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How Can Cinnamon Help Type 2 Diabetes?

By: | Tags: , | Comments: 0 | November 4th, 2015

For individuals who are facing the lifestyle changes that are involved in a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, it can seem very overwhelming to try and incorporate these healthy changes, while still maintaining regular routines and activities of enjoyment. Generally, people with type 2 diabetes will not need to be on a regular insulin regimen, since even though both types of the disease impact blood glucose levels and how the body is able to process nutrients from foods, the difference is in the presence of natural insulin and how the body processes it.

Considering The Specifics Of Type 2 Diabetes

Although the full onset of type 2 diabetes may not occur until later in life, it is still considered a lifelong disease.  Mainly genetic and other precursors in a person’s physiology will affect the development of the disease.  In cases where precursors are found, preventive measures may be taken to lower the risk of fully developing the disease.  Some of the factors to be aware of include:

  • Family health history
  • Extra weight and obesity
  • Pre-existing metabolic syndromes which impact pancreatic function
  • High cholesterol and blood lipid levels
  • Extreme fluctuation in blood sugar levels
  • Trouble in cellular communication, which is generally tested through comparison of different metabolic rates

Having an awareness of these factors as risk signs for type 2 diabetes can allow individuals to take preventive measures through lifestyle changes in order to avoid developing the disease.
It is also important that people with type 2 diabetes understand how blood sugar and pancreatic function are impacting their bodies.  Unlike type 1 diabetes where there is a lack of insulin production, people with type 2 diabetes actually produce too much insulin, but their cells are unable to actually use the hormone.  This is also why type 2 diabetes is often referred to as an insulin resistant disease.
The result is that since the body cannot process the insulin being released, blood glucose levels will continue to remain high.  As this occurs, the pancreas continues to try and compensate by producing even more insulin, which can eventually lead to shock, convulsions, and coma.  This also means that treatments for type 2 diabetes are greatly focused on managing lower consistent blood glucose levels in order to prevent over activity in the pancreas.

A New Take On The Cinnamon Challenge

While there are many medications on the market which address both type 2 diabetes and precursors for the disease, natural treatments can also become beneficial, especially when adjusting to the necessary lifestyle changes.  Cinnamon is one natural plant supplement that has received a lot of attention in regards to its beneficial actions for this disease.  However, the composition of this common household spice is what makes it advantageous to individuals with type 2 diabetes.
True cinnamon contains a number of compounds that help to:

  • Maintain consistent blood glucose levels
  • Lower lipids in the blood and liver to allow for better nutrient processing
  • Promote healthy cholesterol production while lowering bad cholesterols
  • Provides for better stomach cell metabolism, which lowers blood sugar

Since true cinnamon (Cinanamomum verum) can be so beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes, it is also important for individuals to realize that most cinnamon which is sold as spice is actually cassia.  Although cassia does have many of these same properties, it is considered inferior since the concentration of active components is much lesser.
This also makes it important for people to verify that they are considering a supplement that is actually Cinnamomum verum, as this can greatly impact the actual positive effects that are achieved.
Cinnamon contains a number of compounds that provide these beneficial effects for both blood sugar and lipids, as the combined approach of addressing both liver and pancreatic function in type 2 diabetes can also lower many of the risk factors for the disease.  These compounds include:

  • Volatile oil – composed of cinnamaldehyde, eugenol, cinnamyl alcohol, cinnamic acids, and several other specific chemicals.
  • Diterpenes
  • Oligomeric proanthocyanidins
  • Mucilages
  • Tannins
  • Trace sugars within active and inactive compounds

Although the volatile oil is part of what gives cinnamon its signature taste, it is also highly responsible for managing blood glucose levels, and the cinnamic acid appears to have a beneficial effect in reducing cholesterol.  The diterpenes also play a role in breaking down lipids in the blood stream, while the oligomeric proathocyanidins also help to lower blood sugar levels.
The last three compounds play an important part in treating type 2 diabetes as well, as the mucilage and tannins help to stimulate and tone the entire digestive system, which can have a long term effect of reducing insulin resistance through maintaining better metabolic function.  The trace sugars that are found in cinnamon are also complex starches, and this aids in generating consistent blood glucose levels, while further reducing the urge to eat, since the body will register that it has the nutrients it needs.

True Cinnamon For Diabetes

Adding Cinnamon To A Health Regimen

As the beneficial effects of how cinnamon can be a positive treatment additive for people with type 2 diabetes are clearly outlined, it can also provide individuals with a simple additive to healthy practices, which can be used to both treat and provide preventive care for individuals who are at risk for the disease.  Before adding any new supplement to a healthy lifestyle, it is always important to consult a physician.  While cinnamon has no contraindications for interactions with other drugs, people who are already taking medication for their type 2 diabetes should still talk to their doctor.
As mentioned, it is important that people use true cinnamon in a therapeutic dosage, as this will have the greatest impact.  General dosing means include:

  • Teas
  • Tinctures
  • Oils

While these forms offer greater control in terms of the standardization of dosage, people can also grate real cinnamon bark into food, for easier compliance with protocols.  However, in order to have a beneficial effect, it would need to be between 2 and 4 ounces of grated bark with each dosing.  Further, tinctures and teas are also absorbed more quickly, and can be ideal for people with high risk factors as a preventive measure.

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