Is it true that cinnamon can lower blood sugar in people who have diabetes?
Answer From M. Regina Castro, M.D.
Despite numerous studies, it still isn't clear whether cinnamon helps lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. Some studies have shown a benefit from the spice. Others haven't.
Previous studies have included different doses and different types of cinnamon, which makes it hard to compare the results. It's possible that cinnamon might help the body use insulin more efficiently. But more research is needed to determine if, and how, cinnamon supplements might help people with diabetes.
For most people, cinnamon supplements seem safe, at least for short-term use. But high doses may cause problems for people who have liver disease. Check with your doctor before taking any supplements to make sure they're safe for you, and that they won't affect any medication you're already taking.
It's also important to remember that no single nutrient alone can treat your diabetes. Diabetes management includes healthy eating, regular exercise, blood sugar monitoring, and sometimes, diabetes medications or insulin therapy.
M. Regina Castro, M.D.
March 19, 2021
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See more Expert Answers
- Natural medicines in the clinical management of diabetes. Natural Medicines. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com. Accessed Jan. 26, 2019.
- Costello RB, et al. Do cinnamon supplements have a role in glycemic control in type 2 diabetes? A narrative review. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2016;116:1794.
- Zare R, et al. Efficacy of cinnamon in patients with type II diabetes mellitus: A randomized controlled clinical trial. Clinical Nutrition. In press. Accessed Jan. 24, 2019.
- Talaei B, et al. Effects of cinnamon consumption on glycemic indicators, advanced glycation end products, and antioxidant status in type 2 diabetic patients. Nutrients. 2017;9:1.
- Leach MJ, et al. Cinnamon for diabetes mellitus. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. https://www.cochranelibrary.com. Accessed Jan. 26, 2019.
- Anderson RA, et al. Cinnamon extract lowers glucose, insulin and cholesterol in people with elevated serum glucose. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine. 2016;6:332.
- Rakel D, ed. Diabetes mellitus. In: Integrative Medicine. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Elsevier; 2018. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Jan. 26, 2019.