Approximately 7% of women that carry a pregnancy to term develop Gestational Diabetes during pregnancy. The incidence of Gestational Diabetes doubled from 1992 to 2004.   No one understands why this has occurred except that the incidence of obesity increased tremendously during this same period of time.   Type II diabetes has a incidence of developing between 15 to 60 percent 5 to 15 years after patients have had gestational diabetes.   The three risk factors that indicate who will develop Type II diabetes are 1) BMI >27, 2) developing gestational diabetes before 24 weeks gestation, and 3) the use of insulin or not during pregnancy.

Sugars not controlled during pregnancy can lead to fetal abnormalities, fetal macrosomia (large fetus), hypoglycemia (low blood sugars), hyperbilirubinemia (elevated bilirubin) which can cause damage to the infant’s brain, and pulmonary ( lung) immaturity.   These problems are reduced tremendously when blood sugars are kept under control.

Normally the way sugars are kept under control are diet, exercise, insulin, and glyburide.   There are other alternative treatments that show promise and have minimal side effects:

1) Cinnamon

2) Chromium Piccolinate

3) Bitter Melon

4) Cane Sugar

5) Alpha Lipoic Acid

Today we are going to discuss Cinnamon.   Cinnamon has been shown to decrease glucose significantly in patients.   1 gm, 2 gms, and 6gms of dried Cinnamon has been shown to decrease the fasting glucose by 18 to 30 percent.   It does so by its anti-oxidant effects and increasing the sensitivity of   the insulin receptors located in fat   and muscle cells.   In essence it activates the insulin receptors which allows efficient uptake of glucose into the cells so that it can be stored and metabolized properly.

With Type II diabetes there is an over abundance of insulin floating around and attached to receptors.   For some reason the receptor is not sensitive to the insulin in order to allow sugars to be taken into the cells properly.   This chronic elevated sugar state leads eventually to severe heart, kidney, peripheral nerve, and eye disease.

Dried Cinnamon has no side effects or teratogenic defects on the fetus in the recommended dosages.   When given in extremely high doses in rats, it has been found to cause skeletal and kidney problems including death.

In summary; Cinnamon has been found to decrease fasting glucose significantly dosages ranging from 1 to 6 grams.   With the decrease in the incidence of perinatal and maternal morbidity and mortality due to the significant decrease in maternal sugars, Cinnamon needs further study to determine whether or not it can be used as a first line agent to treat patients with Gestational Diabetes.

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