Cinnamon May Help to Alleviate Diabetes Says UCSB Researcher
Cinnamon extracts boost insulin sensitivities
Cinnamon Extracts potentiate in vivo insulin regulated glucose utilization.
Cinnamon a mimetic for insulin
With help from Walter F. Schmidt in ARS's Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Laboratory at Beltsville, the researchers identified the compounds in cinnamon responsible for its activity. The patent application names Anderson, his co-workers C. Leigh Broadhurst and Marilyn M. Polansky, and Schmidt as the inventors.
Cinnamon is among the world's most frequently consumed spices and is relatively inexpensive. Anderson and colleagues found that its most active compound—methylhydroxy chalcone polymer (MHCP)—increased glucose metabolism roughly 20-fold in a test tube assay of fat cells.
The researchers tested 50 some plant extracts and found that none of them came close to MHCP's level of affecting glucose metabolism—a process in which cells convert glucose to energy. If in future research MHCP proves to do the same in people, it might provide a natural remedy against diabetes.
What's more, MHCP prevented the formation of damaging oxygen radicals in a blood platelet assay.
"That could be an important side benefit," notes Anderson. "Other studies have shown that antioxidant supplements can reduce or slow the progression of various complications of diabetes."
MHCP is the first chalcone, a type of polyphenol or flavonoid, reported in cinnamon. MHCP and other active compounds are water soluble and are not found in the spice oils sold as food additives.