Cardamom Supplements Improve A1c but Not Weight

Marlene Busko

July 06, 2022

Taking cardamom supplements was associated with improvements in A1C but not weight loss, according to preliminary findings from Iran.

Known as the "queen of spice," cardamom supplements did not contribute to a smaller waist circumference, reduced body mass index (BMI), improved quantitative insulin sensitivity checks index (QUICKI) scores, insulin levels, or fasting blood glucose levels.

These findings are from pooled data from six studies that each randomly assigned 80 to 87 people to receive either 6 g/day of a cardamom supplement or placebo for 2 to 3 months.

The results suggest "that cardamom supplementation may be effective in metabolism of glucose and improve related disorders," Ghazaleh Nameni, PhD, Department of Nutrition, School of Public Health, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, and colleagues write.

Further randomized controlled trials with a longer duration and a higher dose of cardamom supplements are needed, they conclude.

Potential Antidiabetic Agent?

Cardamom, an aromatic spice that is part of the ginger family, is a good source of polyphenolic compounds. It may improve insulin secretion by reducing oxidative stress, making it a potential antidiabetic agent.

However, recent studies of the effect of cardamom on weight and glucose metabolism have yielded conflicting results.

Therefore, the researchers performed a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials that examined the effect of cardamom on glucose, insulin, and weight.

They identified six clinical trials – two involving patients with type 2 diabetes, two involving patients with prediabetes and overweight/obesity, and two with patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and overweight/obesity. The patients were aged 30 to 70 years and were randomly assigned to receive cardamom supplements or placebo.

In pooled results of two studies of patients with type 2 diabetes, the patients who received cardamom supplements demonstrated a greater decrease in A1c than those who received placebo (weighted mean difference [WMD], 0.48).

In pooled results of three studies of patients with prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, and NAFLD, the patients who received cardamom supplements demonstrated a greater decrease in homeostatic model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) than those who received placebo (WMD, 0.40).

In contrast, combined results from four studies showed that cardamom supplements were not associated with significant weight loss or reduction in BMI compared to placebo. And in combined results from three studies, cardamom supplements were not associated with decreased waist circumference compared to placebo.

"Our unremarkable results" may be due to the dose of cardamom "that probably wasn't enough," as well as the short duration, the authors write.

They note that study limitations include the small number and high heterogeneity of studies in the meta-analysis. The studies were all conducted in Iran, so the findings may not be generalizable to other countries.

The researchers have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

Diabetes Metab Syndr. Published online May 25, 2022. Abstract

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