That question might sound ridiculous, but a common apple pie ingredient used by grandmas around the world is already proven to help balance blood sugar levels.
Now researchers believe cinnamon could also be one of Mother Nature’s cancer-fighting superfoods. Here’s what scientists know so far. . .
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Readers who have been with Cancer Defeated for a while already know about the connection between blood sugar imbalances and cancer.
For example, a Swedish study published in the March 2007 issue of Diabetes Care found that men and women with the highest blood sugar levels were more likely to have pancreatic cancer, urinary tract cancer, and malignant melanoma than participants with lower blood sugar.
Clearly there’s a strong link between elevated blood sugar levels and cancer. So it’s not a big surprise that cinnamon is an effective natural cancer remedy, because it’s already well-known to control high blood sugar.
Three cheers for another home remedy!
Recent research shows that just a half teaspoon of cinnamon daily could reduce cancer risk, in much the same way it reduces blood sugar levels and diabetes risk. Apparently this fragrant spice helps prevent angiogenesis, the process by which tumors form their own network of blood vessels.
A study conducted by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) helped shed light on the ways cinnamon can help protect your health.
The USDA researchers discovered that cinnamon powder contains compounds called procyanidins that mimic the action of insulin in your body. This is a sort of natural blood sugar controller that can help stamp out type 2 diabetes.
But the researchers also found that cinnamon put the kibosh on cancer cell growth too. In these kinds of studies, scientists can use one of two cell types:
The USDA researchers used cancer-cell cultures that were multiplying rapidly. They used two different types of human cancer cell, one that’s usually associated with leukemia and another that’s associated with lymphoma.
Leukemia involves rapid development of malignant leukocytes, a type of cell found mainly in the blood.
Lymphoma is cancerous development of the most common lymph cells, called lymphocytes.
The researchers were examining whether a cinnamon extract could stop the spread of these cancer cell types, and if so, how.
They checked the cancerous cells over a 24-hour period—which represents the time required to double the cell population. The results?
The cinnamon extract drastically reduced the rate of increase in all types of cancer cells tested.
They also discovered the higher the concentration of cinnamon extract, the greater the reduction in proliferation rate.
In fact, the highest cinnamon concentration reduced cell counts by about 50% when compared with the untreated control cells. But how?
The scientists found that the cinnamon extract blocked mitosis, or cell division, by inhibiting the enzymes that aid this process.
Clearly cinnamon is an effective, natural remedy for combatting both blood sugar imbalances and cancerous cell growth. This further supports the idea that there’s a connection between the two diseases.
As scientists continue to investigate this connection, it might not be a bad idea to sprinkle more cinnamon on your morning oatmeal. Some folks even add it to the teas they drink.
The half teaspoon daily mentioned above should be safe, and our sources indicate as much as a teaspoon a day is safe. But the substance can be toxic at higher doses than that.
You can also find powdered cinnamon capsules in most nutritional supplements stores.
The connection between diabetes and cancer
A person with diabetes is at much higher risk of cancer. Our Issue #35 is a good summary of the facts, and I recommend you take a look—given that the number of Americans diagnosed with pre-diabetes and diabetes continues to skyrocket.
New evidence has come out since we published that article. In a 2013 study published in the journal Molecular Cell, scientists at the University Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid found that high blood sugar levels increase activity of a gene widely implicated in cancer growth.
A research team led by Dr. Custodia Garcia-Jiminez found that sugars in the intestine cause cells to release a hormone called GIP. This hormone encourages the pancreas to release insulin.
Dr. Jiminez’ team showed that GIP secretions in your intestines are controlled by a protein called β-catenin. They also found that increased β-catenin activity is directly related to high blood sugar levels.
The Madrid study showed that increased β-catenin activity is a major factor in cancer development because it can make normal cells immortal—a key step in the early stages of cancer progression. Normal, healthy cells die after undergoing a certain number of cell divisions. Cancer cells don’t.
In short, high blood sugar — also called prediabetes, metabolic syndrome, or insulin resistance – is the underlying cause of not only diabetes but cancer, too. And, I might add, it also causes heart disease, which is what actually kills most people with diabetes. The official cause of death may be a heart attack, but don’t be fooled. The cause of death was high blood sugar.
So it’s urgent that you maintain healthy blood sugar levels. The first and best step is to give up sugar completely. But while you work on that, supplements like cinnamon can help.
If you’re under a doctor’s care for blood sugar imbalances, be sure to consult your advisor before taking any natural remedy that impacts your blood sugar levels. The blood-sugar-lowering foods and supplements are quite effective, and if used at the same time as the medications they can reduce your blood sugar too much, too fast.
It’s possible (and, in fact, pretty easy) to wean yourself off diabetes medications with cinnamon and other natural supplements, but this should be done in cooperation with a professional caregiver.
If your doctor won’t work with you in this process, I recommend switching to one who will. If you’re not familiar with the natural treatments, we cover them thoroughly in our book Defeat High Blood Sugar—Naturally!
Lee Euler, Publisher