Recent headlines about cinnamon are the result of an accidental finding in a Maryland USDA research center. Incredibly, the catalyst was as American as good old apple pie, flavored with -- what else -- cinnamon. Scientists were testing the effects of various foods on blood sugar (glucose) levels. They expected the classic pie to have an adverse effect, but instead they found it actually helped lower blood glucose levels.
The researchers then took their surprising discovery and tested it in a small 60 patient study conducted in Pakistan, reporting in the journal Diabetes Care. All the patients had been treated for type 2, adult onset diabetes for several years and were taking anti-diabetic drugs to increase their insulin output. But they were not yet taking insulin to help process their blood glucose. The subjects were given small doses of cinnamon ranging from as little as a quarter teaspoon to less than 2 teaspoons a day for 40 days.
Although accurate and convenient for detecting type 2 diabetes and prediabetes in adults, current HbA1c cutoffs may not be enough to diagnose diabetes in children.
A 2010 clinical practice guideline from the American Diabetes Association recommends that physicians exclusively use the HbA1c assay to detect diabetes. The guidelines recommend a cutoff of 6.5% or greater for diagnosis.
However, researchers for two recent studies highlight significant vulnerabilities in the recommended test’s ability to diagnose diabetes and prediabetes in children.