Cinnamon helps in blood sugar control and can prevent prediabetes
Of all the diverse types of sugars that we consume like sucrose, glucose, fructose, our body uses glucose as the main source of energy. Blood sugar is the amount of glucose present in the blood. It is measured in mmol/L.
The pancreas produces a certain hormone known as insulin which breaks down glucose into forms which are more available to the cells.
Blood glucose level depends on a variety of factors which includes the amount of food that Glycemic index is a parameter which is used in association with blood sugar.
It is the numerical value which is assigned to foods depending upon the rate at which it allows the release of glucose. Hence, foods which have a low glycemic index tend to release glucose slower than the ones with a high glycemic index. The blood sugar differs based on the meal that was consumed before the test was taken.
A drastic increase blood glucose levels can lead to complications like cardiovascular diseases, nerve and kidney damages, damage to retinal blood vessels, bone and joint problems etc.
Hence it is very important to make sure that blood glucose levels are in control. Regular blood tests must be conducted and a strict diet which includes the appropriate amounts of glucose must be followed.
Cinnamomumzeylanicum, commonly known as cinnamon is a condiment.
It is added to foods as a sweet as well as a spicy additive. Cinnamon has been used as a medicinal spice for years together for its properties as an antioxidant, antimicrobial and antifungal agent. It is added to milk, tea, bread and other bakery items as a dried powder of the bark of the cinnamon tree.
The previous study has shown that incorporating cinnamon powder in meals helps in the reduction of blood glucose levels. This hypoglycemic effect was observed in both healthy and diabetic individuals.
What happened in the Study?
The study chose 30 nondiabetic individuals and divided them into two groups, one which underwent Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) after administration of cinnamon tea and a control group which took the test without consumption of cinnamon tea.
Several tests were conducted on the cinnamon tree bark extract to reveal its antioxidant and phenolic content and results of the statistical analysis were presented.
The principal aim of this study was to establish the effects of cinnamon tea (6g of cinnamon/100 mL) on the postprandial blood glucose concentration in non-diabetic people. 30 subjects were chosen for the study who were nondiabetic and were aged between 20 to 30.
They were chosen based on their medical condition, their daily cinnamon uptake and whether they were under the treatment of any other medication.
What were the results of the study?
Postprandial blood glucose tests are conducted after the consumption of a meal. Immediately after consumption of a meal, the plasma blood glucose concentration tends to increase.
The magnitude of increase is determined by varied factors like insulin secretion, glucose and carbohydrate metabolism etc.
Postprandial glucose is measured using the oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), where a set standard of 75g glucose is given to the patient and the blood testing is done two hours after ingestion.
The normal levels of postprandial blood glucose are under 7.8 mmol/l whereas, in diabetic patients, the levels can go up to 11.1 mmol/l.
The OGTT test revealed that, in comparison to the control group, the postprandial glucose level was lower in the test group which consumed cinnamon tea after glucose administration.
But the glucose levels did not change much at different time intervals.
The study had also tested cinnamon tea for its antioxidant activity. It was observed that cinnamon tea had a very high radical scavenging activity and this activity increased with increased dosage of cinnamon tea.
How did this occur?
The reduction in postprandial blood glucose by consumption of cinnamon tea is due to several properties of cinnamon.
One such property is related to the Gastric Emptying Rate (GER) and the feeling of satiety.
It has been proved in earlier studies that cinnamon consumption during or after a meal, slows the rate at which food leaves the stomach and hence induces the satiety or the feeling of being full.
This property has been found to be one of the reasons behind cinnamon’s hypoglycemic (ability to reduce blood glucose) activity.
Another interesting property of cinnamon is in its ability to mimic insulin. This promotes the uptake of glucose from the blood and carries it into the cells, thus reducing the blood glucose levels.
It was also shown to prevent insulin resistance.
A reduction insulin resistance would mean greater uptake of blood glucose and lower of blood sugar. Cinnamon was also instrumental in increasing insulin receptor proteins.
This increased the activity of insulin and hence a reduction in blood glucose.
Alpha-Glycosidase is an enzyme that is produced in the small intestine. It is responsible for the breakdown of carbohydrates into glucose.
This drastically increases the postprandial blood glucose levels. Cinnamon tends to inhibit the activity of this enzyme, this causing slow release of glucose into the blood.
Antioxidants are a class of compounds which can combat oxidative stress. The cinnamon extract was proved to have antioxidant property. Formation of compounds known as Advanced Glycation Endproducts (AGE) is associated with the onset of diabetes.
It causes the formation reactive oxidative species like superoxide anion and this can be very dangerous leading to further complications. The antioxidants, like phenolics, in cinnamon tea scavenge these free radicals and prevent the formation of AGE. This lowers the blood glucose levels.
What does this mean?
Over the past decade, a lot of research has been conducted on ways to prevent the occurrence of diabetes in healthy individuals.
Since the need for the hour is to incorporate more plant-based medical solutions as opposed to synthetic pharmaceuticals, cinnamon tea is a great option for individuals to maintain a healthy and diabetes free lifestyle. It is a very simple and convenient approach towards a healthier and safer living.
Read research paper at – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26258147
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