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Quality Health Care and You - Diabetes

Cinnamon Effects on Cholesterol

05/22/2008

Question:

I read that 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon a day can reduce your cholesterol. Do you agree? Thank you.

Answer:

There was a study published in December, 2003 in the Journal Diabetes Care (Diabetes Care 2003 Dec;26(12):3215-8) that reported on the improvement in glucose and lipid (including cholesterol)levels in people with type 2 diabetes when they ingested various levels (1, 3, 6 grams) of cinnamon. The abstract is below.

Whether cinnamon would be helpful in reducing everyone`s blood cholesterol levels could be debated. Type 2 diabetics were studied; not the general population. Also, there may be some variability in cinnamon depending on how fresh it is, whether it is ingested heated or unheated, and how finely ground it is. I`m sure the study didn`t use randomly purchased cinnamon off the supermarket shelf. So.... I think there is some evidence that controlled amounts of cinnamon with a specific freshness and `grind`, probably ingested without heat treatment (not in a cooked product) could be helpful for type 2 diabetics. It is still untested in any other group and untested from the supermarket.

Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to determine whether cinnamon improves blood glucose, triglyceride, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: A total of 60 people with type 2 diabetes, 30 men and 30 women aged 52.2 +/- 6.32 years, were divided randomly into six groups. Groups 1, 2, and 3 consumed 1, 3, or 6 g of cinnamon daily, respectively, and groups 4, 5, and 6 were given placebo capsules corresponding to the number of capsules consumed for the three levels of cinnamon. The cinnamon was consumed for 40 days followed by a 20-day washout period. RESULTS: After 40 days, all three levels of cinnamon reduced the mean fasting serum glucose (18-29%), triglyceride (23-30%), LDL cholesterol (7-27%), and total cholesterol (12-26%) levels; no significant changes were noted in the placebo groups. Changes in HDL cholesterol were not significant.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study demonstrate that intake of 1, 3, or 6 g of cinnamon per day reduces serum glucose, triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes and suggest that the inclusion of cinnamon in the diet of people with type 2 diabetes will reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

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Response by:

Sharron   Coplin, MS, RD, LD Sharron Coplin, MS, RD, LD
Former Lecturer
Food & Nutrition
College of Education and Human Ecology
The Ohio State University