Blood sugar dysregulation, which ultimately leads to type 2 diabetes, is a growing problem. According to the World Health Organization, the prevalence of diabetes rose from 108 million people worldwide in 1980 to 422 million in 2014.
Diabetes and poor glycemic control have a causal or correlative relationship with many areas of health, including:
Eye problems and blindness
Heart disease and stroke
Lower limb amputation
Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease
Although diabetes is a complex, multifaceted disease, diet and lifestyle play a major role in the prevention of and mitigation of the disease, as well as chronic inflammation and excessive oxidative stress. Identifying ways to support normal glycemic control, such as taking cinnamon and probiotics, is paramount to reducing the significant impact of diabetes on individuals.
Cinnamon and Glycemic Control
Since the 1990s, there has been much interest in the potential of cinnamon on mitigating some of the harmful effects of diabetes. Subsequently, studies demonstrating its effects were conducted. Meta-analysis studies demonstrate cinnamon’s ability to improve glycemic control by lowering fasting blood glucose levels, improving homeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), and decreasing HbA1C levels.
It is possible that cinnamon may have an influence on blood sugar levels as the result of an active compound known as cinnamaldehyde. Some studies have found cinnamaldehyde to impact insulin release and insulin sensitivity among other actions. Many of the other compounds, such as cinnamic acid, coumarin, procyanidins, and eugenol, impart an additional beneficial impact on glucose regulation, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, activation of insulin receptors and glucose transporter type 4 (GLUT-4) transporters, and delayed gastric emptying, which may help improve postprandial blood sugar levels.
Probiotics and Blood Sugar Regulation
The gut microbiome impacts many facets of human health, including insulin and blood sugar regulation. One reason may be due to oxidative stress and inflammation associated with dysbiosis in the gut and metabolic endotoxemia. In addition, some studies have found that the composition of the microbiome differs between those with diabetes and those without, although it is not yet known if this is causal or consequential.
Probiotics may help improve gut health, normalize gut microbiota, reduce inflammation, improve antioxidant balance, and positively impact the expression of blood sugar and insulin-regulating genes, all of which may also help lower blood sugar levels. One meta-analysis found probiotics significantly improved HbA1c levels and HOMA-IR. Other studies have also demonstrated a reduction in fasting blood glucose levels, improved serum insulin levels, and alleviated insulin resistance.
Probiotics and Cinnamon as Partners
Cinnamon and probiotics have the potential to improve glycemic control and the use of both may have a greater impact. One randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study looked at using cinnamon, probiotics, or both on blood sugar control. In this study, 136 patients were divided into four groups: the first group took 0.5 g of powdered cinnamon and 100 million CFU of Lactobacillus acidophilus, the second group took the probiotic, the third group took cinnamon, and the fourth group (or control group) took a placebo. The study was conducted for 3 months, and at the conclusion, all three treatment groups experienced significant reductions in their fasting blood sugar and HbA1C levels.
Due to the increasing prevalence of diabetes around the world, it’s imperative to continue to identify and research the effectiveness of potential supportive elements for glycemic control, such as cinnamon and probiotics.
By Kendra Whitmire, MS, CNS