Insulin has become the backbone of diabetes treatment, but for centuries there’s been huge interest in spices and herbs that immediately lower blood glucose. In fact, studies suggest that people seeking care from dietary sources outside the formal healthcare system may benefit from a combination of two popular spices. Taken alone, spices like cinnamon have been shown to reduce blood sugar levels by a staggering 30 percent.
In 2019, a study by the Medical Journal of Basrah University set out to evaluate the effectiveness of cinnamon, fenugreek and their combination in type 2 diabetic patients who didn’t respond well to generic medications.
For the study, a sample of 54 diabetic patients was randomly divided into four groups; groups one, two, three and four, were treated with bran, cinnamon (3gram), fenugreek (15 grams) and a combination of fenugreek and cinnamon, respectively.
HbA1C – a measure of blood sugar attached to the haemoglobin – and 2-hour post-meal blood sugar levels were measured at baseline, and 40 days of treatment.
The results revealed a “significant reduction” in blood sugar within 40 days, noted the researchers.
The “same changes” in HbA1C and post-meal blood sugar levels were noticed with fenugreek, and “even more with the combination of fenugreek and cinnamon”.
This led authors to the conclusion that “daily supplementation with cinnamon, fenugreek or their combination to patients” in patients not achieving results with anti-diabetic drugs is “effective” in lowering fasting and post-meal blood sugar levels.
The findings reinforce several prior studies highlighting the potential of cinnamon to control blood sugar levels and prevent the onset of disease.
In fact, cinnamon consumed at different levels has proven highly effective in the treatment of diabetes.
A 2019 review of 16 studies, published in the journal Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, found evidence of significant reductions in fasting blood sugar levels.
Postprandial blood glucose measures indicate blood sugar measurements after a meal while fasting blood glucose levels refer to blood sugar levels when a person hasn’t eaten.
It is postprandial blood glucose, however, which is deemed a stronger predictor of cardiovascular events than fasting blood glucose.
An earlier meta-analysis published in the Annals of Family Medicine recorded reductions in blood sugar as significant as 30 percent among patients taking cinnamon.
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The study, published in the journal Diabetes Care, included a sample of 60 patients with type 2 diabetes, 30 men and 30 women.
The sample was randomly divided into six groups; groups one, two and three consumed one, three or six games of cinnamon daily, respectively.
The remaining three groups were administered a placebo capsule corresponding to the number of capsules consumed for the three quantities of cinnamon.
“The cinnamon was consumed for 40 days followed by a 20-day washout period,” explained the authors.
After 40 days, all three levels of cinnamon reduced the mean fasting serum glucose (18-29 percent), triglycerides (23 to 30 percent), LDL cholesterol (seven to 27 percent) and total cholesterol (12-26 percent).
“No significant changes were voted in the placebo groups. Changes in HDL cholesterol were not significant,” noted the authors.
The results demonstrated that an intake of one, three or six games of cinnamon per day reduces serum glucose, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes.
The findings also suggest that “the inclusion of cinnamon in the diet of people with type 2 diabetes will reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases”, according to the study leaders.