July 15, 2016

I am not claiming cinnamon to be a miracle/ magic powder; I am saying is there may be some benefit to this natural spice.

Q: What is insulin?

A: Very over simplified, but insulin is a hormone produced in the pancreas. The chief duty if insulin is to lower blood sugar (glucose) by signaling the cells to uptake glucose.

Blood glucose is typically increased after ingesting carbohydrates or a mix of carbs/ protein. While insulin is neither ‘good’ or ‘bad’, having some control over this hormone will in turn put you in control of fat loss or fat gain.

Q: Why do I want to increase Insulin sensitivity? 

A: The more sensitive you are, the less insulin needed to clear the blood of glucose. Like having a low tolerance. Less insulin = more lipolysis (fat breakdown).  The less sensitive you are to insulin, the more your pancreas must produce to acheive the same effect. Your body builds up a tolerance.  More insulin = less lipolysis (fat breakdown). 

Q: How does insulin sensitivity play a role in body-fat?

A: In short, throughout different stages in life, insulin sensitivity can change. Higher levels of body fat and age can both decrease sensitivity (type 2 diabetes is essentially decreased insulin sensitivity, or even complete resistance).

Exercise (specifically high intensity exercise HIIT) and lower levels of body fat are typically increase ones sensitivity to insulin. Desensitization to insulin can lead to body fat accumulation.  So, there’s the catch 22; fat gain leads to desensitization and desensitization can lead to fat gain.

Q: So what does cinnamon do?

A: In 1990, one of the earliest studies was released which reported that cinnamon could increase insulin sensitivity (1). Thirteen years later, a clinical trial was done on individuals with type 2 diabetes  and was shown to lower blood sugar, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and overall cholesterol (2).

So, in theory, cinnamon has the ability to improve your sensitivity to insulin.  In turn, your pancreas needs to produce less to get the desired effect.  And, again, less insulin = more lipolysis (fat breakdown). And, who doesn’t want that?