If you have done any research on natural diabetes treatments, you likely have come across information about using cinnamon to treat diabetes. But does this really work to lower blood sugar? Is there any truth to the claims that cinnamon can lower A1C, improve cholesterol, and help you control your diabetes? Let’s see what the research has to say.
Cinnamon and Diabetes: Reviewing the Research
Researchers have conducted many studies over the last couple of decades on this very topic. Let’s look at some of their attempts to understand cinnamon as a treatment for diabetes.
Back in 2003, this trial studied 60 adults with type 2 diabetes, who were divided into 6 different study groups depending on the amount of cinnamon they received daily (1 gram, 3 grams, 6 grams, or a placebo pill that did not contain any cinnamon). After 40 days, all three levels of cinnamon showed significant reductions in blood glucose, triglycerides, LDL, cholesterol, total cholesterol, and hemoglobin A1C.
Another study in 2012 studied 69 adults over 3 months. This study was very similar to the first one, but participants received either 120mg of cinnamon, 360mg, or a placebo. At the end of the study, both groups receiving cinnamon saw a drop in A1c, while the control group had no significant improvements.
A few more studies that I looked at conducted what we call a meta-analysis, or a “study of studies.” They basically compiled the data from a bunch of different research experiments and analyzed it to see if there were any significant trends overall. These all saw mixed results when it comes to cinnamon supplementation and improvements in blood sugar, A1C, or blood lipids. You can read more here, here, and here!
Based on these studies, the evidence is not strong enough to recommend cinnamon as a sole treatment of diabetes. I personally have a few concerns about relying on the current research to determine the effectiveness of cinnamon. First, none of the studies that I reviewed specified whether the participants were using any other diabetes treatments while they were taking the cinnamon. Were they following a consistent carb diet? Or were they taking any diabetes medications? Considering the potential inconsistency among participants, how do we know if it was truly the cinnamon that caused the decrease in blood sugar?
Another hesitation that I have in recommending cinnamon use is that even the studies that showed positive results were not able to reduce fasting blood sugar and A1C levels down to recommended levels (<130mg/dL and <7.0%). I think we can conclude that cinnamon can be a positive addition to a healthy, carb-balanced diet, but it should not be used as the only treatment for diabetes. We need more research to truly determine how effective cinnamon alone is at treating diabetes.