Friday, January 17, 2014

Can I improve my insulin sensitivity with cinnamon?

Whoooo! I had the hardest workout of my life. It was a tabata workout. Tabata is high intensity for a short period of time. Some of the exercises we would hold for 20 seconds (AAAHHH!) It was awful, but good awful (:
So, I think my insulin sensitivity is improving. I had written before that I think for me insulin sensitivity is everything when it comes to health and weight loss. #1, I am seeing the scale move the other direction, the good direction. #2, my skin is perfectly clear and #3, I think my mustache ( Yuck, I know)  is less noticeable.Cutting off the sweetened yogurt ( a.k.a. my favorite food in the world, Noosa is directly from heaven) has made a difference. I was thinking of ways to improve my insulin sensitivity even more (then maybe I can cheat and have my sweetened yogurt again?). I remembered a blast from the past: Cinnamon. Yes, I remembered learning about studies that show cinnamon to be more effective than Metformin with no side effects. The issue was you have to eat a lot of cinnamon. Here is the science for you:Chromium and polyphenols from cinnamon improve insulin sensitivity. (  Richard A. Anderson (2008). Chromium and polyphenols from cinnamon improve insulin sensitivity. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 67, pp 48-53. doi:10.1017/S0029665108006010.)
    This article says that 1-6 grams a day for 40 days showed the results of improvement. Right away, I went and took out my gram scale to measure how much that looks like. My scale wouldn't measure one gram. I measured 2 and cut it in half. 1 gram was about 1 tsp of pulverized cinnamon stick. (I always buy cinnamon sticks instead of ground cinnamon)Why does the cinnamon work? For those who took chemistry, you'll enjoy this (it makes you feel smart). People with type 2 diabetes have"reduced phosphorylation" of the insulin receptor. Cinnamon increases the phosphorylation of the receptor and inhibits phosphotyrosine phosphatase (which inactivates the phosphorylation of the receptor) So, whatever the heck phosphorylation is, this is all increasing insulin sensitivity. Yay! This means you do not need to spit out as much insulin in order to use your blood sugar. Less insulin means your hormones will not be out of whack, because high levels of insulin in your blood sends out a whole bunch of signals that basically messes up your hormone balance and tells your body to store fat (and grow a mustache).
     This wasn't my topic today but this article talks about supplementing with Chromium (Cr) to aid the metabolism and how this reduced weight gain and helped improve insulin sensitivity. I just wrote about micornutrient deficiencies in the obese.This is what the article says, "Cr also decreases cortisol concentration in human subjects, which is important in relation to weight control because cortisol increases circulating insulin and increases fat accumulation. A meta-analysis of several human studies has reported that there is a significant reduction in body weight caused by Cr, but it states that ‘a body weight reduction of 1to 2kg during an intervention period of 10 to 13 weeks. 1kg/week) seems too small to be clinically meaningful’. Improvements in this range, if sustained, could lead to a loss, or prevention of gain, of approximately 4kg/year, which certainly could lead to large changes over time. Even if Cr only prevents the increase in body weight of 5–1kg/year, it becomes consequential with time. Improvements in insulin-related variables that affect body weight and lean body mass are a result of changes in metabolism and should not be confused with those associated with changes in dietary intake and energy expenditure. Lasting changes in insulin sensitivity and changes in metabolism could lead to lasting changes in body weight and composition. Additional long-term studies in this area are needed."
     I love the above paragraph, because this "inconsequential" change of only 1 kg in 3-4 months is not based on eating less or exercising. It is apart of repairing a malfunctioning metabolism. People will never be successful at weight loss (unless they are anorexic, which last I checked is an eating disorder) if the answer is to starve themselves and eat gross unappealing food and then gain that weight back as soon as they go back to "normal" eating habits.What if we tell people to eat real food that gives them adequate micronutrients and improves insulin sensitivity? Cinnamon is a spice. What other benefits do the other hundreds of spices out there have? Chromium is found in beef and vegetables. Broccoli has a very high amount.  What if we tell people to eat real food that gives them adequate micronutrients and improves insulin sensitivity instead of encouraging anorexia?

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