Will Cinnamon Keep Blood Sugar Under Control?

People's Pharmacy

August 03, 2009|By Joe and Teresa Graedon

Question: : I have type 2 diabetes, and I have recently started taking cinnamon capsules to help control my blood sugar. I have been extremely pleased with the results so far.

The metformin I was taking was never as consistent at controlling my blood sugar as the cinnamon has been. Are there any negatives to taking cinnamon?

Answer: : Although cinnamon may work more consistently for you, there is much more research supporting the beneficial effect of metformin on blood sugar. You should make sure your doctor is aware of your regimen, so you can work together to control your type 2 diabetes.

When you buy your cinnamon capsules, look for a water-soluble extract such as Cinnulin PF. Cinnamon may contain a compound called coumarin that can be toxic to the liver. Because coumarin is not water-soluble, the water-based extract should be safe.

Question:: I have had severe constipation for years, just like my mother before me. I've been using cascara sagrada for a daily bowel movement. If I don't take it, I get bloated and very uncomfortable.

I read that this herb was banned in 2002 because the Food and Drug Administration wasn't sure it was safe. Is this herb safe or not? I have been taking it daily for several years. Please let me know what you recommend.

Answer: : Stimulant laxatives like cascara sagrada can lead to dependence. After daily use for years, your digestive tract doesn't function normally.

In 2002, the FDA reclassified cascara sagrada along with aloe as not generally recognized as safe and effective. As a result, it can't be sold as an over-the-counter laxative. There was concern about liver toxicity, colorectal cancer and loss of electrolytes such as potassium.

We suggest you work with your doctor to overcome this laxative addiction. It will take patience and persistence.

Question: : I have just taken up gin-soaked raisins for arthritis. So far, so good; they seem to be working.

My employer requires random urine testing for drugs and Breathalyzer testing for alcohol. Will this remedy cause a false positive?

Answer: : Make sure you eat your gin-soaked raisins after work, rather than in the morning. It is unlikely that you would fail a Breathalyzer test for alcohol based on nine gin-soaked raisins. Nevertheless, this might be possible if the test were done shortly after you ate them. According to our analysis, there is about a drop of alcohol in nine properly prepared raisins.

Question: : My 16-year-old son has had problems with acne for years. He kept asking me to buy Proactiv. I kept putting it off and telling him to try cheaper stuff.

Then I read your column about using milk of magnesia for acne. I printed the article (for proof for my son) and bought the MoM and cotton balls.

He has used it, and his face is much better. He has even mentioned that MoM has helped a lot.

Answer:: Proactiv contains benzoyl peroxide, a time-honored and FDA-approved OTC acne treatment. Milk of magnesia (magnesium hydroxide) is an oral laxative that has not been approved for acne treatment. Nevertheless, many readers tell us that when applied topically to the face every night, it helps clear blemishes.

In their column, Joe and Teresa Graedon answer letters from readers. Write to them in care of this newspaper or e-mail them via their Web site, peoplespharmacy.com.

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