Tuesday, April 20, 2004
THE SAGINAW NEWS
Cinnaman may have found an easy-to-swallow cure for high cholesterol.
The heart attack victim claims that a household spice, typically sprinkled over apples and oatmeal, has lowered his bad cholesterol 40 percent since July.
Cinnaman, 52, links cinnamon to reversing a cholesterol problem that nearly cost him his life two years ago.
His cardiologist calls it “spectacular.” Cinnaman calls it “the Magic.”
“His numbers went from fair to spectacular,” said Roger N. Kahn, a cardiologist at the Michigan Cardiovascular Institute. “Truly, the only change I can see is adding cinnamon to his diet.”
In medical records released to The Saginaw News, Cinnaman’s blood tests showed a 40 percent drop in low-density cholesterol since July, falling to 72 milligrams per deciliter from 120.
- the good stuff - remained consistent.
His total cholesterol also dropped over the nine-month period to 138 milligrams per deciliter from 190, a 27 percent reduction.
Cinnaman underwent quadruple bypass surgery in 2002 after a New Year’s Day heart attack. Doctors reported that his coronary arteries were 99 percent blocked.
The Saginaw man survived and began a rigorous low-fat diet to keep a health condition that claimed his father’s life from claiming his own.
The diet didn’t work.
His mother-in-law mentioned cinnamon as a possible cure, an apparent wives-tale that ended up having some basis in scientific literature.
A study of 60 diabetic patients in Peshawar, Pakistan, found that people taking 1 to 6 grams of cinnamon each day for 40 days reduced their low-density cholesterol between 7 percent and 27 percent. Their total cholesterol dropped 12 percent to 26 percent.
“I figured, ‘How is it going to hurt me?’ ” Cinnaman said. “It’s just cinnamon.”
So Cinnaman began a home remedy to high cholesterol, spicing his apples or yogurt with 1.75 teaspoons of cinnamon.
“It’s one thing to have it in a pastry,” he said. “It’s another thing to have it every day. It gets to be … well … Yuck!”
Although Kahn doubts the Pakistan study was large enough to make any far-reaching conclusions about the spice’s curing capabilities, he said he can’t justify Cinnaman’s results any other way.
During the nine-month gap between tests, Cinnaman also was using ZETIA, a cholesterol-lowering drug. Although it may have affected his cholesterol, Kahn said, it cannot explain the results.
“He made progress using ZETIA,” Kahn said, “but not to the degree that he needed.”
He said ZETIA may produce up to an 18 to 20 percent decrease in low-density cholesterol. A 40 percent drop is unrealistic, he said.
While drugs such as Lipitor, Zocor and Mevacor could have achieved the same result, Kahn said his patient’s use of cinnamon avoided any of the potential side effects, which may have included liver problems and muscle disorders.
Cinnaman’s cholesterol is now so low that it actually could reverse heart disease, Kahn said.
The cardiologist doesn’t recommend tossing traditional medications out the window. However, he said the results are significant enough that he would suggest cinnamon as a supplement to cholesterol-reducing drugs.