Cinnamon - Does It Help?
Since coming back I am hoping to have a post each week at the minimum. Along the way, I might get in an extra one. We have also added 3 new countries since the last post; Denmark, Macau, and Turkey. I want to welcome all new readers and hope you get something from this post.
Two Types of Cinnamon
There are two types of cinnamon; Ceylon and Cassia (the most common form found in grocery stores and used for cooking. However, Ceylon has low levels of Coumarin. Coumarin is a toxic, fragrant chemical compound commonly found in high concentration in Cassia Cinnamon, the cheap hard Cinnamon sticks you find at your local grocery store. If you have liver disease, damage or failure, check to see if you have been consuming high levels of Cassia Cinnamon or Cassia Cinnamon based products. And if you have been popping those popular Cinnamon tablets check to see if they have been made with Cassia Cinnamon. If they have been made with Cassia Cinnamon, you may have caused great harm to your liver.
I was taking cinnamon as my research did not point this out. My last exam, I had high liver enzyme levels and it put my doctor on notice and I have an ultra sound coming up this week. I was taking about 6 mg a day of cinnamon from a bottle - tell you the truth I am not sure the kind it was. I have stopped and my latest tests have come back normal. I am looking for Ceylon cinnamon now.
Interestingly while Coumarin is banned in the United States as an additive or as constituent of Tonka beans, Coumarin in food from other natural sources such as Cassia Cinnamon is not regulated. Is this a huge error on the part of the US Health authorities? When you consider the huge amount of Cassia Cinnamon consumed in the United States and the fact there are 30 million cases of liver disease you start to wonder. Have you been eating quite bit of Cinnamon Toast Crunch or Cinnamon Toast Waffles? Perhaps now is the time to switch to Ceylon Cinnamon, which has less than 0.04% Coumarin while Cassia Cinnamon has in the region of 4%.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) established a tolerable daily intake (TDI) of 0.1 mg/kg body weight according to this University of Mississippi study of April 2013. Partly funded by the FDA and efforts of Ananda Wickramasinghe, the former Sri Lankan consul general in Los Angeles, this latest research project has exposed the hidden dangers Coumarin.
The German government was actually the first to raise alarms about the level of Coumarin in Cassia Cinnamon in 2006. According to this opinion report piece by the German Bfr, published in September 2012, they say.
Before giving up on cinnamon please read on.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF CINNAMON (Cinnamon Vogue Material)
- Blood Sugar Control – Several studies have found that Cinnamon has properties that help those with insulin resistance. It is therefore very popular with Type 2 diabetics who take it to control their blood sugar variations.
According to Paul David at UC Davis in this NPR story of 2013, Cinnamon has a 3-5% effect on blood sugar levels, similar to an older generation of diabetes drugs. That could make it an ideal option for pre-diabetics. For severe Type 2 diabetics, whether you can take enough cinnamon to make a difference is a decision you should make in consultation with your doctor.
- Candida Yeast Infections - Cinnamon has shown an amazing ability to stop medication-resistant yeast infections. This applies to Escherichia coli bacteria and Candida albicans fungus.
- Stomach Bug/Flu - By far and away the best remedy for a horrible stomach bug is Cinnamon. It makes sense because Cinnamon is a powerful anti-bacterial. Research has shown Cinnamon is one of the most effective substances against (click the links for the research) Escherichia coli, Salmonella., Campylobacter .
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) – As a digestive cinnamon dramatically reduces the uncomfortable feelings associated with IBS especially the bloating. It does this by killing bacteria and healing infections in the GI tract and enabling the gastric juices to work normally.
- Arthritis/Osteoporosis – The widely cited Copenhagen university study is a hoax. Most of the evidence that Cinnamon helps arthritis is from personal testimonials. Some people claim drinking Cinnamon tea helps the pain from arthritis while others claim a Cinnamon Oil based massage oil helps ease the pain.
What we do know is that Cinnamon has high levels (73% DV in two sticks of Cinnamon) of Manganese which is used to build bones, blood and other connective tissues, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. The body needs manganese for optimal bone health, so people who are deficient in the mineral are more likely to develop osteoporosis.
A study in 2008 listed in this pdf found that Alderhyde components of Ceylon Cinnamon bark extract suppresses RANKL-induced osteoclastogenesis through NFATc1 down regulation.
- Anti-Bacterial/Anti Microbial - Ceylon Cinnamon Leaf Oil is a powerful anti-bacterial and makes a great natural disinfectant. Cinnamon oil had the best anti microbial activity among three oils against Escherichia coli , Staphylococcus aureus , Aspergillus oryzae , and Penicillium digitatum according to this abstract..
- Food Preservative – Cinnamon is effective in inhibiting bacterial growth. This maybe one reason why it is widely used in food preparation in hot Asian countries. In Sri Lanka, virtually every dish has a pinch of Cinnamon in it. In addition to great flavor, Ceylon Cinnamon in combination with other spices like Turmeric and Chili may have been an indigenous solution to preserve food without a refrigerator.
- Odor Neutralizer – Pure Cinnamon Leaf oil not only smells great but is an effective odor neutralizer as it kills bacteria that creates bad odors and not just mask odors. All you need is 2-5 drops of Cinnamon leaf oil mixed with water on a diffuser and within minutes all odors are neutralized. .
- Alertness, Memory & Cognitive Development – According to this study by Dr. Bryan Raudenbush, Director of Undergraduate Research and associate professor of psychology at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, WV. Cinnamon may keep you more alert and decrease your frustration when you are behind the wheel.
- Anti-oxidant – With an ORAC value of 267536 μmol TE/100g (USDA 2007) cinnamon is one of the top seven anti-oxidants in the world. The suggestion is that Anti-oxidants reduce the formation of " Free Radicals " that cause cancer. This study found Cinnamon has sufficient anti-oxidant properties and makes for improved food palatability. This detailed Indian study (pdf) also found potential anti microbial and antioxidant properties of the volatile oils and oleoresins of cinnamon leaf and bark. But consider anti-oxidants as good for your whole body, repairing damage to virtually all parts of your body from skin to organs.
- Weight Reducer – Cinnamon apparently has the effect of thinning your blood thereby increasing blood circulation. Increased blood flow generally boosts your metabolism which is why it may be helpful in weight loss. This blood thinning property of Cinnamon also helps it in acting as an anti clotting agent especially for those suffering from heart disease. Care must be taken to NOT to Cinnamon with other blood thinning medication.
- Massage Therapy – Cinnamon is a well known warming agent. Combined with a carrier oil it is highly effective in relaxing and relieving muscle pain. Some put a few drops in their bath to relax and to sooth tired and aching muscles.
- Anti-Fungal – Got a bad case of athletes foot? Perhaps a toe nail fungus? Cinnamon's powerful anti fungal properties are the perfect natural alternative to killing the athletes foot fungus. You can use Cinnamon sticks or even better a few drops of powerful Ceylon Cinnamon Leaf Oil (not to exceed 1% cinnamon oil to water) and soak your feet. Usually good results in three days with the oil. Similar results for toe tail fungus.
- Lowering LDL cholesterol & triglycerides – According to a Mayo clinic article the only possible way Cinnamon could lower cholesterol is indirectly via how the body processes sugar and fat. But there is no direct effect on cholesterol. Still another study in Pakistan found Cinnamon reduced triglyceride (23-30%), LDL cholesterol (7-27%), and total cholesterol (12-26%). A review in 2011 found The consumption of cinnamon is associated with a statistically significant decrease in levels of total cholesterol, LDL-C, and triglyceride levels, and an increase in HDL-C (the good cholesterol) levels, but qualified it by saying that applying it to patient care is difficult. Still, worth a try in our book.
- E-coli Fighter/Salmonella – One of the most effective E-coli fighters because of its anti microbial properties. Mix cinnamon oil with hydrogen peroxide and spray your cutting board and kitchen sink especially after you have cut meats. Spray it in your refrigerator. It’s safe and natural. This study found a concentration of 2 microl/ml from cinnamon was enough to inactivate Salmonella Enteritidis, E. coli, and L. innocua in apple and pear juices and 8 and 10 microl/ml from cinnamon for melon juice and tryptone soy broth.
- Tooth Decay and Gum Disease – Again the anti-bacterial properties of Cinnamon play a crucial role in getting rid of harmful bacteria without damaging your teeth or gums. It’s one of the reasons that Cinnamon Oil is often used in chewing gums, mouthwashes, toothpaste and breath mints.
- Nutrients – One teaspoon of Cinnamon Powder (a realistic dose) has 0.33mg (16% DV) Manganese, 0.76 mg (4% DV) Iron, 24.56 mg (2% DV) Calcium. ).
- Insect Repellant – The anti microbial qualities of Cinnamon Leaf oil is often used for head lice treatment, black ant control, bed bugs, dust mites, and roaches. It is well known as a defense against mosquitoes'.
- Cold, Sore Throat and Cough – At the first sign (within 5-10 minutes) of sniffles or an itch in your throat take some Cinnamon Tea or Cinnamon stick Tea. It is said to stop an impending illness in its tracks.
- Alzheimer’s Disease – This article cites an Israeli study done at the University of Tel Aviv that found sufficient evidence to conclude that Cinnamon can delay the effects of five aggressive strains of Alzheimer's inducing genes. Another study also finds that orally administered Cinnamon extract has had good success in correcting Cognitive Impairment in Alzheimer's Disease in Animal Models.
- PMS - Again because of the high levels of Manganese Cinnamon may be an excellent candidate to mitigate the effects of PMS. According to the University of Maryland web site women who ate 5.6 mg of manganese in their diets each day had fewer mood swings and cramps compared to those who ate only 1 mg of manganese.
- Depression/Reduced irritability/Mood Enhancer
Ancient folklore says the smell of Cinnamon is the best cure for the winter blues. The only scientific evidence we can find to support this theory is this study by Dr. Bryan Raudenbush, Director of Undergraduate Research and associate professor of psychology at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, WV. The study found that the scent of Cinnamon reduced driver irritability.
WOW all of that and we have to be careful with the warning of liver disease.
Here is one of those times I am saying I belief in Cinnamon and what it did for me. I am also a lot smarter now knowing I need to be careful with the cinnamon I take.
This hole topic has become very lengthy but I think it is worth it. I am convinced cinnamon is one of those true supplements from God's very own pharmacy. Like so many things, we have to do our research. I will have another post to continue this one as there is more to prove cinnamon can be very good for us diabetics - regardless of what the skeptics say.
Chose your cinnamon carefully!! There is no help from the FDA but if you live outside the United States - you might get help getting the right form.
Heavenly Father, we thank you for the wonderful product you have provided for us. We pray that you lead us to the right supplement and form that will help our health and diabetes. We than you for the internet where we can find a lot of information that is valuable. We also thank you for doctors who are not just sold on pharmaceuticals as the only answer.