Lovers of cinnamon, take heart. Researchers from Columbia University Medical Center found that women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) who took inexpensive daily cinnamon supplements experienced nearly twice the menstrual cycles over a six-month period as women with the syndrome given a placebo.
Up to five million American women of childbearing age have PCOS. Polycystic ovary syndrome, which involves many of the body's systems, is thought to be caused by insensitivity to the hormone insulin. Typical symptoms include irregular periods, infertility, acne, excess facial or body hair, and thinning scalp hair.
Treatment for polycystic ovary syndrome currently includes weight loss, ovulation-inducing drugs and diabetes medications, Dr. Avner Hershlag, chief of the Center for Human Reproduction at North Shore University Hospital told HealthDay News.
What effect cinnamon has on women, exactly, is still something of a mystery. Researchers point to the spice’s ability to improve glucose, and insulin production plays a role, as prior research into cinnamon showed it reduced insulin resistance in diabetics.
Nature World News reported that the small study included 16 women, 11 of whom were given 1,500-milligram cinnamon supplements daily, while five got placebo pills.
Researchers monitored the women’s health and activity levels. All the participants were asked to complete monthly menstrual calendars.
Women who took the cinnamon supplements attained better menstrual cycle regularity (four menstrual periods) compared to the control group (2.2 periods) according to International Business Times (IBT).
Adding more evidence to the power of cinnamon, two women became pregnant within three months of taking the cinnamon supplements.
"There is a lot of interest in homeopathic or natural remedies for this condition," study author Dr. Daniel Kort, a postdoctoral fellow in reproductive endocrinology at the Columbia University Medical Center told Medical Daily.
"This may be something we can do using a totally natural substance that can help a large group of patients."