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Former NIEHS Post-Doc Heping Cao Featured in Medical News Today

By Jerry Phelps
July 2006

Heping Cao former NIEHS post-doctoral fellow.
Heping Cao former NIEHS post-doctoral fellow. (Photo Courtesy of Heping Cao)

Research debuted at the 2006 Experimental Biology Meeting in April described the cardiovascular benefits of cinnamon and cloves in diabetics. A study conducted by Heping Cao and presented at the meeting was highlighted in the on-line publication Medical News Today. Cao, once a post­doctoral fellow in the NIEHS Laboratory of Neurobiology and now at the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, conducts research on the biochemical basis of the insulin-like effects of cinnamon. The results of his study, conducted in collaboration with Perry Blackshear, show that cinnamon increases the production of three proteins involved in insulin signaling, glucose transport, and inflammatory responses. Cao said, "The study provides new evidence for cinnamon's beneficial effects in enhancing the action of insulin and suggests anti-inflammatory properties for antioxidants found in cinnamon."

The good news is that the spice has beneficial effects, even at low doses. Other studies presented at the meeting suggest as little as ¼ to ½ teaspoon of cinnamon twice a day is enough to significantly decrease risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

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