The Ancient Spice that Lowers Cholesterol and Fights Diabetes

The Ancient Spice that Lowers Cholesterol and Fights Diabetes

Brian Chambers – posted by Douglas Raine

In the Old Testament, great care is given to describing the items used in rituals and ceremonies. Several chapters in Exodus are devoted to describing the details of the Ark of the Covenant, the Tabernacle in the Wilderness, the altar, the table, the lampstand and more. Another vivid description is that of the sacred oil use to consecrate all this 'sacred furniture':

The Lord spoke to Moses: "Take the finest spices: of liquid myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet-smelling cinnamon half as much, that is, two hundred and fifty, and two hundred and fifty of aromatic cane, and five hundred of cassia measured by the sanctuary shekel and a hint of olive oil; and you shall make of these a sacred anointing oil blended as by the perfumer; it shall be a holy anointing oil." (Exodus 30:23-25 NRSV]

And a few verses down, God makes it clear that this formula is holy:

"This shall be my holy anointing oil throughout your generations... it is holy, and it shall be holy to you" (Exodus 30:31-32)

What's interesting about these verses is that cinnamon is not native to Egypt or the Middle East. Scholars don't know how the cinnamon God required for this holy formula was acquired.

But it's clear that cinnamon is important. The aromatic spice is described as "the scent of life."

And when it comes to improving your health, cinnamon boasts some impressive qualities.

First of all, studies show it lowers LDL cholesterol (the bad kind).

A study published in the journal Diabetes Care showed that 1, 3, or 6 grams of cinnamon daily significantly lowered LDL cholesterol in patients with type 2 diabetes.

But that's not all—it also significantly lowered blood glucose levels.

Cinnamon acts as an "insulin mimetic," which means it mimics the physiological action of insulin in your body. This allows it to boost glucose metabolism, which lowers the level of glucose in your blood.

And some exciting recent research has taken the blood sugar-lowering power of cinnamon to a new level.

Researchers at the USDA's Human Nutrition Research Center have spent years examining cinnamon's effect on blood sugar. Their goal was to determine how and why cinnamon lowers blood sugar, and to identify the active ingredients.

And they succeeded. They isolated a group of antioxidant compounds from cinnamon called Type-A Polymers, and confirmed that these are the compounds that improve glucose metabolism.

In fact, in one in vitro study, Type-A Polymers boosted glucose metabolism by nearly 2,000%!

This has the potential to be a game-changer in the way you handle your blood sugar. Especially when combined with the Bible-based diet plan as described in chapter 7, cinnamon could realistically stabilize your blood sugar, and even reduce or eliminate your need for insulin. (If you use insulin, it's very important to work with your doctor on this. You should never reduce or eliminate insulin without medical supervision).

The USDA's research has led to a powerful new form of cinnamon extract that's standardized to contain a high percentage of the active Type-A Polymers.

The branded name for the extract is Cinnulin-PF, and it's available on it's own, as well as in a number of multi-ingredient blood sugar formulas.


More natural ways to beat diabetes

from Dr. Mark Stengler

Another powerful natural compound that can lower blood sugar is berberine. It's one of my personal favorites, and I recommend it to anyone trying to manage their blood sugar.

Over the past 20 years, there has been much research on berberine and its effectiveness in treating diabetes. In 2008, Chinese researchers published a study in Metabolism in which adults with newly diagnosed type II diabetes were given 500 mg of either berberine or the drug metformin three times a day for three months. Researchers found that berberine did as good a job as metformin at regulating glucose metabolism, as indicated by hemoglobin AT C (a measure of blood glucose over several weeks]...Fasting blood glucose...blood sugar after eating...and level of insulin after eating. Berberine even reduced the amount of insulin needed to turn glucose into energy by 45%! In addition those taking berberine had noticeably lower triglyceride and total cholesterol levels than those taking metformin.

In another 2008 study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, researchers found that type II diabetes patients who were given berberine had significant reductions in fasting and post-meal blood glucose, hemoglobin PAC, triglycerides, total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol -and also lost an average of 5 pounds, to boot, during the three-month study.

These were remarkable findings. Here was a botanical that was holding up to scientific scrutiny—and performing as well as, or better than, some drugs patients had been taking for diabetes for years.

How berberine works in the body: Berberine helps to lower blood glucose in several ways. One of its primary mechanisms involve stimulating the activity of the genes responsible for manufacturing and activating insulin receptors, which are critical for controlling blood glucose.

Berberine also has an effect on blood sugar regulation through activation of incretins, gastrointestinal hormones that affect the amount of insulin released by the body after eating.

I recommend berberine to my patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes to reduce their blood sugar and prevent them from needing pharmaceutical drugs. When a diet, exercise and supplement program (including supplements such as chromium] is already helping a diabetes patient, I don't recommend that he/she switch to berberine.

Some patients are able to take berberine—and make dietary changes—and stop taking diabetes drugs altogether.

People with severe diabetes can use berberine in conjunction with medication—and this combination treatment allows for fewer side effects and better blood sugar control. I don't recommend berberine for pre-diabetes unless diet and exercise are not effective. Berberine is sold in health-food stores and online in tablet and capsule form. The dosage I typically recommend for all diabetes patients is 500 mg twice daily.

For patients with diabetes who once used berberine, I recommend talking to your doctor about taking this supplement. It's also important for every patient with diabetes to participate in a comprehensive diet and exercise program.

Note that berberine helps patients with type II diabetes, not type I diabetes (in which the body does not produce enough insulin].