This Cozy Spice Can Reduce Blood Sugar, Says New Study

Sprinkle it into oatmeal, a smoothie, a warm mug or even dinner to significantly lower blood glucose levels over 24 hours, say new UCLA medical findings.

Is there any health wisdom better than advice to tell you to use more of something you already love? Cinnamon, a common spice in sweet and savory foods (just check out the keema dish right here), has a long history of health benefits. Past studies have linked cinnamon with improved digestion and appetite regulation.

Some nutrition experts recommend cinnamon for its blood sugar-lowering capabilities, and a recent study backs up this potential benefit with a reasonable daily amount.

This study, published January 26, 2024 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, aimed to determine whether daily cinnamon supplementation could lower blood sugar in people with obesity and prediabetes.

Eighteen participants were included in the double-blind trial. To prepare, they were all instructed to follow a so-called “beige diet,” essentially reducing the amount of colorful, nutrient-filled polyphenols in their diets for two weeks. Then, half were given eight capsules with breakfast and eight with dinner of either cinnamon or a placebo for four weeks. The groups were then switched after a two-week “wash-out” period. All participants wore a continuous glucose monitor and underwent other tests to measure blood sugar, blood metrics, blood pressure and body composition changes.

The group who consumed cinnamon saw a significant reduction in blood sugar levels over 24 hours and experienced reduced fluctuation in glucose levels throughout the day. The researchers noted that their use of continuous glucose monitoring, as opposed to other studies that relied on glucose tolerance tests, allowed them to show in real-time the positive effects of cinnamon.

Participants also tolerated the dose of cinnamon well and were able to adhere to it. The researchers concluded, “Our study suggests that adding cinnamon, a substance naturally rich in polyphenols, to daily diets may have beneficial glycemic effects in prediabetes.” They also observed a reduction in triglyceride levels after meals, indicating that with more research, cinnamon supplementation could be useful in preventing and treating heart disease.

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If this amount of cinnamon sounds like a lot, it breaks down to a relatively manageable amount over a day. The 16 capsules contained four grams of cinnamon, which equates to just about a teaspoon or one sugar packet, as the researchers point out. A half-teaspoon in your coffee and a sprinkle on your dessert of choice would easily get you there.

If you want to supplement with cinnamon, note that this study used a particular type of cinnamon, C. burmannii, also known as Indonesian cinnamon. Be sure to consult your healthcare provider before making changes to your diet or integrating a supplement into your routine.

Meaghan Cameron, MS
Meaghan has more than 15 years of experience in writing and editing food, travel, fitness, sports, and lifestyle material. Her professional journey began at Reader's Digest, where she honed her skills and developed a passion for creating engaging content. Throughout her career, she has contributed her expertise to renowned platforms such as Food Network, Martha Stewart, Outside Television, and Eat This, Not That! Additionally, Meaghan has valuable experience in radio and video production. Before entering the world of content creation, Meaghan spent more than a decade working in the restaurant industry. This hands-on experience has provided her with insider knowledge and secrets about the workings of the industry. Meaghan holds a bachelor's degree in English from the State University of New York (SUNY) Purchase and a master's degree in publishing from Pace University.