April 6, 2007 / 3:19 PM / 13 years ago

Cinnamon does not aid type 1 diabetes control

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Despite earlier promising findings, it seems unlikely that cinnamon can improve blood sugar levels in people with type 1, or insulin-dependent, diabetes, researchers report.

Previous research has shown that cinnamon appears to help fat cells recognize and respond to insulin. In test tube experiments and in animal studies, the spice led to a noteworthy increase in the processing of glucose.

Moreover, in a previous study of people with type 2, or non-insulin dependent, diabetes, those who incorporated a small amount of cinnamon each day for 40 days into their normal diets experienced a healthy drop in blood sugar levels.

Against this backdrop, Dr. Kevin M. Curtis from Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hampshire and colleagues had 72 adolescents with type 1 diabetes take 1 gram of cinnamon per day or a matching placebo while they continued with their existing medication, diet and exercise routines.

They chose adolescents for the study, the investigators explain in the journal Diabetes Care, because this age-group is particularly at risk for uncontrolled blood sugar and had the most to gain from the intervention.

However, after 90 days, Curtis and colleagues failed to see any marked differences in blood sugar control, changes in blood sugar levels, total daily insulin requirement, or number of low blood-sugar episodes between cinnamon takers and placebo takers.

In fact, “In essentially all outcomes...the trend favored the placebo group, although did not achieve statistical significance,” the researchers report.

The current study “introduces significant doubt regarding the efficacy of cinnamon in diabetic subjects,” Curtis and colleagues conclude.

SOURCE: Diabetes Care, April 2007.

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