diabetes Medication

Cinnamon Update

Most scientists won’t admit it, but some of them are a lot like journalists. Some people in both groups seem to get their jollies and make their reputations by debunking the work of others.

Cinnamon is now important enough for glucose control that the debunkers have jumped on it. A group of five scientists in Maastricht, The Netherlands, carefully studied the effects of cinnamon and found that it doesn’t work.

They found that “Cinnamon supplementation does not improve glycemic control in postmenopausal type 2 diabetes patients”. The Journal of Nutrition published their research in its April 2006 issue.

Specifically, they contradicted “Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes” by Richard A. Anderson and his associates at the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in Maryland and in Peshawar, Pakistan. Earlier I have written about Dr. Anderson’s work on this blog and my website.

The Dutch scientists used the same type of cinnamon, cinnamomum cassia (popularly known as Chinese cinnamon, but from Indonesia), as Dr. Anderson’s group. They used 1.5 grams per day, 50 percent more than the other group’s lowest effective dose. Both studies met the highest research standards of being double-blind, placebo-controlled trials. Subsequently, however, the debunkers have themselves been debunked. A group of six scientists at the University of Hannover in Germany found that cinnamon does reduce blood glucose.

These scientists studied the “Effects of a cinnamon extract on plasma glucose, HbA, and serum lipids in diabetes mellitus type 2”. The European Journal of Clinical Investigation published this research in its May 2006 issue.

Again, it seems to be excellent science as it is also a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. They did, however, use twice as much cinnamon as the Dutch group, 3 grams per day.

If this leaves you confused, you are not alone. We can’t get scientists to agree any better than we can anyone who writes.

Still, I doubt if anybody is totally relying on cinnamon for diabetes control. A nutritious diet, weight loss, exercise, and prescription drugs are the usual order in which we implement our control strategies. Herbs, like cinnamon, with their erratic and less well tested effects, are purely supplemental.

If you like the taste of cinnamon, as I do, it doesn’t matter what the debunkers write. By all means continue to sprinkle it on some of the foods you eat. It may or may not help us to control our blood glucose. But we know how to do that anyway.

This article is based on an earlier version of my article published by HealthCentral.

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