T Nation

Cinnamon & Insulin sensitivity

the benefits of cinammon have been alluded to in this forum before, and people have mentioned the late Dan Duchaine having described it as a “powerful glucose disposal agent” in BodyOpus. I was personally curious about the health benefits/effects of cinammon because I always add it to my vanilla-flavored protein shakes, and to just about anything else that needs flavoring on the low-carb diet I’m following. So here is some interesting info on the spice:

"It appears to help people with diabetes metabolize sugar. In type II, or non-insulin-dependent, diabetes, the pancreas produces insulin, but the body cannot use it efficiently to break down glucose, the simple sugar that fuels body functions. USDA researchers discovered that cinnamon reduces the amount of insulin necessary for glucose metabolism.

Spicing Up Your Health
“One-eighth of a teaspoon of cinnamon triples insulin efficiency,” says James A. Duke, PhD, a botanist retired from the USDA and author of The CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs. Dr. Duke suggests that people with type II diabetes discuss cinnamon’s benefits with their doctor.

In foods, simply season to taste. For people with diabetes, 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon per meal may help control blood sugar levels."

Pretty cool stuff! It’s calorie-free as far as I know, tastes great mixed with stuff, and has some health benefits. Maybe by using cinnamon, coffee-drinkers can offset the bad insulin effects of caffeine?

So far as I have been able to find: 1. all the
studies have been done on cinnamon extract,
not actual cinnamon. So we don’t really know
how much effect (if any) regular cinnamon will
have. and 2. all the studies that I’ve found
only observe an increase of insulin sensitivity in fat cells, so we don’t know
if cinnamon extract has any effect in muscle
tissue. Do you want to increase insulin
sensitivity in fat cells? I don’t.