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Will Cinnamon Help You Control Your Blood Sugar?

Some scientific evidence suggests cinnamon could help you manage your blood sugar. Pay attention to the type of cinnamon and monitor your results.
Ceylon cinnamon sticks. Natural spices. Close-up. Copy space

You may never have thought much about controlling your blood sugar unless your doctor said you should. Unfortunately, millions of people around the world have type 2 diabetes or are at risk for it. In fact, about 10 percent of Americans have diabetes. Roughly 95 percent of those individuals have type 2 diabetes, in which the body still makes insulin but fails to respond well to it. Many people are seeking ways to get their blood sugar under control. Could cinnamon help you manage your blood sugar?

Might Cinnamon Help You With Blood Sugar Control?

Q. I have seen reports about taking organic Ceylon cinnamon for blood sugar. My A1C was 6.7 and my doctor wanted to put me on medication for diabetes.

I have AFIB and take Xarelto and verapamil already, so I said no. I also take a tart cherry pill for gout, and my doctor said that was OK.
What is your opinion about cinnamon? It seems risky to me, yet I don’t want to go on medication.

A. For years, researchers have been considering whether cinnamon might help with blood sugar control. Relying on cinnamon without tracking your blood glucose or your HbA1c could be risky. You wouldn’t know whether or not you were maintaining healthy levels.

Science on Cinnamon and Blood Sugar:

A recent meta-analysis of 16 placebo-controlled studies found that cinnamon reduced fasting blood glucose and insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes (Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, Oct. 2019). It did not have a significant effect on HbA1c or lipid profiles. This is not the final word, however. Brazilian clinicians are planning a randomized placebo-controlled study of cinnamon for people with type 2 diabetes (Medicine, Jan. 2020).

As you know, HbA1c is the measure of glycosylated hemoglobin. Doctors use it to get a longitudinal picture of blood sugar over several weeks’ time. A level of HbA1c is below 5.7 percent. 

If you decide to try Ceylon cinnamon, do discuss this with your physician. You will need to monitor your blood glucose and HbA1c regularly to determine if the cinnamon is working properly. So far as we can tell, it should not interact with your other medicines.

Why Ceylon Cinnamon?

Ceylon cinnamon is safer than cassia cinnamon, the type you probably have in your pantry. That is because it contains far less coumarin (Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, Dec. 2019).  This compound that occurs naturally in cassia cinnamon bark can harm the liver if taken in large quantities. One reader sent a testimonial several years ago that was rather alarming. Flavoring your food with cinnamon wouldn’t normally pose a problem, but taking cinnamon every day to help manage blood sugar could result in a higher dose. 

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About the Author
Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
Managing Diabetes

Research on the pros and cons of the various medicines used to lower blood sugar and a wealth of details on non-drug approaches such as diet, supplements and special foods.

Managing Diabetes
  • Deyno S et al, "Efficacy and safety of cinnamon in type 2 diabetes mellitus and pre-diabetes patients: A meta-analysis and meta-regression." Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, Oct. 2019. DOI: 10.1016/j.diabres.2019.107815
  • Neto JCGL et al, "Analysis of the effectiveness of cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) in the reduction of glycemic and lipidic levels of adults with type 2 diabetes: A study protocol." Medicine, Jan. 2020. DOI: 10.1097/MD.0000000000018553
  • Hayward NJ et al, "Cinnamon shows antidiabetic properties that are species-specific: Effects on enzyme activity inhibition and starch digestion." Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, Dec. 2019. DOI: 10.1007/s11130-019-00760-8
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Been using cinnabetic cinnamon2 for years. It works.

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