There is no question that the healthcare statistics surrounding type 2 diabetes paint a very somber picture.
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), 29 million Americans (9.3 percent of the population) had diabetes in 2012.1 Furthermore, almost 1.5 million new cases of diabetes in adults are diagnosed each year.
Diabetes was also the seventh leading cause of death in 2012.1 Even the monetary cost of diabetes can be staggering. According to the ADA, the cost for undiagnosed diabetes cases just for 2012 totaled a whopping $245 billion. An addition $176 billion was spent on direct medical costs, such as doctor visits and insulin syringes.1
The dollar amount of reduced productivity as a result of diabetes during 2012 was also quite substantial, coming in at $69 million.1 Furthermore, the average medical expenditures for an adult with diabetes were around two times greater than medical expenditures for adults without diabetes.1
Despite all of these alarming facts and figures regarding diabetes, there may actually be a glimmer of hope in the form of cinnamon extract to help lower blood sugar levels among patients specifically with type 2 diabetes.2
What does the research say?
Cinnamon extract has been a staple for thousands of years within the Chinese medicine tradition, where is often used to treat a number of diseases and lower blood sugar, including type 2 diabetes (or “thirsty disease,” as it was sometimes called).2
In a paper published in the journal Nutritional Research, researchers in China divided a group of 66 patients with type 2 diabetes into one of three groups (high-dose cinnamon extract, low-dose cinnamon extract, and placebo) to determine what effect, if any, that the cinnamon had on the patients’ blood glucose levels over the course of three months.
The low-dose patients received 120 mg/d of cinnamon extract, while the high-dose patients received 360 mg/d of the extract.2 Fasting blood glucose and hemoglobin A1c levels were measured over time in order to track the effect of the cinnamon extract.
When the researchers measured the hemoglobin A1c and fasting blood glucose levels, both were significantly reduced in patients receiving either the low dose or the high dose of the cinnamon extract.
In comparison, neither level changed for the placebo group of patients. Furthermore, blood triglyceride levels were also significantly reduced in the low-dose group of patients. In comparison, however, the blood levels of total cholesterol, both high- and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and liver transaminase did not change at all across all three groups regardless of the presence or absence of the cinnamon extract.
Although the researchers acknowledged that more study is needed with larger groups of patients, they suggested that the results of this study indicated a need for further testing to explore cinnamon extract as part of a therapeutic regimen to improve fasting blood glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.
- Statistics about diabetes. American Diabetes Association. Accessed 11/9/2016.
- Lu T, Sheng H, Wu J, et al. Cinnamon extract improves fasting blood glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin level in Chinese patients with type 2 diabetes. Nutrition Research June 2012, 32(6), 408-412.