Cinnamon supplements added to standard hypoglycemic drugs and other lifestyle therapies had modest effects on fasting plasma glucose and HbA1c, a study in theJournal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reported.

Although cinnamon (Cinnamomum sp) has been suggested to help achieve better glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes, conclusions from meta-analyses have been inconsistent. 

Researchers evaluated whether the use of cinnamon dietary supplements in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus had clinically meaningful effects on glycemic control, as measured by FPG and HbA1c. A literature search identified 11 randomized controlled trials that met the inclusion criteria (n=694). Ten of the studies involved patients continuing to take their hypoglycemic medications during the cinnamon intervention period. The cinnamon doses ranged from 120–6,000mg daily. 

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The studies evaluated different species of cinnamon: Cinnamomum cassiaCinnamomum aromaticumCinnamomum zeylanicum; three studies did not disclose the species. A meta-analysis was not performed due to the heterogeneity of the studies. 

All 11 studies found some reductions in FPG during the cinnamon intervention, and very modest decreases in HbA1c were seen in the studies measuring HbA1c. Changes in the placebo groups were reported to be minimal. However, only four studies met the American Diabetes Association (ADA) treatment goals of FPG <7.2mmol/L (130mg/dL) and/or HbA1c <7.0. 

Findings from the review showed a modest impact on HbA1c and FPG from cinnamon supplements. Registered dietitian nutritionists and other healthcare professionals should recommend patients to continue following current recommendations for diet, lifestyle changes, and hypoglycemic agents until more evidence is available.

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