Cinnamon During the early stages of testing a new chromium supplement, Agricultural Research Service chemist Richard A. Anderson, Ph.D. and his colleagues were attempting to disrupt some volunteers' blood sugar control by feeding them a low chromium diet that included apple pie.
Surprisingly, these volunteers' blood sugar remained under control. Subsequent test-tube studies showed that cinnamon in the pie was boosting insulin activity, as chromium does, and thus controlling blood glucose. The spice turned out to be the "best thing we ever tested" for that purpose, Anderson says.
(Science News Online 1/5/2004; Vol. 165, No. 18).
Since then Dr. Anderson and colleagues have confirmed the blood sugar lowering properties of cinnamon and its ability to lower triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol in test tube and animal studies as well as in a number of human trials. Details of these studies and human trials are outside the scope of this article. Richard A. Anderson said: "If you can improve insulin function the cholesterol goes down, triglycerides go down, glucose goes down, and all this goes towards the alleviation of type 2 diabetes," He cautioned, however, that consumers should not simply start dousing their food with cloves and cinnamon [at high doses]. He noted, for example, that cinnamon in powder form is rendered ineffective by contact with saliva, and its lack of solubility in water can result in an unwanted build up of the spice in the body.
(HealthDay News 5/4/06). There are some simple ways around this including buying cinnamon capsules. Cloves Dr. Alam Khan, Agricultural University, Peshawar, Pakistan, a former postdoctoral student and Fulbright Fellow in the Anderson laboratory, reported on the first study of the effect of cloves on insulin function in humans at the Experimental Biology 2006 meeting, in San Francisco. (Medical News Today 9/4/2006). At the end of the study, regardless of the amount of cloves consumed, all those who ingested cloves showed a drop in glucose, triglycerides and LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels.
Blood levels of HDL ("good") cholesterol were not affected among the clove eaters. Those who did not ingest cloves experienced no changes. (HealthDay News 5/4/2006).
More details of this study can be found at the author's website. Gymnema Studies show that Gymnema sylvestre helps control both type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes. Gymnema is a well-proven treatment for diabetes, and it has been used for this purpose for over 2,000 years and has proved to be very effective in type 1 diabetes. It is best known for its apparent ability to lower blood sugar levels.
Results from case reports and studies in humans and animals suggest that it may work in several ways to help control both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It is possible that gymnema sylvestre may even prompt the pancreas to develop more beta cells - the source of insulin. It may also make body cells more responsive to the insulin that is available. (DrugDigest). The first scientific confirmation of the effects of gymnema on glucose in human diabetics was in 1926 when it was demonstrated that the leaves of Gymnema reduced urinary glucose.
(K.G. Gharpurey, Indian Medical Gazette 1926; 61: 155).
A number of trials have been carried out demonstrating the properties of Gymnema sylvestre, the details of which are beyond the scope of this article. Chromiun Scientists believe that insulin uses chromium as an assistant (technically, a cofactor) to "unlock the door" to the cell membrane, thereby allowing glucose to enter the cell. More than 15 scientific studies support the safety and role of chromium in improving insulin function and glucose metabolism in people with type 2 diabetes and related conditions. "There is strong scientific evidence to suggest that supplemental chromium picolinate may improve insulin sensitivity, blood glucose control, and cardiovascular risk factors in adults with type 2 diabetes," according to Dr. Kaufman, former president of the American Diabetes Association and specialist in pediatric endocrinology.
(PRNewswire-FirstCall 15/2/2005). Details of these studies are outside the scope of this article. Science News Online reported in April 2005 that Robert DiSilvestro and Emily Dy of Ohio State University showed data at the Experimental Biology 2005 meeting in San Diego indicating that only the picolinate form of chromium is absorbed well by the body. The report stated that according to Robert DiSilvestro about 40 percent of chromium picolinate was absorbed by people taking chromium supplements in one experiment. DiSilvestro added that absorption of other forms of the mineral in supplements ran as low as 1 percent and only about 10 percent of any form of chromium in foods is typically absorbed.
(Science News Online 16/4/2005; Vol. 167, No. 16).
Additionally, an animal study conducted at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that chromium picolinate was better absorbed by the tissues (e.g.
, liver and muscle) than chromium nicotinate and chromium chloride. Absorption into the tissue is important because for a mineral to be beneficial, it must survive the digestive tract and reach the bloodstream. Otherwise, minerals pass through the body, leaving it void of necessary nutrients. (Medical News Today 7/2/2007). If this article is reproduced please ensure the link to my website is kept live.
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Kevin Flatt is a Freelance Journalist specialising in Alternative Medicine. He is also the publisher of Natural Health Articles and News. His other website Natural Health and Beauty features Natural Health Products.