Medical science continues to confirm that cinnamon can significantly reduce metabolic syndrome – which includes high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and heart disease. Studies also show that even short-term use of cinnamon can significantly reduce blood pressure – especially among those who are prediabetic or type-2 diabetic.
Cinnamon reduces cholesterol
Researchers from Poland’s Medical University of Lodz conducted a meta-analysis study of the clinical use of cinnamon for high cholesterol. The research analyzed 13 clinical studies that included 750 people. The researchers found that cinnamon use significantly reduced triglycerides and total cholesterol.
They also found it reduced total cholesterol levels and slightly boosted levels of high-density cholesterol – the “good” cholesterol.
Cinnamon lessens metabolic syndrome
Another review of research analyzed cinnamon’s ability to fight metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is defined as a complex of diseases that include obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hyperglycemia and or insulin resistance.
More specifically, the markers for metabolic syndrome are:
- Body mass index of greater than 30
- Blood pressure over 160/90 mm Hg
- Triglycerides of more than 150 mg/dL (or HDL-c under 35 men/39 woman
- Average alburmin excretation rate of between 20 and 200 ug/min
The researchers found in their research adequate clinical evidence that cinnamon reduces most of these metabolic syndrome markers. They stated:
“It has been concluded that cinnamon has potential therapeutic use in metabolic syndrome and can prevent morbidity and mortality due to cardiovascular diseases.”
Cinnamon reduces blood pressure
University of Toronto researchers conducted a systematic review study of clinical trials using cinnamon between 2000 and 2012. The researchers found three trials. The researchers then meta-analyzed the results of the studies, and determined that the short-term use of cinnamon results in an average drop in systolic blood pressure of over 5 mmHg, while diastolic blood pressure is reduced by an average of 2.6 mmHg.
The most recent of the studies involved 59 subjects who had type-2 diabetes. They were randomized and either given 1,200 milligrams of cinnamon per day or a placebo. After twelve weeks, the cinnamon group’s systolic blood pressure reduced by 3.4 mmHg on average.
In another clinical study, 58 type-2 diabetics took either a placebo or 2 grams of cinnamon per day for twelve weeks. The cinnamon group’s average systolic blood pressure decreased by over 3 mmHg and their diastolic blood pressure reduced by 5 mmHg.
Hypertension and Diabetes
Hypertension or high blood pressure is common among the prediabetic and type-2 diabetics. This is because high blood glucose levels damage the arteries as oxidative radicals are created.
This damage to the arteries in turn results in the scarring of the blood vessels – known as atherosclerosis. This scarring builds up plaque, which reduces the lumen size – the diameter of the blood vessel. This smaller diameter increases blood pressure.
Cinnamon good for non-diabetics too
There is also clear evidence that cinnamon is helpful for non-diabetic persons. In a study last year from Ball State University, 30 healthy adults were tested after adding cinnamon to their morning cereals. The addition of cinnamon significantly reduced blood glucose levels at 15, 30, 45 and 60 minutes from their typical post-meal (postprandial) levels.
What is Real Cinnamon?
Cinnamon has been used in Ayurvedic and other Asian medicines for thousands of years, as both a medicine and a spice. It’s use in Indonesia is famous and it was exported from Java to Europe several centuries ago and embraced by European herbalists for its tremendous healing properties.
There are generally four types of cinnamon referred to in ancient times, and some of them are from different plants. Cinnamonum verum is considered true cinnamon, as recognized from Indonesia and ancient Hebrews.
Cinnamonum tamala has been utilized in Ayurvedic medicine, and is called malobathrum. Meanwhile, C. cassia comes from China, and is also known as seres.
And finally, Cassia – or Cinnamonum iners – is also considered by some as cinnamon, but today it is accepted as Cassia instead of cinnamon by herbalists. While the other cinnamons are considered cinnamon by their regional medicines, the Indonesian Cinnamonum verum is considered the true cinnamon among Western herbalists.
Today, most of the world’s cinnamon is produced in Sri Lanka. It has a number of constituents, including various flavanols and proanthocyanidins, including epicatechins, epiafzelechins, and epicatechingallates.
Cinnamon’s mechanisms of action are not well understood, but some research has shown Cinnamon reduces hemoglobin A1C levels, which directly relate to blood sugar levels. As blood sugar levels are reduced, the damage to arteries is also reduced.
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Case Adams is a California Naturopath and a Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences, and diplomas in Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, Bach Flower Remedies, Blood Chemistry, Clinical Nutritional Counseling and Colon Hydrotherapy. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies.