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Cinnamon 1Cinnamon is best known as a spice, used in foods and drinks, but extracts from cinnamon tree bark have also been used traditionally as medicine throughout the world.  It has a wonderful flavor and can not only be used for playful meals but can also be taken as pills for those who may not be so fond of the flavor.

The Research

Like many things in the health world, the research is mixed, but some research has found that a specific type of cinnamon, cassia cinnamon, may lower blood sugar2blood glucose 3The Study in people with diabetes 4diabetes. However, other studies have not found a benefit. There are other types of cinnamon that have shown benefits5The Study too, but the cassia cinnamon seems to be the most studied. Some studies6The Study suggest a significant reduction in triglycerides among those with high triglycerides. Studies of cinnamon for lowering cholesterol 7lowering cholesterol and treating yeast infections 8yeast infections in people with HIV9HIV have been inconclusive. Further research has found potential in many other areas10Review Article, such as antimicrobial11An antimicrobial is an agent that kills microorganisms or stop their growth. Antimicrobial medicines can be grouped according to the microorganisms they act primarily against., antiviral, antioxidant, antitumor, antihypertension12lowers high blood pressure, antilipemic13Used in the treatment of high levels of fats, such as cholesterol, in the blood. They are called lipid-lowering drugs., antidiabetes, gastroprotective14Helps protect the stomach and other parts of the gastric system, immunomodulatory15a chemical agent (as methotrexate or azathioprine) that modifies the immune response or the functioning of the immune system (as by the stimulation of antibody formation or the inhibition of white blood cell activity), and stress response16The Study benefits.

Some lab studies have found that cinnamon may reduce inflammation, have antioxidant17antioxidant and antibacterial effects. Other, more recent, studies18The Study have tested the effectiveness of cinnamon oil and found similar results to the powder form. it’s unclear what the exact implications are for people. It appears that cinnamon may help in many ways, but it may not make enough difference on its own to be the powerful remedy we are often looking for.

Dosing

There is no established dose, but some recommend 1/2 to 1 teaspoon (2-4 grams) of powder a day. Some studies have used between 1 gram and 6 grams of cinnamon. Be careful though, because very high doses may be toxic, often from a high chromium19 chromium picolinate buildup in the body.  The chromium itself has many benefits, but in high doses, it builds up and causes problems. Dr. Stearns, talking to the New York Times, said that, “Chromium accumulates in the body and you can get much higher levels in the tissues. Once inside a cell, it is very slow to leave.”20News Article  The compared benefits of low versus high doses of cinnamon show little difference, so there is no need to take extra risks with a high dose.

Risks21Web MD

  • Side effects. Cinnamon usually causes no side effects. Heavy use of cinnamon may irritate the mouth and lips, causing sores. In some people, it can cause an allergic reaction. Applied to the skin, it might cause redness and irritation.
  • Risks. Very high quantities of cassia cinnamon may be toxic, particularly in people with liver problems. Because cinnamon may lower blood sugar, people with diabetes may need to adjust their treatment if they use cinnamon supplements. An ingredient in some cinnamon products, coumarin, may cause liver problems; but the amount of this compound ingested is usually so small that this wouldn’t happen for most people. Given the lack of evidence about its safety, cinnamon — as a treatment — is not recommended for children or for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Interactions. If you take any medication regularly, talk to your doctor before you start using cinnamon supplements. They could interact with antibiotics, diabetes drugs, blood thinners, heart medicines, and others.

 

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