We have mentioned cinnamon in passing in several of our past diabetes posts. Does cinnamon lower blood sugar? As with any food or herb, we won’t recommend it or include it in any of our supplements unless there is strong scientific evidence behind it. As it turns out, cinnamon is actually a potent superfood with benefits beyond treating high blood glucose.
The Correlation between Cinnamon and Blood Sugar
Early research shows promise. People that want to know how to lower blood sugar fast when it is too high can actually consume cinnamon in grounded or supplement form.
In one study, pre-diabetic subjects that supplemented with cinnamon for 12 weeks saw a 14% reduction in oxidative stress. This is a significant finding since high oxidative stress is a precursor in most major chronic diseases, including type II diabetes.
Cinnamon appears to lower blood glucose through two pathways, according to the latest studies. It increases insulin sensitivity, improving insulin’s ability to transport glucose into cells. In addition, it also imitates the effects of insulin, assuming its role by shuttling glucose molecules to their destination.
In another study, male subjects that consumed cinnamon saw an insulin sensitivity increase almost immediately. The effects lasted up to 12 hours.
What’s the Compound in Cinnamon That Lowers Blood Sugar?
Though the studies above are certainly promising, researchers still haven’t pinpointed the exact compound in cinnamon responsible for the blood-sugar-lowering effect.
On the surface, cinnamon doesn’t appear to be that potent since it lacks any significant amounts of vitamins and minerals. However, in one study comparing the antioxidant level of 26 different herbs and spices, researchers concluded that cinnamon had the second highest amount after cloves.
If you read some of our previous posts where we discuss how to bring down blood sugar, we usually identify the specific antioxidant or compound. In the instance of cinnamon, we know it works, and we have the science to prove it. We just aren’t sure yet of the exact mechanisms at work.
The Best Cinnamon for Lowering Blood Sugar
Some people will read this post and cite it as justification for freely gorging on more Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cinnamon Pop Tarts. We hate to break it to you, but you won’t benefit from cinnamon whatsoever that way. First of all, most foods containing cinnamon also contain refined sugar, which means they’ll increase blood sugar rather than lower it.
Cinnamon also primarily comes in two varieties: Cassia and Ceylon.
Cassia is the more abundant and cheaper variety. It’s the one used in most prepackaged foods and even the variety when purchasing whole unrefined cinnamon sticks in grocery stores. Unfortunately, cassia cinnamon also contains a compound known as coumarin. Consuming this substance in excess amounts have been linked to liver toxicity.
Ceylon cinnamon contains little traces of coumarin and is the safer bet. Whether taking cinnamon whole or in supplement form, this is the variety you should be aiming for.
With that being said, though, studies have been done on both Cassia and Ceylon cinnamon. Both are effective for lowering blood sugar naturally. Studies show Cassia cinnamon does have a greater effect on blood glucose than dieting alone. Likewise, studies show that Ceylon cinnamon was effective as a pharmaceutical agent for treating diabetes.
Does cinnamon lower blood sugar? Absolutely. This goes for both cinnamon types. However, try to acquire the Ceylon variety if possible. If not, then Cassia is fine as well. Just be sure to limit consumption to avoid coumarin poisoning. Researchers recommend no more than one teaspoon per day.
How to Take Cinnamon
Feel free to sprinkle cinnamon into your food or drink. It also makes for a great secondary ingredient as part of an herbal remedy for diabetes. You can also acquire it in supplement form. In fact, cinnamon concentrate is an active ingredient in our very own Sensolin.
There is also a wrong way to consume cinnamon. You should never consume the powder as is without other food or liquid. In fact, some people are doing this as part of a “dry cinnamon” challenge. The challenge is to consume a spoonful of dry cinnamon powder in under 60-seconds without water. It has become a YouTube trend.
Please don’t attempt this, even if just for good-natured fun. This can actually be dangerous. For one, it can cause throat irritation. Even worse, your lungs can’t break down dry cinnamon, which will cause it to accumulate in the organ. This may lead to a form of lung inflammation called aspiration pneumonia. In severe cases, aspiration pneumonia can lead to a collapsed lung.
Does Cinnamon Lower Blood Sugar? The Evidence Speaks for Itself
Now that you know how to bring blood sugar down with cinnamon, go ahead and make the spice a part of your daily diet. If you don’t find the taste agreeable, you can always take a supplement like Sensolin. The combined active ingredients will ensure normal blood glucose throughout the day and offset dangerous complications associated with diabetes.