According to the researchers in the U.S., a supplement of cinnamon extract on a daily basis helps in reduction of stress linked to metabolic syndrome, a condition associated with increased risk of type-2 diabetes and heart disease.
Metabolic syndrome causes central obesity, hypertension, and unstable glucose and insulin metabolism and affects approximately 32% of the Americans.
The current study was presented this month at the 47th annual meeting of the American College of Nutrition. According to it, cinnamon may enhance insulin sensitivity in people with abnormal fasting blood sugar levels.
The team led by Dr. Anne-Marie Roussel from the Joseph Fourier University in France conducted the study on 24 participants with impaired fasting glucose levels.
The participants at random received either a daily dose of 500milligrams of cinnamon extract or a placebo.
After 12 weeks, there was an increase in the plasma antioxidant levels in the cinnamon group compared to the placebo group. There was a reduction of malondialdehyde (MDA) in the cinnamon group and remained unaltered in the placebo group. This compound usually increases with oxidative stress.
"This study tells us that the active compounds found in cinnamon extract may be helpful in reducing the risk of these diseases by providing cells protection from harmful oxidation," said Dr. Richard Anderson from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a collaborator on the study.
In a study on cinnamon extracts, conducted by Dr. Anderson's team, published in the Diabtes Care in 2003, there was a reduction in blood glucose levels, triglycerlides, LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol among the participants given cinnamon. All the participants had type-2 diabetes.
Cinnamon extracts decreased blood pressure in hypertensive rats, according to another study that was published in the May 2006 issue of Journal of the American College of Nutrition.
Dr. Anderson thinks the findings to be useful, though the exact quantity of the cinnamon extracts required for the effects is not clear.
"This study tells us that the active compounds found in cinnamon extract may be helpful in reducing the risk of these diseases by providing cells protection from harmful oxidation," he said.