Can cinnamon help lower blood glucose and cholesterol (yes or no)
There’s been a lot of talk lately about the health benefits of cinnamon, but can it lower cholesterol levels?
Scientists studying cinnamon say that it might have potential. Much of the information publicized about cinnamon mostly concerns its role in lowering blood sugar in diabetes. Proanthrocyanidin, an active molecule in cinnamon, functions by activating the insulin receptor within the cell, therefore enabling the cell to use glucose for its energy. During some of these studies, scientists also found evidence that, along with lowering glucose levels, cinnamon may also lower lipid levels.
What Have the Studies Proven?
A study conducted in 2003 noted that a daily intake of one-half teaspoon (1 gram) of cassia cinnamon not only lowered blood sugar levels in type II diabetics, it also significantly lowered LDL and triglyceride levels. HDL, or “good” cholesterol, was not affected by cinnamon in this study. However, more recent studies have concluded that consuming cinnamon does not change your cholesterol levels.
What Do the Results Mean?
The research conducted on cinnamon so far has not conclusively proven that it can lower cholesterol levels. Therefore, more studies are needed to determine how effective cinnamon would be in lowering cholesterol, which type of cinnamon to use, and the amount needed to lower cholesterol levels. Most of the studies used cassia cinnamon in their experiments, so it would probably be useful to see if true cinnamon was any different in lowering cholesterol levels. Additionally, the form of cinnamon may make a difference. For instance, some studies have used a powdered form of cinnamon, whereas other studies have used an extract of cinnamon.
So, if you have been diagnosed as having high cholesterol, taking cinnamon might not help lower your cholesterol levels, but it probably won’t hurt either.
Sources: Khan, MS, PHD, Alam, Safdar, MS, Mahpara, Ali Khan, MS, PHD, Mohammad Muzaffar, Khattak, MS, Khan Nawaz, and Anderson, PHD, Richard A.. “Cinnamon Improves Glucose and Lipids of People With Type 2 Diabetes.” Diabetes Care 26(2003): 3215-3218.