For more than 5,000 years, there has been a spice that has lured humans to its favors with its ability to stimulate the senses. Cinnamon. The name alone evokes thoughts of home, where the smell of savory stews and scrumptious desserts fills the air and calms the mind. Cinnamon. The desire to experience its exotic aroma, taste its sweet sensation, or employ its medicinal powers has spawned wars and, according to some, inspired Christopher Columbus’ world exploration. Today, emerging science is creating a renewed enthusiasm for this ancient botanical. Cinnamon may hold the key to safely addressing glucose metabolism and heart disease.
The use of cinnamon as a medicine dates back to 2700 BC. It was traditionally used as a carminative (to relieve gas and bloating), digestive tonic, diuretic, circulatory stimulant, and an aphrodisiac. Modern research has shown cinnamon to be a powerful antioxidant, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer agent.* And, ironically, the spice that pairs most perfectly with sugar, is also the botanical that reins supreme for optimizing the body’s use of sugar for cellular energy production.* This very important finding first intrigued researchers at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) over 10 years ago when they accidentally discovered that eating apple pie does not dramatically change levels of blood sugar. Through a process of elimination, they discovered the cinnamon used in the pie was acting as a hypoglycemic agent (a substance that lowers blood sugar).* Further research from the USDA and other prestigious institutions has since helped us understand the impressive mechanism by which this effect occurs.
All cells in the body are required to have a constant source of fuel for energy production. For most cells, the preferred fuel is glucose, which is easily obtained from sugars and starches in the diet. Since excess glucose in the blood can wreak havoc on the cardiovascular system, nerves, kidneys, and eyes, the body has developed a metabolic response system that ensures blood sugar levels are kept relatively stable. Crucial to this balancing act is insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. Insulin delivers a message to the body’s cells to use the glucose in the blood for energy or to store it as fat. Maintaining a balance of blood sugar is essential for normal weight management and prevention of diseases associated with long-term imbalances like diabetes.
Diabetes results from either an inadequate supply of insulin (no messenger = type I diabetes) or insensitivity to insulin (the message isn’t heard = type II diabetes). It is a serious condition evidenced by a two- to fourfold increase in the incidence of heart disease compared to individuals without the disease. Fortunately, type II diabetes does not develop overnight. A pre-existing condition known as metabolic syndrome or syndrome X has been identified. It is characterized by insulin resistance and identification of three of the following five criteria: abdominal obesity, elevated triglycerides, decreased high-density lipoprotein (HDL), elevated blood pressure, and elevated plasma glucose. It is estimated that nearly 47 million Americans have metabolic syndrome, a condition that has direct ties to the obesity epidemic affecting 65% of adults. With an estimated $117 billion spent each year on medical costs and indirect costs, such as lost wages due to illness, finding a solution to this rapidly rising epidemic has become paramount.
Might cinnamon be the answer? Researchers from The Human Research Center of the USDA and University of California, Santa Barbara, believe so. They suggest “this remarkable spice can improve insulin insensitivity and glucose metabolism and potentially counter or reverse the course of obesity and numerous degenerative diseases.” It turns out that cinnamon contains a compound called MHCP. This water-soluble polyphenol not only amplifies insulin’s message, it also mimics the hormone itself, making it up to three times more effective.*
This discovery encouraged researchers to conduct a human clinical study on the effects of cinnamon in people diagnosed with type II diabetes. Participants assigned to a treatment group were given 1, 3, or 6 grams of cinnamon daily. After forty days of treatment, all of the groups taking the cinnamon showed an 18-29% reduction in blood sugar, 23-30% reduction in triglycerides, and a 12-26% reduction in cholesterol. Since the outcome was similar in all three groups, the researchers suggested that it is not necessary to take more than 1 gram of cinnamon a day, the equivalent to one-half teaspoon, to reap the benefits. And the effects are long-lasting. Twenty days after the treatment was stopped, the blood sugar and cholesterol lowering effects of cinnamon were still apparent.
As with all herbs in their whole form, cinnamon offers a myriad of health-promoting benefits that extend beyond sugar and fat metabolism.* Studies have shown that cinnamon contains a fat-soluble compound called cinnamaldehyde, which may provide protection from carcinogens.* It also appears to have anti-inflammatory benefits and support the immune system.* Cinnamon clearly has many important implications for health promotion and disease prevention. And it tastes good too!
So it seems that cinnamon has joined the ranks of ginger, turmeric, and garlic as spices that are indispensable allies to both chefs and physicians alike, contributing in both cases to the joy of life. If you want to experience the scientifically proven benefits of cinnamon for weight management and glucose metabolism, you need only take 1 gram of the highest quality cinnamon a day.* As this is sometimes hard to determine in the grocers’ aisle, you may want to take the world’s only dual extract of cinnamon available in a softgel capsule. A product called Cinnamon force™, offered by New Chapter, combines two species of organic cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum and Cinnamomum aromaticum) and is Potency Assured™ for the medicinally active polyphenols and cinnamaldehyde. New Chapter’s unique supercritical and post-supercritical extract process ensures delivery of all the healing phytonutrients available in the plant. Two softgel capsules provide the equivalent of 1 gram of the world’s finest organic cinnamon.
*Note: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease.
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