The use of cinnamon as an insulin-sensitizing spice is increasingly getting questioned.
Contrary to the theory that cinnamon can help control blood sugar, there also exists a perspective that challenges this. Interest in cinnamon as a potentially useful treatment for type 2 diabetes began with the discovery of cinnamon's insulin-sensitizing properties, about 20 years ago. Thereafter, there have been a series of studies negating and/or validating the role of cinnamon in diabetes control. It is believed that cinnamon can make body cells more sensitive to insulin, a hormone that shuttles sugar from the blood into cells to be used for energy. Type 2 diabetes develops when cells lose their sensitivity to insulin. There is also evidence that cinnamon slows digestion, which can temper the blood sugar rise that follows a meal.
To assess the efficacy of cinnamon in treating type 2 diabetes, researchers at the University of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City randomly assigned 43 adults with type 2 diabetes to take either cinnamon capsules or a placebo every day for three months. The cinnamon group took two capsules a day, each of which contained 500 milligrams of the spice. The placebo group took capsules containing wheat flour.
The results showed that cinnamon supplements did nothing to alter blood sugar, insulin or cholesterol levels. Cinnamon taken at a dose of 1 g daily for 3 months produced no significant change in fasting glucose, lipid or insulin levels. At the end of the study, there wasn’t any significant difference in the average levels of blood sugar, insulin or cholesterol in the subjects.
These results stand in direct contrast to previous theories that have found that cinnamon added to the daily diets of individuals can decrease their sugar and cholesterol levels. Thus, the use of cinnamon in treating diabetes still remains open-ended and subject to more analysis.