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Recent research from the University of Toronto has confirmed that even short-term use of cinnamon can significantly reduce blood pressure – especially among those who are prediabetic or type-2 diabetic.
The researchers conducted a systematic review study of clinical trials using cinnamon between 2000 and 2012. The researchers found three clinical trials that met their quality requirements. The researchers then meta-analyzed the results of the studies, and determined that the short-term use of cinnamon results in an average drop in systolic blood pressure of over 5 mmHg, while diastolic blood pressure is reduced by an average of 2.6 mmHg.
The most recent clinical study on blood pressure and cinnamon involved 59 subjects who had type-2 diabetes. They were randomized and either given 1,200 milligrams of cinnamon per day or a placebo. After twelve weeks, the cinnamon group's systolic blood pressure reduced by 3.4 mmHg on average.
In another clinical study, 58 type-2 diabetics took either a placebo or 2 grams of cinnamon per day for twelve weeks. The cinnamon group's average systolic blood pressure decreased by over 3 mmHg and their diastolic blood pressure reduced by 5 mmHg.
There is also clear evidence that cinnamon is helpful for non-diabetic persons. In a study last year from Ball State University, 30 healthy adults were tested after adding cinnamon to their morning cereals. The addition of cinnamon significantly reduced blood glucose levels at 15, 30, 45 and 60 minutes from their typical post-meal (postprandial) levels.
Hypertension and Diabetes
Hypertension or high blood pressure is common among the prediabetic and type-2 diabetics. This is because high blood glucose levels damage the arteries as oxidative radicals are created.
This damage to the arteries in turn results in the scarring of the blood vessels - known as atherosclerosis. This scarring builds up plaque, which reduces the lumen size - the diameter of the blood vessel. This smaller diameter increases blood pressure.
Which is Real Cinnamon?
Cinnamon has been used in Ayurvedic and other Asian medicines for thousands of years, as both a medicine and a spice. It's use in Indonesia is famous and it was exported from Java to Europe several centuries ago and embraced by European herbalists for its tremendous healing properties
There are generally four types of cinnamon referred to in ancient times, and some of them are from different plants. Cinnamonum verum is considered true cinnamon, as recognized from Indonesia and ancient Hebrews.
Cinnamonum tamala has been utilized in Ayurvedic medicine, and grows in Southern India. This is called Malobathrum. Meanwhile, C. cassia comes from China, and is also known as Seres.
And finally, Cassia – or Cinnamonum iners – is also considered by some as cinnamon, but today it is accepted as Cassia instead of cinnamon by herbalists. While the other cinnamons are still considered cinnamon by their regional medicines, the Indonesian Cinnamonum verum is considered the true cinnamon among Western herbalists.
Today, most of the world's cinnamon is produced in Sri Lanka. It has a number of constituents, including various flavanols and proanthocyanidins, including epicatechins, epiafzelechins, and epicatechingallates.
Cinnamon's mechanisms of action are not well understood, but some research has shown Cinnamon reduces hemoglobin A1C levels, which directly relate to blood sugar levels. As blood sugar levels are reduced, the damage to arteries is also reduced.
Nasri H, Madihi Y, Marikhi A. Commentary on: Effects of Cinnamon Consumption on Glycemic Status, Lipid Profile and Body Composition in Type 2 Diabetic Patients. Int J Prev Med. 2013 May;4(5):618-9.
Akilen R, Pimlott Z, Tsiami A, Robinson N. Effect of short-term administration of cinnamon on blood pressure in patients with prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. Nutrition. 2013 Jul 15. doi:pii: S0899-9007(13)00191-3.
Wainstein J, Stern N, Heller S, Boaz M. Dietary cinnamon supplementation and changes in systolic blood pressure in subjects with type 2 diabetes. J Med Food. 2011 Dec;14(12):1505-10. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2010.0300.
Akilen R, Tsiami A, Devendra D, Robinson N. Glycated haemoglobin and blood pressure-lowering effect of cinnamon in multi-ethnic Type 2 diabetic patients in the UK: a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial. Diabet Med. 2010 Oct;27(10):1159-67. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2010.03079.x.
Magistrelli A, Chezem JC. Effect of ground cinnamon on postprandial blood glucose concentration in normal-weight and obese adults. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2012 Nov;112(11):1806-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2012.07.037.