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Daily Dose Of Cinnamon May Cut Risk Of Diabetes

Posting Date: 01/05/2004

Q. I?d like some advice on blood sugar. At present I am not a diabetic. My blood glucose is 125 and my hemoglobin A1C is 5.7, which puts me in the high normal range.

I do not take any medication, but I?ve heard that cinnamon might help control blood sugar by improving insulin sensitivity. When I mentioned this to friends they were skeptical and said that only prescription drugs would help. Do you think taking cinnamon might be beneficial for me?

A. Doctors have recently become interested in helping people with ?pre-diabetes? reverse their risk factors. According to some criteria, you would qualify as prediabetic.

A recent study of 60 people with type 2 diabetes found that one gram of cinnamon daily (about a quarter of teaspoon) lowered blood sugar, triglycerides and total cholesterol (Diabetes Care, Dec. 2003). Cinnamon helps insulin work more efficiently, and it has only 3 calories in a gram.

Dr. Richard Anderson of the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in Maryland suggests that prediabetics may be able to delay or prevent development of the disease with regular, small doses of cinnamon. Although cinnamon might be toxic in high doses, a gram of cinnamon a day in tea, coffee or other food could be just what the doctor should order.

Q. Some time ago you mentioned research showing that essential oils could promote hair growth. I remember a mixture of cedar, rosemary, lavender and thyme in an oil base, but no quantities.

I have recently suffered hair loss due to a thyroid problem. Do you know what the quantities are?

A. The study in question was published in the Archives of Dermatology (Nov. 1998). The scientists used a mixture of 2 drops thyme, 3 drops lavender, 3 drops rosemary and 2 drops of cedar oils in a base of 20 ml grapeseed oil and 3 ml jojoba oil. In a comparison that used the grapeseed and jojoba oil mixture as the placebo, they found significantly better regrowth of hair with the essential oil combination.