Data from 22 trials with magnesium supplements revealed that the mineral may reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure, researchers from the University of Hertfordshire report in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
Combined with diet and lifestyle changes, magnesium and cinnamon supplementation may lead to an overall reduction of up to 25mm Hg more than any hypertension medication in the world with the advantage of no adverse effects.
Even Cinnamon Alone Will Reduce Blood Pressure
Valued in ancient times as currency and once considered more precious than gold, cinnamon -- one of the world's oldest known spices -- has one of the highest antioxidant values of all foods and its use in medicine treats everything from nausea to menstruation and energy to diabetes.
"Cinnamon itself has insulin-like activity and also can potentiate the activity of insulin. The latter could be quite important in treating those with type 2 diabetes. Cinnamon has a bio-active component that we believe has the potential to prevent or overcome diabetes," researcher Don Graves said in a prepared statement.
When it comes to the highest antioxidant values on the ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) scale, cinnamon comes in third only lower than clove and sumac. ORAC units or "ORAC score" were developed by the National Institute on Aging in the National Institutes of Health (NIH). While the exact relationship between the ORAC value of a food and its health benefit has not been established, it is believed that foods higher on the ORAC scale will more effectively neutralize free radicals. According to the free-radical theory of aging, this will slow the oxidative processes and free radical damage that can contribute to age-related degeneration and disease.
Numerous studies have reported that cinnamon and the compounds it contains may improve parameters associated with diabetes. The meta-analysis, performed by scientists from the University of Toronto (Canada), the University of West London (UK), and London South Bank University (UK) is said to be the first to evaluate the effects of cinnamon on blood pressure in diabetics.
Cinnamon alone without any diet and lifestyle changes is associated with reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure of 5.39 and 2.6 mmHg, report scientists in Nutrition .
Out of a possible 93 identified studies, Dr Akilen and his co-workers limited their meta-analysis to only three randomized clinical trials, two of which included diabetics while the third was with pre-diabetics.
The doses of cinnamon used in the studies ranged from 500 mg to 2.4 grams per day, and all the studies lasted for 12 weeks.
Crunching the numbers yielded the result that cinnamon intake was associated with significant decreases in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Commenting on the potential mechanisms of action, Dr Akilen and his co-workers said that a recent review had "confirmed that cinnamon and components of cinnamon have been shown to have beneficial effects on virtually all of the factors associated with metabolic syndrome, including insulin sensitivity, glucose, lipids, antioxidants, inflammation, blood pressure, and body weight."
"In summary, this meta-analysis of three RCTs indicates that the consumption of cinnamon (short term) is associated with notable reduction of systolic and diastolic blood pressure in patients with prediabetes and [type-2 diabetes]," they wrote.
"However, the precise relationship between blood pressure regulation and the effect of cinnamon in humans remains unclear and to be established in future studies."
Mae Chan holds degrees in both physiology and nutritional sciences. She is also blogger and and technology enthusiast with a passion for disseminating information about health.