Cinnamon May Help Improve Blood Glucose Levels in Type 2 Diabetes

Cinnamon supplements lowered blood glucose levels in people with type 2 diabetes in a small well-controlled study, by Ting Lu and colleagues. Nutrition Research, published online June 14, 2012

What is the problem and what is known about it so far?

For thousands of years, people have used cinnamon as a folk remedy for a variety of ailments, including type 2 diabetes. However, studies attempting to verify the efficacy of cinnamon as a diabetes treatment have conflicting results, some supporting cinnamon and others finding no benefit.

Why did the researchers do this particular study?

The researchers did this study to check if cinnamon can lower A1C (average blood glucose over the previous two to three months) in people with type 2 diabetes in a well-controlled clinical trial.

Who was studied?

The study included 69 Chinese patients with type 2 diabetes and blood glucose levels above recommended targets, i.e. an A1C over 7 percent. This group included both men and women over the age of 48.

How was the study done?

Researchers split the participants into three groups: a low-dose group that took 120 milligrams of cinnamon a day before breakfast, a high-dose group that took 360 milligrams, and a group that took a placebo. All participants were also given a sulfonylurea (gliclazide), a common first-line treatment for type 2 diabetes. The study lasted three months.

What did the researchers find?

Participants taking a high dose of cinnamon lowered their A1C from 8.9 percent to 8.0 percent, while those taking a low dose dropped from 8.9 to 8.2 percent. The placebo group's A1C was unchanged.

What were the limitations of the study?

The study may have been too small to assess the effects of cinnamon dose on blood glucose levels.

What are the implications of the study?

Cinnamon may be a promising supplement for people with type 2 diabetes. The researchers also say that it's possible that the source of the cinnamon and the means by which it's extracted from cinnamon bark could make a difference as far as its effects on blood glucose levels. This may be why cinnamon works in some studies but not others.

  • Last Reviewed: September 13, 2013
  • Last Edited: October 7, 2013