A team of scientists elevated the prized spice, cinnamon, from its culinary applications to a loftier stratum as a promising molecular weapon for combating chronic diseases. Researchers from various fields, including Kiram Panickar, Heping Cao, Bolin Qin and Richard A. Anderson, collaborated in making this significant breakthrough. The results revived ancient interest in the therapeutic benefits of common cinnamon, Cinnamomum verum or Cinnamomum zeylanicum, also known as the “true cinnamon,” to modern genomic medicine. Compounds found in cinnamon revealed multiple utility in terms of enhancing the effects of insulin, its antioxidant function, efficacy against inflammation, and its neuroprotective benefits.
Cinnamon polyphenol extract (CPE) regulates a number of genes and exerts a significant influence on the metabolism of glucose. Various studies conducted on human subjects afflicted with metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome and type 2 diabetes mellitus also showed the beneficial effects of whole cinnamon and its aqueous extract on the glucose, insulin, lipid profile and anti-oxidant status of the patients.
Experts also posited possible effects of cinnamon compounds on body composition, lean body mass and inflammatory response.
Cinnamon Extract Helps against Dyslipedemia
Patients with metabolic syndrome develop resistance to insulin action, which in turn causes dyslipedemia or abnormal level of lipids in the blood. In most cases, the problem is hyperlipedemia. Cinnamon presents a good potential in lowering lipid levels in both animal and human subjects.
Cinnamon Extract Lowers Systolic Blood Pressure
Agents that are typically employed as an intervention for insulin resistance and/or lower circulating insulin concentration in the blood also tend to lower blood pressure. Such agents include nutrients, nutritional supplements, and drugs. Research conducted on spontaneously hypertensive rats fed with sucrose-containing diet showed that elevated systolic blood pressure (SBP) is lowered when the rats were given dietary cinnamon. This presents a promising development highlighting the efficacy of cinnamon not only for sucrose-induced high SBP but also for hypertension caused by genetic factors.
Based on the aforementioned link between chronic diseases and genetic influences, research is now pursuing genomic targets for therapy. Quantitative research on polymerase chain reaction was performed to examine the effects of aqueous cinnamon extract on the expression of genes coding for the glucose transporter (GLUT) and anti-inflammatory tristetrapolin (TTP) families, components of the insulin signal transduction pathway, etc. So far, there are tell-tale signs that the medical hypotheses on selected targets are leaning towards positive results.
Age-Old Super Spice
From its basic ancient uses as treatment for toothache, anti-halitosis or bad breath, medication for the nasty common cold and digestion aid, cinnamon has gone quite a long way. Recent studies also showed that even just the smell of cinnamon or chewing cinnamon gum improves brain function from memory to visual-motor speed, recognition, and attention and focus.
In Closing: Cinnamon Now a Certified “Super” Food
It’s no wonder that cinnamon is now a “super” spice being painstakingly developed through genomic medicine to neutralize stubborn chronic diseases that have plagued the modern world. There is voluminous research evidence for its medicinal value and health benefits. Cinnamon doesn’t just spice up the gustatory sense. It spices up your health for a better life ahead.
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