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THE PHARMA REVIEW (JANUARY - FEBRUARY 2011)

A Scientific Review-Cinnamon and its Role in Diabetes

Densie Webb, PhD, RD

Introduction: Today’s Lifestyle is increasingly dominated by physical incactivity and poor dietary habits. At the same time, more and more scientists are reporting a strong link between blood sugar regulation, obesity and the risk of cardiovascular disease.1 Currently, 65% of adults age 20 and over are overweight or obese (BMI of reasingly Dominated by physical incactivity and poor dietary habits. At the same time, more and more scientists are reporting a strong link between blood sugar regulation, obesity and the risk of cardiovascular disease.1 Currently, 65% of adults age 20 and over are overweight or obese (BMI of 25 or higher).2 Moreover, diabetes has reached almost epidemic proportions in the United States, with one out of every 5 people or a total of almost 62 million people having either diabetes or pre-diabetes.3 Perhaps even more alarming is the fact that fully one-third of those with diabetes are unaware they even have the disease.
Diabetes is a condition in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin, a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy. Most people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes, caused by insulin resistance, which occurs when insulin is produced by the pancreas, but the body’s cells are unable to recognize its presence, triggering the continual release of still more insulin into the bloodstream. The result is elevated levels of both sugar and insulin. Prediabetes, in which blood sugar levels are elevated (100-125 mg/dL), but are not as high as they are with diabetes, often predicts the onset of diabetes, and is strongly associated with obesity, hyperlipidemia and cardiovascular disease (CVD).4 Elevated blood sugar caused by insulin resistance is also the common denominator in a cluster of cardiovascular disease risk factors including abdominal abesity, high blood pressure, elevated triglycerides and low levels of high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) that, when they occur together, are called metabolic syndrome, sometimes referred to as Syndrome X. More than 1 in 4 adults are affected by metabolic syndrome.5 Metabolic syndrome increases the risk for developing diabetes by as much as 500%.6 CVD, heart attacks and stroke are two to three times more common in people with the syndrome than in those who do not have the condition. However, insulin resistance alone can be enough to increase the risk of CVD.
With the incidence of diabetes rapidly rising in the U.S., as well as the health problems associated with the disease, experts now fear that this impending diabetes epidemic could wipe out any gains made in reducing the number of deaths from heart disease.7 Treatments that can promote healthy blood sugar levels could potentially have tremendous long-term health benefits.

 

 

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