“Taking a quarter to a full teaspoon a day of cinnamon, perhaps in orange juice, coffee or on oatmeal, may prevent or at least delay type 2 diabetes,” say researchers at the U.S. Agricultural Research Service’s nutrition labs in Beltsville, Maryland.
In an unpublished study reported in the August 12 issue of News Scientist magazine, Richard Anderson says patients with type 2 diabetes could benefit now by adding the spice to their food or drink. In lab experiments conducted by Anderson and colleagues, cinnamon was discovered to “rekindle” the ability of fat cells from people with type 2 diabetes to recognize and respond to insulin, increasing their glucose metabolism “twenty-fold.” The researchers say the substance in cinnamon responsible is a polyphenol called methylhydroxy chalcone polymer (MHCP).
Anderson says the extract makes fat cells more responsive to insulin, ensuring that the “remove-glucose” message registers inside the cell.
In diabetic mice studies, abnormally high glucose concentrations fell drastically when they were given MHCP. Blood pressure also remained stable in hypertensive rats and rodents with an insensitivity to insulin whose blood pressure normally soars when they eat a high-sugar diet.
Clinical trials of a cinnamon extract are due to start within a year.