This is difficult. I feel it is my duty.
Technically, I am a Type 2 diabetic. For those unfamiliar: in Type 2, one’s pancreas is producing enough insulin, but one’s body creates resistance to it. The most common cause of this, I believe, as in my case, is what we call “being too fat.” If I were thinner, I might no longer manifest Type 2 diabetes. But unless/until that happens, I will.
Except that I don’t; my symptoms are in check, so well that it’s easy for me to screw up and forget that I have a chronic illness. My solution costs about $1.25 per day, so it’s a lot more expensive than the medication, but a lot less expensive than if one has Type 1 and has to give oneself insulin shots, test blood sugar, and so on. It’s also a lot less expensive than neuropathy, heart disease, amputation, and so on.
Cinnamon is the secret, and if it ever becomes generally known and believed in–if it works for others as it has worked for me–it’s going to screw the diabetic drug industry real hard. So let’s get screwing, because our precious pharmaceutical companies need a good ream.
First, please know this: I am not the person who runs up to you and suggests a decoction of cohosh root, pennyroyal, powdered goat crap, cumin seed, St. John’s wort, and/or spunkwater (if you get the reference, comment and take your bow) as the solution to any health problem from hemorrhoids to Stage 10 kneecap cancer. I don’t place automatic faith in any kind of medicine, conventional or alternative. I’d go so far as to suggest that my skepticism toward most medical treatment tends to self-fulfillment, as in, belief helps and lack of belief perhaps harms. Drugs work worse on me partly because my default belief is that they won’t.
I also don’t like talking about my medical history in public. I am a more intensely private person than anyone in my world imagines, except for my very few closest friends. This post feels deeply uncomfortable. It has taken me some months to nerve myself up. I’m doing it because I have adequate experimental proof of what worked for me, and thus may work for other Type 2 diabetics, and I feel a duty to share.
It’s not as good as losing forty tons of flab, of course, but it’s good while figuring out how to do that.
Okay, I admit that there’s another motivator. I am capable of despising corporations like few people can. Most of our major corporations should hope and pray that their fates never rest within my hands. One group of corporations I consider especially rapacious is the pharmaceuticals. If I have a chance to play Robin Hood with them, I simply must. It is my duty.
Every day, for lunch, I open a vanilla- or coffee-flavored yogurt, mix in a spoonful of cinnamon, and eat the resulting tannish/mauve substance. The cinnamon is not some special strain of cinnamon from some obscure Central American country (there are people making a mint convincing consumers of this). It’s fricking bulk cinnamon powder from Fred Meyer (Kroger, to much of the country). The yogurt is Tillamook, mainly because I like it better than other brands, with flavors chosen because they mix bearably with cinnamon. If you are going to eat this stuff every day of your life, you may as well like it.
I’m going to tell you about my experience, so that skeptics will have some fairly concrete reason to believe that I haven’t just gone off and become an herbs-cure-everything True Believer.
Back when I was diagnosed, in about October of 2016, I had amazing levels of thirst. This happens when Type 2 is untreated. After diagnosing me, my doctor put me on a drug called metformin, a glucophage–in essence, a sugar eater. It somehow reacts with the sugar in your bloodstream. This helped, but by itself, it didn’t knock my A1C down far enough. The A1C test result determines a Type 2 diabetic’s life. The goal is to get it below 7 (mine was nearly 10 when diagnosed, which is ‘killing you softly’ A1C). After metformin, mine was down around 8, which is still worrisome–this means the condition is not under control, and is damaging the body. My doctor prescribed a pancreatic stimulant. The very idea made me nervous, but so did the potential for dying of diabetic complications, so I tried it.
During that time, my wife mentioned that some people had reduced their A1C by taking a teaspoon of cinnamon per day. It didn’t sound as if it could cause harm. I have put far more than a teaspoon of cinnamon on vanilla ice cream and didn’t keel over. Of course, one doesn’t just eat a spoonful of cinnamon by itself–not twice, at any rate. I tried mixing it with coffee; most of it sank as a sludge. (Probably would have been okay on a couple pieces of toast, in hindsight.) Cinnamon is a tree bark, usually ground to powder, and is not soluble in water. After a couple of other misfires, I hit on mixing it with yogurt. This proved an efficient, endurable way to get the spice down. It became my daily lunch.
Soon came my next appointment. As one should, I had my blood test shortly beforehand. Imagine my surprise when my doctor came into the consultation room and began to exult: my A1C had fallen to 5.9. She couldn’t believe it, nor could I. To make it a little more comical, my doctor is an Englishwoman from Northumberland (near Scotland). She sounds like Scotty’s daughter instead decided to follow in Dr. McCoy’s footsteps: “If we kenna get yae bledd sugur doon…” I thought for a moment she might actually give me a hug.
When you find a doctor who cares that much, treat her right. Don’t let her get away if you can possibly help it. And do what she tells you, or you don’t deserve to feel better. But she didn’t yet know about the cinnamon.
Then I told her the truth. My most marked shift in symptoms (as in, end to all night thirsts) had come when I had begun a disciplined cinnamon dosing as I described above. Her eyes said: ye’ve got tae be kiddin’ me. However, people tend to take me at face value; in person, I seem to radiate an intense earnestness. I explained what I had done and why. I suggested we discontinue the pancreatic stimulant and see what happened. If my A1C rocketed back up, we’d know the cinnamon hadn’t helped much, if at all.
Three months later, I came back in. My doctor was even more surprised than before. A1C had fallen–yes, fallen–to 5.5. There was no other reasonable interpretation but that cinnamon helped, the pancreatic stimulant probably had not, and that between metformin and cinnamon taken with disciplined consistency, I could conceivably live as a non-diabetic equivalent until such time as I managed to pack out some of the pork. (If you are waiting for me to use euphemisms in order to coddle feelings, you may stop. I may describe myself as I choose. Period.) Now my doctor had gone from skepticism to cautious optimism; we had gotten my bledd sugur doon. (I am not mocking her. This is affectionate kidding, a lost art in our hypersensitive society.) I don’t think she will go prescribing cinnamon to other patients any time soon, and I think she suspects I’m an anomalous case, but she certainly does not discourage my regimen. She canceled the pancreatic stimulant prescription, and I discarded the rest of the pills.
I said, I discarded the rest of the pills. I did not take more pharmaceutical products. Some megadrug company’s loss was Tillamook’s gain.
If disciplined use of cinnamon can help overcome insulin resistance in Type 2 diabetics, the drug companies are going to hurt like hell. Of course, I’m not promising anyone a cure, nor am I offering medical advice. I’m just telling my story. For the record, whatever you do, I recommend you do it under medical guidance and with concurrence.
When we went to Ireland, the cinnamon theory got another test. I figured it would be awkward to haul around a large amount of bulk cinnamon, and to go find stores and buy yogurts, so I chose to make capsules. I figured three per day was at least close to a teaspoonful, and taken in disciplined fashion, would give me the same benefits.
Of course, my wife and I both got fairly ill in Ireland, and by the end of the trip, I was waking up with the old night thirsts. Hadn’t experienced them in many months. I wasn’t sure whether to blame the illness or the decreased cinnamon intake. When I got home, I went back on the usual cinnamon regimen. Even though the worst of the (truly horrible coughing respiratory flu-like) illness awaited, the night thirsts promptly vanished. Evidently they weren’t caused only by the flu trashing my blood sugar.
I could admit of no other rational explanation: a teaspoon of cinnamon per day, in combination with the glucophage, allowed my system to handle blood sugar in such a way as to give me a non-diabetic life. Rather less was not enough.
Why don’t more people try this? Their doctors, many of whom are absolutely beholden to pharmaceutical companies, will not recommend it. I suspect not that many people have experimented with it in consistent, conscientious fashion, for most people are not consistent or conscientious. I have so experimented. If I stopped eating this cinnamon, I have very good reason to believe that within two weeks I would feel all the standard effects of blood turned to Grenadine. I believe this because it happened when I merely cut back on the spice. I cannot say how long or how well this will work, but one year into the diagnosis, so far so good.
It’s not for everyone, thanks to human nature. Most of the time, most people jake. By this I mean that most people slack off, fuck off, ease off–and they command everyone around them to be as feckless, and to say that it’s okay. Pressuring others to lower their standards is so much easier than raising one’s own. Most people don’t keep to conscientious regimes of any sort. Most people aren’t timely, don’t care about keeping commitments, and generally cannot be relied upon. Few people will do the right thing no matter who is looking, do the best possible job whether it makes a difference or not. It follows, then, that most people will not go so far as to eat a spoonful of cinnamon mixed with a cup of yogurt each and every day for three months. They might do it for a week, then say screw it, this is hard, I don’t like anything hard, forget it. They would rather eat a tablet and hope for the best. It may not have occurred to them that if they have a get-out-of-diabetes-cheaply card, and they jake on using it, they are very foolish. Diabetes leads to neuropathic pain, amputations, heart failure, and death.
As for me, it’s common for grocery checkers to look at my eight yogurts and comment: “Wow, you must really like that yogurt.”
“Why buy it if you don’t like it?” (There must be some sort of brand on my forehead that says, ask me about my merchandise.) Then I explain.
90% of them don’t believe me. If you don’t believe me, that’s okay. It is your body.
What you do is up to you.