A study led by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) chemist Richard Anderson suggests that a water soluble extract of cinnamon, which contains antioxidative compounds, could help reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and heart disease.
The work is part of cooperative agreements between the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center (BHNRC) operated by USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) at Beltsville, Md.; Integrity Nutraceuticals International of Spring Hill, Tenn., and the Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France. Anderson works in the Diet, Genomics and Immunology Laboratory of BHNRC. ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency.
For the study, conducted in Ohio, coauthor Tim N. Ziegenfuss, now with the Center for Applied Health Sciences based in Fairlawn, Ohio, enrolled volunteers and collected samples.
Twenty-two obese participants with impaired blood glucose values—a condition classified as "prediabetes"—volunteered for the 12-week experimental research study. Prediabetes occurs when cells are resistant to the higher-than-normal levels of insulin produced by the pancreas (in an attempt to help remove elevated glucose levels from blood).
The volunteers were divided randomly into two groups and given either a placebo or 250 milligrams (mgs) of a dried water-soluble cinnamon extract twice daily along with their usual diets. Blood was collected after an overnight fast at the beginning of the study, after six weeks, and after 12 weeks to measure the changes in blood glucose and antioxidants.
The study demonstrated that the water-soluble cinnamon extract improved a number of antioxidant variables by as much as 13 to 23 percent, and improvement in antioxidant status was correlated with decreases in fasting glucose, according to Anderson.
Only more research will tell whether the investigational study supports the idea that people who are overweight or obese could reduce oxidative stress and blood glucose by consuming cinnamon extracts that have been proven safe and effective. In the meantime, weight loss remains the primary factor in improving these numbers, according to ARS scientists.
More details on the 2009 study can be found in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition.