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Cinnamon and diabetes.

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Did you know that they didn't use cinnamon in the cinnamon and diabetes study?

You know the study I mean:
Khan A, Safdar M, Ali Khan MM, Khattak KN, Anderson RA: Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2003 Dec;26(12):3215-8.
And here's the full text.

That's cinnamon in the headline. The abstract says:

"OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study was to determine whether cinnamon improves blood glucose, triglyceride, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: A total of 60 people with type 2 diabetes, 30 men and 30 women aged 52.2 +/- 6.32 years, were divided randomly into six groups. Groups 1, 2, and 3 consumed 1, 3, or 6 g of cinnamon daily, respectively, and groups 4, 5, and 6 were given placebo capsules corresponding to the number of capsules consumed for the three levels of cinnamon. The cinnamon was consumed for 40 days followed by a 20-day washout period.
RESULTS: After 40 days, all three levels of cinnamon reduced the mean fasting serum glucose (18-29%), triglyceride (23-30%), LDL cholesterol (7-27%), and total cholesterol (12-26%) levels; no significant changes were noted in the placebo groups. Changes in HDL cholesterol were not significant.
CONCLUSIONS: The results of this study demonstrate that intake of 1, 3, or 6 g of cinnamon per day reduces serum glucose, triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes and suggest that the inclusion of cinnamon in the diet of people with type 2 diabetes will reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases."

Nowhere do they state that they didn't actually use cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) in this trial: no, they used cassia (Cinnamomum aromaticum, synonym Cinnamomum cassia).

There's a difference: true cinnamon is fairly hard to get hold of, at least up here in Finland. We get cassia as "cinnamon" in most if not all grocery stores. Specialist stores carry true cinnamon, but you have to know to ask for it ...

True cinnamon has layer upon layer of paper thin bark, which makes up the cinnamon sticks, where cassia is a single thickish piece of bark. I've compared the two in an earlier blogpost.

It just goes to show, never trust an abstract.