In type 2 diabetes, the body stops responding efficiently to insulin, a hormone that controls blood sugar. To compensate for the insensitivity to insulin, many diabetes drugs work by boosting insulin levels; for example, by injecting more insulin or by increasing the amount of insulin secreted from the pancreas. The new study, published in the June 9 issue of PLoS ONE, showed that a different approach could also be effective for treating diabetes — namely, blocking the breakdown of insulin, after it is secreted from the pancreas.
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.