Just when you think you've found a product to help maintain normal blood sugar (as the label on Natrol's Cinnamon Extract 500mg supplement claims it does), it turns out to be loaded with various forms of sugar!
I have been wondering why my blood sugar is not continuing downward since using Natrol's product, and now I know why. First of all, in my defense, had I had the opportunity to check the label in a store, I would never have bought the stuff. But, since it's almost impossible to find cinnamon extract except for Natrol's product and impossible to find it in stores, I had to order it directly from them via their website, which does not list the several fillers also included with the 500mg of cinnamon extract in each pill.
Those fillers are: dibasic calcium phosphate, cellulose, stearic acid, Maltodextrin, silica, cellulose gum, magnesium stearate, methylcellulose, glycerin and carnauba wax. Let's look at each of these ingredients, shall we?
Dibasic Calcium Phosphate:
The very first link to "dibasic calcium phosphate" found on Google is http://www.heart-disease-bypass-surgery.com/data/studies/12.htm
which I can't seem to corroborate with data from other sites found in the same search. Some of the claims made here may or may not be suspect and I can't vouch for the credibility of the information presented. However, the gist of the site is that dibasic calcium phosphate is not a good thing to be ingesting. Note, however, that the author of the page, who publishes an online newsletter called Fraudulent Companys can't seem to pluralize the word company correctly. I then have to wonder about the credibility of the source. He also seems to be selling some sort of dietary supplements, himself, so, again, I question his credibility. Adding to this is the fact that I couldn't seem to find any other pages in my search that had anything alarming to say about dibasic calcium phosphate. In fact, according to Drugs.com, it's used in every calcium supplement on the market. It is the calcium. Then again, when I find a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for any substance, I have to wonder about its safety for use in the human body. I did find an MSDS for dibasic calcium phosphate at http://ptcl.chem.ox.ac.uk/MSDS/CA/calcium_phosphate_dibasic.html
and it says that there is nothing hazardous about dibasic calcium phosphate, other than being a "skin, eye and respiratory irritant." Of course, one has to consider that the MSDS publishes this information primarily for worker safety in plants that manufacture various products that use the material in question. If you're a worker in a plant that makes a calcium supplement, you probably wouldn't want to breathe in a cloud of dibasic calcium phosphate as it's being dumped into a huge vat to make pills from, but taking one or more of those same pills every day may not do you any harm at all. In fact, it may do you good. You need to consider the source that is saying "this is bad for you" because they may be ignorant of the fact that small doses of something that is harmful in large amounts is not necessarily toxic. But, on the other hand, if we're taking a daily supplement that contains this material and we're doing so over the course of many years - perhaps most of our lifetime - we might be somewhat concerned about its long-term effects, right? Even so, I still found no other data that would suggest there is anything harmful in ingesting dibasic calcium phosphate and, in fact, it seems to be used widely in the pharmaceuticals industry.
Cellulose is another of those substances being used routinely in the manufacture of pills of all types. However, of much concern to me is the fact that cellulose is a polysaccharide; i.e., a sugar. When I saw this, a red flag went up immediately! In addition, cellulose is a natural polymer. The important thing, though, is that it is being used in the above named product without any alteration. It is, therefore, an added sugar. This alone is cause for me to abandon this product completely and to seek out an honestly made cinnamon extract.
As I said above, when I see an MSDS for any substance used in a food supplement, I get very concerned. This should certainly be the case with stearic acid. The MSDS I found says, under "Toxicology,": "Eye, skin and respiratory irritant; may be harmful - toxicology not fully investigated." Hmmmm.....when I see statements like "not fully investigated," I have to wonder why hasn't it been, especially when people are ingesting it and rubbing it on their skin and in the hair every day? Stearic acid is used in skin and hair care products, as well as in dietary supplements and processed foods. As I was saying earlier, one should consider that these statements are intended for factory workers who are handling these materials in large bulk containers, where they are routinely exposed to airborne clouds of the material as it is dumped into vats and hoppers and moved about the plant, etc. Hence, the need for safety glasses in handling stearic acid makes sense, as it is a known eye irritant. Even so, should this be something that is in our diet?
Now, if the above substances weren't enough to make me stop using Natrol's Cinnamon Extract, the inclusion in it of Maltodextrin (trade named Maltrin), a sweetener made from cornstarch, certainly is! It is made via the process of cornstarch hydrolysis, according to the Sugar Association. Here we have, not just a sugar, but a sugar made from grain. This stuff is sometimes known as "glucose polymer." GPC (Grain Processing Corporation), the makers of Maltrin, claim that "Corn-based maltodextrins are safe for patients with celiac disease since they do not contain proteins from wheat, barley, oats or rye." Fine for people with celiac disease, but what about we diabetics? It's not protein we should be concerned about; protein is, by itself, essential to life and it is a major element of the paleolithic diet, as well. It's sugars that concern me, as a diabetic, and this stuff is nothing but sugar! Here is the real "smoking gun" on the GPC website, though: "Diabetics should follow the advice of their physicians. MALTRIN® maltodextrin’s glycemic index should be considered metabolically equivalent to glucose (dextrose)." Great! So, yes, it is a not so hidden sugar! Then WTF is it doing in Natrol's Cinnamon Extract - a product that claims to "help maintain blood sugar already within the normal range?!!" This product is being recommended to diabetics as a means of controlling their blood sugar! The inclusion of Maltodextrose in this product should immediately result in Natrol being investigated for deceptive and false advertising, at the very least! No diabetic should ever consume this product at all, under any circumstances!
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, silica can cause silicosis. Silica, according to the USDL, "...remains a serious threat to nearly two million US workers." Hmmm....now, here again, most of us are not exposed to the stuff in bulk quantities, where it can become an aerosolized cloud we breathe in - but, I still have to wonder if this is something we should be eating.
If cellulose itself is a sugar, then what is cellulose gum? Well, its a hydrocolloid, or thickening agent, used in the processed foods industry. They certainly do use a lot of dangerous crap in making processed foods, don't they? A "thickening agent" is a glue-like substance, so, basically, cellulose gum is a sugary binder, probably used in Natrol's Cinnamon Extract to hold all its constituent ingredients together. I tell you what, Natrol, how about just filling the bottle with harmless gelatin capsules filled with pure, unadulterated cinnamon extract, huh? What a concept! That way you wouldn't need to use anything else in your product to make it into little dark red pills, would you? I don't care what the product looks like. I just want cinnamon extract and I don't want anything else. Got it? So, anyway, here is yet another hidden sugar lurking in this product that is being sold to diabetics and people who are trying to keep from becoming diabetics. That's three hidden sugars, so far!
Magnesium stearate is a salt. Great! Not only is this shit filled with sugar, it's also filled with salt! Just what I need for my blood pressure. As if that's not enough, the Wikipedia article says magnesium stearate is also "a major component of bathtub rings!" Yum! Makes me want to go and lick my bathtub right now! Seriously, though, there is also an MSDS for this material, though it says magnesium stearate is "generally regarded as safe." Yep, well, that depends upon who is deciding whether it's safe, doesn't it? After all, some sources would have us believe that fluoride is "safe," also, even though it's been found to be a deadly toxin.
Like cellulose gum, methylcellulose is derived from cellulose, which is, as you'll recall, a sugar derived, in turn, from cornstarch. So, need I say anything further? Well,.....according to the publishers of Healthwise, maybe I should. It seems methylcelluclose is used in laxatives as a stool softener. Yum!
Glycerin is yet another sugar, made from alcohol! So, this crap Natrol is passing off as a product to regulate blood sugar turns out to spiked with a serious amount of hidden sugars! How do they get away with this shit!? By the way, glycerin is also the main byproduct of the manufacture of biodeisel fuel. Mmmmm.....finger lickin' good!
Finally, we come to the last listed filler in Natrol's Cinnamon Extract product, carnauba wax. All of you car enthusiasts should know what this stuff is: the basic ingredient in most car waxes and polishes. Mmmm....yummy! I think I'll go out and lick my car right now! According to Wikipedia, "Carnauba wax contains mainly esters of fatty acids (80-85%), fatty alcohols (10-15%), acids (3-6%) and hydrocarbons (1-3%). Specific for carnauba wax is the content of esterified fatty diols (about 20%), hydroxylated fatty acids (about 6%) and cinnamic acid (about 10%). Cinnamic acid, an antioxidant, may be hydroxylated or methoxylated." Notice the inclusion of cinnmic acid? Cinnamic acid is made from oil of cinnamon, so, aside from the 500mg of cinnamon extract claimed to reside in this product, this is, apparently, the only other ingredient that has anything to do with cinnamon. And it buffs to a lustrous shine, too!
The bottom line: if you are using Natrol's Cinnamon Extract to control or lower your blood sugar, stop doing so! This crap is loaded with enough hidden sugars to maintain or even raise your blood sugar. If you're not taking this supplement, don't. You'd do better to swallow a spoonful of plain ground cinnamon (available on the spice rack at your grocery store), instead.