Cinnamon Sticks It to Diabetes!

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Cinnamon and Type 2 Diabetes

When you have type 2 diabetes, high blood sugar levels occur when glucose is prevented from entering cells of your body – the liver, muscle cells, and fat cells. Insulin is produced by your pancreas in response to elevated blood glucose levels. Upon entering your bloodstream, it signals the body’s cells to take up the excess glucose until your levels are restored to normal. When insulin molecules bind to the insulin receptors on your cell walls, tiny molecular “doors” open up and allow glucose molecules to pass through. If there is a glitch in this system, the “doors” don’t respond to the insulin signal, preventing the glucose from entering your cells. The glucose is knocking, but your cell aren’t answering.

This condition is a common consequence of obesity. It is referred to as insulin resistance, or Syndrome X, or pre-diabetes. Your pancreas tries to compensate by making more insulin. Eventually your pancreas is unable to keep up this heightened demand and starts making less insulin.

Researchers at the Human Nutrition Research Center of the U.S. Department of Agriculture examined extracts of 49 culinary and medicinal plants to see how well they could mimic the effects of insulin.They found in laboratory tests that cinnamon was far more effective than any other plant. Not only did it increase the uptake of glucose by cells, but it also stimulated the synthesis of glycogen. Glycogen is a form of glucose that is stored primarily in the liver and muscle tissues, which your body uses when you place a heavy demand on it for energy, such as when you exercise. 

In addition, a 2003 study on cinnamon done in Pakistan, showed lower levels of fasting glucose, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol after 40 days with levels continuing to drop for 20 days after that. The study showed that as little as a gram of cinnamon a day was sufficient to achieve these results. Researchers at Tel Aviv University found that cinnamon extracts were able to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease in mice! In some studies, cinnamon has shown an amazing ability to stop medication-resistant yeast infections. This wonder spice may be able to fend off diabetes, high cholesterol, Alzheime’sr and keep yeast at bay!

Some studies used powdered cinnamon cassia, which is not considered “true” cinnamon. Most table cinnamon, the stuff you’ve been sprinkling on your toast and oatmeal, is cinnamon cassia. People using pharmaceutical blood-thinners need to use this form of the spice with caution. It contains coumarins, plant chemicals that can have a blood-thinning effect.

A safer alternative would be to use a supplement made from true cinnamon, which doesn’t contain any coumarins, or an herbal water extract of cinnamon cassia, since the process removes the coumarins. These are typically taken twice a day, after meals.