You're on Page 1 of 2
Go to

  • A Spoonful of Cinnamon Helps Treat Diabetes

    By Alison McCook
    NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - People with diabetes can help keep their bodies healthy by simply adding a dash of spice to their diet, new research reports.

    In a study, diabetics (news - web sites) who incorporated one gram -- equivalent to less than one-quarter teaspoon -- of cinnamon per day for 40 days into their normal diets experienced a decrease in levels of blood sugar, cholesterol and blood fats.

    And for people with diabetes, the less of those substances in the body, the better.

    Type 2 diabetes arises when the body loses sensitivity to insulin, a hormone that shuttles the sugars from food into body cells to be used for energy. As a result, the amount of sugar, or glucose, in the blood remains high, leading to fatigue and blurred vision. Over the long term, excess blood glucose can increase the risk of heart disease, kidney failure and blindness.

    The current findings suggest that a small amount of cinnamon can help protect diabetics from these and other potential complications of their condition, study author Dr. Richard A. Anderson of the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in Maryland told Reuters Health.

    Diabetics could add a dash of cinnamon to their morning servings of coffee, orange juice or cereal, Anderson noted. "You can also make a cinnamon tea by simply boiling water with stick cinnamon," he suggested.

    Anderson noted that cinnamon may also help stave off the onset of type 2 diabetes in people at risk of the condition.

    He added that cinnamon contains some substances that can be toxic in high amounts, so people should be sure not to get too much of a good thing. "Certainly, a gram per day is not a high amount," he reassured.

    During the study, Anderson and his colleagues asked 60 people with type 2 diabetes to consume 1, 3, or 6 grams of cinnamon each day for 40 days, or the equivalent amount of wheat flour, as a placebo. Both the cinnamon and wheat flour were administered in capsule form.

    Reporting in the journal Diabetes Care, Anderson and his team found that all cinnamon-takers experienced a drop in blood levels of glucose, fats and cholesterol by up to 30 percent. No change was seen in the people taking placebo capsules.

    Anderson explained that cinnamon contains compounds that help make insulin more efficient, improving the hormone's ability to bring glucose to the cells that need it.

    As an added bonus, cinnamon contains virtually no calories, Anderson said, allowing diabetics to add zest to their meals without adding to their waistlines.

    Cinnamon contains less than 3 calories per gram, "negligible in the total dietary intake," Anderson said.

    Previous research has shown that cinnamon appears to help fat cells recognize and respond to insulin. In test tube and in animal studies, the spice increased glucose metabolism by about 20 times.

    SOURCE: Diabetes Care, December 2003.
  • When You're Sick, and Have Diabetes

    When You're Sick

    Being sick can make your blood glucose (sugar) level go up very high. It can also cause serious conditions that can put you in a coma. The best way to prevent a minor illness from becoming a major problem is to work out a plan of action for sick days ahead of time. Then when you become sick, you will feel safe and secure. You will already know what to do and you will have the supplies onhand to do it.

    What Happens When You're Sick

    When you're sick, you're under stress. To deal with this stress, your body releases hormones that help it fight disease. But these hormones have side effects. They raise blood sugar levels and interfere with the blood sugar-lowering effects of insulin.

    As a result, when you are sick, it is harder to keep your blood sugar in your target range. Ketoacidosis leading to a diabetic coma can develop, particularly in people with type 1 diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes, especially older people, can develop a similar condition called hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic coma. Both conditions are dangerous and can be life-threatening.

    Making a Sick-Day Plan

    Prepare a plan for sick days in advance. Work with your doctor, or a diabetes educator. The plan will include when to call your diabetes team, how often to measure blood sugar and urine ketones, what medicines to take, and how to eat.

    Also, attach to your plan a list of phone numbers for your doctor,
    diabetes educator, and dietitian. Make sure you also know how to reach them at night and on weekends and holidays. Then when illness strikes, you will be ready.

    When to Call Your Diabetes Team

    You do not need to call your team every time you have a sniffle. But you will probably want to call if certain things happen. For example:

    * you've been sick or have had a fever for a couple of days and
    aren't getting better
    * you've been vomiting or having diarrhea for more than 6 hours
    * you have moderate to large amounts of ketones in your urine
    * your glucose levels are higher than 240 even though
    * you've taken the extra insulin your sick-day plan calls for you
    take pills for
    * your diabetes and your blood sugar level climbs to more than 240 before meals and stays there for more than 24 hours
    * you have symptoms that might signal ketoacidosis or dehydration or some other serious condition (for example, your chest hurts, you are having trouble breathing, your breath smells fruity, or your lips or tongue are dry and cracked)
    * you aren't certain what to do to take care of yourself

    Be ready to tell what medicines you've taken and how much, how long you've been sick, whether you can eat and keep food down, whether you've lost weight, and what your temperature, blood sugar level, and urine ketone level are. To be prepared, keep written records of all these things as soon as you become sick.

    Keep Your Notebook Handy

    No matter what kind of diabetes you have, measure your blood sugar and urine ketones more often than usual. If you have type 1 diabetes, you may need to measure blood sugar and urine ketones every four hours. Measuring ketones is very important because these waste products are more likely to build up when you are sick and lead to ketoacidosis.

    If you have type 2 diabetes, checking blood sugar four times a day may be enough. You might only need to measure ketones if your blood sugar is higher than 300. If you do not have a meter, talk to your diabetes educator about getting one.

    Diabetes Medicines

    When sick, you will still need to continue medicine for your diabetes. Even if you are throwing up, don't stop your medicines. You need them because your body makes extra glucose (sugar) when you are sick.

    If you have type 1 diabetes, you may have to take extra insulin to
    bring down the higher blood sugar levels. If you have type 2 diabetes, you may be able to take your pills, or you may need to use insulin for a short time. In either case, work with your diabetes team to develop your sick-day plan.


    Eating and drinking can be a big problem when you're sick. But it's
    important to stick to your normal meal plan if you can. In addition to your normal meals, drink lots of non-caloric liquids to keep from
    getting dehydrated. These are liquids like water and diet soft drinks. It's easy to run low on fluids when you are vomiting or have a fever or diarrhea. Extra fluids will also help get rid of the extra sugar (and possibly, ketones) in your blood.

    But what if you can't stick to your normal meal plan? Your sick-day
    plan should contain a meal plan. Try to take in your normal number of calories by eating easy-on-the-stomach foods like regular (non-diet) gelatin, crackers, soups, and applesauce.

    If even these mild foods are too hard to eat, you may have to stick to drinking liquids that contain carbohydrates. Aim for 50 grams of carbohydrate every three to four hours. Your sick-day plan may include regular (not diet) soft drinks. Other high-carbohydrate liquids and almost-liquids are juice, frozen juice bars, sherbet, pudding, creamed soups, and fruit-flavored yogurt. Broth is also a good choice.

    To prepare for sick days, have onhand at home a small stock of
    non-diet soft drinks, broth, applesauce, and regular gelatin.

    Medicines to Watch Out For

    You may want to take extra medicines when you are sick. For example, if you have a cold, you may want to take a cough medicine. Always check the label of over-the-counter medicines before you buy them to see if they have sugar. Small doses of medicines with sugar are usually okay. But to be on the safe side, ask the pharmacist or your team about sugar-free medicines.

    Many medicines you take for short-term illnesses can affect your bloodsugar levels, even if they don't contain sugar. For example, aspirin in large doses can lower blood sugar levels. Some antibiotics lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes who take diabetes pills. Decongestants and some products for treating colds raise blood sugar levels.

    If you must go to the emergency room or see a different doctor than usual, be sure to say you have diabetes, or have your identification bracelet in plain view. List all the medicines that you are taking. Your blood sugar level can also be affected by medicines you take for chronic or long-term conditions.

    Flu Shots

    Having the flu can be dangerous for anyone. But it is extra risky for people with diabetes or other chronic health problems.

    In general, every person with diabetes needs a flu shot each year. Talk with your doctor about having a flu shot. Flu shots do not give 100% protection, but they do make it much harder for you to catch the flu for about six months. For extra safety, it's a good idea for the people you live with or spend a lot of time with to get a flu shot, too. You are less likely to get the flu if the people around you don't have it.

    The best time to get your flu shot is beginning in September. The shot takes about two weeks to take effect.

    If you have a cold or other respiratory illness, wait until you are
    healthy again before having your flu shot. And don't get a flu shot if you are allergic to eggs.

    Pneumonia Shots

    People with diabetes seem to get pneumonia more easily. Those with heart or kidney disease may be particularly at risk. All people with diabetes should be vaccinated against pneumonia.

    A second pneumonia shot is needed at 65 years of age if it has been more than five years since your last shot.

    Source: ADA - Living with Type 2 Diabetes
  • Symptoms
    Watch for these symptoms

    Although the causes and triggers of diabetes remain a mystery, both genetics and environmental factors (such as obesity and lack of exercise) appear to play roles.

    Diabetes often goes undiagnosed since many of its symptoms seem harmless or commonplace.

    However, early detection of diabetes can help decrease the chance of developing complications.

    According to the American Diabetes Association, we should be watchful for these symptoms of diabetes:

    Frequent urination
    Excessive thirst
    Extreme hunger
    Unusual weight loss
    Increased fatigue
    Blurry vision

    If you experience any of these symptoms, contact your physician.
  • Cinnamon
    Abear.....Been using cinnamon for some time now after reading about it in prevention magazine. I mix it with psyllium in a glass of water in the morning. Guess it is working since my blood work came back below normal, for my last test showing the last three months readings. I am not taking any medication so the doctor was pleased. Have develped a liking to the honey ..Tupelo. It is supposed to be better for diabetics. A little bit goes a long way since it is sweeter and smoother. Honey is loaded with antitoxins which makes it healthy to eat. Dieting for Diabetes is like being on a weight reducing diet but you have a wider choice.
  • The following suggested lifestyle changes are fairly simple, and can help to reduce or lessen the risk of diabetes-related illnesses for everyone.

    Lose weight if you are overweight. Excess body fat is a factor in developing insulin resistance.

    Eat small, frequent meals to keep blood sugars in a healthy range throughout the day. Experiment until you find what works best.

    Keep refined starches and sugars to a minimum, choosing foods with a low glycemic index.

    Avoid saturated fats and trans-fats, but consume moderate amounts of monounsaturated oils, such as olive oil and some nut oils.

    Eat fish several times a week, emphasizing wild, cold-water fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon and sardines.
    Eat generous amounts of non-starchy vegetables like sweet potatoes, beans and winter squash.

    Increase your activity level. Aim for 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day.
  • Are you ladies diabetics? I found out 5 months ago that I am. I am sure I was diabetic long before, but my doctor did not link my obvious symptoms to diabetes. I had many symptoms and he kept saying it was other things. I have a family history of diabetes. My grandpa died in his 50's due to diabetes.
    So, I basically self diagnosed myself. When I got my doctor to test me, I was over 325 ! My A1c was 12.
    After 3 months, I got it down to 7.7. I am sure this month when I get another test done it will be 6 something.
    I have to find a new doctor first to get the test done. I will not go back to the other doctor.
    I have lost about 25 lb. so far. Slow going, but I have to stick to my diabetic diet. I sure can't skip meals or snacks or cut down too much on the carbs or I feel ill.
    I find I have to eat a snack every 2 hours and meals are every 4 hours. I stay on a schedule. I keep granola bars and things in the car and in my purse.
    My 14 day average is 122, I think. Amazing what a difference in less than six months.
    I know thare are some ladies on FC that are diabetic. Let's chat.
  • Quote: Are you ladies diabetics? I know thare are some ladies on FC that are diabetic. Let's chat.
    Linda Lou ...Glad you found out about your Diabetes. Mine did not show up until now since they lowered the guidelines for Diabetes. I was always borderline. So far just watching what I eat. Taking a pill is easier but trying not to put more stress on my body.
    Looks like you have taken control very well. You can get a blood testing machine in Walgreens most of the time for free. All you pay for are the test tapes. If you are on Medicare can get the medical supplies for free. Testing every day helps with your diet.
    Most pharmacies have free information booklets that have the latest tested results. Even Doctors offices have booklets too.
    www.healthmonitor.com has helped my DS with the latest treatments for neuropathy of his feet which the Doctor prescribed. He was very thin and still got Diabetes. This was a wakeup call for him.
    My DH has had Diabetes all his life and has learned how to control it with exercise and proper eating.
    When you have Diabetes in your family it is bound to show up sooner or later in one of your offsprings.
    The more you learn the better prepared you will be.
    Thanks for chatting.
  • Hi,Sueanne,
    I got a One Touch Monitor free in the mail. I was using one from Walgreens that was my daughters. She had gestational diabetes. So, I was even able to send in her Walgreens one and they are sending $30 rebate for it. I will give her the money when it gets here. I like the One Touch. I also have a Freestyle Flash that I got free, but have not tried it yet. The companies just want you to use their strips, so they give you the monitor, so I found out.
    I have ins., but I still pay quite a bit for the strips. Every bit helps, though.
    I take metformin, eat right, and walk on the treadmill. Still need to lose 60 lb. !! I am not stressing over it, though, just do my best and do what I am supposed to do.
    I took classes for a week at the diabetes clinic here. My ins. paid for them. I felt as though they threw a lifepreserver to a drowning woman. I am so thankful for those classes. I leared so much. I was actually very fascinated by it all.
    I have neuropathy, too, in my feet. That was one thing I told my doctor over and over again for several years. He kept saying it was from my back problem and just needed to take more neurontin. Well, you still take neurontin for the diabetes problem, but had I been properly diagnosed earlier it may have not been as bad. My feet are improving, though. That was one of the good things I learned in my classes, that some of the damage can be reversed if you get it soon enough and are serious about your health.
    So, really, this sounds strange, but finding out I am diabetic is one of the best things that has happened to me. I can now take care of myself and know how to do it. It also has shown me what is the root of many of my other health problems.
    My daughter now has an 80-90 percent chance of being diabetic. So, that is not good. She is also starting to eat better and all.
    One of my weaknesses is the sugar free chocolates, though ! I like the one from Trader Joes. Imported from Spain. Is so good even my family thought it was regular chocolate. No more expensive than any other, either. I also like Russel Stovers. MMMM.
    That and sugar free jello and sugar free pudding are my friends !
    Ok, time for my breakfast.
    Chat with you later.
  • Quote: I take metformin, eat right, and walk on the treadmill. Still need to lose 60 lb. !! I am not stressing over it, though, just do my best and do what I am supposed to do.
    Linda Lou, Looks like you are right on track doing a good job. My DS is using Cymbalta for his neuropathy it is also a good antidepressant. It helps alleviate the pain so you can sleep.

    The Doctor started me on metformin too but brought my sugar down to low was always dizzy. The only good that came out of it was losing twenty pounds the first month. After taking a blood sugar test the results showed how low I had gone down for the three months. Now I just watch what I eat but did gain back the weight. I am almost tempted to use it again just to lose the belly fat. Everything you take works on your liver which makes me nervous.
    Eat plenty of fiber & drink water to keep your kidneys healthy.
  • What are symptoms of diabetics?