Cinnamon for diabetes, supplement herb for blood sugar, diabetes, dosage, benefit and side effects
October 17 2017 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Cinnamon is aromatic and one of the best tasting spices. In recent years scientists have discovered that cinnamon extract has strong antioxidant activity and has the potential to help maintain healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Patients with diabetes may find cinnamon to be a healthful addition to their diet. Research studies with the use of cinnamon in blood sugar control have yielded conflicting results and it is not clear at this time whether taking a cinnamon supplement would reduce blood sugar levels with long term use.

Cinnamon benefit review
Cinnamon, at about 3 to 6 grams a day, seems to have a moderate effect in reducing fasting plasma glucose concentrations in type 2 diabetic patients with poor blood sugar control.  Cinnamon supplement may not be very effective in lowering blood sugar in those with type 1 diabetes. However, by itself, it is not likely to have a major influence but could be combined with other natural medications for better blood sugar control.

One of the oldest remedies used in traditional Chinese herbalism for digestive support, recent studies have shown cinnamon (Cinnamomum aromaticum or Cinnamomum cassia) may support healthy blood sugar levels, when used as part of your diet, by activating insulin and glucose transport and improving glucose metabolism.

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Supplement Facts:
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)
Citrus bioflavonoids (eriocitrin, hesperidin, flavonols, flavones, flavonoids, naringenin, and quercetin)
Mixed carotenoids including astaxanthin, beta carotene, cryptoxanthin,
Lutein, Lycopene, and Zeaxanthin.
Bilberry extract (Vaccinium myrtillus)
Eyebright extract (Euphrasia officianales)
Jujube extract (Zizyphus jujube)
Ginkgo biloba extract
Suma extract (Pfaffia paniculata)
Mucuna pruriens extract (Cowhage)
Cinnamon extract (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
Lycium berry extract (Lycium Barbarum)  - also known as Goji Berry has become quite popular
Sarsaparila (Sarsaparilla Smilax)
Alpha Lipoic Acid is an antioxidant and also used by those who have high blood sugar

Diabetes and blood sugar control benefit
Some studies show cinnamon supports healthy blood sugar levels which may be important for those who have diabetes, however it is difficult to know how much cinnamon needs to be taken by those with diabetes in order to have an appreciable effect on blood sugar levels. Both Cinnamomum verum and  Cinnamomum cassia appear to have some benefit in lowering blood-sugar levels although study results have not always been consistent.

PLoS One. 2015. A Dietary Supplement Containing Cinnamon, Chromium and Carnosine Decreases Fasting Plasma Glucose and Increases Lean Mass in Overweight or Obese Pre-Diabetic Subjects: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 62 subjects unwilling to change their dietary and physical activity habits, were allocated to receive a 4-month treatment with either 1.2 g/day of the dietary supplement or placebo. Patients were followed up until 6 months post-randomization. Four-month treatment with a dietary supplement containing cinnamon, chromium and carnosine decreased FPG and increased fat-free mass in overweight or obese pre-diabetic subjects. These beneficial effects might open up new avenues in the prevention of diabetes.

Nutr J. 2015. The glycemic outcomes of Cinnamon, a review of the experimental evidence and clinical trials. Cinnamon is currently marketed as a remedy for obesity, glucose intolerance, diabetes mellitus and dyslipidaemia. Integrative medicine is a new concept that combines conventional treatment with evidence-based complementary therapies. We reviewed 8 clinical trials that used Cinnamomum cassia in aqueous or powder form in doses ranging from 500 mg to 6 g per day for a duration lasting from 40 days to 4 months as well as 2 clinical trials that used cinnamon on treatment naïve patients with pre-diabetes. An improvement in glycaemic control was seen in patients who received Cinnamon as the sole therapy for diabetes, those with pre-diabetes (IFG or IGT) and in those with high pre-treatment HbA1c. In animal models, cinnamon reduced fasting and postprandial plasma glucose and HbA1c. Cinnamon has the potential to be a useful add-on therapy in the discipline of integrative medicine in managing type 2 diabetes. At present the evidence is inconclusive and long-term trials aiming to establish the efficacy and safety of cinnamon is needed. However, high coumarin content of Cinnamomum cassia is a concern, but Cinnamomum zeylanicum with its low coumarin content would be a safer alternate.

The purpose of this study was to determine whether cinnamon can lower HbA1c in patients with type 2 diabetes. The randomized, controlled trial included 109 pediatric, adult and geriatric patients with type 2 diabetes. The patients were then randomly assigned to either usual care with management changes by their primary care physician or usual care with management changes plus 1gram cinnamon capsules daily for 90 days. HbA1c was drawn at baseline and after 90 days. The results revealed that cinnamon lowered HbA1c 0.83% compared with usual care alone, which lowered HbA1c 0.37%. These results indicate that taking cinnamon in addition to usual care could be useful for reducing HbA1c in patients with type 2 diabetes. Crawford P. Effectiveness of cinnamon for lowering hemoglobin A1C in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized, controlled trial. J Am Board Fam Med. 2009.

Chromium and polyphenols from cinnamon improve insulin sensitivity.
Proc Nutr Soc. 2008.
Naturally-occurring compounds that have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity include chromium and polyphenols found in cinnamon (Cinnamomon cassia). These compounds also have similar effects on insulin signalling and glucose control. In a double-blind placebo-controlled study it has been demonstrated that glucose, insulin, cholesterol and HbA1c are all improved in patients with type 2 diabetes following Chromium supplementation. It has also been shown that cinnamon polyphenols improve insulin sensitivity in in vitro, animal and human studies.

Effect of cinnamon on postprandial blood glucose, gastric emptying, and satiety in healthy subjects. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 2007.
The effect of cinnamon was tested on the rate of gastric emptying, the postprandial blood glucose response, and satiety in healthy subjects. Fourteen healthy subjects ingested 300 grams of rice pudding or 300 g rice pudding and 6 g cinnamon. The addition of cinnamon to the rice pudding significantly delayed gastric emptying and lowered the postprandial glucose response. The intake of 6 g cinnamon with rice pudding reduces postprandial blood glucose and delays gastric emptying without affecting satiety. Inclusion of cinnamon in the diet lowers the postprandial glucose response.

Effects of short-term cinnamon ingestion on in vivo glucose tolerance.
Diabetes Obes Metab. 2007.
Seven lean young healthy male volunteers underwent three oral glucose tolerance tests (OGTT) supplemented with either a 5 g placebo (OGTT (control)), 5 g of cinnamon (OGTT (cin)), or 5 g of cinnamon taken 12 h before (OGTT (cin12hpre)) in a randomized-crossover design. Cinnamon ingestion reduced total plasma glucose responses as well as improving insulin sensitivity. These data illustrate that cinnamon spice supplementation may be important to in vivo glycemic control and insulin sensitivity in humans, and not only are its effects immediate, they also appear to be sustained for 12 h.

The effect of cinnamon extract on insulin resistance parameters in polycystic ovary syndrome: a pilot study.
Fertil Steril. 2007. Wang JG, Anderson RA, Chu MC, Sauer MV, Guarnaccia MM, Lobo RA. Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Division of Reproductive Endocrinology, College of Physicians & Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA.
Cinnamon extract has been shown to reduce insulin resistance in in vitro and in vivo studies by increasing phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase activity in the insulin signaling pathway and thus potentiating insulin action. Fifteen women with polycystic ovary syndrome were randomized to daily oral cinnamon and placebo for 8 weeks. Comparisons of post-treatment to baseline insulin sensitivity indices using fasting and 2-hour oral glucose tolerance tests showed significant reductions in insulin resistance in the cinnamon group but not in the placebo group.

I now have read that cinnamon may help reduce high glucose (mine was 130 fasting, a couple weeks ago ) It has always been around 110-120. The A1c is just a little high past several years. 6.2 last year - 6.4 previous couple years. Any suggestion on taking it and how much?
   A. This herb, alone, is not likely to make a major impact. To reduce high blood sugar one has to make multiple changes to one's lifestyle.

Cancer protection
Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2015. Water extract of Cinnamomum cassia suppresses angiogenesis through inhibition of VEGF receptor 2 phosphorylation.

Liver health
Hepatoprotective effect of cinnamon extracts against carbon tetrachloride induced oxidative stress and liver injury in rats.
Biol Res. 2009; Moselhy SS, Ali HK. Department of Biochemistry, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.
The hepatoprotective activity of aqueous and ethanolic extracts of cinnamon was investigated against carbon tetrachloride CC1(4) induced lipid peroxidation and hepatic injury in rats. The elevated serum AST and ALT enzymatic activities induced by CC1(4) were significantly restored to near normal by oral administration of 200 mg/kg of either extracts once daily for 7 days, as compared to untreated rats. We think this extract can be used as a therapeutic regime in treatment of some hepatic disorders without any side effects.

Q. A friend has shared information that says the coumarin found in cassia cinnamon is harmful to the liver, even in very small amounts. She says that Ceylon cinnamon is "true" cinnamon and should be the only one we use for antioxidant health (it does not affect glucose levels). Do the benefits of glucose control in cassia outweigh the liver damage it causes?
   A. I have seen no evidence that small amounts have any harm to the liver.

Sperm health and production
Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2015. Effect of Cinnamomum zeylanicumon on Spermatogenesis. To study the effect of Cinnamomum zeylanicum on spermatogenesis in rats. The administration of 75 mg/kg/day cinnamon significantly increased the sperm population, motility and viability, which supports the theory that in mammalians, cinnamon has a beneficial effect on spermatogenesis.

Side effects, safety, risk
I have heard and read high doses of cinnamon is toxic to the liver, my question how high the dose?
    I have not seen such studies in humans that indicate this spice causes liver damage. One I came across in rodents actually shows protection. However, as with any herb, it is best to use reasonable amounts and not in excess. Some studies indicate high amounts of coumarin found in cinnamon may cause hepatic damage but I have not seen published trials of the herb itself causing harm.

Am J Case Rep. 2015. Do cinnamon supplements cause acute hepatitis? The use of herbal medications to treat various diseases is on the rise. Case Report A 73-year-old woman was seen in the Emergency Department complaining of abdominal pain associated with vomiting and diarrhea after she started taking cinnamon supplements for about 1 week. The patient had been taking statin for coronary artery disease for many months. The laboratory workup and imaging studies confirmed the diagnosis of hepatitis. The detail workup did not reveal any specific cause. Cinnamon and statin were held. A few weeks after discharge, the statin was resumed without any further complications. This led to a diagnosis of cinnamon-statin combination-induced hepatitis. Conclusions A combination of cinnamon supplement and statin can cause hepatitis, and it should be discouraged.

Cinnamon Supplement Research study
Malaysian researchers have found new proof that cinnamon can relieve diabetes by lowering sugar levels. A three-year study carried out by the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia showed that the spice has positive effects on Type II diabetes. Herbalists all over the world use cinnamon. In the last decade, laboratory studies have revealed that cinnamon extract mimics insulin action in the cells. Insulin regulates the body's ability to use sugars in the blood, but in people with diabetes the cells lose their ability to respond to the hormone. Rapidly developing Asian nations are now being hit with rising rates of diabetes, which is linked to lifestyle factors such as obesity and unhealthy diets.

Isolation and characterization of polyphenol type-A polymers from cinnamon with insulin-like biological activity.
Anderson RA.Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, USDA, Beltsville, Maryland
J Agric Food Chem. 2004.
We have shown that extracts from cinnamon enhance the activity of insulin. The objective of this study was to isolate and characterize insulin-enhancing complexes from cinnamon that may be involved in the alleviation or possible prevention and control of glucose intolerance and diabetes. Water-soluble polyphenol polymers from cinnamon that increase insulin-dependent in vitro glucose metabolism roughly 20-fold and display antioxidant activity were isolated and were identified as procyanidin oligomers of the catechins and/or epicatechins. These polyphenolic polymers found in cinnamon may function as antioxidants, potentiate insulin action, and may be beneficial in the control of glucose intolerance and diabetes.

Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes.
Diabetes Care. 2003.
The objective of this study was to determine whether cinnamon improves blood glucose, triglyceride, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes. A total of 60 people with type 2 diabetes, 30 men and 30 women aged 52 +/- 6 years, were divided randomly into six groups. Groups 1, 2, and 3 consumed 1, 3, or 6 g of cinnamon daily, respectively, and groups 4, 5, and 6 were given placebo capsules corresponding to the number of capsules consumed for the three levels of cinnamon. The cinnamon was consumed for 40 days followed by a 20-day washout period. After 40 days, all three levels of cinnamon reduced the mean fasting serum glucose (18-29%), triglyceride (23-30%), LDL cholesterol (7-27%), and total cholesterol levels; no significant changes were noted in the placebo groups. Changes in HDL cholesterol were not significant.  The results of this study demonstrate that intake of 1, 3, or 6 g of cinnamon per day reduces serum glucose, triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes and suggest that the inclusion of cinnamon in the diet of people with type 2 diabetes will reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Controlled trial of the effect of cinnamon extract on Helicobacter pylori.
Helicobacter. 2000.
Helicobacter pylori has been associated with the pathogenesis of antral gastritis, duodenal ulcer, and gastric lymphoma. Eradication of H. pylori has been shown to reverse or prevent relapse of these diseases. Antimicrobials employed in the eradication of H. pylori are not without adverse effects. Newer treatment modalities, therefore, are required. In vitro studies have shown the effectiveness of cinnamon extract against H. pylori and its urease. In this pilot study, we tested the activity of an alcoholic extract of cinnamon in a group of patients infected with H. pylori. Fifteen patients (11 women, 4 men) aged 16 to 79 years were given 40 mg of an alcoholic cinnamon extract twice daily for 4 weeks; eight patients aged 35 to 79 (7 women, 1 man) received placebo. The amount of H. pylori colonization was measured by the 13C urea breath test before and after therapy. The cinnamon extract was well tolerated, and side effects were minimal. We conclude that cinnamon extract, at a concentration of 80 mg /day as a single agent, is ineffective in eradicating H. pylori. Its combination with other antimicrobials, or cinnamon extract at a higher concentration, however, may prove useful.

In vitro activity of Cinnamomum zeylanicum against azole resistant and sensitive Candida species and a pilot study of cinnamon for oral candidiasis.
Quale JM. epartment of Veterans Affairs Medical Center at Brooklyn, New York USA. Am J Chin Med. 1996.
Fluconazole-resistant Candida species are an emerging problem. In this report, the in vitro activity of Cinnamon against fluconazole-resistant and-susceptible Candida isolates is described. Five patients with HIV infection and oral candidiasis received a commercially available cinnamon preparation for one week. There of the five patients had improvement of their oral candidiasis. Clinical trials will be necessary to determine the usefulness of cinnamon for the treatment of mucosal candidiasis.

Types of cinnamon
Several related plants are commonly referred to as cinnamon, and also contribute to the production of the spice we know of as cinnamon. The “True Cinnamon” is Cinnamomum verum (syn. C. zeylanicum), native to Bangladesh, India and Nepal. It is the inner bark (and sometimes essential oil) that is referred to as the cinnamon spice in Latin America and Europe. In the US, however, when we refer to “cinnamon”it is generally Cassia (aka Chinese cinnamon or C. aromaticum, syn. C. cassia) in stick or ground form, or C. burmannii (aka Indonesian cinnamon) in ground form as these forms are generally less expensive. Cinnamon essential oil is usually made from true cinnamon where ever it is sold.
   Both Cinnamomum verum and  Cinnamomum cassia appear to have some benefit in lowering blood-sugar levels.
For more information on spices.

Can banaba supplement be taken with cinnamon supplement?
   Probably, I don't see why cinnamon and banaba can't be combined but check with your health care provider.

Would taking a cinnamon supplement along with hoodia pill cause any problems?
    Probably not if the dosages are low. See
hoodia diet pill weight loss information.

I'm confused by the information on your web site regarding the exact type of cinnamon producing lower blood sugar benefits:
"The cinnamon that has been researched and become famous for its blood-sugar lowering potential is true cinnamon (C. Verum), not the common cinnamon (cassia) that is found on the shelves of so many US grocery stores. Cinnamon is aromatic and one of the best tasting spices. In recent years scientists have discovered that cinnamon extract has strong antioxidant activity and has the potential to help maintain healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels." Contrary to the information above, the type of cinnamon used in the Pakistan study (i.e. Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2003 Dec was specified as being the common "cinnamomum cassia" found in grocery stores! Sources: Khan, MS, PHD, Alam, Safdar, MS, Mahpara, Ali Khan, MS, PHD, Mohammad Muzaffar, Khattak, MS, Khan Nawaz, and Anderson, PHD, Richard A.. "Cinnamon Improves Glucose and Lipids of People With Type 2 Diabetes." Diabetes Care 2003. Anderson, Ph.D., CNS, Richard A.. "Cinnamon, Glucose Tolerance and Diabetes." Agricultural Research Service. Aug 2005. United States Department of Agriculture. Nov 2006.
    Thanks for pointing this out, we made the correction. Both types of cinnamon appear to be helpful for blood sugar management.

I have a question about cinnamon oil. I was wanting to make some cinnamon hard candy, then I saw a website that said cinnamon oil is toxic and should not be injested. I find this hard to believe because it is commercially available in candy. It does cause me some concern, however. How much is ok. The recipe calls for 2 teaspoons for 2 cookie sheets of candy. Also, is the aroma safe if pregnant and making candy? I've read it can be kind of strong when cooking.
   A. I have not studied this in depth but I think occasional use should be fine.

Cinnamon 6
Cinnamon is one of the oldest remedies used in traditional Chinese herbalism. Recent studies show cinnamon (Cinnamomum aromaticum) may support healthy blood sugar levels when used as part of your diet, by activating insulin and glucose transport and improving glucose metabolism.

Additional herbs involved in high blood sugar management include gymnema, prickly pear, fenugreek, and bitter melon.

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Supplement Facts
Serving Size: 2 Tablets
Servings Per Container: 60
  Amount Per Serving %DV
Calcium 37 mg 4%
Cinnamomum aromaticum Bark 300 mg
Cinnamomum spp. 100 mg
Bark Extract
†Daily Value not established.

Suggested Use: Take 1- 3 cinnamon supplement tablets daily, or as recommended by your healthcare professional.
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Supplement Facts
Serving Size: 2 Tablets
Calcium 50 mg
Cinnamomum aromaticum 300 mg
Bark Extract 10:1, yielding 8% Flavonoids
Cinnamomum aromaticum Bark 100 mg