Cinnamon supplements can help manage blood sugar levels of people with prediabetes.

Prediabetes is a condition where levels of blood sugar are higher than the average but not high enough like typical diabetes. People with prediabetes are at an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.

A new study, published in the Journal of the Endocrine Society, shows cinnamon supplements may help individuals with this condition to control their blood sugar levels. It could also help delay the progression of type 2 diabetes. "In individuals with prediabetes, 12 weeks of cinnamon supplementation improved FPG and glucose tolerance, with a favourable safety profile," researchers at Boston's Joslin Diabetes Center stated.

Researchers observed 51 patients for 12 weeks in a randomised control trial (RCT) where a group of patients took 500 mg cinnamon capsule while the other group took placebo three times each day, Fox News reports. At the end of the study, researchers found that fasting plasma glucose levels (FPG) stayed at normal levels in the group that took cinnamon supplements, while FPG levels in the placebo group increased. The researchers concluded that cinnamon supplements, aside from helping keep fasting glucose at normal levels, also improved the ability of the body to tolerate carbohydrates.

They also found that treating prediabetic persons with 500mg doses of cinnamon three times a day "resulted in a statistically significant between-group mean a difference in FPG of approximately 5 mg/dl at 12 weeks, which was the primary outcome measure of the study." Researchers did not observe any changes in the patients' FPG for six weeks, which was among the three pre-specified ancillary end-points.

Around 38 percent of the U.S. population has prediabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA). The health organisation stated that prediabetes occurs when the levels of blood sugar are higher than normal, although not high enough for it to be considered as diabetes.

The condition may develop into type 2 diabetes but experts also said that modifying diet and lifestyle can help delay its progression. Losing weight and taking certain medications can also help.

cinnamon sticks
Cinnamon sticks Daria-Yakovleva/Pixabay

In most cases, however, the condition goes undetected. Researchers revealed that around three to 11 percent of individuals with prediabetes develop type 2 diabetes each year. "Therefore, identification of efficacious, durable, safe, and cost-effective strategies for type 2 diabetes prevention remains a clinically relevant unmet need, especially in low- and middle-income countries," the researchers wrote in their report.