Submitted to: Proceedings of the Nutrition Society
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: November 10, 2007
Publication Date: May 28, 2008
Citation: Anderson, R.A. 2008. Chromium and Polyphenols From Cinnamon Improve Insulin Sensitivity. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. 67:48-53.
Naturally occurring compounds that have been shown to improve insulin sensitivity include chromium and polyphenols found in cinnamon. These compounds also have similar effects on insulin signaling and glucose control. The signs of chromium deficiency are similar to those for the metabolic syndrome and supplemental chromium has been shown to improve all of these signs in people. In a double-blind, placebo controlled study, we demonstrated that glucose, insulin, cholesterol, and hemoglobin A1c are all improved in people with type 2 diabetes following chromium supplementation. We have also shown that cinnamon polyphenols improve insulin sensitivity in in vitro, animal, and human studies. Cinnamon reduced mean fasting serum glucose (18-29%), triglycerides (23-30%), total cholesterol (12-26%), and LDL cholesterol (7-27%), in people with type 2 diabetes after 40 days of daily consumption of 1 to 6 grams of cinnamon (Cinnamomon cassia). Subjects with the metabolic syndrome, consuming an aqueous extract of cinnamon, displayed improved fasting blood glucose, systolic blood pressure, percent body fat and increased lean body mass compared with the placebo group. Studies utilizing an aqueous extract of cinnamon, high in type A polyphenols, also demonstrated significant improvements in fasting glucose, glucose tolerance, and insulin sensitivity in women with insulin resistance associated with the polycystic ovary syndrome. For both supplemental chromium and cinnamon, not all studies have reported beneficial effects and the responses are related to the duration of the study, form of chromium or cinnamon used, and the degree of obesity and glucose intolerance of the subjects.