Aim: Cinnamon has a long history as an antidiabetic spice, but trials involving cinnamon supplementation have produced contrasting results. The aim of this review was to examine the results of randomized controlled clinical trials of cinnamon and evaluate the therapeutic potential amongst patients with diabetes and insulin-resistant patients, particularly the ability to reduce blood glucose levels and inhibit protein glycation.
Methods: A systematic electronic literature search using the medical subject headings 'cinnamon' and 'blood glucose' was carried out to include randomized, placebo-controlled in vivo clinical trials using Cinnamomum verum or Cinnamomum cassia conducted between January 2003 and July 2008.
Results: Five type 2 diabetic and three non-diabetic studies (total N = 311) were eligible. Two of the diabetic studies illustrated significant fasting blood glucose (FBG) reductions of 18-29% and 10.3% (p < 0.05), supported by one non-diabetic trial reporting an 8.4% FBG reduction (p < 0.01) vs. placebo, and another illustrating significant reductions in glucose response using oral glucose tolerance tests (p < 0.05). Three diabetic studies reported no significant results.
Conclusions: Whilst definitive conclusions cannot be drawn regarding the use of cinnamon as an antidiabetic therapy, it does possess antihyperglycaemic properties and potential to reduce postprandial blood glucose levels. Further research is required to confirm a possible correlation between baseline FBG and blood glucose reduction and to assess the potential to reduce pathogenic diabetic complications with cinnamon supplementation.