Before I dive into how Cinnamon can help body metabolism let us understand in brief what metabolism actually means.
The entire range of chemical and physical processes that use or convert energy is referred to as metabolism.
These processes could be circulating blood, breathing, contracting muscles, controlling body temperature, digestion of food and nutrients, excreting waste through feces and urine and functioning of the nerves and brain.
Metabolism is made up of anabolism – substance buildup – and catabolism – substance breakdown.
Every organ has a special metabolic profile.
Each requires fuel for their energy requirements and each differs in the way it uses this fuel.
The brain requires a constant supply of glucose since it does not store any fuel.
For the muscles, the main supply of fuels comes from glucose, ketone bodies and fatty acids.
The function of the kidney is to excrete metabolic waste through urine.
The liver is a central organ for supplying fuel to muscles, brain and many peripheral organs. It is involved in carbohydrate metabolism, lipid (fat) metabolism and protein (dietary amino acid) metabolism.
Carbohydrate metabolism refers to maintenance of normal levels of blood glucose over short periods (a few hours) to longer periods (days or weeks).
The liver is involved in storing this glucose and synthesizes it to form glycogen and then transport it to other tissues.
The liver is also involved in lipid or fat metabolism by oxidizing triglycerides and then producing energy and other activities.
Protein metabolism also occurs in the liver when amino acids are converted to glucose. It also removes ammonia from the body which is toxic.
Hence, we see that metabolism is critical for proper functioning of the body.
Cinnamon Benefits To Metabolism
Okay, so we understood a few things about metabolism now.
But does cinnamon actually helps in body metabolism and if yes how?
As we all know cinnamon is a common spice found in most homes.
It also offers many therapeutic benefits. There are hundreds of cinnamon varieties. Commonly used varieties are Cinnamomum zeylanicum or Ceylon cinnamon and it is different from Cinnamomum aromaticum or Cassia cinnamon.
Cinnamon’s healing abilities are got from volatile oils like cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl alcohol and cinnamyl acetate.
Cinnamaldehyde has been studied for its ability in lowering blood sugar levels.
There have been both animal and human studies on various compositions and preparations of cinnamon extracts.
Animal studies have found extracts of cinnamaldehyde was able to reduce both hypolipidemic and hypoglycemic levels in diabetic rats and hence can improve lipid levels, insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism.
I would like to point out here that some other small sized human studies have given conflicting results too, thus in my opinion further studies are required here.
58 patients with type-2 diabetes were given 2g cinnamon, daily for 12 weeks.
After 12 weeks, their body mass index, fasting plasma glucose levels and waist circumference were examined and it was found there was significant reduction in all 3 areas.
There was no difference in triglycerides total, HDL and LDL cholesterol levels in all the groups. it was concluded that cinnamon could be included with dietary supplements to regulate blood pressure and blood glucose levels.
In another study on the effects of cinnamon on metabolism, diabetes and obesity,
it was found that in 2 out of 5 studies, cinnamon lowered blood glucose levels.
While cinnamon cannot be the sole anti-diabetic medication, it does offer certain benefits in lowering postprandial blood glucose levels.
A small study was conducted on the ability of cinnamon extracts to improve lipids and glucose. F
or this study, 60 patients with type-2 diabetes were selected and given doses of 1, 3 or 6g cinnamon and 3 groups were given a placebo.
After 40 days, the tests found that all three cinnamon doses reduced serum glucose, LDL and total cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
Hence, including cinnamon in the diet of diabetic patients could lower the risk of diabetes-related illnesses and contracting cardiovascular diseases.
A specific cinnamon supplement was studied for its effects on body composition and metabolic syndrome.
22 subjects with the metabolic syndrome and pre-diabetes were selected and administered the supplement for 12 weeks (500mg daily).
It was found that the supplement was able to improve body composition and reduce fasting blood glucose and systolic blood pressure in those with metabolic syndrome.
Metabolic syndrome refers to factors that increase the risk of a person developing diabetes, strokes or other heart diseases.
This happens when the body’s metabolic functions do not function normally.
Improved fat metabolism can help the body burn fat faster and help with weight loss.
Both honey and cinnamon are said to aid fat metabolism.
Honey contains vitamins and minerals and is an excellent natural sweetener that can help with weight loss when consumed in moderation by those with diabetes.
Cinnamon is able to balance fat metabolism by improving insulin sensitivity and it is able to increase energy production.
This reduces physical fatigue and increase endurance levels.
Since cinnamon seems to offer benefits for improving metabolism rates, it can be included in our daily diet in various interesting ways.
It can be consumed in tea, added to apple and other sauces, sprinkled on oatmeal and other breakfast cereals or toast, added to cream cheese or butter for added flavor and sprinkled on coffee or hot cocoa.
Cinnamon also combines well with various fruits and can be used to make desserts, ciders and fruit juices. It also tastes good when used in cake, bun and cookie recipes.
If you prefer, there are different cinnamon supplements available in strengths ranging from 500-1000mg which are easier to use.
These can also offer similar benefits.
1-6g cinnamon daily taken for 40 days could lower levels of serum glucose, total and LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in patients with type-2 diabetes.
Cinnamon spice can be safely consumed in food amounts.
Taken in excess cinnamon oil could cause mouth sores, tongue inflammation, irritation of the mucous membranes, skin, stomach, urinary tract or intestines.
It could also cause diarrhea, dizziness, drowsiness and vomiting.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women and those requiring surgery are advised not to use cinnamon supplements.
Excess cinnamon could lower blood sugar levels and interfere with blood clotting.
It is a good practise to consult a doctor before taking cinnamon (or any supplements) supplements to boost your metabolism.