|What you need is original Ceylon Cinnamon, not the cheap Cassia Cinnamon, which is often loaded with potentially toxic coumarin.|
In contrast to metformin, of which I can only repeat that it is pointless to use it (unless you want the AMPK overexpression to leave you hypoglycemic and hungry all day), if you are lean and healthy, cinnamon may yet also offer benefits to normal-weight, normo-glycemic individuals like the 18 subjects (11 men, 7 women) in a recent study from Dialpha SAS in France (Beejmohun. 2014).
The combined rodent + human study, Beejmohun et al. conducted is, to the knowledge of its authors, the first study to check the acute effect of cinnamon extracts (specifically a hydro-alcoholic Ceylon
cinnamon extract) in a randomized, placebo-controlled, cross-over clinical trial in healthy subjects.
|Figure 1: Alpha-amylase inhibitory effect of CCE.Values represent mean of triplicate measures (Beejmohun. 2014).|
As you can see in Figure 1 the "carb blocker" activity of the Ceylon Cinnamon extract was similar to that of acarbose, an anti-diabetic drug used to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus and, in some countries, prediabetes (in the US it's sold by Bayer as Precose in Europe and China as Glucobay). As you probably already guessed, acarbose was specifically designed to inhibit enzymes (glycoside hydrolases) needed to digest carbohydrates - enzymes like the alpha-amylase enzyme.
The Type of Cyelon Cinnamon Extract Matters: The scientists compared the effects of their hydro-alcoholic to regular aqueous cinnamon extracts and found the hydro-alcoholic to be 8% more potent. Keep that and the fact that plain cinnamon from the supermarket will in 99% not be Ceylon cinnamon in mind, when you shop for natural blood glucose managers. Eventually, the cheaper Cassia Cinnamon is probably not just going to work less effectively, it may also push you across the maximal tolerable intake level for coumarin (0.1 mg/day/kg of body weight; 7 mg/day for a person of 70 kg), of which the Ceylon Cinnamon extract (CEE) in the study at hand containes less than 0.2 mg per serving and thus only 2.8% of the tolerable intake level.It is thus not very surprising that the rodent study revealed that he quick and significant rise in glycemia (73.5 ± 2.8 mg/dL above the pre-STT value (T0)) that occurred 30 min after the starch load with 1.5 g/kg of body weight of starch in rats after an overnight fast was reduced by 20.4%, when the rodents received an additional 50 mg/kg (650mg for a human being) of the Ceylon Cinnammon extract with their starch load.
|Figure 2: There is a logarithmic dose response effect w/ increasing dosages of CEE (Beejmohun. 2014).|
We are interested in human studies, right?
So, let's leave the rodent data an take a look at the blood sugar levels of the 18 human subjects, who consumed 1g of the extract before a standardized meal.
|Figure 3: Effect of 1 g CCE on blood glucose and insulin response after a standard meal in humans (Beejmohun. 2014).|
One thing that we may want to keep in mind, though, is the fact that the ameliorative effect on the blood sugar response was more pronounced in the first 60 minutes after the meal (-21.2% vs. -14.8% area under the curve). An observation that should remind you of the fact that the temporary inhibition of alpha-amylase and thus the slower digestion of carbohydrates may influence the glycemia, but not (necessarily) the total energy, let alone the total amount of sugar your tummy is going to squeeze out of the digesta in the hours after your meal.
- Beejmohun, Vickram, et al. "Acute effect of Ceylon cinnamon extract on postprandial glycemia: alpha-amylase inhibition, starch tolerance test in rats, and randomized crossover clinical trial in healthy volunteers." BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 14.1 (2014): 351.
- Hlebowicz, Joanna, et al. "Effect of cinnamon on postprandial blood glucose, gastric emptying, and satiety in healthy subjects." The American journal of clinical nutrition 85.6 (2007): 1552-1556.
- Kim, W., et al. "Naphthalenemethyl ester derivative of dihydroxyhydrocinnamic acid, a component of cin-namon, increases glucose disposal by enhancing translocation of glucose transporter 4." Diabetologia 49.10 (2006): 2437-2448.