Cinnamon supplements could help people with prediabetes keep their blood sugar levels stable - according to a new study

Those with high blood sugar levels could help to stave off Type 2 diabetes by taking cinnamon supplements, according to the results of a new study (Photo: Shutterstock)

Those with high blood sugar levels could help to stave off Type 2 diabetes by taking cinnamon supplements, according to the results of a new study.

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

Sign up to our public interest bulletins - get the latest news on the Coronavirus

Cinnamon, which is taken from the bark of trees, is rich in antioxidants that can help to control blood sugar.

Here’s everything you need to know.

How can cinnamon help?

The spice has been shown to improve blood sugar control in people with prediabetes. It could also slow the progression to diabetes, according to the study published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society.

Those taking part in the study received a 500mg cinnamon supplement (or a placebo) three times a day for 12 weeks, with those who took the supplement showing lowered risks of early signs of diabetes.

The randomised clinical trial investigated the effects of cinnamon supplementation in 51 participants with pre-diabetes, with participants in the study recruited from the Kyung Hee University Medical Center in Seoul, South Korea and the Joslin Diabetes Center between 2017-2018.

The study, which took place in the US, showed that those who took cinnamon supplements with a meal were proven to lower the warning signs of diabetes after three months. Researchers found that cinnamon supplements both lowered abnormal fasting glucose levels and improved the body's response to eating a meal with carbohydrates.

What is prediabetes?

Diabetes UK explains, “Prediabetes means that your blood sugars are higher than usual, but not high enough for you to be diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. It also means that you are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.”

Prediabetes is also called:

  • Borderline diabetes
  • Impaired Fasting Glucose (IFG)
  • Impaired Glucose Tolerance (IGT)
  • Impaired Glucose Regulation (IGR)
  • Non-diabetic hyperglycaemia

What is Type 2 diabetes?

The NHS says, “Type 2 diabetes is a common condition that causes the level of sugar (glucose) in the blood to become too high.

“It can cause symptoms like excessive thirst, needing to pee a lot and tiredness. It can also increase your risk of getting serious problems with your eyes, heart and nerves.”

The NHS notes that if you have Type 2 diabetes, you may need to change your diet, take medicines and have regular check-ups. Type 2 diabetes is caused by problems with a hormone in the body called insulin. It's often linked to being overweight or inactive, or having a family history of the condition.

A need for longer and larger studies

The study's corresponding author, Giulio R. Romeo, MD, of Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, Massachusetts, confirmed that adding cinnamon to people’s diets showed positive effects.

Mr Romeo said, “Our 12-week study showed beneficial effects of adding cinnamon to the diet on keeping blood sugar levels stable in participants with prediabetes.

“These findings provide the rationale for longer and larger studies to address if cinnamon can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes over time.”