Cinnamon-with simply a generous sprinkle a day, research is now also showing favourable outcomes on insulin resistance in women with PCOS.(1)
PCOS is the most common endocrine disorder among women of reproductive age.(1) PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome is a multisystem hormonal and metabolic disorder that affects both reproductive hormones as well as blood sugar regulation, through insulin resistance. Women may present with acne, excessive hair growth, balding, missed menses, heavy menses, or long, irregular cycles or infertility challenges. And, according to official diagnosis of PCOS, which is done using the Rotterdam criteria, there’s an estimated 4-8% prevalence of PCOS globally.(1)
Insulin resistance is one of the most common features of PCOS, representing 60-80% of women with PCOS!(1) That’s 25-40% greater than the prevalence of insulin resistance in the general population!(1) Also, it’s not just overweight or obese women with PCOS experiencing insulin resistance. Insulin resistance also occurs in those healthy weight, lean women with PCOS.
So, what’s the problem with insulin resistance?
Through decreased insulin receptors on skeletal muscle and fat cells and faulty cellular signalling and communication, insulin resistance hinders glucose (sugar’s) ability to get into those cells! And, when it can’t get in, it can’t do its job, and it also means that it piles up in the blood. When there’s more glucose in the blood, the body thinks it needs more insulin, so the pancreas is signaled for those beta cells to pump out more insulin. Eventually, if this goes on, at some point the pancreas will become exhausted, and no longer be able to pump out that insulin….this leads into type 2 diabetes.
Women with insulin resistance associated with PCOS are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes and are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease (1).
In comes Cinnamon…
A simple dietary staple and food prescription. Let food be thy medicine! (Hippocrates)
Cinnamon bark has been used traditionally for many years within botanical medicine. Historically, it’s been known that cinnamon improves blood sugar levels due to it’s hypoglycemic action.(2) Cinnamon is also an antioxidant, which may explain in part the beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system, as sited in the research.(2) In an updated Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis from 2013, among those with type 2 diabetes, there was found to be a statistically significant decrease in fasting glucose, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides, and an increase in HDL cholesterol. (3)
Insulin resistance improvement by cinnamon powder in polycystic ovary syndrome: A randomized double blind placebo controlled clinical trial.
- 66 women enrolled-all with PCOS, and all taking medroxy progesterone acetate for the last 10 days of their menstrual cycles (progestin only birth control) (1)
- Participants were randomly allocated to 2 groups: cinnamon powder capsules v.s. similar placebo capsules (1)
- Cinnamon group: 1.5g/day in 3 divided doses for 12 weeks (1)
- The Findings?
- After 12 weeks, fasting insulin and insulin resistance (determined using HOMA-IR), and LDL cholesterol were all significantly decreased in the cinnamon groups. the control group. (1)
- Because all women were on progestin therapy, it wasn’t possible for this study to evaluate the effects of cinnamon on the menstrual cycle. (1)
Cinnamon-they are not all the same, the one you want for health!
Now, it’s important to know, not all cinnamons are equal when it comes to your health. Some species, which tend to predominate in North America, may be harmful to your liver, due to a naturally occurring plant compound. In fact, in susceptible populations, they have been known to be associated with liver toxicity.(4)
Keep reading here, and find out which cinnamon you want!