Insulin, which is produced in the pancreas, helps the body's cells convert glucose into energy. People who suffer from Type 1 diabetes do not produce enough insulin while those with Type 2 diabetes produce it but their bodies do not use it efficiently. Thus without adequate insulin or insulin function, too much glucose (or blood sugar) remains in the bloodstream, where it can damage the body's organs.
Over the years, people have tried various folk remedies purported to help regulate blood sugar. Richard Anderson of the U.S. Department of Agriculture researched many of these purported folk remedies at the Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland. Mr. Anderson and his fellow researchers discovered that cinnamon helped insulin to increase glucose metabolism in fat cells.
Researchers were able to isolate the cinnamon compounds responsible for increasing glucose metabolism, the most active of which was methylhydroxychalcone polymer (MHCP). MHCP also had a beneficent effect on free radicals in the blood. What does all this mean to you?
While cinnamon will not cure your diabetes, it may lower you blood glucose levels and therefore reduce the amount of insulin you need. It may also help prevent the onset of diabetes. If you do plan to incorporate cinnamon into your diet, follow these simple tips.
- Always contact your physician regarding any intention to alter your diet, including the incorporation of cinnamon into your diet. This is a good food for diabetics, but your doctor should still be made aware of any food changes that may help in lowering blood sugar.
- Use ¼ to ½ teaspoon of cinnamon per day. Add it to your coffee, oatmeal, smoothie, or wherever you find it palatable.
- If you already suffer from diabetes, be sure to stay on a regular schedule with your cinnamon usage so that your blood sugar levels don't yo-yo. Use the same amount at the same time every day so that you can get a sense of how cinnamon affects your own personal blood sugar readings.
- Use the powdered spice or a cinnamon stick. Cinnamon pills are also available, and can be found easily via an online search. MHCP is water soluble and is not found in cinnamon oil.
Now that you know how cinnamon and diabetes are related, you can starting looking for other foods that lower blood sugar. Don't be afraid to look for other resources to help you deal with diabetes.