A new study, published Tuesday in the Journal of the Endocrine Society, has found that cinnamon could improve blood sugar control in people with prediabetes and could slow down its progression to type 2 diabetes.

Study author Dr. Giulio Romeo said, “We are looking for safe, durable, and cost-effective approaches to reduce the progression from prediabetes to type 2 diabetes.

“Our 12-week study showed beneficial effects of adding cinnamon to the diet on keeping blood sugar levels stable in participants with prediabetes,” Dr. Romeo said. “These findings provide the rationale for longer and larger studies to address if cinnamon can reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes over time.”

Previous studies have shown that cinnamon can help control blood sugar levels. One study of 18 people with type 2 diabetes found that cinnamon cassia was highly effective at lowering blood sugar levels than diet alone.

Another study of 60 people showed that small doses of cinnamon reduced blood sugar levels and improved cholesterol levels.

The current study researchers believe that the effects of cinnamon on people type 2 diabetics were not clear because they were already on diabetes medication.

Dr. Romeo and his colleagues decided to focus specifically on people with prediabetes who were not yet on any medications. They looked at more than 50 people with prediabetes, with half of them received 500 mg capsule of cassia cinnamon and others received a placebo three times a day for 12 weeks.

“The difference between the groups of patients was significant,” Dr. Romeo noted. “Blood glucose levels of people on cinnamon would not go as high as the participants on placebo after meals and also would return to baseline much faster.”

In the United States, more than 88 million Americans have prediabetes, according to the CDC. Worldwide, there were more than 350 million people with prediabetes in 2017. Officials expect the number to grow by nearly 600 people by 2045.

Registered Dietician Lisa Drayer said the FDA’s recommended limit of cinnamon is 6g a day, which is about a tablespoon.

Drayer, who writes about nutrition for CNN, said, “I think the bottom line is that cinnamon is a perfect pantry staple, a pleasant spice that can add flavor to foods for minimal calories, with antioxidant properties that may give an edge to those looking to better control their blood sugar.” “But we need to see more research before we can make any solid health claims linking cinnamon to reduce risk of disease or improved health,” she added.