You might see a link pop up while browsing the internet, promising a quick fix for diabetes. What is it?
Drink cinnamon, lemon, and water each morning.
Although this type of advice may mean well, there is no quick fix for diabetes. Is there a level of truth, however, to the hype surrounding cinnamon and diabetes?
What Cinnamon Does
Although it is most commonly associated with desserts, cinnamon was traditionally used as a source of medicine. Known to reduce inflammation and fight bacteria (though there are no definitive conclusions as to how much is required, or how powerful its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties are), cinnamon is a wonderful spice.
Aside from these properties, however, cinnamon does have some benefit. Studies have consistently demonstrated that individuals who consume cinnamon have both lower blood sugar and cholesterol.
Because its effects are largely unknown and unstudied—and consuming cinnamon in large quantities can be toxic—most doctors and nutritionists recommend no more than 1-2 teaspoons per day. This dosage should also be adjusted if you are consuming cinnamon in a supplement or a processed food item that contains cinnamon in it.
How Does Cinnamon Help Diabetes?
Cinnamon has been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease through increasing metabolic processes, decreasing cholesterol levels, and improving insulin sensitivity. Although the exact mechanics of the process are not widely known or studied, there have been enough studies examining cinnamon’s effects to acknowledge that it does assist in regulating blood sugar in men and women with Type 2 diabetes.
Cinnamon is most effective for individuals with Type 2 diabetes rather than Type 1. Why? Because this spice does not help increase the production of insulin but insulin sensitivity. While it may be used to help optimize cholesterol levels in individuals with Type 1, the greatest benefits will be seen from those with Type 2 diabetes.
Adding Cinnamon to Your Routine
That being said, taking a cinnamon supplement may require adjusting existing medications, and should not be done without first discussing a cinnamon supplement with your doctor. All side effects should be closely monitored.
Side note: there are two types of cinnamon, Ceylon and Cassia. Ceylon is the type of cinnamon used for diabetes management and is considered of a higher quality than Cassia. When choosing a supplement, opt for Ceylon. Lastly, make sure you adjust any regular cinnamon consumption while taking supplements to avoid possible toxicity.