Using cinnamon as a functional ingredient may lead to slower emptying of the stomach and reduce the rise in blood sugar after eating, says a new study.
The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, adds to a growing body of research reporting that active compounds in cinnamon may improve parameters associated with diabetes.
"Inclusion of cinnamon in the diet lowers the postprandial glucose response, a change that is at least partially explained by a delayed [gastric emptying rate]," wrote lead author Joanna Hlebowicz from Malmo University Hospital, University of Lund.
How the study was done
The researchers measured the rate of stomach emptying (gastric emptying rate) in 14 healthy subjects with normal fasting blood glucose levels after consuming 300g of rice pudding or 300g rice pudding plus 6g cinnamon.
Using standardised real-time ultrasonography, the rate of gastric emptying rate was measured in the antral cross-sectional area 15-90 minutes after eating the rice pudding. The subjects were crossed over to receive the alternative rice pudding.
Gastric emptying delayed
The Swedish researchers report that addition of cinnamon to the rice pudding reduced gastric emptying from 37 to 34,5 percent, and also delayed the rise in blood-glucose levels after eating. No effect of cinnamon was found on satiety.
"The intake of 6g cinnamon with rice pudding reduces postprandial blood glucose and delays gastric emptying without affecting satiety," they concluded.
The new research is in line with other studies into the potential benefits of the spice. A previous study by the US Department of Agriculture reported in 2003 (Diabetes Care, Vol. 26, pp. 3215-3218) that just 1g of the spice per day reduced blood glucose levels, as well as triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol in a small group of people with type 2 diabetes. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Vol. 25, pp. 144-150) reported that cinnamon and a cinnamon extract (Cinnulin PF) could reduce blood pressure in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR).
However, there have been toxicity concerns over consistent consumption or high doses of whole cinnamon or fat-soluble extracts.
Indeed, two federal institutes in Germany recently called for cinnamon dietary supplements carrying health claims to reduce blood sugar and help control type-2 diabetes should be classed as 'medicinal products', and regulated as such.
The joint announcement from the Federal Institute for Medicinal Products and MedicalDevices (BfArM) and the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) states their opinion that products marketed with a diabetes health claim should be classified as medicinal products and required to seek marketing authorisation.
The concerns came about from differing coumarin levels in some products, said to cause liver damage and inflammation when higher doses are taken over a longer period by sensitive individuals.
Safe products available
Not all cinnamon capsules contain such harmful products, however. Indeed, researchers at the USDA have performed significant research into a water-extract of cinnamon, marketed as Cinnulin PF, by Integrity Nutraceuticals International.
According to Integrity, Cinnulin PF contains standardised quantities of the active components of cinnamon, two trimers and one tetramer classified as double-linked type-A polymers, but not the potentially harmful compounds.
Cinnulin PF is claimed to be the only cinnamon extract standardised for these compounds.
J. Hlebowicz, G. Darwiche, O. Bjorgell, L.O. Almer. (2007) "Effect of cinnamon on postprandial blood glucose, gastric emptying, and satiety in healthy subjects". American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. June 2007, Vol. 85, No. 6, Pages 1552-1556.
-(Article written by Stephen Daniells and distributed by Leap Communications, July 2007)
[ Bioharmony is the only South African health and wellness company that produces a cinnamon product which contains Cinnulin PF. It’s called Bioharmony CINNACHROME® and it is formulated by world-renowned nutritionist Patrick Holford. This supplement contains chromium and Cinnulin PF® and is a powerful new blood sugar regulating supplement.]
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